With 48 million customers, Netflix’s streaming service has changed the way we watch movies. Every week I review movies, and a lot my friends still wait for my recommendations to trickle to Netflix.
To me, nothing can replace the feel of a theater, but if the ease-of-use means more people see great movies, cool. Since my top movie of last year just hit the service, here are 10 movies that cracked my Top 10 lists in the past five years currently streaming on Netflix.
“Short Term 12” (2013)
My top film of 2013. Brie Larson plays a worker at a foster care facility who has her own baggage to deal with. Criminally underseen. Watch it tonight.
“Upstream Color” (2013)
As beautiful as it is strange, I referenced this movie as a litmus test for who would like Scarlett Johansson’s new film “Under the Skin.”
“Blue Is the Warmest Color” (2013)
The controversial French coming-of-age drama made a quick trip to the ’Flix. You’ve probably heard about the lesbian sex scenes, but you should watch it for the heart-wrenching performances from Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux.
“Frances Ha” (2013)
Indie darling Greta Gerwig reteamed with director Noah Baumbach in a hipster’s cinematic dream. (If you like this, their last collaboration “Greenberg” is also streaming.)
“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)
My top film of 2012. Director Drew Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon get all “Inception” on the clichéd teen horror fare. Sharply funny and whip-smart, it calls for repeat viewings.
“Holy Motors” (2012)
A truly bizarre anthology film from France, this one is a mind-bender. It’s best to just go along for the ride. (Sadly, the Netflix edition appears to be censored from the original. You’ll see why.)
My top film of 2011. What could be more fun than Lars von Trier ruminating on the end of the world? This was the best work from the director’s “Depression Trilogy” — “Nymphomaniac” is in theaters and on demand, but “Antichrist” is also on Netflix.
“Blue Valentine” (2010)
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams were amazing in this story charting a marriage over the years. Warning: This is emotionally devastating stuff. If you want a Gosling date movie on Netflix, try “Lars and the Real Girl.”
“In the Loop” (2009)
This fast-paced, foul-mouthed Brit comedy may be the funniest movie about war since “Dr. Strangelove” (also on Netflix!). It’s a nice palate cleanser after a “House of Cards” marathon.
“Enter the Void” (2009)
If the running theme of these movies is that they’re graphic and weird, this one may top both lists. Director Gaspar Noe’s hallucinogenic look at the life and death of a drug dealer is a trip. For the really bold, his previous film, “Irreversible,” is also on Netflix. Warning: It’s very difficult viewing.