Navigating the Netflix Streams
Written by Bwog Staff
Now that Netflix streaming movies are available to Mac users, far greater numbers of Columbia students have begun exploring the wonderful “Watch Instantly!” world.
They’re also probably learning — as PC users did months ago — that Netflix’s catalog of streaming content is largely a grab-bag of B-movies and obscure television series sprinkled with the occasional big-budget film. That’s fine if you’re into Ballykissangel marathons, of course, but it’s hardly a replacement for Kim’s or even Blockbuster.
So then what is worth watching on Netflix streaming? Well, some quality films are actually tucked away in the catalog, but you’ll have to spend some time searching them out.
Bwog knows you have a busy weekend, though, so after the jump are three film picks just waiting for you to press the blue “Play” button.
Humphrey Bogart delivers what may be his career’s best performance in this 1954 World War II drama. Bogart plays the iconic Captain Phillip Francis Queeg, a respected-but-stern Navy officer tasked with the job of restoring the U.S.S. Caine and its sailors to peak condition. When Queeg’s command style ventures into the cruel and unusual, a mutiny is staged to remove the captain from power. The uprising results in the courts-martial of two Caine officers for their parts in the mutiny, and the ensuing courtroom battle explores the limits of duty in time of war.
This film may be older than your parents, but don’t pass it over for that reason. It’s a must-see for its influence on popular culture, in particular by Bogart’s brooding portrayal of the paranoid Queeg. (On a tangential note, actor Maurice Mickelwhite took his stage name from the film’s title to become Michael Caine, later of Dark Knight and Cider House Rules fame.)
Two astronauts on a mission to Jupiter must confront their ship’s on-board, intelligent computer when it threatens to murder them. It’s more than race for survival, however, as the winner of this battle between humans and their technology stands to achieve the next step in evolution.
A science fiction masterpiece, Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of an Arthur C. Clarke short story easily ranks among the best films ever made. Its hallmarks on pop culture are everywhere: think of how many times you’ve heard the film’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” theme, for instance. But, for all its impact, surprisingly few can say they have watched the whole thing – it’s one of those movies that everyone knows about but has never actually seen. Increase your cultural literacy and see 2001: A Space Odyssey, but do be prepared to brave a few dull stretches of plot and a rather abstract, trippy ending.
Animation blends with film noir in this 1988 Spielberg-produced comedy starring the greatest characters from the golden age of Hollywood cartoons. After Roger Rabbit is falsely accused of murdering of the owner of the Acme Corporations, private investigator Eddie Valiant reluctantly agrees to help clear Roger’s name. The case takes the pair into the underbelly of Toontown as they search for the real murderer, who may also be plotting to commit cartoon genocide.
Who cares if the plot isn’t especially deep in this film? The twist of seeing classic cartoons thrust into the sultry film noir genre is what makes this movie fun, and the groundbreaking feat of combining animation with live action is what makes this movie worth watching. Its artistry and technological innovation inspired later mixtures of real and imagined in films like the WALL-E and Sin City, and without Roger Rabbit, there would be no Jar Jar Binks, Dobby, or Gollum. For a film from the pre-digital days of 1988, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and its visuals hold up amazingly.