Eight Unexpected Best (Rental) Movies

For curiosity’s sake I recently reviewed my full history on Netflix.

I’ve always been a big fan of Netflix and have been a member for a good while, placing my first rental, The Sting, on 3/28/2003. I haven’t watched a ton of movies or series (271 total discs in 6 years) but I am proud to admit that Netflix provides me and my wife with, by far, the bulk of our sit-and-watch-and-zone-out-as-necessary entertainment (the only other regular sources being The Office on Hulu, Seahawks games on TV and the rare theater movie). 

As I scanned my history only 8 movies (not including Anime or mini/TV series) jumped out as tried and true 5 star-ers, the “loved it” rating. (There were a few that I had once rated as fives but I decided to bump them down to fours — I guess it’s like periodically rebalancing your portfolio.)

Please note that this list isn’t my complete favorite movie list, just some favorites that I discovered thanks to my Netflix subscription. 



An excellent buddy movie — a great cast with a cool plot. Ed Harris directs himself and Viggo (at his best) as two bad-ass guns for hire. All the characters are interesting and complex, even the female lead played by Renee Zellweger. My wife generally does not enjoy violent films but this one she liked; the violence is not for violence’s sake. I absolutely loved the ending.



Michael Clayton

This is a gripping story with great acting by Cloony — he still plays himself but he does it very well.  I really enjoyed the direction by Tony Gilroy and the supporting cast is amazing. I watched this twice when I got it.




I’ve always been a big fan of dramatized historical movies, especially ones about the british monarchy. This one is about the ultimate transformation of a queen and I found it fascinating. Geoffrey Rush plays an amazing  Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen’s dubious advisor.



The Good Shepherd

This film surprised me as I am really not a Matt Damon or Angelina Jolie fan. But do love a great spy story and this one has it all, telling the story of the birth of the CIA. 




Director Rian Johnson’s debut blew me away. It’s a fast paced, super stylized sleuth picture. I’m generally not a mystery fan but the atypical and dark high-school setting drew me in quickly.  Another twice-watcher for me.



Layer Cake

Daniel Craig, pre-007, stars in this very cool british gangster movie. I enjoyed this more than Lock-Stock and Snatch.




My favorite Korean flick, the third, and by far the best, in a pseudo-trilogy by director Chan-wook Park. Start with Oldboy, and don’t bother with the other two unless you’re truly interested afterward. This one does happen to be ultra-violent at times so take heed. This film has Matrix-like elements.



L.A. Confidential

Okay, this one’s kinda cheating since I had seen it before I netflixed it. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed watching it again. Amazing work by an amazing cast.