Don’t let the title fool you. I wholeheartedly the following recommendations to watch on Netflix streaming (as with all of my suggestions) are great films. Keep in mind, however, that these titles are a little… different. The “mind-blowing” element, to me, simply means that a movie diverts my expectations in the pursuit of something more ambitious. Often a movie is able to accomplish in efforts of the marketing campaign. Other times, however, it is due to the fact that the film is so unique that even having expectations sets you up for surprise. So here is what to watch on Netflix streaming that will leave your mind blown.
That’s the disaster movie about the handsome, older black man who safely crashlands a plane, right? Well… kind of. You're correct in that the general premise of the movie is an experienced pilot (Denzel Washington) pulls a crazy maneuver to save his commercial airliner from a deadly impact. This—however—is only the first thirty minutes of the story. What follows is an incredibly dark and disturbingly accurate look at the effects of addiction. I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that Flight was hardly the movie I thought it was going to be. I'm glad it wasn’t.
Enter the Void (2009)
You’ve never seen anything like this. There’s no two ways about it. You just haven’t. No movie like Enter the Void has ever been made. And I highly doubt any filmmaker working today has the balls to make something equally as ambitious. Fair warning: there are very few people I would ever consider watching this movie with. Don’t suggest watching this one to your bros or your girlfriend because “the guy on BroBible said it was cool.” The one exception would be your stoner friend who hasn’t been sober since sophomore year of high school. He’ll probably enjoy it.
This is an experimental art piece that gets pretty weird. The story centers on Oscar, a junkie living with his sister in Tokyo. What you think you’re about to see is a movie about a complicated relationship between brother and sister. Sure, that’s in there, but what dominates the film is the unique visual style of a man on an intense drug trip. See, Oscar is a big fan of the drug dimethyltryptamine. What DMT does is a little difficult to explain and—having never done the drug myself—I’m not in a position to try. It’s best to leave that to Gasper Noe and this crazy movie.
Very Bad Things (1998)
Bachelor party? Vegas? Strippers? This movie sounds like some good ol’ fashioned guy fun! No. No, it is not. Sure, it’s a grand old time for the first 45 minutes. Then shit gets real. Kyle and his pals just want to go to Vegas, have a few drinks, smoke a little weed, maybe a do few lines of coke, and (of course) order a private stripper. Well, as with all bachelor parties, the fun stops when someone accidentally kills the stripper.
The movie features a pretty awesome 90s lineup; Jon Favreau, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, and Cameron Diaz to name a few. On its surface, it seems self-deprecating in the mental and physical torture it puts its characters through. Beyond that it's actually a look at where humanity ends, where survival of the fittest begins, and just how far a bride will go to have her dream wedding.
Side Effects (2013)
Side Effects goes along for about an hour before you sit back and think to yourself “I have no clue what the fuck is going on.” This is largely due to the fact that the protagonist and antagonist flip flop at about that same point of the film. Emily has a rough case of the doldrums after her husband is sent to jail for insider trading. She decides to go to psychiatrist Dr. Banks for some happy pills to ease the blues. Things get a little weird and very quickly go to full-blown crazy. As the motivations of the characters shift, so does our loyalty to them.
Side Effects is trying to do a lot. Behind its convoluted plotline is a well-formed commentary on America’s growing dependency on antidepressants. This is a solid film that unfortunately went under the radar this year.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
I can still remember the way this movie was marketed way back before it was in theaters. Everyone, including me, thought we were about to see an awesome horror film at the hands of Joss Whedon. One that would make us want to sleep with the light on. And although this movie still technically falls in the horror genre, there is absolutely nothing frightening about it. The Cabin in the Woods is the horror movie to end all horror movies. Its formulaic genre is exposed for what it really is, A GIANT FORMULA. Sure, you could argue that all films are built off of a similar formula. But the horror genre is often guilty of oversimplifying this structure. Choose your setting, choose your characters, and (most importantly) choose your killer. The movie has more laughs than freights, but the sheer shock of seeing a story you didn’t expect makes it just grand.
View more Netflix recommendations from Luke here.