My Netflix “Must-Watch” List

Although in my last article I admitted that my allegiance lies with YouTube, I can’t totally disregard Netflix as a valuable source for entertainment. Below, you’ll find ten of my recommendations for things to watch on Netflix—everything ranging from hard-to-watch horror, to coming-of-age romantic comedy. While I’m no film critic, I do spend a lot of time watching movies. Because of this, the list you’ll see has been narrowed down only to movies (perhaps next time I'll create a list of television show recommendations; we’ll see). In no particular order, let’s dive in to the movies I think you should add to your “watch list” and binge over spring break.

1. Carrie Pilby (2016)This film based on Caren Lissner’s 2010 novel is about Carrie Pilby, a nineteen-year-old genius looking for guidance from her therapist. While the movie does explore typical themes like awkward love and the struggle to grow-up, “Carrie Pilby” maintains a level of freshness with its witty dialogue, endearing protagonist, and relatable plot structure. Throughout the drama/comedy, young Carrie “struggles to make sense of the world as it relates to morality, relationships, sex and leaving her New York apartment. Without a job and friends because of her unreasonably high standards, Carrie is told by her therapist to create a five-point plan to get herself on track.” If you’re over the traditional cookie-cutter rom-com, don’t miss this one, kids.

2. Sleeping with Other People (2015)This next film, another drama/romance/comedy, stars Alison Brie (Glow) and Jason Sudeikis (SNL), as well as Parks and Rec’s Adam Scott. This hidden gem of a movie explores the evolving relationship between two people, Sudeikis and Brie, who lost their virginity to each other in college. More than a decade later, the pair attempt to maintain a friendship despite their undeniable chemistry, helping each other through faltering relationships along the way. This movie is insanely hilarious, and begs the question, “can love still bloom while you’re sleeping with other people?”

3. Some Freaks (2017)One of the stranger entries on this list, “Some Freaks” stars Thomas Mann (Project X) and Lily Mae Harrington as high school seniors on the outskirts of social acceptance. Described as a romantic drama, this indie film follows Mann’s one-eyed Matt as he falls in love with plus-sized Jill. While the first-half of this one is a slow-burner, it’s certainly worth the twist that comes in the second act. I won’t spoil it here, but trust me when I say that this romance is for those who are looking for something a bit off-kilter. This one gained a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3/10 on IMDb, likely due in great part to the remarkable performance by Harrington in her feature-length debut.

4. Hush (2016)I couldn’t make this list without mentioning one of the best movies I’ve watched in the last year, “Hush,” which is a thriller/horror film directed by Mike Flanagan. This bad-ass nail-biter’s events take place over the course of one night, as a deaf writer, who lives in the middle of nowhere, must fight for her life when a masked killer appears at her window to torment her. While there is a ton of violence, the film mostly stands out for it’s "cat-and-mouse kind of battle of wits." As long as you can keep your eyes open and your heartbeat under control, I’d definitely recommend this movie. And, bonus, it received a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, a score not many horror movies can boast.

5. Suite Française (2014)Based upon Irène Némirovsky’s French novel, “Suite Française” was adapted into an American film starting Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Far From the Madding Crowd). While awaiting news regarding the state of her prisoner-of-war husband, a lonely Frenchwoman (Williams) becomes attracted to the German soldier (Schoenaerts) quartered in her mother-in-law’s home. Although the film can be found in Netflix’s drama and romance categories, the film also explores many of the tragedies associated with the second World War, including the destruction of families and the idea of betrayal, making it unique to others of the same genre on this list. Set in the 1940’s during the German occupation of France, this film will captivate you with its superb actors, attention to historical accuracy, and tragic plot line.

6. Alive (1993)The oldest movie on this list and the one I’ve watched the most recently, “Alive” blew me away. This biographical survival drama is based on the horrifically true story of a Uruguayan rugby team’s crash aboard Air Force Flight 571. The plane crash-landed into the remote Andes mountains on Friday, October 13, 1972; although forty-five team members and some of their families had boarded the flight, only sixteen survived the 72-day-long ordeal in the bitter wilderness. While several documentaries have been made based upon this incredible survival story, the dramatic film staring Ethan Hawke (Dead Poet’s Society) and Josh Hamilton (13 Reasons Why) is a definite must-watch. This film picks up quick and tortures, inspires, and saddens its audience for over two hours.

7. 1922 (2017)I’m not sure why I didn’t watch this horror/drama sooner, but I sure am glad I finally did. “1922” is a Netflix original movie based upon Stephen King’s novella of the same name. Set in, you guessed it, 1922, this movie follows Wilfred “Wilf” James, a farmer who “conspires to murder his wife for financial gain and convinces his teenage son to participate” in the act. The murder isn’t a spoiler, so don’t be angry—it’s even in the description of the movie—the story of “1922” focuses primarily on the psychological and physical consequences in the father and sons’ lives after the murder. This Netflix movie garnered an 86% from Rotten Tomatoes and two thumbs up from yours truly, although, warning, there’s a fair amount of gross imagery in this one. But what else do you expect from Mr. King?

8. The Good Son (1993)Ah, another gem from the early 1990’s. “The Good Son” is a drama/thriller staring American sweetheart turned weirdo Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone) and Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings) when they were just little kids. Unfortunately, “The Good Son” isn’t quite as heart-warming as other films starring children. Rather, this film follows the story of Mark (Wood), a young boy who loses his mother and must stay with his cousin (Culkin) while his father is away on business. Though the two boys become close friends in the first few weeks of Mark’s stay, it becomes clear that Culkin’s Henry is quite disturbed. While the deranged behavior Henry exhibits only escalates, Mark becomes more and more frightened for the well-being of his extended family—but what do you do when no one believes you? Which little boy is the good son? I’ve watched this movie about six times, and each time I fall more in love with it. It’s twisted, gut-wrenching, and thought-provoking—a total win in my book.

9. Copenhagen (2014)Let’s circle back around to romantic drama, shall we? “Copenhagen” stole my heart when I first watched it a couple years back, and apparently, I’m not alone. The indie flick has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2/10 score on IMDb. Shot on-location in Denmark, “Copenhagen” follows 28-year-old Canadian William, played by Gethin Anthony (Game of Thrones) as he attempts to track down his long-lost Danish grandfather. With the help of a beautiful girl, who happens to be half his age, William must navigate his feelings for someone he knows he can’t have while also juggling the mission to find his elusive relative. This coming-of-age adventure film may be strange, but film festival audiences, as well as little ol’ me, really loved it.

10. Creep (2014); Creep 2 (2017)Okay, if you don’t like shaky found-footage films, don’t watch either of these thriller/dramas. “Creep” and “Creep 2” surround Mark Duplass’ (The Mindy Project) Aaron as he recruits videographers to film his strange, and at times unbelievable and incoherent ramblings. What the victims in both films don’t know will hurt them, but they and the audience will be entertained along the way. While I recommend you watch both films, I will say that I enjoyed the sequel more. Even though this horror movie is, well, a horror movie, it’s not quite like many of the films in it’s genre. It doesn’t follow the same tropes, instead relying on realistic dialogue and reactions, shocking action, and an unsettling tone. Both “Creep” and “Creep 2” are worth a watch, especially for those who need a soft introduction into the horror genre.