Ranking All the Netflix Original Movies (Top 50)
The governing principle behind this website has always been, “Well, I did this, so I might as well document it.”
I think we’ve established by now that I watch ostensibly everything that matters each year (in terms of American feature releases), and a lot that doesn’t. And that now includes an ever-increasing number of Netflix movies. And, as is my credo, if I’m watching them all, why not make you all have to hear about it?
This isn’t a definitive ranking by any stretch. It’s really just how much I like each of the movies and want to recommend them to you. That’s it. Because at this point, there’s so much stuff that’s put out on the platform that unless something truly breaks through, it immediately gets lost under the pile of the newer, shinier stuff. So the goal is to just talk about everything in relation to all the others, so you can gauge what you have seen versus where I’ve put everything and then maybe go, “Oh, what’s this one? This one sounds good.”
I will also say (because it has to be said) — it’s vague as to what constitutes a Netflix Original film. I generally use Wikipedia as a guide, because Netflix has never put out an official list, and it’s impossible to use their site to figure it out. But also, some of the stuff on Wikipedia’s list are foreign films no one in America has heard of, and some other stuff that we all clearly think of as a Netflix movie isn’t. It’s all up for debate, so I just kinda went with what made sense to me. The rules are my own and I’ve decided what I think counts. The point is: shut up and let’s just celebrate the cool movies that are here. Cool? Cool.
(Note: I try to update these articles every few months as we get close to another round number of films. The next update will hopefully be sometime after the Oscars.)
I didn’t know what to expect with this movie, and it turned out to be really solid and the kind of movie I keep randomly bringing up to people.
It’s about a woman who has become a cam girl in order to pay the bills. And she’s taken to doing crazier stunts, like faking suicide, in order to get more clicks/money, in the hopes of making the top ten of her cam site. Only one day, she notices that someone is logged in and performing on her account. Not just that… but it’s her. It’s an exact replica of her on there. And her whole world starts to unravel.
It’s the kind of movie where… it’s not about what’s actually happening. Since, if you’re really thinking about it, only two possibilities could be why, and you’re pretty sure it’s one and not the other. Really it’s just about this film putting you in a world that no film would ever really show you, and making it really worth watching on top of that. It’s a very solid piece of work.
I definitely recommend people see this one. It’s low budget, but it’s not the most complicated of films, and the product is really, really solid.
49. Point Blank
A pure Netflix action movie. Frank Grillo is making a career out of these. This one stars him as a criminal who ends up unconscious after an unseen opening sequence in which a murder is committed. Anthony Mackie plays the night nurse at the hospital who is treating Grillo. Grillo’s brother kidnaps Mackie’s wife and tells him he’s gotta get Grillo out of there, alive. Then Grillo wakes up, and eventually you find out there’s a ring of dirty cops, and now Mackie’s involved, so the two of them have to go out and stop this before they (and others) get killed — and it’s just a really fun B movie actioner.
It’s directed by Joe Lynch, who did Mayhem, another fun B movie, and it’s just wall to wall thrills. It’s a ‘guy’ kinda movie. If you like low-effort, high-enjoyment action movies, this is very much something you’ll get a kick out of. It also might be the first movie I can think of that has a fight scene in a car wash. Which is pretty sweet.
48. Happy Anniversary
Lovely little romance movie. It’s about a couple approaching their three year anniversary who, over the course of the day, have to decide whether or not they want to keep going or just divorce. And the film jumps back and forth over the course of their relationship. The bad version is to say it’s like (500) Days of Summer, but it’s not that.
What really makes this work are the central performances from Ben Schwartz and Noël Wells. They’re both terrific here, and the movie is not just a dumb comedy or an overwrought drama about a married couple. It flows between all these different tones and styles to really just make it feel like it’s about these two people.
Definitely one of those where the good outweighs the bad and one of the first Netflix movies that kind of came out of nowhere for me. Unless it’s some highly promoted movie, chances are, you don’t know a lot of these things exist. Or if you do, it’s fleeting. This is one I put on out of nowhere, having no idea what to expect, and I found myself constantly going, “Oh, this is good. I like this.” Which is really what you want out of these things.
47. Outlaw King
This is David Mackenzie’s followup to Hell or High Water, and it’s an epic about Robert the Bruce and Scottish Independence. The Robert the Bruce story overlaps with the William Wallace/Braveheart story, and the film is cognizant of that. It is not a Braveheart sequel, as some of the advertising and reviews might have you think. If you look at it that way, you’re gonna be disappointed.
On its own, it’s a strong piece of work. There are some great battle scenes here, and some fine acting work along the way (Aaron Taylor-Johnson in particular). The script may be a bit slight, but you’re almost gonna say that about any epic of this sort. This is the kind of movie that feels like it’s helped by Netflix, just because getting people out to a movie that does similar things to Braveheart is a tall order nowadays.
46. High Flying Bird
The fact that it’s a Soderbergh movie alone means it’s gonna be one of the top tier Netflix movies out there. But also, it’s one of his movies that fits the platform, because it’s mainly just two people in a room, talking. It would be hard to release something like this theatrically and turn a profit. I feel like, fifteen years ago, this would have been a straight up TV/HBO movie. Now, it can go on Netflix and get seen by millions of people.
It’s about a sports agent who is dealing with an NBA lockout and uses it as an opportunity to attempt a bold new opportunity for one of his clients, which will shake up the world of sports forever. It’s really strong, though going in you need to know that it’s a sports movie without any sports in it. There’s no actual scenes of people playing, save one pseudo-moment. Mostly it’s people and agents in rooms, talking. But even so, it’s a fascinating movie.
Soderbergh rarely makes anything less than a very good movie, and this is the perfect movie for Netflix. It’s a win-win for everyone, especially the viewer.
45. Always Be My Maybe
First off, I love that Randall Park and Ali Wong co-wrote and produced this. That’s fantastic. So for that alone, this was always going to feature solidly on this list, just because it is the type of movie that Netflix should be putting out and people should be seeing. If anything deserves the views on the platform, it’s something like this. Because almost no studio would take a chance on a movie like this and get it out there in any real way.
Now, as a film — it’s actually pretty good. Not particularly laugh out loud funny, though it has some moments. It’s more a romance between these two characters… that doesn’t go the way you’d expect. They’re lifelong friends and the movie begins with them having sex. They sleep together on prom night. And it’s awkward and basically ends their friendship. And then they reconnect a dozen years later as adults.
