The Netflix lockdown list

The Netflix lockdown list

Still from the movie Baby Driver
Ansel Elgort, Jamie Fox, Eliza Gonzalez and Jon Hamm in Baby Driver

We’re all going to be watching a lot more film and TV for the next little while, so I’ve put together a list of things I’d recommend currently streaming on Netflix in Australia. I’ve included art-house, and mainstream titles, TV shows as well and organised them into movie and shows to watch when you need a pick-me-up or just some easy escapism, movies about empowerment in different ways, because sometimes that’s what you need, and some more hard-core films that are very good, but only if you’re feeling up to it. Enjoy and stay well.

Movies or TV show to watch when you need something light and fun or calming:

Baby Driver – fun heist movie made by Edgar Wright with a great soundtrack.

Black Books (TV) – British sitcom from early 2000s about a second hand bookshop owner (Dylan Moran) and his friends.

Brooklyn 99 (TV) – Current series is streaming on SBS and all past seasons on Netflix. Silly fun cop comedy at its finest.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (TV) – Musical comedy, with some dramatic bits sometimes, very entertaining and worth a watch.

Derry Girls (TV) – Comedy about a group of teenage girls in Ireland set in the early 90s.

Gilmore Girls (TV) – Small-town new England town with quirky characters, heart-warming, funny, romantic, complete fantasy really. You can critique it (the Gilmores do become increasingly insufferable in the last seasons in particular), or you can just go along for the ride because it’s fun and that’s what you need right now.

Great News (TV) Tina Fey and Robert Carlock were executive producers (ie the team that brought you other hilarious favourites 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt).

Hot Fuzz – British cop comedy from Edgar Wright starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Very funny, but be warned there are a couple of moments of violence (all supposed to be comedic, but gross nonetheless), just so you’re aware in case you’re not up for that.

Mad Men (TV) – Set in a 1960s Madison Avenue ad agency. The show that made Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss famous.

Midnight Diner (TV) – Japanese show where people just sit together in a Tokyo noodle house and eat and talk. That’s it. It’s one of the most calming shows I’ve ever watched. Highly recommended if it’s all a bit too much.

Logan Lucky – An all-star heist movie by Stephen Soderbergh. Very funny and very fun.

Paterson – A very calm and beautiful movie about a poet bus driver (Adam Driver) by Jim Jarmusch.

Ray – Biopic about Ray Charles, so obviously great music.

Rick and Morty (TV) – Crazy animated show about a drunken crazy inventor Rick and his grandson Morty and their completely unhinged adventures in space and time.

Schitt’s Creek (TV) – Canadian comedy series about the Rose family who loose all their money and end up having to live in the small town of Schitt’s creek which they bought for a joke once.

Sex Education (TV) – Teens in an idyllic, very diverse village somewhere very green. Total fantasy but good fun, and Gillian Anderson is brilliant as the sex therapist mother of the lead character.

Terrace House (TV) – Unscripted Japanese reality show where half a dozen young people all live together and live their lives and we watch. I can’t get enough of this show for its pure escapism value – there are several seasons, all with slightly different names and each season takes place in a different location, mostly in Japan, but there has also been a season in Hawaii.

They’ve Gotta Have Use (Documentary Mini-series) – a fantastic 3-part documentary series about the rise of black actors and film makers over the past few decades, with interviews and clips from some true legends.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (TV) – created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, so need I say more? Very funny and full of fantastic characters and very weird situations.

Movies about empowerment (after hardship)

Aquarius – Brazilian move starring the legendary Sonia Braga as a woman in Sao Paulo who refuses to give up her apartment when the developers roll in and put the pressure on.

Billy Elliot – I mean, this is a classic. To say it is about a kid who learns to dance, is accurate, but also does not do it justice. It’s about triumph against the odds, and all that stuff too.

The Darkest Hour – This was a contender for the Oscar best picture a few years back. It’s about Winston Churchill during the darkest days of World War II, and is based on real events (but clearly also some dramatic licence).

Dolomite is My Name – based on the true story of Rudy Ray Moore who developed an outrageous character named Dolemite, and becomes an underground sensation and star of a kung-fu, anti-establisment films, with an exceptionally good performance by Eddie Murphy.

The Revenant – The award-winning story of betrayal and revenge set in the wild west starring Leonardo diCaprio

Sully – Tom Hanks saves everyone in this story of the pilot Sully who landed the plane on the Hudson River that time.

Movies that are not super-dark, but maybe a little dark or dramatic

Birdman – Award-winning film starring Michael Keaton as the man who used to play the super-hero character Birdman, and is now a middle aged man in crisis.

Cabin in the Woods – movie written and directed by Joss Whedon that has all the elements you’d expect from a Whedon story – fun, exciting, a bit scary, full of action, a strong female lead, a good cast and all manner of unexpected twists and turns.

Internal Affairs – Trio of thrillers from Hong Kong, the first of which Scorsese remade into the Departed. The original is every bit as good as the American re-make. I haven’t watched the second two in the trilogy, but will.

Phantom Thread – This was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards a couple of years ago. A strange story set in 1950s England about a couture designer and dress maker (Daniel Day Lewis) and his muse. Beautifully made by Paul Thomas Anderson, it’s about relationships and the negotiations of power within them, and there are some lovely frocks too.

Princess Mononoke – One of my favourite of the Ghibli Studio animated films – set in the 14th century, the harmony that humans, animals and gods have enjoyed begins to crumble. The protagonist, young Ashitaka – infected by an animal attack, seeks a cure from the deer-like god Shishigami. In his travels, he sees humans ravaging the earth, bringing down the wrath of wolf god Moro and his human companion Princess Mononoke. Hiskattempts to broker peace between her and the humans brings only conflict.

Snowpiercer – Sci fi set on a train that is constantly in motion around the planet at some time in the future with a very strict class system and rules that keep everyone in their place, until they don’t. This is one of the English-speaking films Bong Joon-Ho has made and stars Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton.

The King – David Michôd and Joel Edgerton’s modern reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and V with actual historical detail mixed in. Starring Timothée Chalamet, this is a fantastic film about fathers and sons, toxic masculinity, power struggles, and history. You can see my detailed review of this film here.

Great movies that you should only watch if you’re feeling up to it

Annihilation – Sci fi by master of the genre Alex Garland. It’s based on the first of the equally exceptional Southern Reach series of books by Jeff VandeMeer. Something very mysterious and scary is happening in this film. It’s pretty dark, but beautiful and imaginative and starring Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez and Jennifer Jason Leigh with some fantastic performances. You can see my full movie review here.

Uncut Gems – The latest film by the Safdie brothers, who have quickly made their name as indie rising stars. The story centres on a New York jeweller and gambler Howard (Adam Sandler) who has racked up a few too many debts and needs to find a way out of the situation he’s in and fast. Good film, well made, but not easy going, and kind of stressful to watch. Just saying, in case you’re not up for that right now.