If you’re anything like us, you probably spend just as much time browsing Netflix titles as you do actually watching something. And, if you’re like us, you more than often end up just watching re-runs of Futurama instead of taking a chance on some Netflix programming you’ve never heard of. It can be daunting! The streaming company is spending billions (with a capital B) buying up licenses and producing its own original content in order to give their customers as much choice as possible. The inevitable situation, though, is that many great titles get lost in the shuffle.
We’ve combed through the bottom of the genre lists and come up with 10 little-known titles that deserve a chance to be part of your next Netflix movie marathon.
[Note: Different regions have different Netflix libraries — if these aren’t available where you live, you should seek them out elsewhere.]
Imagine if HBO’s The Newsroom had a baby with AMC’s Mad Men. That’s basically what you get with The Hour, a 12-part series (over two seasons) about a current-affairs news show set in 1956 London. It originally aired on the BBC in 2011, and has since made its way to Netflix. Starring Dominic West (The Affair, The Wire) and Romola Garai (Amazing Grace, Atonement), The Hour is an excellent drama that touches on journalism, politics, murder, and scandal. Sadly, the BBC cancelled the show after just two seasons, citing low ratings despite the series being a hit with the critics.
The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young
You have probably never heard of the Barkley Marathons, unless you’re an extreme long-distance runner. It is an “ultramarathon” held in Tennessee, spanning 100 miles (160 km) through the mountains of Frozen Lake State Park. It includes over 50,000 feet of vertical climb and ever since the first race was held in 1989, over half of the races have ended with no successful finishers. Only 15 different people have ever completed the 100 mile loop (some of them more than once).
The Race That Eats Its Young is a documentary focused on the 2012 running of the Barkley Marathons, which amazingly had three runners make it through the entire course. It’s an interesting look at a crazy niche competition.
Look Who’s Back
Now we go from the unbelievable true story of the Barkley Marathons to the ridiculous fictional tale of Hitler travelling through time. Look Who’s Back is a satirical comedy movie (based on a hit book) about Adolf ending up in modern day Berlin, unable to remember anything that happened after 1945. He struggles to adapt with the busy modern world, and wonders what happened to the Nazi ideals he thought he had left behind. While the subject matter is definitely a bit taboo, if you enjoy offensive dark comedy, then Look Who’s Back is worth a watch. One word of warning though: the entire movie is in German, so you’ll have to read the subtitles.
Who can you always count on when you need help? Grandma, that’s who! In this 2015 comedy/drama, Lily Tomlin plays a grandmother who suddenly is tasked with helping her very teenaged (and very pregnant) granddaughter. The story is slightly dark, as Grandma spends the entire movie trying to call in favors to raise money so that that her beloved grand-kid (Julia Garner) can terminate the unwanted pregnancy. However, the end result is both surprisingly funny and even a bit heartwarming, as the two family members bond during their misadventures and learn more about the human condition.
Turbo Kid makes no sense on the surface. Set in an alternative 1997, the world has become a post-apocalyptic society ruled by an evil overload named Zeus. Enter “The Kid.” a teenage hero who uses his BMX as a primary mode of transportation, as our unlikely protagonist. Think of this as Mad Max, but with more comedy and more cheese. It’s campy. It’s insane. It’s actually really, really violent. And like most good hero stories, it’s about saving a girl.
The film, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, is akin to the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriquez double feature Grindhouse, complete with over the top imagery and that classic B-movie feel.
Okay, bear with us on these plot details: Mel Gibson plays a depressed CEO whose live is crumbling to pieces, until he manifests a split personality, which takes the form of… a mangy beaver puppet he finds in a dumpster. We know what you’re thinking. It sounds crazy. And that’s exactly why it works.
Gibson’s character wears The Beaver everywhere — at home, at work, even in the shower — and it helps him get his life back on track. Director (and co-star) Jodie Foster manages to take a ludicrous concept and turn it into a hilarious dark comedy about depression, parenting, and the delicate balancing act that is life.
Uncanny is a straight sci-fi thriller, dealing with a familiar topic. David Kressen is a brilliant scientist and mechanical engineer, but he’s also turned into a reclusive shut in. He finally opens up his life to reporter Joy Andrews, who plans to stay for a week in order to profile Kressen’s life and work. It turns out that Kressen has created the “perfect” artificial intelligence, in the form of an incredibly lifelike android named Adam.
As David and Joy start to become romantically involved, Adam suddenly learns a new emotion — jealousy. The ending of this movie alone will leave you second guessing everything you know about AI and the potential dangers it could pose to humanity.
In Your Eyes
Ever heard of a paranormal romance movie? Yeah, neither had we (no, Christina Ricci and Devon Sawa slow dancing in Casper doesn’t count).
In Your Eyes is about Rebecca and Dylan, two people who live thousands of miles apart, have completely different lifestyles, and have never even met. Despite that, the two share a strange mental connection that they can’t explain — they can see what the other is doing and feeling, and are even physically affected when the other person feels pain. Naturally, they eventually fall in love and are forced to deal with the way their existing lives and relationships fall apart as a result.
You may already know about Kung Fury from when it went viral on YouTube in 2015. The short film only runs 31 minutes, but that half hour jams in so much awesomeness that it makes our list anyway. A purposely cheesy throwback to 80s kung fu movies and buddy cop flicks, Kung Fury was actually created as a result of a Kickstarter, when Swedish director/star David Sandberg raised over $600,000 based on nothing but a teaser trailer.
We’re honestly not even sure how to explain Kung Fury other than you this — you have to watch it. It features a dinosaur cop, viking babes, Adolf Hitler, and a character named Hackerman. We desperately need a sequel.
TiMER plays out like a full length movie version of a Black Mirror episode, where a company offers a service that allows people to see a countdown timer to the exact moment they will meet their soulmate. But what happens when your timer forever reads 00:00:00?
A weird mix between science fiction and romantic comedy, TiMER explores the fear of being alone, the comforts of a loving partner, and the exciting fear that comes with dating someone new. A unique twist on the classic question of “If you could see your own future, would you even want to know? Or would you rather it remain a mystery?”