A few of you might remember my 5 Best Kept Secrets on Netflix. Since reading that post my friends have been pestering me for a longer list because five items just didn’t keep them entertained long enough. My apologies for leaving you hanging, I’m back with another list and this time it’s going to be bigger and will surely keep you occupied for a while. There will be no overlaps or repeats, just fifteen movies that I think are worth your time.
15. ‘Donnie Darko’ (2001)
I was reluctant to add this one because it’s so common, but this summer I had the great privilege of introducing some of my friends to the wonder that is Donnie Darko.
A few of the movies on this list have mind-blowing twists, but this is the ultimate mind-fuck of them all that just delves further into itself the more time you give it. It’s a story of time travel, black holes, and Frank the Bunny that will have you scratching your head and hitting rewind. Featuring the most beautiful siblings in Hollywood, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal both deliver excellent and believable performances.
14. ‘Grease 2′ (1982)
While I usually don’t condone sequels not including a majority of the original cast, I’ve found a few exceptions and Grease 2 is most certainly one of them. Taking the same Rydell High and giving us a new batch of Pink Ladies and T-Birds, we watch as an exchange student from England tries his hardest to woo the new generation’s leading lady of the girl squad all while their same old “Only T-Bird” rule applies. With several ultra catchy songs and Michelle Pfeiffer, there isn’t much not to like about this film. With the return of Frenchy, Principal McGee and her secretary Blanche, Grease 2 carries on the spirit of the original.
13. ‘Snow on Tha Bluff’ (2011)
This reality drama is a brilliant look into the life of a crack dealer and his day-to-day activities and struggles. While it may sound like a snowboarding movie, Snow on the Bluff is actually set in Atlanta where Curtis Snow runs the street and takes down anybody who tries to step on his territory. His crew is caught in a turf war when some very crazy stuff goes down. Curtis must find his way out of trouble before he gets killed for the sake of his young son. By the end, you’ll really start to feel for this thug and start to root for his fortune to pick up.
12. ‘Clue’ The Movie (1985)
Starring my absolute favorite leading man, Tim Curry, this board game based movie was one of the most memorable films of my childhood. Containing an all-star cast,Clue is the epitome of the ’80s, and brings the beloved game to life with all the usual suspects at hand.
The film also houses a slew of familiar faces, making it all the more entertaining to see your favorite board characters acting the way you imagined. The most interesting part is the ending: Is the murderer who you thought it was? Did your favorite character actually do it after all these years?
11. ‘Aaah! Zombies!!’ (or Wasting Away) 2007
With the recent uprise in flesh-eating undead making its way to all formats of entertainment, the plots are getting stale, and frankly, I was getting pretty sick of each new zombie venture. That is until I discovered Aaah! Zombies!! while delving deep into the abyss that is my Instant Queue. A movie with that much punctuation must mean business. Featuring Matthew Davis (Legally Blonde, Pearl Harbor), Michael Grant Terry (Bones), Betsy Beutler (SCRUBS) and newcomer Julianna Robertson, we are shown the other side of a zombie apocalypse — the zombie’s side. Mixing some genius cinematography techniques with a quirky wit that had me laughing out loud, the combination of the two put this movie on my watch list.
10. ‘Harriet the Spy’ (1996)
This childhood favorite of mine was a recent add on Netflix, and I just couldn’t resist the urge to watch it after all these years. Both Michelle Trachtenberg and Rosie O’Donnell really shaped the way that I am today in this feel good family movie that transcends its entertainment through the ages.
The story follows the life of Harriet M. Welsch, the child spy who is never found without her notebook until everything goes wrong: her faithful nanny is sent away and the school bully discovers her notebook. She must work to earn her friends’ trust, but goes about it in an interesting manner. The film teaches good morals and slips in several jokes for the parents. To those of you needing something to watch, I’d recommend Harriet the Spy.
9. ‘Most High’ (2004)
During a time when drug movies such as Requiem for a Dream and Spun were very popular, this indie flick slipped under the radar and resurfaced at just the right time. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced a movie that shook me like the two aforementioned. It’s great to have found one that introduces a different type of drug user, taking us down his path of self destruction.
Julias is your average hospital worker with the special skill in calming and dealing with the patients who are mentally ill. His take-no-crap-from-superiors attitude gets him far with the patients but eventually gets him sacked from the job. Having nowhere else to turn, his friends lead him down the wrong path.
8. ‘Goon’ (2011)
Unlike any other sports movie I’ve ever watched, Goon is based on the true story of Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a hard-hitting brutal hockey fighter with a heart of gold and no actual skating talent. As the black sheep of his family, Doug has constantly tried to find a place to fit in. A local coach sees potential in Doug when he gets into a fight with a hockey legend, that is until he steps onto the ice.