It’s a really sweet movie and I will admit that I did shed a tear at the very end. Truly one of the better things on this platform that really deserves your views. This is all that’s right about what Netflix is doing.
44. Enola Holmes
Incredibly fun movie. It’s a nice bridge of a movie for kids and adults. It’s definitely oriented toward younger people (mainly the 10-18 crowd), but it’s still got something for adults, mainly because it’s built around a universe everyone knows and understands: Sherlock Holmes. It’s about Holmes’ younger sister Enola and follows her adventures in solving her own mystery (the disappearance of her mother). Sherlock and Mycroft are in it, but more in a cursory way, and the majority of the film is Enola going around on her own case. It’s fun, knows its a movie in the right ways and is just entertaining. It’s a good time for those who like detective/mystery movies, specifically stuff in the vein of Holmes.
43. A Futile and Stupid Gesture
This is a biopic of the founding of National Lampoon and its co-founder Doug Kenney. David Wain directs, and any minor comedy people are gonna recognize him from some of their favorite things (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, They Came Together).
It takes a really interesting biopic route in that it completely breaks the fourth wall, is very aware that it is a movie, and… well, I won’t get into the big one, but the movie makes it a point to tell you about it.
It’s a fun movie. The cast is solid, and there are cameos left and right. I appreciate that for the most part they spiritually cast some of these really famous people (like Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and John Belushi) rather than trying to force it.
I would say that it’s a better experiment at a non-traditional biopic than it is a great movie, but it’s a good enough movie that it’s worth seeing for both entertainment value and how it tackles the monotony of telling someone’s story and tries to stay true to who the person was at the same time.
42. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
This is based on a play from August Wilson (who also wrote Fences). So it’s very stagy and focused very much on the words and the performances of the actors. And that’s really all you need when your main actors are Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. The film is built around Davis’ Ma Rainey, but the film is really Boseman’s, as he gets the majority of the screen time, playing her brash horn player whose musical talent may be exceeded only by his own ego. It’s a strong piece of work by everyone involved and, like the screen adaptation of Fences, manages to overcome its theatrical roots in a way that makes you forget that it takes place almost entirely in a single location. It’s really good, and definitely one of those upper tier films Netflix has put out.
41. Private Life
Tamara Jenkins is one of those perfect filmmakers for Netflix. She doesn’t work as much as, say, a Nicole Holofcener or Noah Baumbach, but her movies are such that they are delightful indies that generally have limited audiences when it comes to theatrical releases. Her last movie was The Savages. Even now, I feel like a good amount of people barely know what that movie even is.
Her films are always somewhat autobiographical, and this one feels very much so. The Savages was about her and her brother dealing with the illness and death of their father. This is about her attempts to start a family via in vitro fertilization. So much of the things in this movie feel directly pulled from real-life experiences, and that’s what ends up making it much better as a movie.
Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti play the couple. Both are tremendous here. Giamatti is always expected to be great, and he is. Hahn got all the notices for this because she’s mainly known for comedic roles. They end up dealing with the struggles (both emotional and financial) of these procedures while also taking in their niece, who wants to get out of home and get into an artistic workshop sort of place that will help her grow as an artist. Kayli Carter plays their niece and steals nearly every scene she’s in.
This is the kind of movie where — while I could see some people not necessarily responding to some of the other indie dramas the platform has put out, this is one that feels so specific that it ends up becoming universal, and even if you haven’t gone through the things these characters are, you will still feel like you totally relate to everything they’re going through.
40. Bird Box
If you ask random people what the bigger/biggest movies on the Netflix platform are, chances are this would be one of them. I think this became one of their highest-viewed Original films pretty quickly upon release.
It’s a post-apocalyptic movie with an ensemble cast of great actors. The premise is, some aliens come down, and, if you look them in the eye, you die. That’s the simplest way to put it. They make you go so crazy that you immediately kill yourself in whatever way possible. So in order to go around the world and not be completely sealed in one room forever, people have to wear blindfolds. The movie happens in stages. And it continues to be interesting as we move from stage to stage. Some are… admittedly not as good as the others. But overall, it’s a really solid movie and represents the kind of movie that Netflix puts out when it’s doing things right.
39. Marriage Story
It’s Noah Baumbach, who makes a very particular kind of film for very particular kinds of audiences. This is probably him at his best, and seems to be the one movie of his you’d point to as being the ‘definitive’ one. It’s got standout work from Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern and Alan Alda and is a look at a very particular type of marriage falling apart. More of a Divorce Story than a Marriage Story, but what can you do. I think Baumbach thinks the film is more even-handed and universal than it really is, but it’s still a solid piece of work, largely because of the actors involved in it. No matter how you slice it, this has to be mentioned in the upper tier of better Netflix movies.
Netflix’s version of John Wick. But with Mads Mikkelsen. Fun fact: he trained as a gymnast and dancer before he became an actor.
The film knows it’s similar to John Wick, and even plays on that fact in the early stages when Mikkelsen’s character gets a dog. (Don’t worry, it also shows that it’s very much not like John Wick shortly thereafter.) The premise is, he’s an aging hitman who just wants to retire and get out. And the syndicate he works for has a retirement package for hitmen once they reach a certain age (a retirement plan, if you will). Only the other hitmen start dying, one by one, and pretty soon, he’s the next target on the list. So mostly it’s him going back out there to murder everyone so he can spend the rest of his life in peace.
It’s awesome. Just a straight up fun movie that takes zero effort to enjoy and is exactly the kind of movie I want on a platform like Netflix. If it came out in theaters, you’d be like, “Okay, a John Wick knockoff that’s not as good and is kinda fun.” Here, you’re like, “This movie’s awesome. Yeah, it’s kind of John Wick, but who cares?”
37. Project Power
A fun, high-concept sci-fi action movie from Joost and Schulman, who made Catfish and made a similar high-concept movie in Nerve a few years ago. Only now, unlike with Nerve, a platform exists for people to see and discover it past that initial release window. The idea behind this one is — someone’s created an experimental type of street drug that gives the user superpowers for exactly five minutes. Thing is, though — each power is specific to the person involved (as in, every time you take the drug you get the same power), and you don’t know what yours is until you take the drug. So it could kill you. And someone is distributing this on the streets of New Orleans (mainly to poor and Black people… so you get some nice social commentary along with your sci-fi). So we follow three people: a young girl who deals the drugs, a local cop and a father who is in search of the people selling the drug because of what happened to his daughter. And so it’s the three of them, and this procedural of sorts, trying to get to the ‘top’ of this organization and stop them, and you get the added bonus of this little world-building of people getting different powers (super strength, invisibility, super speed, etc) along the way. It’s a lot of fun. Perfect movie for Netflix because it’s just the right amount of interesting without making you feel like you expended more effort than maybe the movie is worth.
