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Films

5 must-see movies to watch on Netflix this weekend: From Spike Jonze to Steven Spielberg

Sometimes, life is too short for scrolling. One of the untold pleasures of Netflix is the mammoth-sized treasure trove of content they have awaiting our greedy eyes every day or night. However, one huge downside of such a huge array of films is our own inability to choose a film to watch from those impressive lists. Below, however, we have picked out five classic films that are the only thing you should be streaming this weekend.

With thousands of movies on offer, finding great content on Netflix isn’t the most challenging thing to do. However, with so much choice, often, breaking those thousands of titles into a concise list of great movies to watch can feel like an unwelcomed uphill task. Thankfully, we’ve done all the hard work for you.

With so many new titles arriving on Netflix every month, it can be easy to become distracted from the plethora of classic movies they have on offer. There are countless classic titles but these ones particularly caught our attention.

As ever, we have tried to bring you a variety of incredible flicks to sink your teeth into. We have some award-winning performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, a cursed foundational stone of cinema, perhaps the greatest war movie ever made and the moment Joaquin Phoenix became an icon, all in one spot.

Five must-watch movies on Netflix right now:

Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell – 2012)

Jennifer Lawrence plays the highly nuanced and complex role of Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. Tiffany is a troubled young woman who suffers from psychological disorders. She strikes up a beautiful and bizarre relationship with Pat (played by Bradley Cooper), a man who has his fair share of mental problems as well. Lawrence won the Academy Award for this film at the age of 22, making her the second youngest woman (behind Marlee Matlin of Children of a Lesser God) to ever win the Oscar for Best Actress.

The actress praised the character she plays in the 2012 film, saying, “One of the biggest things about Tiffany is her fearlessness, and yet she’s also very aware. Most people who are fearless aren’t aware of the worst-case scenario. They’re not aware of the consequences.

“But she’s both. She’s ferocious, fearless, and she’s aware of everything, and I thought that was fascinating. I wanted to go into the audition with David O. Russell that way.”

Watch Silver Linings Playbook on Netflix now.

The Exorcist (William Friedkin – 1973)

Viewed as the 2001: A Space Odyssey of the horror genre, The Exorcist, was the horror movie that convinced fans that the genre could be genuinely scary and not just a campy giggle. In terms of production, budget and narrative, it paved the way for so many other films and should be rightly considered as a foundational stone of the genre as we know it today.

Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, which details the demonic possession of a young girl, the film seems to have had its own curse. A host of weird happenings marred the film’s production. Luckily, you don’t have to witness those things as you can remain firmly pinned to the seat in the comfort of your own home.

Watch The Exorcist on Netflix now.

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve – 2017)

These days filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is considered one of the finest directors working in contemporary Hollywood, though back in 2017 he was still making a name for himself. Creating the fascinating sci-fi Arrival, the Villeneuve received worldwide acclaim, with Amy Adams being responsible for much of this glory thanks to her emotionally-resonant lead performance that led from the front foot.

If you had planned to sit down sometime this weekend and watch his newest science-fiction film, Dune, then this piece of auteur-driven brilliance is a great place to start.

Watch Arrival on Netflix now.

Her (Spike Jonze – 2013)

This beautiful 2013 sci-fi romance marked Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut. It follows the story of Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix), a shy writer who falls in love with an AI-virtual helper called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The idea for the film came to Jonze in the early 2000s after he read an article about a website that allowed instant messaging with an artificial intelligence program. For his performance as Theodore, Phoenix was nominated for his fourth Golden Globe Award.

When asked about what appealed to him more, the film’s exploration of love or the problems with technology, the actor said: “It was both, and also just the idea of how subjective love is. I thought there were these really interesting ideas.”

He added, “When I saw the cut, I immediately had the instinct to talk to somebody else about it. It’s that kind of movie, it inspires these thoughts in you. It’s rare to have a movie where you wanna connect with somebody else and communicate some of the ideas.”

Watch Her on Netflix now.

Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg – 1998)

One of the most moving war films in the mainstream consciousness of the last twenty years or so, Spielberg’s recreation of the events at Normandy with a hand-held camera is aesthetically spectacular, which is somewhat of a problematic comment when we realize the tragic events on display. The film won two Academy Awards in 1999, for ‘Best Cinematography’ as well as ‘Best Direction’.

The filmmaker said, “If we pulled this off in the right way — and it stood the test of time — this was going to stand in, in some small way, for what those kids experienced at 6:30 in the morning on June 6, 1944.” He also noted, “We took every inch of that beach — as filmmakers, not as war veterans. It took us 25 days of shooting to capture 25 minutes of those landings.”

Watch Saving Private Ryan on Netflix now.