There’s no better procrastination tool than Netflix. But with only 24 hours in a day, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the multitude of titles available to stream on the service. There are plenty of films that ended up on Netflix simply because they weren’t going to be seen under any other circumstance — and often for good reason. After extensive research, The Daily Texan has come up with a few titles that are well worth your time.
(2008, 107 minutes)
This release from Irish writer-director Martin McDonagh is, simply put, the best-kept secret on Netflix. Colin Farrell stars as Ray, a hit man banished to Bruges, Belgium, after accidentally killing a kid on a hit. Farrell gives perhaps his strongest performance to date here, bringing a potent mix of tenderness, regret and frustrated boredom to the character. McDonagh’s Oscar-nominated screenplay is full of quotable lines, and boasts memorable moments that are both politically incorrect and thematically appropriate. “In Bruges” tells a sordid story full of foul people, and still manages to infuse an undeniable beating heart into the blood-soaked proceedings.
(2013, 87 minutes)
Everyone with a Twitter remembers when “Sharknado” took the internet by storm. This made-for-TV schlock-fest more than lives up to its viral reputation. The tale of what happens when sharks meet tornadoes has plenty of cheesy moments, laughable performances and special effects that would be outdated in a Nintendo 64 game. Even so, the film’s final moments feature some of the most preposterous images ever, and it’s hard not to recommend a movie that so gleefully disregards the laws of physics and science.
(2013, 105 minutes)
Steven Soderbergh’s reported retirement from cinema comes with “Side Effects,” an elaborate shell-game of a film. Structured like a psychological thriller, “Side Effects” is elevated by Rooney Mara’s fearless, engaging performance as a mentally bruised woman, whose regimen of antidepressants causes danger for the people in her life. “Side Effects” is stylishly directed, surprisingly pulpy and a memorable finale to Soderbergh’s film career.
(2007-2011, 91 episodes)
People with enough time on their hands to binge-watch an entire TV series got an early Christmas present when Netflix posted “Chuck,” one of the most charming, entertaining series in recent memory. Zachary Levi stars as a tech supporter at a technology chain store who accidentally downloads a massive supply of government secrets into his brain. While the premise is more than a little silly, “Chuck” consistently entertains with its endearingly nerdy sense of humor and a refreshing ability to reinvent itself every season. Genre fans will also be delighted to see “Firefly”’s Adam Baldwin pop up in a pivotal supporting role, as a hardened CIA agent charged with keeping Chuck safe. The show thrives on Levi’s electric chemistry with co-star Yvonne Strahovski, who plays a spy on Chuck’s team.
“Robot & Frank”
(2012, 88 minutes)
Few films tackle the struggles of aging with the delicacy and wry humor of “Robot & Frank.” Frank Langella stars as an elderly cat burglar whose slipping memory leads his kids to get him a robot programmed to keep his mind on track. Before long, Langella recruits the robot to assist him with heists, and the story that unfolds is equal parts buddy film, crime caper and sci-fi rumination. “Robot & Frank” manages to be funny, exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time, often thanks to Langella’s graceful and sympathetic performance, which is not to be missed.