You’d think that with as many movie recommendations being thrown around in those Quarantine & Chill articles, there woudn’t be time to also go over the comings and goings of the individual streaming services as well. But as it turns out, there’s still plenty to talk about, especially with great big catch-all services like Netflix. And with so many people spending so much more time at home (likely as not watching Netflix), getting in another 5 movies before they rotate out of the king of the streaming services is a goal well worth undertaking.
Friday the 13th (1980) — I’ve said this before and I guess that I have to say it again now: Netflix has a horror problem. Despite the plethora of great and classic options that are available on the streaming service, they always seem to rotate out quickly and at the worst possible time. And with everybody stuck at home with nothing better to do while they wait out the Caronavirus pandemic, this wild franchise of twelve movies (the 10 originals, the crossover with the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and the Platinum Dunes remake that never gets enough love for being as genuinely good as it is) has never looked more appealing. Especially looking back on it after the decades of movies that followed it, the first movie stands out as a rather unique entry in its genre (for reasons that become apparent by the end), plus the sixth movie (easily the best of the lot) introduces zombie Jason and the tenth introduces zombie cyborg Jason. What more could you ask for?
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) — Now, the Friday the 13th movies are great an all, but they are a monstrously uneven string of horror movies. Really, only the 6th and remake are good in-of-themselves (don’t judge me), and the rest only get good by building off of all the nonsense of lesser movies. Although the nine Nightmare on Elm Street movies often succumb to the same pitfalls of its forebear, a solid half of these movies are full-on great: the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (easily the best of the franchise), New Nightmare (easily the most interesting of the franchise) and the Platinum Dunes remake (hey, I said don’t judge). And while the rest range from a little questionable to a lot of bad, they’re all a Hell of a lot of fun, and feature some of the best special effects ever pulled off in the genre.
Police Academy (1984) — I’m a hard sell for most comedies, as I’ve said elsewhere, so you think that these movies wouldn’t exactly be my thing. And, well, they’re really not. I’m honestly not a fan of them, but clearly somebody is, as the seven Police Academy movies that they made certainly found an audience (and judging from as often as people love quoting and referencing them, they kept them as well). And, really, I can’t say that these are any worse that some of the low-tier slashers that I’ve already admittedly to taking genuine pleasure in. But for these trying times, any movie franchise that runs long enough to fill out a full season’s worth of TV is going to be at a premium, and the fact that all of these movies are not only on Netflix, but also going away at the same time, it’s surely going to be worth a lot of people’s time to binge these while the binging is still good.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) — Unlike the three movies (really, three franchises totaling a whopping 28 movies), The Shawshank Redemption both runs a comparatively scant 142 minutes and is great all the way through (no sagging middle-entry or “In Spaaaaaaaace!” entry anywhere to be found). What the movie does have going for it, though (other than its talented director, incredible cast, laser-focused script and sumptuous, lived-in world) is that it is so endlessly watchable. It might have only 1/28th as many entries as the aforementioned genre flicks, but I could marathon it on repeat for just as long and never once wish that I had something new to put on. Plus, unlike any of the above-mentioned movies, this is the perfect, family-friendly crowd-pleaser, one that anybody you’re locked down with can happily sit down to while it’s still streamable throughout the month.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) — Yes, I know that I just talked about this movie the other day. But you know what, it is a genuinely great movie. It is an easy entry-point to the wonderful, wide world of non-English language films that so many people are inexplicably reluctant to dive headlong into. And it is going away at the end of the month, so anybody interesting in checking this one out on Netflix had better get on that in the coming weeks, lest they lose that opportunity for good.