22 Good Movies to Watch on Netflix in August 2016


Don’t worry, only two of them are Lethal Weapons.

If you’re looking for movies to watch on Netflix, then you’ve come to the right place. Every month we put together this list of the best new additions to their streaming service for your convenient perusing. Power to the people. Click on the film’s titles to be taken to their Netflix pages.

Pick of the Month: Every Albert Brooks Movie Ever

Pretty much anybody who knows anything about being funny will tell you that Albert Brooks is a genius, that he was incredibly influential on the generation of comedians that came after him, and that one of the things he’s most respected for is his work as a writer/director/star of feature films. That’s why it’s amazing that Netflix recently added all of his movies to streaming.

In Real Life he’s making a fake documentary about normal people and basically inventing the concept of reality TV. In Modern Romance he’s playing a narcissist trying to navigate human relationships. In Lost in America he’s taking a road trip across the country with his gambling-addicted wife (Julie Hagerty). In Defending Your Life (featuring Meryl Streep) he plays a yuppie who must take stock of a misspent life after dying and going to a swanky sort of purgatory. In Mother he plays a down on his luck writer who moves back in with his mom (Debbie Reynolds) in order to get back on track. In The Muse he plays a hack screenwriter who looks to Sharon Stone for a little bit of divine inspiration. Also, in 2005 he made Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World, but I don’t think anyone ever saw that one, so you’re on your own there.

Back to the Future Part III (1990)

The Back to the Future trilogy is streaming on Netflix, but seeing as Back to the Future is a perfect movie and one of the most beloved pop culture artifacts of all time, nobody needs to be reminded to check it out. Instead, let’s throw some love at the most overlooked entry in this trilogy, because honestly the Back to the Future franchise is fun all of the way through. The time travel stuff in Back to the Future III is a little lacking, but what’s so fun about it is that it takes characters you already love and it plops them down in an Old West scenario that actually works as a real Western. You’ve got tense showdowns with filthy outlaw gangs, thrilling train robberies, steampunk weirdness, and beautiful vistas. Given the general lousiness of the decade when it comes to cowboys, this movie can probably even be considered one of the top 10 Westerns of the 90s. Also, it’s insanely quotable. “Nike? What is that, some kinda injun talk or something?” And there’s that crazy scene at the end where the little kid points to his dick, too. What a weird movie.

Bad Boys II (2003)

There was a period where Michael Bay’s movies were riding that razor’s edge between being watchably over-the-top and ludicrous and being just plain unwatchable pieces of trash. On one side you’ve got things like The Rock and Armageddon, which are ridiculous and which have a whole heap of problems, but are still undeniably awesome, and on the other end of the spectrum you have things like Pearl Harbor and Transformers, which are just poison. Bad Boys II is unique because it’s probably the farthest Bay goes in the direction of fast-cut, bombastic trash without actually tipping the scales to the point where he makes a bad movie. How far do we let this guy go before we just say no? Attempting Michael Bay fandom is like doing a science experiment, and Bad Boys II just might be our thesis.

Batman: The Movie (1966)

For people who didn’t grow up watching the 60s Batman TV series as a kid, it might look like something of a curiosity. Isn’t all of the acting in it pretty corny? Aren’t its stories pretty cheesy? Doesn’t it kind of look like a DayGlo nightmare? Yeah, all of that is true, and it’s all on purpose. Even though Batman was enjoyed as a straight adventure series by generations of kids while it played in re-runs for decades, its original conception was that of a parody of comic book storytelling. The show was an offshoot of the pop art movement of the time in which it was produced, it was a result of the invention of kitsch, and it was very much trying to be ironic. If you’ve never watched the show, or have never seen it with adult eyes, then 1966’s Batman: The Movie works as a nice sampler platter of everything the series had to offer. It’s a lot of fun, and it puts a lot of Adam West flesh on display for your visual delight. He didn’t need any molded plastic to improve his physique back in his day. It was pure West, baby.

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)

If you weren’t alive in the mid-90s, you probably don’t fully realize what a cultural phenomenon Beavis and Butt-Head was. Their merchandise was everywhere. Kids were talking like them. The nightly news was covering them. It was nuts. The thing about Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is that it was released when the property was waning though – after the bit had gotten long in the tooth – and it probably shouldn’t have been any good. It was though. It’s written really well, it managed to give the characters a story that was meaty enough that you didn’t need to have them break away and riff on music videos every few minutes, and it probably extended the life of the Beavis and Butt-Head craze longer than anyone predicted it would last. This is all a credit to the satirical mind of Mike Judge, who created the characters and who co-wrote and co-directed this film. The dude is a genius, and he’s probably overdue to get another shot at a big film project once Silicon Valley wraps up at HBO. Until then, we all wait breathlessly.

