What? You’re sick of spending so long searching through streaming service catalogs that by the time you find something you don’t-even-really-want-to-watch you no longer have time to watch it?
Join the club, pal. No. Seriously: we’re starting a club. And in our club—no monthly fees! no terms of service!—all we’re going to do is suggest 10ish films you can stream right this very now on Netflix, HBOGo, and/or Amazon Prime. Yes, sure, there are other streaming services but these are the ones we pay for. (If you want us to include any others, feel free to buy us subscriptions.)
That’s it. Simple. Easy-peasy. Save your time flicking through page after page of horrid looking D-movie crap in search of the hidden gems. We are going to un-hide the gems for you:
While you might be excused for looking at the poster and title for this one and stifling a yawn, Michael Clayton is actually one of the better thrillers of recent years. You will not be bored or sleepy-faced; you will be quietly devastated by Tom Wilkinson‘s sane/insane corporate attorney who realizes just what a cataclysmic schmuck he’s been, putting George Clooney‘s eponymous fixer in the grinder as a result. Also starring Tilda Swinton and written and directed by Tony Gilroy—who creates more thrills with hushed voices here than he did in all them Jason Bourne movies he wrote.
We will, admittedly, recommend films easier to watch with your romantic partner than Hard Candy—but Hard Candy is pretty gruesomely great, especially now that its super-young-looking star, Ellen Page, just decided turning the tables on pedophiles was something worth doing off-screen as well as on. Or homophobes. Or Brett Ratner; tomAYto, tomAHto. Hard Candy is, well, hard. But worth sucking on, in a non-sexualized way. It is a modern revision of Little Red Riding Hood, in which lil’ Red’s got the sharpest teeth.
Makkhi / Eega
I am very pleased to have this chance to suggest you take some time out of your hard worn day to watch a film about a murderous fly. Makkhi / Eega / I, Housefly or whatever title you watch it under is an insane work of mad genius. A South Asian film, it relates the heartwarming and heart-pounding tale of a man whose love affair is cruelly interrupted by death and reincarnation as a housefly. And so, as one does, he aggressively seeks revenge upon his slayer and usurper. As a fly. He’s fly. Get it? I know it sounds stupid—and it most certainly is—but it is also a film I guarantee you have not seen before and one that you should thoroughly enjoy. Yes, there is some singing and dancing. Yes, the effects are terrible. Yes, I said housefly.
HBO GO / HBO NOW
If you’re looking for something less intelligent, we have just the ticket. In The Arrival, Charlie Sheen plays a scientist exactly as convincingly as you’d expect him to play a scientist. He discovers aliens are here! They aren’t friendly! Things happen! (Sort of? It’s hard to tell. This film is not quite as coherent as Charlie Sheen’s poetry, which frankly has to be read to be believed.) Like with many truly awful films we recommend people watch, generous servings of adult libations are encouraged. Watching The Arrival is like watching a herd of elephants trample a truck full of silly string, accordions, and dime-store perfume. Trigger warning: bed spiders. Second trigger warning: Lindsay Crouse.
Really? You haven’t seen Get Out yet? Time to watch it, then. If you’ve been turned off because it’s a ‘horror movie’, we feel reasonably comfortable in telling you the scares are much worse in the daily paper. It is a bit gory, but no worse than your average CSI episode. Buck up. Watch it and cry with laughter and the depressing realization that civil rights and social justice have a long long long way to go.
You likely have a genre of film in mind when you think about Clint Eastwood. The Beguiled does not fit into that category. It is, frankly, pretty messed up. And notwithstanding the recent Sophia Coppola remake—which I haven’t seen—I can’t imagine another film quite like it. The Beguiled is the lovely tale of sweet, romantic Clint Eastwood seducing and being seduced by a boarding school full of lasses while recovering from serious injury behind enemy lines during the Civil War. It is part horror, part romance, part thriller, and part of any film watchers’ collection of must-watch movies.
You’re on vacation. You just ate half of a 20 pound bird all by yourself. You want to watch a movie, but you’re not up to things like plot, scenes of people talking, and multiple locations. Free Fire is the movie for you. It’s a 90 minute shoot-out in a warehouse and it’s hilarious and delightful and things explode and catch on fire and I promise you your brain won’t have to do any heavy lifting. Also, it just came out this year, so it won’t be all dark and depressing like those ’70s gunplay movies your grandfather makes you watch, yet it’s set in the ’70s. “Don’t worry,” you tell gramps as he passes out on the sofa, gravy bubbling between his lips, “we’re watching The French Connection again.” He’ll never know the difference.
Uh oh. Gramps is safely stowed in napland, but grandma remains unaffected by either food or alcohol, and, wide-awake for the duration, insists on watching a movie where no one gets shot or has their head forcibly removed by monsters/aliens/robots/zombies/giant insects/shotguns. Your movie options have just been reduced to near zero. What to do? Time to go Jarmusch. Paterson, his most recent film, is a mellow yet engaging look at a small town poet/bus driver with not a single robot-monster eating human heads. Which, I know, sounds suspect, but trust me, it’s a lovely little movie.
From Russia with Love
Fun for the whole family, From Russia with Love is James Bond’s second outing. It is, perhaps, his best. Yes, even better than Goldfinger. Hell, you don’t remember how good From Russia with Love is, do you? No. You haven’t seen it in forever. Now’s the time. There’s a train fight, a boat chase, a briefcase full of deadly devices, and Robert Shaw as an evil Russian. Plus any number of other beloved Bond tropes are invented here for the first time, long before the whole thing turned goofy and/or insufferably depressing, depending on the decade.
Okay, the little ones running underfoot post-pie aren’t cool with a ’60s spy movie, a boring movie about a poet, or a bunch of dopes shooting each other. So you throw this on them, an Aussie classic from 1983, BMX Bandits, a movie about three teenagers, one played by a very young Nicole Kidman, who get their hands on, horror of horrors, illicit police walkie-talkies. The murderous bad guys want their radios back and send out two thugs to get the kids. But these kids have bikes! The movie pretty much consists of an endless chase scene. It’s kinda great. And, as a bonus, it’s one part–the BMX bike part–of the inspiration to Turbo Kid, the masterpiece from ’15 I trust you’ve seen by now (and if you haven’t, that’s another one to add to your Netflix streaming list).
Maybe you need something a little more meditative and paranoia inducing for your postprandial viewing. Maybe you need this Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece from 1974 he squeezed in between making Godfather I and II. Inspired rather loosely by Antonioni’s Blow-Up, The Conversation finds a sound-recordist played by Gene Hackman stumbling on what might be two people plotting a murder. Or are they? Hackman goes deep in this creepy awesome movie.
It’s late. You watched whatever you watched, the olds have gone to bed, and now you need something to make all the legal marijuana (not applicable in some states) you’ve been smoking on the back porch every time you pretend to have to go to the bathroom feel worth it. You, therefore, watch Freeway, the classic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood from ’96, starring Kiefer Sutherland as the wolf and Reese Witherspoon as the most messed-up Little Red you’ve ever seen, and featuring such memorable lines as, “It’s like I got ‘Daddy’s fuckhole’ tattooed on my forehead.” If you’ve never seen Freeway, now’s the time. (And look at that! Freeway has been officially double-featured here at Mind Control with Hard Candy, which only moments ago you read about (see above). Now you’ve even got a pre-approved double-feature to watch, you lucky punks.)
BMX Bandits is basically Zero Hour! but with terrible outfits. Someone needs to Airplane! the shit out of it. And I need Nicole Kidman’s Malvern Star jumper for next Halloween.