36. Our Souls at Night
Lovely, lovely little movie that is exactly the kind of thing Netflix should be putting out. If it weren’t on here, no one would have seen this.
It’s a romance movie between two widowers, played by Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. At first they’re just neighbors who barely know one another. Then she reaches out and the two become friendly, then friends, and so on. It’s really sweet.
Films like this are typically a hard sell to mainstream audiences, so having this just be on the platform for people to stumble upon and watch is so nice. And you get two of cinema’s greatest legends getting to share the screen one more time. Not only is this perfectly fit for a Netflix Original, it’s also a great movie, to boot.
35. The Polka King
This is the kind of offbeat movie that’s perfect for Netflix. Tonally this is not something you could sell easily, or something you could expect most mainstream audiences to immediately pick up on and go along with.
It’s one of those weird comedies where the people aren’t particularly good people, but they’re entertaining, and even though they’re doing not great things, it’s played for laughs and it’s all just a good time and no one’s taking it particularly seriously. And it’s based on real events, so it’s one of those where, if you didn’t know it was real, you’d wonder how the hell someone made all this up.
Jack Black plays Jan Lewan (real guy), a Polish bandleader who performed polka shows in Pennsylvania. Struggling to pay his band and get anywhere, he devises a plan that will get him money: a Ponzi scheme. He’s going to have people invest in him, and eventually he will pay them back once he gets successful. Though mostly he’s getting money from nice old people, and he really has no way to ever pay them back. And, wanting to please everyone, he just sort of goes deeper and deeper into the hole. Even when the government comes and says, “You can’t keep doing this, this is illegal” — he keeps doing it!
It’s a really funny movie, and yet another in a line of great Jack Black performances that are sneaky good and show that he has a knack for picking really terrific material (also check out Bernie and The D Train. I’m also a fan of The Big Year, but not everyone else is). Also co-written and directed Maya Forbes, who also did Infinitely Polar Bear, the movie with Mark Ruffalo as the bipolar dad, which was quite good and also nice and offbeat tonally.
This was a movie that was figuratively made for Netflix (and yes, literally as well). You could never put this out theatrically and get anywhere with it. Here, you get such a greater opportunity for people to stumble upon it and go, “Oh wow, this movie is hilarious.” And it is, and you should check it out if or whenever you get the chance.
34. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
This movie is so wonderful, and could never have been released anywhere else. This is such a tonally impossible movie to market, no one would have went to see it if they released it theatrically.
It’s a very, very dark comedy, with shades of the Coen brothers. It’s a simple revenge story where everything is done in a very realistic, “how things would go in real life” manner, but all the characters are larger than life, but put in a real world environment, and the whole thing just adds up to a beautifully weird and wonderful film.
The film begins with Melanie Lynskey going about her day and all sorts of little everyday things that piss you off. Then she comes home to find that her house got robbed. And she decides to do something about it, along with her very angry-about-it-and-everything neighbor Elijah Wood. And it’s just a saga, where they meet a bunch of scumbag criminals, and pretty much everyone is very bad at what they do.
Don’t even think about the plot, just see it. It works perfectly. This movie won Sundance, if that helps at all. And it was written and directed by Macon Blair, who starred in Blue Ruin and Green Book for Jeremy Saulnier and wrote Hold the Dark for Saulnier (and curiously enough wrote Small Crimes, which is also on this list).
Aside from the fact that it is quite a good movie, I love the fact that Netflix was here to put this movie out. Because seriously, when you watch this movie, if you’ve seen enough stuff that comes out, you’ll realize that no one would ever be able to release this in any traditional theatrical way and expect to turn a profit.
33. The Boys in the Band
Adaptation of the landmark theater play about a group of gay men gathering together for one of their birthdays. This does what the recent stage revival did, which is make the entire cast comprised of entirely openly gay actors (which sounds obvious, but is not something that’s really been done a whole lot for things of this sort… ever). So it’s got that going for it, plus, being a very critically-acclaimed play, it’s interesting and well-written material that is gonna be interesting to watch. It’s perfect for Netflix because it exposes people to everything in it without making them feel like they went out of their way to do so. And, with something like this, every little bit helps. Also, it’s just a good movie. The cast all does good work and it’s very engaging. The thing about Netflix is — there’s so much stuff on the platform and the majority of it is just okay or maybe okay-plus. So when you get something that’s legitimately very solid, it quickly rises to the top of the pile for them, which is the case with this. This isn’t necessarily a movie I’d call one of the absolute best I’ve seen, but when you compare it to what Netflix has to offer in the way of original feature content, this really is one of the better things they have.
32. First Match
I don’t know if anyone really knows what this movie is. But it blew me away when I first saw it.
It’s about a girl who’s been in foster care most of her life, and is in real danger of becoming just another statistic. Her father is in and out of jail and she’s got unresolved anger issues, which tend to get her in a lot of trouble at school and kicked out of one foster home after another. She ends up joining the boy’s wrestling team as a way to channel her anger (and also possibly use it as a way to get her father back into her life).
It’s the kind of movie that you start watching and immediately go, “I know where this is going.” But it never quite goes there, even if it kinda goes in the general direction you were expecting. It was a really smart piece of work, with fantastic central performances. This is one of the lowest profile movies at this point on the list, which should tell you how strong I think the movie is. Mind you, this is a movie that would have gotten zero visibility were it not for Netflix, which goes to show the kind of good the platform can do.
31. The Old Guard
This is just a fun-ass action movie. The premise is pretty brilliant: a bunch of immortal warriors led by Charlize Theron. And honestly, if I had to pick someone who would be an immortal warrior, Charlize Theron would be my choice. But that’s the film. They’re mercenaries who’ve been restoring balance in the world over thousands of years. And you just follow them as they go around and fuck shit up. It’s awesome. It’s fun, and it’s the exact kind of movie you want out of Netflix most of the time. The kind you just throw on, enjoy the hell out of, and then move on with your life without feeling like you had to really engage that hard with the film. There’s the more intellectually-demanding stuff on here too, but those times when you’re like, “I just made dinner and I want to relax tonight and just find something cool to watch” — this is that kind of movie.
