In the bevy of blockbuster entertainment on Netflix, the popular movie rental website that features movies like The Hunger Games and Super 8 available for instant watch, lies some lesser-known films that could be just what you’re looking for in a night’s entertainment.
Here is a look at four movies you might not know that are worth a watch.
1. Safety Not Guaranteed
It’s a romantic comedy about a man trying to time travel. Now that sounds a little over-the-top, but Safety Not Guaranteed actually plays to the cynics in the audience for most of it’s brief run-time. It begins with a sarcastic, mocking tone that gives way to an inspirational climax that will stick with you well after the movie ends.
Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson are always a hit, with Plaza’s understated charm making her a perfect hit for this type of low-key film. The real winner here, though, is Mark Duplass, who plays the hapless time traveler in a way that is at once both menacing and lovable.
Though not laugh out loud funny, Safety Not Guaranteed should have you chuckling throughout the film while providing some genuinely human emotion throughout.
2. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Another quirky, under-the-radar comedy is Jeff, Who Lives at Home, a film about a lovable stoner and his uptight brother and their quest to find fulfillment and a bottle of glue.
I didn’t expect to find this as funny as I did, but Ed Helms and Jason Segel both absolutely nail their roles as the uptight one and the stoner, respectively. Segel is especially funny, delivering some memorable one-liners and some unexpected wisdom as well.
There were definitely a few moments that inspire big laughs, but this movie’s strong heart and Segel’s charming performance are what make this movie worth the watch.
3. Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of stand-up comedy. I’ve always had a soft spot for Richard Pryor’s acting, though, so I thought I’d give his stand up a try. Sure enough, the always brilliant Pryor inspired not just laughs, but some really interesting insights into a variety of topics, especially race.
Pryor is consistently entertaining and often laugh out loud funny throughout his performance, but his monologue on his trip to Africa and a certain racial epithet is hauntingly beautiful.
This is a must watch for any fan of stand up, but Pryor’s performance transcends the genre to be an important piece of media in its own right.
4. The Crow
Of course, you might not be in the mood to laugh, in which case, my first three recommendations won’t be what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something a little darker, though, The Crow is a fantastic film that’s tragic backstory precedes it.
This film would probably not be famous if not for its backstory. Star Brandon Lee was killed on set, making the movie a tribute to a career tragically cut short.
The movie itself, though, is a dark but entertaining action film that keeps the action moving at a rapid clip. You’ll find yourself rooting for the protagonists throughout the film and loathing the simplistic but effective villains.
Brandon Lee is the star of the show. Had he not been killed during filming, Lee would certainly have ridden this role to stardom. He is strongly emotive in the role and quite inspiring, despite the character’s dark motives and physical appearance. The Crow is worth watching for Lee himself.
Anyone who enjoys superhero films, crime films or films with gothic settings should definitely take the time to see this movie.
Shawn Brubaker lives in Washington, DC. He is a regular Netflix user and has been published on both Yahoo! and Bleacher Report.