Every month, it seems every lifestyle website on the planet releases a list of the things coming to Netflix. Hell, we do it, and it’s one of our most well-read columns. People love knowing what they can Netflix and chill to.
But what about the hidden gems—those movies, documentaries, and TV shows that you wouldn’t ordinarily recognize on a list of bigger and more prestigious names? How would one go about learning the glory of the more low key hits available on the streaming network?
Luckily, thanks for our friends at Reddit, we now have a place to start. Here are 8 “hidden gems” you can stream on Netflix right now:
The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young
This tell-all documentary about the world’s most impossible “Ultra Marathon” is so in-depth and telling that you’ll get exhausted just watching the damn thing. It takes viewers on a front-row trip through The Barkley Marathon, a five-loop, hundred-mile race through the mountains of Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee. Since its first race over 30 years ago (1985, created by Gary “Laz” Cantrell and Karl Henn), only 17 people have ever finished it, out of the hundreds who have tried.
Short Term 12
This American drama starring Brie Larson (no, really—and she’s phenomenal in it) and John Gallagher, Jr., tells the story of Grace and Mason, two employees at Short Term 12, a group home for troubled teenagers, as they circumnavigate the world of their lives, their careers, their relationship, and the children after whom they look. It’s tough to put this film into words, but we promise it is really one of the most beautiful, incredible, and perfect examples of excellent independent cinema we’ve seen in a long time.
Look Who’s Back
Look Who’s Back is a comedy about time-traveling Hitler. Yup. But before you start groaning and rolling your eyes at us, listen: It’s a comedy about Hitler, who travels through time to modern Germany, where he innocently learns to do things like use the Internet, discover the excitement of modern carnivals, and learn about the modern meaning ascribed to the N-word. Viewers are gently and very subtly coaxed into enjoying his antics, and even begin to sympathize with Adolf. That is, before you slowly begin to realize the seemingly harmless film’s true purpose… This film is comedic and dangerous, and brilliantly demonstrates the effects of charm, personality, and charisma on public perception.
This absolutely brilliant action/war film, directed by Neil Marshall and starring Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West, and Liam Cunningham, actually tanked at the box office when it was released in 2010. Now available to stream on Netflix, Centurion follows Roman legionary Quintus Dias (Fassbender), as he tries to survive after being separated from his army in Scotland.
Even if it’s not the Bowie documentary we were hoping for, this 2007 fantasy-driven romantic adventure film by Paramount Pictures is actually a surprising classic starring pre-Boardwalk Empire Charlie Cox and pre-Homeland Claire Danes. Set in 1800’s England, the movie follows Tristan Thorn (Cox) as he ventures into a fantasy kingdom to retrieve a fallen star for his love, Yvaine (Danes). Is it a little soft around the edges? Sure. But if you’re looking to unplug and tune out for a couple of hours, Stardust really is great.
Let us preface this by saying that TiMER is probably not a manly-man’s movie. We suffered through it because we don’t want to write articles about stuff we’ve never seen, but this is probably a film left best for a night in with the missus. That said, it’s actually a pretty excellent film about an alternate universe where technology exists that allows us to see the very day, minute, and second that we are destined to find our eternal soulmate. However, what happens when your counter is blank? Does love not exist? Do you not have a soulmate? Is everyone your soulmate? TiMER is a witty and fun look into the idea of spontaneity, serendipity, and sex with people who are way, way younger than you. Like, way younger.
It’s Such a Beautiful Day
Written, directed, produced, and animated by acclaimed illustrator Don Hertzfeldt, It’s Such a Beautiful Day provides viewers with a profound, dark, and beautifully philosophical look at the world, our places in it, and the finality of life. That’s officially the weirdest sentence we never thought we’d write about a cartoon.
Ugh. Goddamnit, Reddit. People in the thread vouched for this movie, but we actually kind of thought it was the worst thing ever. We aren’t sure if this is the Boaty McBoatFace of this list, but we’re pretty sure it has to be. Either way, it was a top choice there, so it’s a top choice here. Anyway, it’s a movie about three students who enter the Norwegian woodlands to investigate a series of mysterious bear killings. They encounter a mysterious bear hunter, only to discover he’s actually a—you guessed it—troll hunter. The CGI and special effects are pretty cool, but I’d say that’s about all we can say about it.