30. The Half of It
One of the best rom coms Netflix has. It’s incredible. The key to a good rom com is: good premise, smart writing and good chemistry between the characters. This has all of that. The premise is same-sex Cyrano. The smart girl in high school, needing cash to help out her single father, does a lot of the other kids’ homework for them. Then one day, a dumb-but-well-meaning jock comes up to her and says he has a crush on the hot girl at school and wants to impress her, but knows he can’t say the things that would get her to notice him. So he asks the smart girl to write letters for him to the girl. Which she begrudgingly does… until she starts to realize that she might have a crush on the hot girl too. Which is a great premise. And then you have Leah Lewis as the star, who is just so utterly dynamic and has chemistry with both her male and female counterparts. And the film is really well-written (and an original script, to boot, which is doubly great) by Alice Wu, who also directed it. It’s really the total package of a film. Especially since, as rom coms can be a bit of a divisive genre for certain people of certain ages and people far too easily could settle for the more mediocre ones, Netflix puts out so many that there actually are a handful of really good ones you can point people toward to say, “No, no, this is just like those ones you grew up with. Trust me.” Sure, this one is as much a ‘high school’ movie as much as it is a rom com, but it’s very well made and very charming and deserves to be counted among the best the platform has to offer.
29. Shimmer Lake
The perfect kind of movie to stumble upon while lazily searching the platform.
This is a crime thriller, told entirely in reverse. Not like, Memento style, but more like — there are like five or six chapters, all about 15 minutes long, told in reverse order. So you start with the “ending” so to speak, and then work backwards, piecing everything together as you go along. And it’s all dealing with the fallout of a small town bank heist.
The narrative conceit does make this more interesting than your average crime thriller. Though that isn’t the only conceit the film has. The other is more subtle, but notable. The cast is primarily comprised of mainly comedic actors who are all cast against type. I’m not sure if that helps or hurts the movie in the end, but that is something the film does on top of telling its story in reverse.
Overall, I had fun with this, and while it isn’t the best movie ever, I do think this is the kind of movie that shines on a platform like this, where the stakes are low and all it takes is some storytelling flair to help something stand out and be better than the rest of the stuff out there. As such, I do think this is one of the better Netflix Originals they’ve put out.
It’s one thing to tell someone to watch a crime thriller that’s on Netflix. It’s another to go, “Watch this movie. It’s a crime thriller told in reverse.” Someone’s more likely to actually check it out that way.
28. Da 5 Bloods
Spike Lee’s Vietnam movie. Spike, ever an essential filmmaker, had been hovering around that indifference level for a few years. The last time he’d put something out that made any real waves was Inside Man, which was quite a while back. He’d still been making worthwhile films, but it really wasn’t until BlacKkKlansman that everyone went, “Oh, right, this guy makes good movies.” So naturally, that made this movie very much something that was anticipated and ‘known’, compared to a lot of other Netflix movies. So it already started from a good place, and I suspect that a lot of people know what this is based on title alone (and not just because Spike has his own way of wording things, much like Prince did with his music). But it’s also a very strong and very worthwhile endeavor. It’s got a lot of things to say, about race, politics, war, brotherhood — and it’s just an interesting story on top of all of that. It’s about a group of soldiers who return to Vietnam 50 years after the war to both find the remains of their fallen sergeant but also find a bunch of gold they buried when they shipped out. So you’ve got this really interesting dynamic of guys who hadn’t really seen each other since the war ended and are now catching up, seeing where they’re all at, hearing each others’ stories and coming to terms with their own pasts and collective past. It’s a really strong film and, above everything else, reminds you that Spike Lee is one of the most important cinematic voices we have. And it’s really nice that this is there on Netflix for people to find to remind them of that.
27. The Forty-Year-Old Version
A movie that demands to be seen for all the right reasons. This is what Netflix can offer — an independent, personal movie made by an artist that would never get proper eyeballs on it unless it managed to luck out and become the 1% of truly independent movies that crossed over and hit big. So instead of having to play those odds, it goes on the Netflix platform, where it gets (and has gotten, to their credit) prominent placement for people to find and hopefully check out. Which is wonderful. The film is from Radha Blank, who wrote, directed and stars in it as (essentially) herself. It’s a portrait of a woman hitting 40, still trying to get her plays shown on stage (even though it’s been slow goings since she was the new, hot young playwright almost twenty years ago), teaching during the day to make ends meet and hitting a crisis as she has to decide just how badly she wants to remain in the stage world even if it means truly selling out. So she decides that she’s gonna try to embark on a different career altogether — a rapper. One who raps about what it’s like to be a woman at 40. It’s a really terrific piece of work and one of those movies that truly deserves to be championed and seen by as many people as possible.
26. The Two Popes
One Pope goes one way, the other Pope goes the other way, and we’re all like, “Hey, what do you want from me?” Who’d have thunk that a movie like this would be legitimately good and interesting to even someone like myself, who can’t stand any movie involving religion? But this is pretty fascinating, mostly because it’s about a particular event in history — the abdication of the Popedom by Anthony Hopkins and the ascendance of Jonathan Pryce. Which was the original title, by the way — The Abdication of Pope Benedict by the Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. But yeah, that’s the movie. It’s kind of like Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, but with Popes. They go around Vatican City having these philosophical chats and we see one Pope decide to abdicate and the other counseling him and eventually being elected to the office. It’s good stuff. Directed by Fernando Meirelles, who did City of God and The Constant Gardener, and it has two of our finest actors with ample room to shine. One of the better, if not best things you can see on Netflix (that is, until 2 Popes 2 Curias and 3 Popes and a Baby come out).
25. Triple Frontier
The saga behind this movie is crazy. At one point Tom Hanks and Will Smith were gonna be in it, and then they had a cast with Tom Hardy before Paramount abruptly backed away a month before shooting. And then Netflix swooped in, recognizing this as exactly the kind of movie that would work for them — a movie with a cool cast and a filmmaker that will get people to see it on his name alone. J.C. Chandor had made Margin Call, All Is Lost and A Most Violent Year before this, and there are a fair amount of people (myself included) who were gonna go see whatever it was he decided to make.
This is a special forces heist movie. I guess if you mixed Three Kings and Zero Dark Thirty. They’re all former soldiers who band together to make the money they never quite made in service. They’re gonna go deep in the jungle to rob a drug lord. Oscar Isaac is the mastermind behind it all, and he’s got personal reasons for wanting to do it. Ben Affleck is his right hand man and the sort of blueprint guy, who knows how to make these things run smoothly. Pedro Pascal is the pilot. And Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund are brothers.
