Everything You Need to Watch Before It Leaves Netflix
It’s nearing the end of October, which means your to-do list has a few more items than usual:
Pay credit card bills
Tie self to couch for pre-expiration Netflix cram session
As in most months, there are dozens of titles leaving the streaming service come November 1, from features to documentaries to TV shows. Rather than leave you to navigate the morass by yourself, though, we combed through the Netflixodus to find the 10 titles that you need to prioritize. In other words, feel free to pass on Season 1 of Pajanimals, but ignore the following at your own peril.
Leaving November 1
Blues Brothers (1980)
Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and a huge cast of musical cameos from Aretha Franklin to John Lee Hooker get the band back together for what is somehow the strangest and most enduring movie ever to spring from a Saturday Night Live sketch. (Though MacGruber‘s coming up fast.) Supernatural nuns, neo-Nazis, and Chicago love galore.
Changing Lanes (2002)
Remember the dark days of Ben Affleck’s post-Kevin Smith, pre-redemption fallow period? Somehow, in the midst of J-Lo and Gigli drama, he found himself fratting up a surprisingly great thriller opposite Samuel L. Jackson—and in the midst of a holy triangle pf revenge, inequality, and corporate conspiracy.
Conspiracy Theory (1997)
Any sentence that starts with “So Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson made a rom-com…” is a nonstarter, right? That’s what the Trilateral Commission wants you to think. Gibson hams it up as a paranoid zine-writer who manages to uncover a diabolical government plot—he just doesn’t know what. What successful Department of Justice employee wouldn’t fall in love with that? Richard Donner (!) directs, making this whole thing even weirder than it would have been.
Death Warrant (1990)
These days, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s appearance in a movie doesn’t tell you much. In 1990, though, it told you to SEE THAT SHIT ASAP. Fresh off Bloodsport and Kickboxer, the Muscles From Brussels (seriously, that’s what people called him) decided that the best move was a movie in which he played a cop willingly going undercover in a maximum security prison. Cue the spin kicks—and some sublime midinight-movie material.
You’ve already seen this, but it never hurts to watch it aga—what? You haven’t? You don’t like dark comedy? The Coen Brothers never did it for you? You don’t see what the big deal is about Frances McDormand and William H. Macy giving the performances of their lives? Why are you saying such increasingly outlandish things? Please, just stop with the indefensible statements and watch this movie.
House of Flying Daggers (2004)
About ten years ago, director Yimou Zhang made a trilogy of stunning wuxia films— martial arts pictures set in ancient China—that swelled with fantastic wirework and sumptuous cinematography. The other two installments, Hero (2002) and Curse of the Golden Flower (2007), are great as well, but they’re not leaving Netflix, so make this one your first course.
Hey, got a high tolerance for gross torture porn? If the answer is “yes” and you’ve never seen James Wan’s genre-redefining picture, then really, what kind of self-respecting degenerate are you?
If, on the other hand, you prefer your horror films with a heavy dose of metatextual levity, you’re gonna want to go for Wes Craven’s star-studded classic. Kevin Williamson’s screenplay remains one of the great trope-busting genre works of our time. (Yes, the guy who made Dawson’s Creek.)
Three Kings (1999)
Way back, long before David O. Russell went on that whole Oscar-winning goodwill tour, he made this tiny powerhouse black comedy about U.S. soldiers who have their gold heist interrupted by a group of Kuwaiti villagers who need their help. At the time, you were used to seeing Clooney and Wahlberg go big, but seeing the same from Ice Cube and Spike Jonze was a revelation.
Leaving November 22
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview
The 1995 interview, which was filmed as part of the TV series Triumph of the Nerds, remains a rare unguarded look at the late Apple CEO in his pre-iPod days.
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