5 Great Romance Films on Netflix

Today is Valentine’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than by watching romantic films? Even if you aren’t going to spending your Valentine’s Day with someone you love, you can celebrate by appreciating the great love stories from cinema. These are some of my favorites that are available on Netflix instant for you to watch tonight (I also just realized that four of the six films I chose deal heavily with death. I don’t know what that says about my relationship with romantic movies, but these are all really excellent, regardless).

The Apartment, 1960, dir. Billy Wilder

I developed a small crush on Jack Lemmon after watching this film for the first time. I say small because he is and always will be John Gustafson, the grumpy old man, to me, but he is so darn charming in this movie it’s impossible to not fall a little bit in love with him. Shirley Maclaine is equally as charming, and you spend the entire film rooting for them and detesting Fred MacMurray. The story is smart and quick- a young man works his way up the business ladder by letting his superiors use his apartment for evenings with their mistresses. This leads to a romantic complication.  When Jack Lemmon’s character comes to the realization of said complication, the look on his face is heartbreaking. A great film, with one of the best endings to a romantic comedy of all time.

Amélie, 2001, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I can confidently make the claim that there isn’t a single movie in the world more charming than Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie. Amélie is a young Parisian girl doing her best to help those around her, and in doing so she finds herself falling in love with a photograph of a man she finds in a photo booth.

SWAYZE DOUBLE FEATURE: Dirty Dancing, 1987, dir. Emile Ardolino/Ghost, 1990, dir. Jerry Zucker

I couldn’t make a decision, so here’s two Swayze features, both are modern classics. I, ashamedly, didn’t see Ghost until last year, but I cried like a baby. That final scene really is as romantic as it’s given credit for. I’ve seen Dirty Dancing numerous times, but I just recently watched it again and remembered how great it really is (and Patrick Swayze is REMARKABLY sexy in that movie, I mean, it’ll make you weak in the knees).

Sabrina, 1954, dir. Billy Wilder

Bogart, Hepburn, Holden- it’s star-studded! My favorite Hepburn film that I’ve seen. It’s still bizarre to me that Audrey Hepburn was often put in the role of awkward, gangly brunette who isn’t immediately seen as beautiful. She’s one of the most iconic American beauties. This is a great film, though. I haven’t seen the remake with Harrison Ford and I don’t need to- this one is perfect. Isn’t it romantic?

Rent, 2005, dir. Chris Columbus

Rent is indubitably my favorite musical. I’ve never cried so hard at a musical (the I’ll Cover You reprise? I was a human waterfall). It’s full of love stories, Mimi & Roger, Collins & Angel, Maureen & Joanne, Mark & his film, it’s a perfect musical. Jonathan Larson was a genius, and his story is heartbreaking. He died unexpectedly of an aortic dissection the morning of Rent‘s first performance Off Broadway. Larson was a straight man who wrote such a touching story of addicts, homosexuals, and struggling artists in 1989 at the height of the AIDS epidemic. The fight for gay rights is, unfortunately, still an issue today. Here’s hoping that soon equal rights will actually mean equal rights and love will mean love and anyone can marry whoever they want regardless of gender.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Annie Hall (one of my favorite films of all time, the story of a break up), Love Story (sad sad sad sad sad), Big Fish (just the scenes between Ewan McGregor and Alison Lohman), Frances Ha (I would definitely include this in a Galentine’s Day list- seriously the best friendship story)

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“WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SCARY MOVIE?”

Netflix is filled to the brim with great horror movies right now, and I, of course, am long overdue to recommend some movies to you. So, grab yourself some candy corn and a bottle of Oktoberfest and start setting up your Netflix queue because I’ve got 20 great movies you need to be watching this month.

Scream, 1996, dir. Wes Craven

Scream is my personal favorite horror movie. It’s the horror movie for movie buffs. It’s super, super 90s, which is always welcome in my book, and Matthew Lillard is in it, which is also always welcome in my book. Scream was written by Kevin Williamson who writes a lot of great horror/thriller genre titles including The Following and Stalker. Williamson is responsible for a load of 90s excellence namely ScreamI Know What You Did Last Summer, and, surprisingly, many an episode of Dawson’s Creek. While the first installment of Scream is the best, the entire trilogy is on Netflix and it’s a top notch trilogy… just leave out Scream 4. I like to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Cabin In The Woods, 2012, dir. Drew Goddard

Cabin In The Woods takes a wicked awesome turn not even half way through the movie. It’s written by Joss Whedon, who many people think turns everything he touches to gold.

Black Sunday, 1960, dir. Mario Bava

lot of Mario Bava’s films are on Netflix right now, but Black Sunday is the creepiest. I mean, just look at that picture. Those are the most terrifying eyes I’ve ever seen in my life! No Steve Buscemi jokes, please. 😉

The Blair Witch Project, 1999, dir. Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez

Okay, The Blair Witch Project gets a lot of flack, but it’s a classic. It defined the found footage genre and terrified the pants off a ton of 90s kids. I remember seeing the trailer and hearing my cousin and her friend talk about wanting to go see it and being scared for my life that the witch that took the three filmmakers that went out into those woods was going to somehow make her way to me because I wanted to be a filmmaker at the time. It’s scary, and yes, at times goofy. But when they get to that house at the end… all bets are off.

