Looking for a way to beat the July heat? Spend the day or evening inside with a good movie. Luckily, our friends at Netflix have added plenty of new material to their instant streaming catalog. Now, let’s take a look at a few films that should be required viewing this summer for film fans.
12 Angry Men (1957)
One of the finest films ever made has finally made its way to the Netflix catalog. Knowing full well that a guilty verdict means death, a jury of 12 men must decide the fate of an 18-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing his father. But only one juror, who is played by Henry Fonda, wants to take the time to coolly deliberate the case. The director of another great film that I suggest you find, “Network,” Sidney Lumet made his directorial debut with this Oscar-nominated drama that illuminates all the petty impediments on the path to justice.
Bad Santa (2003)
Billy Bob Thornton perfectly plays the role of a con-man who dresses as Santa Claus every year robbing shopping malls across the country. The problem is that he hates being around children during the day. He drinks and swears too much, and spends the money he makes foolishly during his “off-season.” That is until he meets a special woman played by the enchanting Lauren Graham. This is a good dark comedy that is not to be seen with the kids around and still holds up a decade after its release.
Bad Grandpa 0.5 (2014)
For my money, “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” was one of the most surprisingly funny movies of 2014. Johnny Knoxville looked convincing as an old man who recently lost his wife, much to his delight. However, he finds out that he must take his grandson across the country to the cute child’s father because the mother is unfit to parent. From there, chaos ensues with hidden camera footage mixed with some plot development. All in all, it makes for a funny film and with this Netflix release, it appears to have some bonus footage that wasn’t seen in theaters.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
A great family film for a summer night sees a family get shrunk down to miniature size in this action comedy. Wayne Szalinski spends many days and nights trying to get his wacky miniaturization machine to work. No such luck — until one day, he unknowingly shrinks his children down to microscopic size and tosses them outside in the trash. From there, we see things from both the perspective of the children in the backyard and the giant parents. This is a film that is just a lot of fun and brings back great memories for me. I personally can’t wait to watch it again to see how it holds up.
The Karate Kid (1984)
We can’t have a fun, summer movie list without a cheesy teen movie from the ‘80s. Hassled by the school bullies, Daniel LaRusso has his share of adolescent woes. Luckily, his apartment building houses a resident martial arts master: Kesuke Miyagi, who agrees to train Daniel and ends up teaching him much more than self-defense. This isn’t a film that will move you to tears or shock you with the ending, however there are some quotes that you can make fun of with your friends for years to come, especially if you want to go even deeper into the series and watch the next few “Karate Kid” sequels. “Wax on, wax off.”
The Master (2012)
Available July 14th I put this one on the list last as a bonus listing because it won’t be added until midway through the month. It is the latest from one of my favorite directors, Paul Thomas Anderson, who brought us “There Will Be Blood” and “Magnolia” among others. This film garnered plenty of Oscar attention for its actors, Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, all of whom lost out in the end. Phoenix plays a man fresh back from war looking for his place in the world and stubbles into Hoffman’s cult like community and develops a friendship. There are plenty of slow moments in this one and it’s a tough sit, but for those who didn’t like it the first time through, now is a good time to give it a second chance.