We’ve all been there. Mindlessly surfing the Netflix app for a movie to catch on a quiet night in. Netflix and chill or brave the madness of traffic and crowds? That’s an easy one. Netflix and chill. But now comes wading through the catalog hunting for the best movies on Netflix.
And it’s quite the catalog of movies. Do you start wandering through the endless list of suggestions? Do you really want to watch a mindless B-movie? Nah, you really don’t. Trust me; it takes a particular kind of boredom to sit through a cheesy action flick.
What we all need is a list of good movies on Netflix. Something for everyone, whether it’s to impress a girlfriend/boyfriend on your inner cinephile. Or, you’re stuck in the house for the night and need something solid before your constant indecision has you falling asleep on the couch.
Or propped up in bed with your glasses on, earbuds in and an iPad in your lap… Yeah, it happens. Thankfully, Alex saves me from myself though I’m sure I’m destroying my neck doing this. That’s a true bro.
Here’s our list (updated monthly) of movies on Netflix.
Best Movies on Netflix
This isn’t in any order, so don’t shoot off an angry email telling me I have horrible taste. It’s what’s on Netflix right now.
Avengers: Infinity War
How the Russo brothers managed to pull off this movie should be the subject of a documentary. The cast is absolutely massive, yet the film clips along as our favorite heroes battle Thanos as he traces across the galaxy collecting the Infinity Stones. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know how the film ends, but damn is it still a shock to see half of all living life eradicated in what is now called the decimation.
It also sets up Avengers: Endgame hitting theaters in April 2019. You’ve probably seen it multiple times, but if you need a great popcorn flick to get you through the evening, Infinity War checks every box.
The movie that birthed the ubiquitous movie trailer horn we all hear today. Inception cemented Christopher Nolan as one of the best filmmakers of our time and serves as proof audiences are willing to flock to theaters to see original films. Remember, the 2010 sci-fi actioner followed on the heels of Nolan’s The Dark Knight. That movie is perhaps the best comic book adaptation ever made.
Inception has an ensemble cast that follows Leonardo DiCaprio’s professional thief character as he takes on one last job. The catch? The thefts occur in the target’s head. A dream within a dream. It’s ending still spawns discussions today, a decade later. It’s cinematic gold and a visual treat.
If you want an excellent pick for movie night, Inception will not disappoint.
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Before you immediately jump into Martin Scorsese’s epic about the life of Teamster and hitman Frank Sheeran, know the runtime is 3.5 hours. Yeah, if you’re the type that can’t sit still for more than a couple hours – like me – it may not be for you.
However, the film cuts across genres from a mob story into one that explores the topics of life, age, and regret. The cast is basically who you’d want in a mob movie. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. It deviates from the glamourous mob movies like Goodfellas and Casino. It instead focuses on the reality that father time always wins. While De Niro’s Sheeran considered himself the good soldier, the truth was that all he offered up was violence and selfishness.
Yeah, it would be easy to dismiss this as another mob movie from Scorsese, but while the subject stays the same, we get a glimpse of what’s left after the supposed glitz and glamour.
One of my favorite comedies. The duo of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as man-children can’t be beaten. Step Brothers tell the tale of two 40-year-old new stepbrothers as they navigate from being mortal enemies to friends with plenty of madness in between. It’s impossible not to quote lines from this movie. Just cleared out your house? Someone in your family will mention how much room you now have for activities.
If you need a good laugh, Step Brothers on Netflix is a sure bet on Netflix for the adult crowd. The movie may focus on stunted adolescence, but there’s nothing kid-friendly in the film. Just absolute hilarity.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The 1975 film is perhaps the greatest comedy ever. It’s as funny in 2020 as it was in 1975. It follows the British comedy troupe, Monty Python, as they hilariously chronicle King Arthur’s quest in one continuous narrative. Those of us born into the millennial generation can now see why our parents love the movie. It’s a definite yes on your must-watch Netflix films.
Need a family option? Incredibles 2 fills that role nicely as the sequel to the wildly popular animated movie. Sure, it never rises to the level of the first film, but how many sequels can ever live up to their predecessor? Pixar has a pretty uneven record when it comes to sequels, but Incredibles 2 shows the animation powerhouse can hit it out of the park with some of its franchises.
