There are simply too many movies streaming online. It’s almost impossible to know which are good or bad by the short summaries these services provide, and scrolling endlessly through the available titles separated by genre can frustrate the movie fan who just wants to find something good to watch for the evening.
To spare the film fan from wasting hours researching the titles that appear on Netflix to see if they are worth the time, here are 10 of the best movies from the 2010s that are currently available on Netflix right now.
1. The Founder (2016)
Ray Kroc wasn’t doing so well as a traveling milkshake mixer salesman. In fact, he wasn’t doing so well in his career, having tried a number of schemes to get rich. Then in 1954, he traveled across the country to a single hamburger stand that was ordering an inordinate amount of mixers, and in the process found his dream business in the McDonald brothers’ fast food operation. The rest is history, but the story of how Kroc managed to swindle two hard-working, honest brothers for their idea, business model, and very name may just make your next meal at McDonald’s taste a little sour.
Michael Keaton plays the ambitious and more than a little ruthless Ray Kroc with steely resolve as he claws his way to the top to establish the largest fast-food chain in the world and make hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, burning nearly everyone involved in the process. This slick biographical film keeps the story moving at a fast clip and is an entertaining–and revealing–look at how ruthlessness capitalistic ambition can change someone for the worse, all while revolutionizing the food industry.
2. Cloud Atlas (2012)
Maybe you haven’t read David Mitchell’s brilliant novel Cloud Atlas, but the film does a remarkable job of translating what many have considered an impossible book for the medium. Six interweaving stories, starting in the 18th century and spanning to the end of days on Earth, are told in succession, with one segment interrupted by the connecting next section, first forward and then backward in time.
Summarizing “what” Cloud Atlas is about is difficult, since all six stories have separate plots, but in a larger sense it’s about the human spirit fighting against the various forms of oppression that exist, be they law, corporations, fear, or dominance of one person over another. Each character is linked spiritually like they were reincarnated into each other, with each story reflecting each other. Although the best option is to read Mitchell’s stunning book, the film adaptation is the second-best option to experience this brilliant story.
3. Greenberg (2010)
Getting older sucks, especially if your life has been informed by one bad decision made in your youth. For Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), a carpenter in his mid-40s that turned down a record contract in his youth over his ideals, regret has become his defining trait. Looking after his parents’ house as they go on vacation, Greenberg knocks around his home town, where he runs into old friends, including his former bandmate who still holds a grudge against him, and a younger woman who’s facing problems of her own with which he starts a tentative romance.
This quiet, reflective dramedy is one of Noah Baumbach’s lesser heralded films, which is unfortunate since it has a relatable story about ageing and not living the life you once dreamed of. With a streak of dark humor and a subtle performance from Ben Stiller, Greenberg is somewhat plotless but effortless and easy to watch.
4. Nightcrawler (2014)
Ambition is a great treat that can help motivate people to achieve great things in life. However, when mixed with amorality, it can be a dangerous and disturbing force.
Nightcrawler details this notion to horrifying effect as freelance media journalist Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal, in an affecting performance) prowls the streets of Los Angeles at night looking for violent, tragic events to capture with his camera to sell to a local news station. Finding success, he quickly begins to cross the boundary from observer to active participant to create the events for the footage he desires. As his success grows, Bloom’s true personality begins to emerge, which has a sadistic and violent streak.
Written and directed with style by Roy Gilroy, for fans of the thriller genre and those who question the relationship between journalism and consumer demand, and the type of person this sort of field would attract, Nightcrawler is one of the best in recent memory.
5. Clown (2014)
Clowns are something that should be fun but are instead terrifying. As the spectacular success of It has confirmed, people find clowns horrific. And as the 2014 film Clown details, even being a clown can be a nightmare from which one cannot awake.
When Kent McCoy dresses up as one from a costume he finds in his basement for his son, he falls asleep in the outfit and when he wakes up finds he cannot remove the suit. Or the makeup. Or the nose. When he tries, it physically hurts him. Even worse, he seems to be turning into a flesh-craving demon and cannot even kill himself, doomed to feed his hunger and become a monster.
Clown is an original body horror film that finds a new twist on a genre that’s explored seemingly every possible idea. Filled with interesting ideas and plenty of gore, Clown is a horror film for fans who thought they’ve seen everything the genre has to offer.