The Big Short (2015)

Let’s get this out of the way right off – Christian Bale’s performance in The Big Short is too broad to not make you roll your eyes, and the way it talks down to its audience like we still don’t understand what subprime mortgages are years after they tanked our entire economy feels pretty condescending, but everything else about the movie is great. This is the best performance Steve Carrell has given in a long time, it’s a ton of fun to watch Ryan Gosling just fully lean into his charm to play a cocky yuppy type, and in general it’s just kind of a magic trick how director/co-writer Adam McKay is able to take a story we know the end of, that’s mostly about boring economic stuff, and still make it tense and entertaining. There are a couple of scenes in this movie that lecture at you, but in general it’s really far from feeling like homework. Plus, there’s a scene where Margot Robbie is in a bathtub.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Of all the amazing genre movies John Carpenter has made over the course of his career, Big Trouble in Little China might be the most ridiculous. I mean, They Live is pretty nuts, but it lacks over-the-top Chinese mysticism, and there’s just something unique about the pomposity with which Kurt Russel is able to stream of conscious spew out white trash wisdom here. Plus – and I know this sounds crazy – Russel isn’t even the highlight of the movie. That honor goes to James Hong as the villainous Lo Pan. Dude is hysterical playing an outrageously evil stereotype, and is clearly having the time of his life chewing as much scenery as they’ll feed him. One side note: I recently saw Carpenter performing music from the entirety of his career live in concert, and the Big Trouble sequence ended up being a real highlight of a night full of them. Put this movie on tonight and it’s guaranteed the Pork Chop Express theme will get you off your couch and doing lame dance moves in your living room.

Deathgasm (2015)

Fans of disgusting horror movies, or heavy metal riffs so badass that they rip your face off, or awkward leather clad kids in ridiculous fright makeup, hear this: Deathgasm has hit Netflix and it’s the most crotch-thrustingly good movie that’s come out in years. It’s the sort of cinema that will make you laugh, and cheer, and strip naked to run outside to howl at your neighbors. Full disclosure: the first time I watched this movie I was at a horror festival and high as a Georgia pine, so I don’t remember much about it other than it’s about a couple of metalheads who summon a demon, and that there’s romantic betrayal that adds a human element to all of the silliness, and that there’s so much kickass splatter in it that’s aimed directly at genre fans that I was full-on punching the air stoked the entire time I was watching it. There’s blood, then there’s more blood, then there’s tidal waves of blood – and also there’s a giant zombie dildo fight. Now that Deathgasm is streaming, we all have the opportunity to give it a high watch, as it was clearly meant to be seen, and then a sober real watch, which it clearly deserves. Ain’t technology grand?

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

If you’re a fan of Marilyn Monroe, and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be, then it would make sense that your favorite Marilyn Monroe movie would be Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This is Marilyn when she had fully figured out her persona, and had mastered the art of milking it for everything its worth on the screen, but it’s also Marilyn before she got so out of control on pills that she was running on autopilot when the camera was on her and then getting propped up next to a potted plant between takes. We’ll call this peak Marilyn. Plus, she’s got a sharp script to work with, she’s got an easy chemistry with Jane Russell, and the whole thing is put together by one of the true masters of filmmaking, Howard Hawks. Sure, some of the stuff that she did with Billy Wilder is pretty good too, but for my money the quips, flirting, and musical numbers of this film just can’t be beat when it comes to showing off what a singular screen presence Marilyn really was.

Insomnia (2002)

Is it going out on a limb to say that Insomnia is Christopher Nolan’s best movie? Because Insomnia is Christopher Nolan’s best movie. It doesn’t have the tiring gimmick of Memento, or the plot holes of The Dark Knight, or the tedious exposition of Inception. It’s just a solid all the way through, moody thriller that probably doesn’t get talked about as much as it should. It includes one of the rare, good Al Pacino performances from the years after Al Pacino stopped being an actor and became a caricature of Al Pacino, it includes one of those great Robin Williams performances that allowed him to fully tap into his darkness, and it even gave Hilary Swank a character to play that wasn’t completely annoying. Go figure. Throw in a little bit of Nicky Katt telling corny jokes and it’s hard to imagine asking for anything more. But, what’s that, there is more? There’s an intriguing murder mystery at the center of everything too? Sign me up.