What’s interesting about this movie isn’t so much that it’s about the heist… it’s about what happens after the heist. Sure, going into a guarded compound, killing a bad guy and making off with his money are things these guys know how to do just fine. But now, how do you move a couple thousand pounds of money out of the jungle? And the movie spends so much time on that, which I really liked.
Tonally, this might not be what everyone thinks they’re getting, but it’s a really strong movie that goes places you don’t see in these types of films. It’s also the kind of movie — and you’re gonna see me say this a lot from here on out on the list — it’s the kind of movie you wouldn’t normally expect to be on Netflix. It’s almost like when the new expansion team manages to get one superstar to add an ounce of legitimacy to it. That’s almost how this feels.
This surprised the shit out of me. It’s your standard fare action movie, only, like John Wick, it’s directed by stuntmen, who give you such great action sequences that it elevates the movie from what you think you’re getting. It’s a pure ‘guy’ action movie (not to put a gender label on it, but this is the kind of movie my father would have enjoyed), with Chris Hemsworth as a more than capable lead (you know the trope — the stoic action star who can handle his shit but has demons and really is just waiting for the day his bullet comes) and a very simple premise: the son of a crime lord is abducted and mercenaries are brought in to bring the kid back. And that’s it. And it’s just pure action almost all the way through and just fun as hell. Not gonna be for everyone, but in terms of elevating a genre and sneakily being one of the more entertaining things you can find on the platform, this is it.
23. Velvet Buzzsaw
Tony Gilroy’s third movie, after Nightcrawler and Roman J. Israel, Esq. Expectations were high for this, and Netflix bought it in a big Sundance acquisition and put it out a month later. Reviews ended up being very mixed, but I think that’s just due to the fact that it’s a really difficult film.
It’s a horror movie set in the art world. There are no particularly likable characters in the film, either. It’s also got a supernatural element to it. Like I said, it’s not an easy movie. But there are rewards to it. Gilroy as a filmmaker/writer seems to like elevated B movie plots, and this feels just like his other ones. Nightcrawler is a straight noir, Roman J. Israel is also a bit of a noir, but more a social drama as well, while this feels almost in the vein of a Val Lewton kind of horror at times.
The point is — it’s a really solid movie that will get you talking, one way or the other, and I think Netflix was the perfect place for this, because if they put it out in theaters, the mixed reviews and likelihood of audiences not “getting” it would have made it die an agonizing death at the box office. This way, people can check it out and talk about it and keep the conversation going.
I know people will likely have very strong opinions about this being where it is on the list, but I would argue that it’s very much the kind of movie that should be here. I’ve thought about this a lot more than I’ve thought about a lot of the other movies the platform has put out.
22. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Netflix is single-handedly bringing back the rom com. Which is awesome. You never know how starved you are for a genre until more of them start coming out again. And some of them are actually done well.
This is based on a YA novel about a girl who writes love letters to all the boys she has deep crushes on. She never sends them, just writes them and then puts them away in her closet. Only her younger sister finds them… and mails them out. So now this girl is faced with the prospect of all these boys knowing her real feelings about them. And… honestly it doesn’t go how you expect it to.
The writing is really fun. The banter totally works, and all the rom com stuff is very likable. And even the cheesy/overly YA elements of the story don’t bog it down too much. This was also, I feel like I read somewhere, one of the highest-viewed movies on the platform after it came out. Which makes it a pretty representative movie for them in terms of what the best is the platform has to offer. It’s also one of those movies that I feel like everyone would like, just because it’s very pleasant and actually quite good.
21. Vampires vs. the Bronx
I had less than no expectations for this when it started. I thought campy Halloween horror movie and nothing more. But then almost immediately this reminded me of the kind of movie I grew up watching and enjoying the hell out of. The opening scene is Zoe Saldana and Sarah Gadon, and immediately you go, “Wait what? They’re in this?” The film is just this fun throwback that is wildly entertaining. It’s about a bunch of kids in the Bronx who have to stop some vampires that have come into the neighborhood and are trying to take it over. And so they have to convince all the people in the neighborhood that this is going on and stop it before they take over everything. The tone here is absolutely perfect. And, even better? It’s got something to say. The vampires are a metaphor for gentrification. They’re coming in and buying up (and murdering) local-owned businesses (primarily Black- and Latinx-owned) and replacing them with upscale coffee shops and organic produce marts and all the things you typically see in these ‘up and coming’ neighborhoods. So on top of having that fun tone of movies we all grew up with, it’s also got something to say. And that all adds up to being truly one of the best movies Netflix has to offer and one of the best hidden gems on the entire platform.
20. See You Yesterday
Spike Lee-produced time travel movie with a very strong social message behind it.
Two best friends are attempting to make time machines and eventually succeed. Only when they go back in time, they find out that the girl’s brother was shot by the police. So the rest of the movie becomes about them attempting to go back in time and prevent that from happening.
It’s a really well done movie. The relationship between the characters and the situating of them as very intelligent but not also social outcasts the way you’d see in other movies is really nice. And the racial/cultural message behind it is something I really, really liked.
Overall, I would say that this is the most satisfying experiences I’ve had watching a Netflix movie, and I feel like it’s one people should watch, because it feels like the kind of movie that might spur on a young aspiring filmmaker to create something interesting and unique.
19. The King
It’s Shakespeare but without the dialogue.
David Michod (director of Animal Kingdom and also War Machine for Netflix) directs an adaptation of several of the ‘Henry’ plays about Henry V. He co-wrote it with Joel Edgerton, who plays Falstaff, and the film stars Timothee Chalamet as Hal, boy king who at first doesn’t want the throne but then ascends to it after the death of his father (Ben Mendelsohn). And the film is about him learning to become king while also trying not to go to war with France, whose king (a great Robert Pattinson) seem determined to go to war with him.
It’s a really wonderful film. You forget how great Shakespeare is because most of the times they adapt it, you can’t get past how boring the dialogue is. Because it’s never as pure as it is on the stage (unless it’s Kenneth Branagh). But if you strip that away and just have people talk the way they would in movies, you still have all the brilliant drama that’s there. Kings and succession and betrayal and legacies — all the great Shakespearean tropes.
I really like this movie a lot and think it’s the perfect film to further the Netflix brand and also the perfect film to be on Netflix. Great performances all around, great direction, and the kind of movie that becomes easier to watch because it’s right there. You can put it on thinking, “I can just turn it off if I don’t like it,” and then you’ll find yourself watching the whole thing and going, “Wow, that was really good.”
