Stuck streaming: Here's the 20 best movies now on Netflix
From Scorsese to "Shawshank," these are the top movies currently on Netflix
Welcome to the quaranstream.
We're stuck indoors. We can't go out. Thankfully, streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney+ have thousands of titles available, in your living room, at the push of a button.
Since we're all locked down for the foreseeable future, we'll be serving up handy lists of the best streaming content available to you at home: classic movies, new movies, binge-worthy series, comedy specials, concert films, family flicks, documentaries, horror titles, you name it. If you need, want or crave streaming suggestions, we've got you covered.
First up: The 20 best movies available on Netflix. These are the best of the best, modern classics that you may have seen, maybe not, but are worth a viewing (or another viewing) while you're under lockdown.
Happy streaming, everybody.
The 20 Best Movies on Netflix
"Inception" — Christopher Nolan's brainy action tale takes on dream logic, the origin of ideas and the pain of haunted memories, and does so with mind-boggling visuals and a cast dressed in impeccably tailored suits. There are some details that still don't entirely add up — star Leo DiCaprio even admitted as much on a recent podcast — but that just gives you more to discuss while you're stuck indoors. (PG-13, 148 minutes, 2010)
"The Irishman" — A life. That's what Martin Scorsese is weighing in his epic meditation on the gangster lifestyle and the toll it takes on an individual and those around him. It's not "Goodfellas" — "Goodfellas" is "Goodfellas," and it's on this list — but it's the movie that Scorsese made at 76 years old as he looked back at his own life, his own art and the changing world around him. Well worth the time investment. (R, 209 minutes, 2019)
"Goodfellas" — The greatest movie ever made? Not according to the Academy, which awarded "Dances With Wolves" the Best Picture Oscar in 1990, but all the elements are there: Scorsese in peak form as a director, incredible performances from Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and Joe Pesci, stunning music cues (that "Layla" piano outro!) and a classic American rise-and-fall story. You decide. (R, 145 minutes, 1990)
"Rounders" — You know what cheers us up when we've been stuck indoors for days on end? Rolled up aces over kings. You don't have to understand poker to dial into John Dahl's thriller about a law student (Matt Damon) and his sketchy childhood friend (Edward Norton), who dive deep into New York's underground poker scene and find a greasy cast of characters. The insider lingo is half the fun. (R, 121 minutes, 1998)
"The Shawshank Redemption" — Fun fact: "Shawshank" was not a hit at first. That ungainly title confused audiences — what's a Shawshank? — and its initial box office haul was just $16 million. Tides changed over the years, thanks to endless airings on cable, and this story about two prison inmates (Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman) and the friendship they forge found its, well, redemption. (R, 142 minutes, 1994)
"Step Brothers" — When their parents begin dating, two adult men find the companionship they've lacked in their lives in this story that celebrates devotion, good will and Catalina Wine Mixers. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly take the manchild genre to its natural conclusion in this symphony of silliness, in which "did we just become best friends?" becomes the ultimate expression of male bonding. (R, 98 minutes, 2008)
"Moonlight" — The 2016 Best Picture winner tells the story of Chiron Harris, a Florida man coming to terms with his sexuality, in three chapters: As a child, as a teenager and as a grown man, just out of prison. Director Barry Jenkins is a born filmmaker, and he gracefully handles this story, which touches on themes of race, class and identity that mainstream films rarely approach. It's a masterwork. (R, 111 minutes, 2016)
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" — It's more than just a cartoon. The best superhero film of the last decade — it's second only to 2004's "Spider-Man 2" on the list of all-time superhero movies — takes a fun, colorful approach to the Spidey story with an inventive animation style that mixes comics, graffiti art, glitchy computer graphics and more. It's for kids, sure, but it's for everyone else, too. (PG, 117 minutes, 2018)
"Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" — Save Ferris. In the '80s and beyond, this Chicago adventure became everyone's blueprint for a perfect day off from the stresses of high school. Writer-director John Hughes gave us something to think about in between the shenanigans; "Life moves pretty fast," Ferris says. "If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." (PG-13, 103 minutes, 1986)
"Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World" — Michael Cera leads a wild cast (including Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans and future Oscar winner Brie Larson) in Edgar Wright's slapstick emo comedy, which manged to fuse video game culture and a heightened version of reality in a way no movie since has come close to topping. Probably because "Scott Pilgrim" already nailed it. (PG-13, 112 minutes, 2010)
"Jerry Maguire" — A strong case can be made that Tom Cruise's sports agent and Renée Zellweger's single mom do not belong together. But this romantic comedy works equally well as the story of a man at a crossroads, wrestling with the pressures of a world that is becoming less personal, and trying to keep his sanity along the way. Plus, the "you had me at hello" scene is still so good. (R, 139 minutes, 1996)
"Groundhog Day" — When self-quarantine starts feeling like you're living the same day over and over, fire up this comedy about a testy weatherman (Bill Murray, perhaps never better) who finds himself at the mercy of Punxsutawney Phil, in a time loop of "I Got You Babe" on the alarm clock and fending off run-ins with nosy Ned Ryerson. It's endlessly watchable, which is perfect for when time folds in on itself. (PG, 101 minutes, 1993)
"The Edge of Seventeen" — Anyone who longs for the golden age of teen movies and the way John Hughes gave voice and consideration to teenage feelings of desolation and confusion should check out Kelly Fremon Craig's debut, in which Hailee Steinfeld stars as Nadine, a high schooler navigating the worlds of family, friendship and boys. Woody Harrelson is ace as one of Nadine's teachers. (PG-13, 104 minutes, 2016)
"Kill Bill: Vol 1" — Things get a little bit dicey in "Vol. 2," but "Vol. 1" is perfect. Quentin Tarantino's second-best movie (behind only "Pulp Fiction") is so air-tight it works as a standalone film. Uma Thurman plays the Bride, who is hellbent on revenge after she's left for dead by a team of assassins who once claimed her as a member. No resolution is needed; the cliffhanger ending still leaves you gasping. (R, 111 minutes, 2003)
"City of God" — Director Fernando Meirelles ("The Two Popes") delivers a chilling vision of the slums of Rio de Janeiro, where child gangs roam the streets in a deadly game where life has no consequence or meaning. Spanning 20 years, from the '60s to the '80s, his film has the feel of a Brazilian "Goodfellas," and in a memorable cast, Leandro Firmino da Hora's Little Ze casts a shadow, even today. (R, 130 minutes, 2002)
"Raging Bull" — Robert De Niro won his second Oscar (following "The Godfather: Part II") for his role as boxer Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese's black-and-white bruiser, and he earned it: he famously packed on 60 pounds for the role, transforming himself to play LaMotta as a washed-up joke teller. De Niro and Scorsese have their own Mount Rushmore, and this is on it. "Raging Bull" still packs a punch. (R, 129 minutes, 1980)
"Marriage Story" — Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are heartbreaking as the couple at the center of Noah Baumbach's comic-drama about the emotional (and financial) toll of divorce. Baumbach's 10th film combines the best of his past works (the wit of "Kicking and Screaming," the emotional tug of "The Squid and the Whale") without the acidity of his thornier efforts ("Margot at the Wedding"). (R, 137 minutes, 2019)
"Burning" — Troy-raised Steven Yeun ("The Walking Dead") is transfixing in this slow-burn South Korean thriller, which stealthily weaves a tale so layered in its mysteries that it casually constricts itself around you, and only when you come up for air do you realize you're breathless. Director Lee Chang-dong invokes politics, class strife, sexuality and human connection and paints a seering visual. (not rated, 148 minutes, 2018)
"There Will Be Blood" — Milkshake drinking has never sounded more menacing. Daniel Day-Lewis is Daniel Plainview, an early 1900s prospector, in Paul Thomas Anderson's roaring story of family, greed, faith and insanity, set against California's oil boom. Paul Dano is dynamite as Plainview's rival, a preacher named Eli Sunday, but this is Day-Lewis' show, and he's a showstopper. (R, 158 minutes, 2007)
"Her" — Talk about self-isolation. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, an introvert who falls in love with his AI (voiced with a compassion by a tip-top Scarlett Johansson) in Spike Jonze's futuristic sci-fi romance, which is seeming closer to reality by the day — not because of any disease subtext, but because of the loneliness we feel and our ever-growing reliance on technology. (R, 126 minutes, 2013)