Carrie, 1976, dir. Brian De Palma

I’m just going to say this: the scene where Piper Laurie is going after Sissy Spacek with that knife STILL permeates my nightmares.

Evil Dead II, 1987, dir. Sam Raimi

Bruce. Campbell.

Grave Encounters, 2011, dir. The Vicious Brothers

It’s going to become aware that I really really like found footage films. They bring the scares, and Grave Encounters is no different. A television production crew (think Ghost Hunters) travels to an abandoned mental hospital and some scary stuff happens. See photo above.

The House of the Devil, 2009, dir. Ti West

The thing I liked about this movie is the fact that it looked and felt like a late 70s/early 80s horror film. It was shot on 16mm which did the trick, but the absolute coolest thing is that they promotionally released it on VHS. In 2009! So cool. The story was captivating until the end (the end disappointed me, but this is a great watch. Greta Gerwig is in it and she’s great).

Insidious 2, 2013, dir. James Wan

James Wan has directed so many of my favorite horror movies of the past decade. Insidious 2 is frightening, and the story is unique.

Let The Right One In, 2008, dir. Tomas Alfredson

A modern classic vampire story.

Night of the Living Dead, 1968, dir. George A. Romero

The definitive zombie film. Forget The Walking Dead (seriously).

Paranormal Activity 4, 2012, dir. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman

Okay, so look. I know a lot of people hate on the Paranormal Activity franchise, but there is absolutely nothing better than going to the theater to see one of these films on opening night and getting jump scared over and over again. I thought Paranormal Activity 4 was great; I think all of them are great. Disagree all you want. They’re fun, fun movies.

Red State, 2011, dir. Kevin Smith

Red State was a pleasant surprise. Kevin Smith, who you probably know better as Silent Bob, wrote and directed this film and just released a new horror film, Tusk, that I’m psyched for, especially after seeing Red State.

V/H/S, 2012, dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, & Adam Wingard

Until I saw V/H/S, I hadn’t ever seen a film that I wanted to turn off within the first 20 minutes because I was shaking-scared. There’s something about V/H/S that just crawls under your skin. I highly recommend it, though, because it is freaking horrifying. I’ll admit right here right now that when I went to google a photo to use for this movie I was scared because I knew I was going to use a photo of the “I like you” girl and I didn’t want to look at her because she gives me nightmares.

V/H/S 2, 2013, dir. Simon Barrett, Jason Eisner, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, & Adam Wingard

Remember what I said about V/H/S? Yeah, same goes for V/H/S 2.

You’re Next, 2011, dir. Adam Wingard

Adam Wingard directed and Joe Swanberg wrote You’re Next, and they both directed shorts in the V/H/S movies, so I had high expectations for this. It was good, not great, but highly entertaining and a good one to keep in your queue for a Halloween movie marathon.

Dead Silence, 2007, dir. James Wan

A. Ventriloquist dummies (which were made terrifying for all children of the Goosebumps generation, thanks R.L. Stine) and B. Mary Shaw, who is the Woman in Black but more visible due to more camera time, and scarier. I mean, she’s a ventriloquist with like a million dummies!

Bad Milo, 2013, dir. Jacob Vaughan

Horror comedies are the best, and while nothing can trump Shaun of the Dead, Bad Milo makes a valiant effort. It stars Ken Marino and Gillian Jacobs, and that simple fact makes me very, very happy.

Rosemary’s Baby, 1968, dir. Roman Polanski

I’ve mentioned Rosemary’s Baby before in my 1960s film recommendations post, and I’m mentioning it again because it’s that good. Just watch it. If you haven’t yet you’re a fool.

Zodiac, 2007, dir. David Fincher

Let us list the terrific components of this movie, shall we? David Fincher. Jake Gyllenhaal. Robert Downey, Jr. Chloë Sevigny. Mark Ruffalo. True crime. It’s all there, and it’s all perfect, which explains why this film is the best feature film adaptation of a true crime book to ever exist. I challenge anyone to challenge that, because I want more true crime films.

10 MOVIES FROM THE 1960S STREAMING ON NETFLIX/HULU THAT YOU NEED TO WATCH

The 1960s were an EXCELLENT time for film. It’s when the world was introduced to the French New Wave, it’s when Stanley Kubrick really found his voice as a filmmaker, it’s when the cult film really came into being, and those are just a handful of landmarks in film history that happened in the 1960s. If you haven’t seen many films from the 1960s, what’s wrong with you? Get to it! You have a plethora of fantastic choices at your fingertips through the beauty that is Netflix and Hulu, and I’m here to give you some recommendations.