For a minute there, this almost overtook Beasts of No Nation as the best Netflix movie out there. Some still might say it’s better. Either way, we can all agree that this is a movie made by a distinct filmmaker with a vision, and that it is generally regarded as a terrific movie.
It’s a story of two families. One white, one black. And the sons of the families both return home from war, changed by the events, and return to the rural south, where they both have to, in their own way, contend with the “way things are done,” which includes a lot of racism and segregation. Only the two, bonded by their experiences of war, see past all that, and it creates tensions for both them and their families.
It’s a really well put-together film. It ended up getting Oscar attention, including the first nomination ever for a female cinematographer. It’s hard to talk about what the best and most representative Netflix Originals are without having this at or near the top of the list.
17. Beasts of No Nation
The very first Netflix Original, and it stood as number one for a long time. I think it’s because it was originally just going to be a movie came out and then Netflix bought it to make a splash, so they could campaign it for awards. So in a way, it’s not really the kind of movie that Netflix paid for and was shot knowing it would end up on the platform, but also, it is the prototypical “Netflix Original movie.” For a while, this was the one we referred to when we talked about the platform’s original content.
It’s Cary Fukunaga’s followup to True Detective, and was very much anticipated throughout its production. Netflix made a big deal about getting it. And honestly, in the end, I feel like so many more people saw this than would have otherwise simply because it was so widely accessible on their platform. You know if this got the usual Oscar run, they’d have put it in like five theaters in New York and LA for a couple of weeks, the Academy would have gotten screeners, and it wouldn’t have gone in any sort of wide release unless it got nominated for/won awards (and even then, not that wide). No one would have gone to a theater to see this. It’s basically about African child soldiers and Joseph Kony. Not exactly a date movie, you know?
Still, it is a wonderful film, and Idris Elba gives a terrific performance (which ended up winning him a Screen Actors Guild award).
You know the movie Drive? Almost definitely. You know the movie Locke with Tom Hardy? Maybe. Put those two together and that’s this movie.
Frank Grillo is a getaway driver who finds out he’s been double-crossed and has to figure out what went wrong and who is responsible. And the entire movie, from the very first shot until about, the last… I don’t know, ten minutes, takes place entirely in his car. A lot of frantic phone calls and tense moments and chases. But it’s awesome. This is a perfect movie for the platform. A genre movie with a cool conceit that elevates it above most of the others. The fact that it takes place almost entirely in the car just makes it so much better.
For most people, this is just a solid little knockoff of other movies. For me, it’s exactly what I want out of the platform and its movies. So it might be going slightly higher because this is my personal list. But on the other hand, good entertainment is good entertainment. And this is one of the best I’ve seen from Netflix.
15. The Midnight Sky
George Clooney’s space movie… well, his other space movie. You know how that one is an astronaut stuck in space and trying to get home? Well, this one’s him stuck at home trying to warn the astronauts in space not to come back. He’s a terminally ill astrophysicist who elects to stay behind on a remote Antarctic outpost after a global environmental disaster that is slowly making the entire planet uninhabitable. He monitors the location of the last remaining NASA flight that is still in mission (as they have been out of contact as things took a turn and have no idea what conditions are like on Earth), returning from investigating a planet that could become a new home for humans. It’s… like all of Clooney’s past couple of films, it’s a really tricky tone to accomplish. This one is trying to balance large-scale filmmaking with an environmental message with intimate character-based stuff. And I feel like, while it’s not wholly successful in what it wants to do, it’s still a pretty solid ride all around. I personally wish more time was spent on the characters and would have easily watched another 20 minutes of just him alone on this base. But as it stands, it’s a really solid piece of work, and definitely rises above the majority of the ‘just okay’ or ‘pretty good’ stuff that’s on the platform. There are tiers to this, and this is definitely in that ‘very solid tier, depending on what you’re in the mood for’ that’s just below the ‘these are the absolute best movies on the platform’ tier.
14. The Other Side of the Wind
Orson Welles’ final film. The saga to having this be finished and released is so complicated that a companion documentary was released alongside it. (It’s called They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, and it’s great. For sure worth seeing on top of seeing this.)
Welles started shooting the film in 1970 and continued on-and-off for the next couple of years, before occasionally going back to it and working on it up until his death in 1985. Then it ended up in various legal and otherwise hells for years and years until 2014, when a group of people (spearheaded by Peter Bogdanovich, a Welles devote and protege, who recorded some incredible interviews with Welles that are also worth listening to) got together to finally get it finished. Netflix eventually stepped up and helped give them the last little bit of money they needed and as a result, the film is now public for anyone who wants to see it, completed to the best of everyone’s abilities, using the notes Welles left behind.
The story alone makes the film worth seeing. The fact that it’s an Orson Welles film doubles down on it. The film itself is its own weird little piece of work, both documentary and avant garde film in one. It takes place on the last day of a famous filmmaker’s life. John Huston plays the filmmaker (a thinly-veiled portrait of Welles, though he denied it), and we follow a documentary crew following him around on his birthday while intercutting with the actual film he’s making, which is this weird, surreal movie with no dialogue and only a vague plot to it. It feels like Welles’ answer to “New Hollywood,” and all the auteurs that came out in the late 60s, early 70s. Though he does a lot of work that really predates where cinema would be going (which is a motif over the course of his career).
It’s an interesting movie because… it was “missing” for so long, that it would have been very difficult for the film to live up to any expectations people may have had for it. But I think it does. It’s one of those movies where, you almost need to view it in context, because without it you may go, “What he hell is this?” But this is the final work of cinema’s most iconoclastic auteur’s, who liked to push the boundaries of what the medium would do while also constantly fighting to get his vision on the screen.
13. In the Shadow of the Moon
I had no idea what to expect when going into this movie and I suspect most people feel the same way. I don’t get the sense that anyone even knows what this movie is. But trust me, it’s one of the best the platform has.
It starts as a police thriller — Boyd Holbrook is a cop who comes upon a group of random people who all get murdered in the same night in the same mysterious way. He tracks down the killer, only to have her get hit by a train. Only, nine years later, the same exact thing happens again, with the same killer. And it begins a decades-long obsession for him, where he tries to figure out just what is going on and stop it before it happens the next time.
This is a movie that slowly unravels and is full of interesting characters and great ideas and just beautiful moments. I suspect the reason it’s not widely known is partly because of the amount of stuff on the platform and partly because not everyone feels about it the way I do. But I think this is one of the best I’ve seen of the Netflix Originals. It had me engaged from the jump and I found myself going with it more and more as we got deeper into the story and the mystery of it all.
