Batman — It’s almost hard to believe, seeing as how hard Warner Bros has screwed the pooch lately when it comes to DC, but there were once good movies starring Batman & Co. A lot of them, actually. In fact, for decades, DC seemed to be the only studio able to make the whole Superhero thing work. Between Superman in ’78, Batman in ’89, the DC Animated Universe in the 90s and 2000s and Batman Begins in 2005, Marvel had to work overtime just to break into the then-niche market for comic book adaptations.
And starting in January, Netflix subscribers will have a plethora of good DC movies to choose from for a change: not just Tim Burton’s Batman, but virtually every live action movie in the extended franchise. And while everybody will always revere The Dark Knight over all others, and while my heart generally rests in Batman Begins for reimaging the mythos, the original Batman started it all (cinematically) and remains a timeless classic of the action genre.
The Conjuring — Netflix has had a real problem with horror movies lately. Even at the height of October, when horror is at a premium and everybody’s in the mood for a good scare, there was a severe dirge of quality content on the streaming platform. Horror films, such as they exist on Netflix, seem to rotate out quickly and get replaced only sporadically. And regardless of how great they are, there are really only so many times that you can watch Hush or The Void before you need to find something new to watch.
The Conjuring movies have been a godsend to genre fans over the last half-decade. While none of them have been so ambitious as to reinvent the wheel, none of them have had to. Relying on solid fundamentals, strong direction and exceptional timing, they’ve galvanized the films’ generic niche in a way that few of its rivals have been able to. And when there are this few options to choose form, anything — especially something this good — is a welcome inclusion.
The Godfather — Some have gone so far as to refer the series as the greatest cinematic accomplishment in history. Even those that don’t go quite that far (with so many alternatives to choose from) never the less rank the first as one of the best movies ever made. Its sprawling, ambitious and deeply Human narrative shows the fall of a titan, the corruption of an innocent and the enduring legacy and reach of organized crime in the United States.
Like the early Batman movies and the entire Lethal Weapon canon, the full series will be made available to Netflix subscribers over the course of the month. And if you haven’t seen these movies before — or perhaps just recently — you could hardly do better than spending a lazy afternoon absorbing them in their entirety. Sure, their reputation at this point may have outstripped their actual merits and the third instalment is nowhere near as good as the first two, but on the whole they are among the best that the medium has to offer.
Lethal Weapon — It’s a shame that this series (but especially its first, yuletide-set installment) are coming to Netflix only after the Christmas holidays. After all, ironically or (deathly) seriously, it’s one of the best Christmas movies around. And sure, Die Hard may now monopolize the R-rated action Christmas movie niche, but this was the movie that delivered on the premise first and, by some accounts, best.
And this month, Netflix subscribers not only get access to the first movie, but all three of its sequels as well. Developed by the illustrious Shane Black — the talent behind Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys and the upcoming Predator movie — they really showcase his talent as a writer: deftly balancing serious Human drama with outlandish action set pieces without missing a beat.
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming — There has always been a certain charm to the Sharknado movies that defies rational explanation. Even after the movies hit on its ironic — but never the less passionate — following and made itself part of its own joke, it was easily one of the most enjoyable movie franchises around (and, for my money, a Hell of a lot more fun than anything coming out of the DCEU these days).
Whether taken as 90-minute long punchline or seriously at face value (which, in truth, is its own kind of fun), these movies have delivered year after year despite everything going against them largely because they are, at their core, what movies should be: fun. They don’t get wrapped up in box office grosses or award season prestige, but deliver a good time for anybody with the means of seeing it. That, if nothing else, is worth the price of admission.
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