With no other option, his hockey obsessed best friend aids him along the way to the ultimate showdown between Glatt and his idol. Goon isn’t the sentimental film it’s made out to be. Believe me, there are tons of trash talking and fist fights to keep the more violent crowd appeased. Fair warning, the last fight scene isn’t for the faint of heart.
7. ‘Memento’ (2000)
For anyone who enjoys an unpredictable thrill ride this Christopher Nolan flick is top priority. Imagine if the only way to remember your name is to have it tattooed on your arm, or the only thing that reminds you that the woman in your house is your wife is a polaroid captioned “wife”? Things would be very different, even more so if that wife was murdered and you were the only one looking for her killer.
Jumping around the storyline and cutting up the major scenes, the cinematography will put you in the mindset of Leonard, our amnesia stricken main character. Can you figure out who committed the murder before he puts the pieces together?
6. ‘The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down’ (2006)
If you are looking for something different to watch check out this ingenious take on the life of a party-goer. A satire of ’60s sex education films, this modern day checklist lays the foundation for being the hottest you can be and getting laid.
The narrator takes you through the do’s and don’t's of a successful party night as a group of young twenty-somethings prepare for a night out on the town. Those who aren’t feeling so well the next morning, or have experienced an unsuccessful night are even given the proper remedies and solutions. Brilliantly done and absolutely hilarious, I’d give this film at least three thumbs up.
5. Jim Henson’s ‘The Labyrinth’ (1986)
Only two words are needed to describe this film; David Bowie. This late ’80s classic follows Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) on a wild trip through The Labyrinth, where the Goblin King Jareth (Bowie) keeps her baby brother hostage if she cannot make her way through the ever changing maze to his castle. In this seemingly impossible journey she meets some interesting friends that aid her along the way, despite the King breathing down their necks, pressuring them into leading her the wrong way. Packed with several fun musical numbers — a must in any Bowie-related film — and some awesomely advanced effects, I’ll be showing The Labyrinth my grandchildren.
4. ‘Pootie Tang’ (2001)
Wah da tah. This one is too good for words. Cause “Pootie’s too good,” in the wise words of Chris Rock. Pootie Tang is a musician, he’s a public spokesman, and he’s a super fly guy that is too hot to touch. That is until his belt is stolen and his image is sold to a major corporation with plans to sell cigarettes and booze to minors; the event leaves Pootie so desperate that he moves away from the city.
Pootie and his friends must build his confidence to defeat the major corporation and gain back the good reputation he once had. Full of hilarious antics and one of my favorite movie women, Biggie Shorty (Wanda Sykes), there is nothing boring about this one.
3. ‘God Bless America’ (2011)
Now, if any of my dear readers are anything like me, most of pop culture pisses them off, from American Idol to the pointless tabloids running stories about people we don’t care about.
Well, our main character Frank has had enough; since the news of his brain tumor and him being fired from his job, he has decided to do something about it. His mission: To kill the morons making money off of all the other morons in America. Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, this gem was released in Russia earlier this year and has since taken my friend group by storm, plus with a name like Bobcat what could go wrong?
2. ‘Super 8′ (2011)
When Super 8 first hit theaters back in 2011 there was more hype surrounding the monster than J.J. Abrams’ film. While the trailers tried to build suspense by giving little detail, nothing about it really peaked my interest.
Earlier this semester, I stumbled onto this title once again and decided to give it a shot. What a great life choice that was. This was the greatest movie I’ve seen in a while. Full of quirky moments and tons of suspense, this sci-fi thriller had me holding onto my seat at times.
Super 8 tells the story of a group of boys in the late ’70s out to make the best zombie film with hopes to win a young filmmakers competition. While filming on location they witness the biggest catastrophe their little town has ever seen. As they flee the scene the young filmmakers vow to never talk about the event, until the unexplainable occurs and the boys realize they are the only ones who can figure out the mystery. Anything with Steven Spielberg is bound to be a hit, and this is no exception. Part sci-fi, part kids being badass, I urge you to check out Super 8.
1. ‘Empire Records’ (1995)
Have you ever experienced a film that speaks to you on multiple levels while inspiring you to underachieve? If your answer is no, I have the movie to fill that void.
Empire Records is the quintessential ’90s movie that will have you digging out your old flannels and wishing for the time when music ruled. The film is about a group of young adults working at a record store. Everything goes awry when they decided to host teen heart-throb Rex Manning for a CD signing.
Quirky and fun, this is a must see for anyone old enough to remember Liv Tyler before Lord of the Rings and Renee Zellweger pre-Bridget Jones. Containing the most infectious quotes and a group of friends you’d like to call your own, Empire Records will always be one of my favorites.
What Are Your Hidden Gems on Netflix?
If you think you have some crazy good movies you’ve found on Netflix, please let us know. I know I’m always looking for new stuff to watch, I’m sure other people feel the same way.