The Invitation (2015)

If you’re a sucker for tense thrillers with a slight horror flavor, or even comedy of errors films where someone behaves in a socially inappropriate way and then everyone around them reacts with awkwardness, then Karyn Kusama’s (Jennifer’s Body) The Invitation is the movie for you. It’s about a man (Logan Marshall Green) who accepts an invitation to a dinner party at his ex’s (Tammy Blanchard) house only to find out that she and her new beau (Michiel Huisman) have been getting into some weird stuff lately that could have dangerous consequences for him and the other guests of the party. Spoiler alert: it does. The movie would be pretty boring if it didn’t. No, this is edge of your seat stuff, the kind that eventually pops off into complete craziness, and, best of all, the whole thing builds to one of the most sublime final shots I’ve seen in a movie in forever.

King Jack (2015)

With his latest film, King Jack, writer/director Felix Thompson has pulled off an impossible feat. He introduces you to a grimy, selfish, stupid little shithead teenage boy, makes you hate him as much as you’ve hated every other teenage boy you’ve met over the course of your life, and then, with just under an hour and a half of filmmaking, he makes you turn around on the kid almost completely. Sure, maybe you don’t end up liking Jack, but you come to understand him, and even to root for him a little bit.

King Jack is one of those low budget indie movies people call “a slice of life” or “a real character study,” and, if you’re into that kind of stuff, it’s a good one. Charlie Plummer is great as the lead, dealing with things like bullies and not having a dad, and a kid named Cory Nichols steals the show as the younger cousin who comes to visit and gets sucked up into Jack’s depressing day to day. This is one of those little gems you never hear about and then you stumble across it on Netflix and are glad you did.

Lethal Weapon (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

Without a doubt, no question, Lethal Weapon is one of the greatest action movies of all time. It’s got great action, great characters, and that extra little bit of sardonic wit that you can always expect from a Shane Black script. It’s maybe lost its luster over time because it’s been so often ripped off and parodied, but if you go back and watch it today, it still totally holds up, and it feels like, in recent years, people are starting to remember that again, which is nice. With Lethal Weapon, Richard Donner made one of our great action movies, and the quintessential buddy cop flick, which is a remarkable achievement.

What I still don’t hear too many people talking about though is the fact that Lethal Weapon 2 is one of the best action movie *sequels* ever. The action in it is still great, and starts up the second the movie opens, the chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover is still on point, and their relationship gets developed to be a bit deeper over the course of the film, its inclusion of Joe Pesci doing schtick adds a refreshing new flavor to the series, and its squad of ice cold South Africans make for phenomenal villains. Plus, Patsy Kensit snogging Riggs keeps his suicidal storyline from getting dragged out too long, which is welcome, and she’s one of the all-time action movie hotties. I’m definitely feeling a one-two punch Lethal Weapon double feature coming up in my near future. How about you?

Mustang (2015)

Mustang is a story about five sisters growing up in a strict community in northern Turkey. When it begins, the sisters are youthful and carefree, but that doesn’t last long. An inciting incident where the girls create town talk by frolicking on the beach with a couple of boys takes place, and then they’re forced to spend the rest of their youth locked behind walls and acting only in ways that their guardians deem appropriate. That doesn’t take. For the first half of its runtime, Mustang plays similar to something like The Virgin Suicides, but thanks to the society it takes place in, things get more dramatic from there. What’s it like to grow up in a culture that finds your very existence to be obscene? For a while, Mustang works well as an insight into such a predicament, but after that it develops into something much more life and death and harrowing, until finally building to a nail-biting and cathartic conclusion. This is some seriously emotional filmmaking, coming from a relatively unknown-in-the-US filmmaker named Denis Gamze Ergüven. Check her out now while you can still make claims of being on the ground floor of her fandom.

The Sting (1973)

These days when people talk about Paul Newman and Robert Redford sharing the screen together, they’re usually talking about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Maybe that’s just because Redford went on to make the Sundance Film Festival so big or something, because for my money there’s another George Roy Hill-directed film they starred in together that’s better – The Sting. This one is about Chicago-based flim-flam men in the 1930s, and it’s full of twists, turns, scheming, backstabbing, and delightful ragtime music. It’ll teach you the con, the grift, the scam, and how to avoid being, the mark, the patsy, the dupe. In addition to Newman and Redford rekindling their chemistry here, you’ve also got Robert Shaw being memorable as a villain, and a supporting cast of about a thousand other great character actors with unforgettable faces and unheard of experience who you’ll recognize from a thousand other movies. The Sting may not have any stupid scenes where people ride around on bicycles while dumb music plays, but it’s got enough tricks up its sleeve to keep you engaged.

Writes about movies at Temple of Reviews and Film School Rejects. Complains a lot.