10. Cléo from 5 to 7, 1962, dir. Agnès Varda
Available on: Hulu Plus

If you want to really experience Paris, France in the 1960s, the movie you need to watch is Cléo from 5 to 7. Cléo, a French singer, is nervously awaiting a biopsy from her doctor. To distract herself, she travels around Paris for two hours.


09. Persona, 1966, dir. Ingmar Bergman
Available on: Hulu Plus

Want to watch something that really messes with your brain? Persona will do the job, for sure. A nurse is delegated the task of looking after an actress who can’t speak. The nurse begins to feel the actress’s personality molding with her own. It’s exceedingly trippy and bizarre and beautiful. One of Bergman’s best.


08. Valley of the Dolls, 1967, dir. Mark Robson
Available on: Netflix Instant

Sharon Tate, God rest your beautiful soul, you were captivating in Valley of the Dolls, a 1967 film about women trying to make it in New York and Hollywood. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.


07. Week End, 1967, dir. Jean-Luc Godard
Available on: Hulu Plus

One of the most interesting and original movies available to view currently, married couple Corinne and Roland Durand decide to take a weekend trip. The trip takes a turn for the worst due to a series of car pileups, traffic jams, and everything else you could possibly think of. Along the way, though, they run into various characters from history and literature, and that’s where the real fun happens.


06. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961, dir. Blake Edwards
Available on: Netflix Instant

Oh, Audrey. Her most charming and acclaimed role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is not my favorite performance of hers, but this film is extremely important and wonderful. Holly is a complicated character- when in public she’s flighty and sociable, but behind closed doors she’s a bundle of neuroses.


05. Rosemary’s Baby, 1968, dir. Roman Coppola
Available on: Netflix Instant

“This isn’t a dream… this is really happening!” Rosemary and her husband Guy move into a new apartment. After Rosemary becomes pregnant, things start getting weird.


04. L’Avventura, 1961, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
Available on: Hulu Plus

Simple plot: A woman goes missing and while searching for her, her best friend and her boyfriend start to fall in love. Antonioni puts his glorious spin on the story and the directing is impeccable.


03. Breathless, 1960, dir. Jean-Luc Godard
Available on: Hulu Plus

Godard’s seminal classic and a great collaboration between Godard and Truffaut. Jean-Paul Belmondo is Michel Poiccard, a criminal on the run from the police who is trying to persuade his American lover, Jean Seberg as the adorable Patricia Franchini, to join him in fleeing France.


02. A Hard Day’s Night, 1964, dir. Richard Lester
Available on: Hulu Plus

Do I really need to explain? It’s the Beatles’ first and best movie. It’s hilarious and full of happiness.


01. The Graduate, 1967, dir. Mike Nichols
Available on: Netflix Instant

My all-time favorite movie, The Graduate is perfect filmmaking. It never once loses your attention. It’s perfect. Dustin Hoffman is Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate who finds himself in an affair with his father’s business partner’s wife, Mrs. Robinson. Things get confusing when Benjamin starts to fall in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine.

WATCH THIS NOW: SHORT TERM 12

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About 30 minutes into Short Term 12, I started crying. I don’t mean “tears welled up in my eyes”. I mean “tears welled up in my eyes and then they started dropping until I had to get a tissue”. This happened because of a particularly poignant scene (that we’ll talk about in a bit), though Short Term 12 is full of them due to the top-notch acting done by lead Brie Larson. Larson is Grace, the supervisor of Short Term 12, a residential treatment facility. Grace is “secretly” dating her co-worker Mason, the goofy and charming John Gallagher Jr. It’s alluded to relatively early on that Grace is harboring some demons of her own, but the focus of the movie doesn’t shift to that until later on. In the beginning, we’re lead to focus on the demons that the kids in the facility face, most notably, Marcus, played by Keith Stanfield with so much heart and believability that you’d think that the character of Marcus’s truth is Stanfield’s truth. Marcus, approaching 18, is set to be released from Short Term 12, which has become his home. This would-be cause for celebration is anything but for Marcus, due to his fear and hatred of his mother. In a heavily emotional and touching scene (the poignant one I mentioned earlier), Marcus runs some new rhymes by Mason. This scene is when I cried. This is the moment I knew this movie was going to be powerful and really affect me.

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Short Term 12 is written and directed by Destin Cretten, who also wrote and directed the short film that inspired the full-length feature. Cretten has few directorial credits, including the lesser-known I Am Not A Hipster, but Short Term 12 is definitely his breakout piece. I anticipate great things from Cretten, though he has no upcoming credits listed on IMDb.

Short Term 12 has an 8.0 on IMDb, a 99% on RottenTomatoes.com and a MetaScore of 82. It won the Audience and Grand Jury awards for best narrative feature at SXSW, and the Audience Award at the LA Film Fest. Short Term 12 is available on blu-ray and DVD, and on Netflix Instant.