This is the exact kind of movie I want to be promoting and getting people to see, because it’s just quietly on the platform and almost no one knows what it is and how good it is.
12. The Perfection
This fucking movie.
This is one of the best Netflix experiences out there. I’m not gonna say it’s one of the best movies, but it’s one of the best experiences.
The first 40 minutes of this movie are absolutely perfect. Then you’re left reeling for the next 20 minutes as you try to piece together just what the hell is going on, even as the movie shows you what’s going on. Then the last half hour or so goes in a different direction, which I’m not sure is as strong as the initial stages, but definitely feels like something the movie wants to do.
Directed by Richard Shepherd, who always makes really interesting, yet tonally tricky movies (The Matador, The Hunting Party, Dom Hemingway), it’s… okay, the setup is that Allison Williams is a child music prodigy who has to stop her studies to care for her sick mother. And now, ten years later, her mother has finally died and now she goes back out to find her teacher, who is touring with a new prodigy. And the movie takes off from there. Trust me when I say it goes to some crazy places, and it’s not the kind of thing where you know where it’s going even when you think you do (and even, to an extent, they tell you where it’s going).
I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, and I think the first 40 minutes are some of the best 40 minutes of a movie I’ve seen in a while.
11. Set It Up
This movie is the one. This is the one where I said, “They’ve singlehandedly revived the rom com.” This actually fits among the better rom coms in recent years. The concept, the chemistry and the writing are all top notch here, to the point where I became delighted very, very quickly by this movie.
The set (it) up (I regret nothing) for the movie is, Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell are assistants to two high profile bosses. His is Taye Diggs and hers is Lucy Liu. Both are overworked and their bosses are nuts and make their lives a living hell. The two (after one of the more unique meet-cutes I’ve seen) decide to work together in order to get their bosses to date one another so they’ll be able to have more free time for themselves. So they’re gonna get their bosses together, but instead… well, you know how it goes.
It’s so well-written, and the chemistry between Deutch and Powell is off the charts. If you grew up (as I did) with rom coms like 10 Things I Hate About You and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (and other movies with the number 10 in them), this feels of a piece with those. And what those have in common (even throw 13 Going on 30 in there, though that’s more a Big scenario than a rom com, but there’s the rom com element too. Plus numbers) is that, when you watch them years later, there’s smart writing and the films are just likable. And that’s what this is.
Not only is this all of that… it helped REVIVE A GENRE. This is the total package for a Netflix Original, and with a lot of other rom coms to choose from on the platform, you need to know that currently, this one is still the best.
10. The Christmas Chronicles
That’s right, folks. The Kurt Russell Christmas movie is in the top ten.
This is exactly the kind of movie that I want to think about when I think of a Netflix movie. It’s one of those you kinda know about from when they announce it, because “Kurt Russell playing Santa Claus,” but then you really don’t know what the hell you’re gonna get going in, but end up being way more entertained than you think you’re gonna be.
This movie is an absolute delight. The way Kurt Russell plays Santa Claus is absolutely amazing. He’s the Santa who doesn’t shy away from the fact that he’s Santa. He’s like, “Hey, Carter, remember when you wanted that action figure when you were ten?” And Carter’s like, “Dude, who the hell are you?” It’s so good.
This movie features a scene of Santa having a car chase with police and a full-on musical number in jail. Not to mention a scene where an elf is about to take a chainsaw to a guy’s nuts. (I’m not making that up.) It’s also a lovely little movie. Two kids whose father has recently passed make a plan to catch Santa on camera as he delivers their gifts. Only, they end up on a much bigger adventure than that. Simple premise, a lot of cool things to work with in between.
This is what I want out of Netflix. Movies like this. This is one of the best things they’ve ever put out.
This is my favorite Netflix movie that you know nothing about. I adore this movie.
It’s a simple movie with a simple story. Despite thriller and crime overtones, it’s just a romance at heart. Callum Turner is the son of immigrants whose brother keeps getting himself in trouble because of anger issues. One day, after an assault, his brother ends up in lockup, and calls his brother to say he has to go do a job for him (that he himself was supposed to do). It’s simple, get in a car with a stranger and deliver a briefcase. Grace Van Patten is the stranger, and the briefcase… well, it ends up in the hands of the wrong person. So now the two of them have to go find who they gave it to and get it back before any of the bad people involved at the top end of this deal find out.
The majority of the film takes place as Turner and Van Patten go around, trying to get the briefcase back, and that’s where the romantic element of the film begins, and really what the heart of it is. It’s only 80 minutes, so it moves, and it’s the performances of the two leads that makes it really work as well as it does.
This is definitely the highest movie on the list that I know most people don’t know exist, and you need to trust me when I say that it absolutely deserves this spot and really ought to be seen by more people.
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
As I’ve said, this feels like a Coen brothers album of B-sides. As such, putting this on Netflix felt like the right way to go. It was going to be a six episode miniseries, and then they just decided to make it one long anthology film. And it works for Netflix. This is a tough sell in a movie theater. Any anthology movie is. Here, the stakes are low and you can watch it in chunks.
While I do think this is a lesser Coen brothers movie (and realize that a lesser Coen brothers movie is based solely on how incredible their work is around it), it automatically becomes one of the best Netflix movies, just because what they put out is far and away better than most of the stuff that will come out on the platform on a weekly basis.
It’s got six stories, all wildly different in tone and story, but all centering around the western genre. The opening segment with Buster Scruggs/Tim Blake Nelson is the most overtly funny of the group, but it does go to many different emotions, ending on a very dark note, which I’m sure tickled the Coens to no end.
This is one of those where — it’s a Coen brothers movie. Why wouldn’t it be in the top ten of all Netflix movies?
Also still can’t believe the Tom Waits segment wasn’t called “Waiting for Gold-ot.”
Definitely one of those movies you wouldn’t expect to see on Netflix, but the fact that it is makes the entire platform look better.
Bong Joon-ho’s follow up to Snowpiercer. It’s a difficult movie to describe, but here goes: a multinational corporation is trying to help solve world hunger. They’re doing this by raising genetically engineered “super pigs.” They send a bunch to different corners of the globe to have farmers raise them, in the hopes of having the “best in show,” so to speak. The film takes place in Korea, as a little girl has grown up with her pig and sees it as a friend. Only now, the corporation wants the pig back, for… well, you can guess. And pretty soon the girl and the pig are on an international adventure.