One of the better sci-fi movies in recent decades, Ex Machina was Alex Garland’s directorial debut after writing screenplays for 28 Days Later and Dredd. Starring Domhnall Gleeson as the computer programmer Caleb, it follows him to the isolated home of the company’s CEO, played by Oscar Issac.
The initial premise is Caleb is to interact with Ava, a humanoid robot (Alicia Vikander), and perform what would amount to the Turing test. Nothing is quite what it seems, and secrets lurk everywhere in the CEO’s compound. It’s a fascinating film that will provoke discussion long after the credits roll.
Netflix’s Bird Box emerged out of nowhere to light up social media. Granted, the evidence of astroturfing to push the viralness of the film helped tremendously, but no one can deny it caught fire in December 2018.
Bird Box’s premise is excellent. An unknown attack setting off mass suicides if you look at the never revealed monsters. But I said premise for a reason. It trails off midway and the ending is damn near Hallmark-ish. Still, it’s worth a watch just so you understand the nonstop memes dominating your social media feeds.
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Nothing beats the pairing of Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. Technically, Netflix has all four of the Indiana Jones movies ready to stream, but we all want to forget the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. All three movies hold up incredibly well, with Raiders of the Lost Ark being one of the best movies ever made. Temple of Doom goes a little off track but is still a great film. And then there’s the Last Crusade rounding out Steven Spielberg’s brilliant trilogy.
If Star Wars wasn’t already doing it, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones cemented him as a Hollywood icon. It even started the Harrison Ford tackle. Seriously, watch his action movies. Guy loves a good form tackle.
Chris Evans trades in his shield for a post-apocalyptic film set in an Ice Age kicked off by a failed climate experiment. The remaining survivors are on an always moving train. The film’s plot isn’t subtle in the class warfare with passengers in the rear barely survive, while the indulgent elite enjoy themselves in the front. The downtrodden stage a coup and Curtis (Chris Evans) makes his way forward with each train car a microcosm of a warped caste system. The cinematography is excellent, and the combat scenes are intense. It’s a great addition to your Netflix queue.
Documentary lovers need to add 13th to our must-watch list. Equal parts enlightening and infuriating, it’s Ava DuVernay’s follow-up to her acclaimed Selma documentary. It shines the light on how the passage of the 13th Amendment led to the mass incarceration of minorities.
The documentary doesn’t just focus on cultural racism which results in the widespread incarceration of minorities. It’s money too. Locking people up is good business with the proliferation of private prisons.
13th will piss you off and hopefully spur you into action. No, don’t tweet a hashtag. Become involved in politics. Yeah, everyone hates politics except everything is political. Better to become engaged or you might wake up one day with zero rights left.
Nicolas Cage as a treasure hunter searching for a hidden map on the back of the Declaration of Independence? Sounds nuts, but it works. The film is a fun ride and knows its plot is crazy, but it’s Nicolas Cage. If anyone can sell crazy, it’s him. His supporting cast of Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha turn in fun performances, and the movie is a hell of a ride. It’s a film choice for when you need something watchable.
Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids
Concert documentary? It’s better than you might imagine and shows just how far Justin Timberlake has come from his ‘NSYNC days. Directed by Jonathan Demme, it captures the final two performances of Timberlake’s 20/20 tour. They should turn Demme loose on all concert documentaries. The way the camera brings you into the concerts is excellent as his focus on the other singers and dancers who were part of the 20/20 tour.
Yeah, I’m a fan of documentaries. Cartel Land was up for Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards, so it should make any list. It documents the battles against the Mexican drug cartels by two vigilante groups: a rebel group in the Mexican state of Michoacán and the Arizona Border Recon. Corruption doesn’t just exist inside the Mexican government; the two vigilante groups fall prey to similar power struggles and corruption. The documentary is so intense at times; you almost think you’re watching a fictional drug war. Instead, it’s daily life.
Beasts of No Nation
Netflix’s first foray into original films was unfortunately glossed over. Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation documents a young boy from an unnamed African country who becomes a child soldier. Not exactly a feel-good story, but the film is breathtaking with both Abraham Attah and Idris Elba turning in stellar performances. Now Netflix has original films landing every month, but don’t sleep on its first.
Wrapping the best movies on Netflix
Did I leave some off? Definitely. Sound off below in the comments on your favorite good movies gracing the Netflix catalog, and I’ll add to the ever-growing list. And watch these while you can. You never know when the expiration date hits on pieces of Netflix’s content catalog.