"That movie doesn't look good." I hear this all the time from friends. What does that even mean? It's frustrating—people who judge books by their covers. They're really missing out. Assumptions about anything, especially movies, are dangerous. I like to keep an open mind.
This article is meant to come from that place. When I scroll through Netflix's Browse menu, I see a lot of great movies, but all I hear from people is what a weak selection Netflix has. While I can't dispute the site is going downhill selection-wise, I can tell you the situation is far from dire. Netflix has a knack for getting ahold of a lot of seldom-seen movies, especially independents, that weren't seen by anyone outside of critics' circles. But they deserve some love. Here are five films I'm guessing most of you simply skip over. You've never heard of them or no big stars are in them, but these are the movies worth seeking out if you really want to get your money's worth from Netflix.
Finders Keepers (2015)
Directed by Bryan Carberry, J. Clay Tweel
This 2015 documentary was beloved by critics who appreciate the weird. It's about a silver-tongued auction hunter who wins a charcoal grill only to discover an amputated human leg inside. Yup. How is that enough for a movie? Well, the leg's owner, an amputee, has been looking for it and wants it back. But the buyer won't give it up. He charges locals a few bucks a pop to see it and is generally one of the least moral, money-hungry, unintentionally hilarious dudes you'll ever see.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Max von Sydow
An inventive depiction of former Elle fashion editor Jean-Dominique Bauby's life after suffering a paralyzing stroke at age 43, the film begins from Bauby's perspective as he lays in the hospital, his mind trapped inside a useless body. Using only his left eye to blink and communicate, Bauby eventually finds new reason to live and sets out to write a book about his life. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards.
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, Antoni Corone, Leslie Mann
The joy of seeing Carrey immerse himself in the life of a genuine con artist who's also the world's gayest man is enough to make I Love You Phillip Morris one of the actor's best films. Little seen upon its release, the movie follows Carrey (as real con man Steven Jay Russell) as he leaves his wife and begins a new gay life in Miami. To keep his boyfriend around, Russell swindles folks which lands him in jail with a new guy, Phillip Morris, and their impossible love affair begins.
Gimme the Loot (2012)
Starring: Ty Hickson, Tashiana Washington, Meeko
First-time director Adam Leon's ultimate indie was shot guerilla-style on the streets of New York City and you can feel it. Centering on two best friends, good guy Malcolm and tomboy Sophia, the story follows their pursuit of a grip of cash so they can buy their way into Shea Stadium to tag the famous big apple in right field. It's a graffiti artist's dream and a way for their names to ring out amongst the other cliques. But getting the money proves harder than they thought and their friendship is tested on the hard streets.
In the Loop (2009)
Starring: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, David Rasche
One of the best British comedies of recent years and a spin-off of BBC's The Thick of It, In the Loop is a black satire about the men, women, and idiots behind the Iraq War. Focusing on government officials and their many conflicting opinions, the sheer amount and speed of the dialogue is unreal. Political junkies will feast on this one, nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2010.