It’s a very weird (in a great way) hybrid of a movie. It’s a family movie, but also very much has a social message at its core, and has something to say. It’s the kind of movie you wouldn’t expect to be for the whole family, yet it very much is. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a fantastic performance as a nature show host who… well, the less said there, the better. I love the character he crafted with that one. Also Tilda Swinton… yes.
This movie is so lovable and so good. These top movies are all ones where it’s like, “They almost don’t belong here, but because they are, they’re the best the platform has.”
6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Charlie. Kaufman. You’ve seen Being John Malkovich, you’ve seen Adaptation, you’ve seen Eternal Sunshine. You probably haven’t seen Synecdoche, New York and you probably haven’t seen Anomalisa. Point is — they’re all brilliant, he’s brilliant and you kinda get that from the track record. So there’s really not much else I need to do to sell this as a great movie other than the words Charlie Kaufman. Of course it’s one of the best things on the platform, because it’s one of those movies that would still be one of the best movies of its year no matter how it was released. Only a handful of Netflix movies actually transcend the platform. And this is one of them. The premise is so simple (and it’s impossible to spoil, which is also great): a couple take a drive to go see his parents, and she’s thinking of ending the relationship as they drive up. That’s it, that’s all you need to know, and just go along for the ride after that. It’s Charlie Kaufman. You know you can trust him and you know it’s gonna be great.
5. Dolemite Is My Name
Scott Alexander and Larry Karasewski biopics were made for Netflix. They’re the guys who write all the weird niche biopics like Ed Wood, People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon, Big Eyes (People vs. O.J.)… this is their purview. And those are all movies that get watched and rewatched and end up on platforms like this doing really well. So having this immediately start there is kind of a big deal for it. Because the films never do that well in theaters. It’s always the ancillary market where people find them. So now it’s got a perpetual life on there.
It’s a biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, a singer/comedian who decided to reinvent himself by creating the persona of a pimp named Dolemite, which he turned into his own 1975 blaxploitation film. And really, this is just a movie about friends making a movie together. And that’s why it’s so great. It’s such a likable movie and gives Eddie Murphy his best role in years.
This movie was truly made for something like Netflix and it’s instantly one of the best they’ve ever had. This might be the biggest crowd pleaser on this entire list.
4. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Aaron Sorkin. At this point, the majority of these top handful of films are basically just the product of a filmmaker who we know to be someone who makes great things all the time. Sorkin’s output just from 2010 to 2020 alone is The Social Network, Moneyball, Steve Jobs, Molly’s Game and this film. And all of them are incredible. He directed the last two himself, and he’s establishing himself as a very solid director on top of his brilliance as a writer. This is kind of a perfect film for Netflix, because it gives you Sorkin’s writing (and I have to assume that people are still streaming West Wing all the time on the platform), gives you a bunch of great actors, gives you an eminently watchable movie (it just gets easier to watch every time you put it on) and it actually teaches you a lesson about history that younger people might not know (because they don’t really adequately teach history in schools anymore, if ever). It’s just a fantastic movie about a period in the country that is incredibly similar to the current period, and you get an immensely entertaining vehicle to coney that message and history to you. What more could you ask for?
David Fincher. See what I mean? You get to the top of the list and it’s just great filmmakers making movies that just happen to be on Netflix. Of course a David Fincher movie is going to be one of the best movies Netflix has to offer.
This is Fincher going full black-and-white, something he’d tried to do over the years but never successfully before now. This is also his foray into Classical Hollywood, telling the story of Herman J. Mankiewicz and the writing of Citizen Kane. It was a passion project of his (written by his late father), and is definitely one of those movies that might not immediately appeal to Fincher fans as easily as Social Network or Gone Girl might. But it’s an incredible piece of work, especially for fans of 30s and 40s Hollywood. It’s also pretty brilliant in that it’s not a ‘making of’ Citizen Kane movie. You don’t ever see the cameras rolling or famous moments reenacted. This is just about the writing of the screenplay, with a focus on Mankiewicz’s self-destructive tendencies (alcoholism and degenerate gambling), mixed with Welles’ overconfidence and demanding nature. It’s great in that, if you know Citizen Kane really well, you’ll see where the influences to a lot of the most famous scenes came from without the film ever making it truly obvious. You know, there isn’t a moment where a kid walks up the street with a sled, bumping into the main character as he brings home some roses to his wife, saying, “Nice rose, bud.” It’s not that kind of movie. But it is a pretty terrific character portrait of this one man, this one period of time, and how he came to write what is one of the greatest movies ever made.
So yeah, all around a pretty amazing movie and definitely one of the best for the platform.
2. The Irishman
It’s weird to think of this as a Netflix film, but, here we are. It’s a three-and-a-half hour opus about aging, guilt, regret, legacy… you know, a Martin Scorsese gangster picture.
You’ve got De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, Keitel… Scorsese gets the band back together for one last rodeo. And it’s a beautiful film. A movie like this could only be made by Netflix nowadays because Netflix is the only place that would pay the price tag on it. The film de-ages all of its actors close to 40 years. And because it’s Scorsese, he doesn’t allow for anything less than perfect. And honestly, most of that stuff is perfect. There are a couple of moments where you can feel it, but largely, it totally works.
It’s a movie that is best served being on this platform, because asking people to go to a theater for 209 minutes is a bit of an ask. This way, people can sit in the comfort of their homes and get through the whole thing, and then have it at their disposal to watch the way they have all his other films at their disposal.
It’s a really stunning achievement and the kind of film that doesn’t totally fit the Netflix model, but also is technically a Netflix film, so therefore it automatically becomes one of the absolute best ever. What can you do?
It’s gonna be really hard to dethrone this movie as the best Netflix has ever put out. This movie is a straight up masterpiece, and in a way it’s fortunate they decided to let it be released on the platform.
That said, I doubt a lot of people would have gone to a theater to see this in its initial run. Only hardcore film fans like myself. Hard to imagine this getting the amount of exposure that it did by being on Netflix. I imagine so many more people managed to see this because of that, and it’s nice, because this is exactly the kind of movie that should be seen by more people. It truly is Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece. And that’s not to take away from Children of Men or Gravity (or even Azkaban), but this movie is an exceptional piece of art that transcends everything else on this platform by a nautical mile.
Everything else on this list is about whether or not it’s a worthwhile Netflix movie. This is the one where, it’s a great movie, and one that everyone remotely interested in film should see, and the fact that it’s on Netflix makes it easier for you to actually see it. Here’s hoping Netflix continues putting out content that can contend with this for the top spot.
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See the rest of the Netflix Rankings:
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