Enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast of Great Movies Now on Netflix Instant!
by Ethan Anderton
November 24, 2011
Now is the time for families to get together and enjoy food, football, fun and hopefully films. How's that for a feast full of alliteration? Therefore, we thought now would be a good time to also bring back our Netflix Instant feature so that you and your family and friends might enjoy some good movies across all sorts of different genres. Most of the featured films you'll find below are from this year or last year and include everything from documentaries (both musical and Sundance selected) to foreign films, a British comedy, an animated take on Shakespeare for the whole family, plus even a list of some old favorites. Check them out!
Trollhunter: Three students enter the Norwegian woods to film a documentary on a bear poacher named Hans. When they find him, he claims that bear hunting is just a ruse, and that he actually tracks trolls for the Norwegian government. This footage captures the trio as they follow Hans deep into the forest. If the hunter's story is true, they'll have the makings of the best student film in history. Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck and Tomas Alf Larsen star, directed by André Øvredal. One of the better non-comedic faux documentary films to show up in awhile.
Gnomeo & Juliet: An edgy Shakespeare adaptation like no other, this animated musical transports the classic tale of forbidden romance between two star-crossed lovers from warring families to the unlikely yet hysterical world of garden gnomes. Featuring songs from legendary recording artist Elton John, this movie features the vocal talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart and Michael Caine.
Take Me Home Tonight: Amid the goings-on at a raucous Labor Day party, brilliant but underemployed Matt Franklin learns a slew of lessons about life and love in the financial boom of the late 1980s in this ensemble-cast film from the writers of "That '70s Show." Though it doesn't quite pack the punch of the period Fox comedy series, there are some laughs to be had with a great cast featuring Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer and Chris Pratt.
Pearl Jam Twenty: Veteran rock band Pearl Jam celebrates its 20th anniversary with a documentary bio that recounts the group's turbulent history and internal struggles. Never-before-seen material culled from 1,200 hours of film captures the band from all perspectives. Almost Famous director and former Rolling Stone journalist Cameron Crowe is behind the camera for this comprehensive and fantastic documentary for fans of the alternative rock band.
Casino Jack: Kevin Spacey turns in a spectacular performance as disgraced political lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who defrauded Native American tribes out of tens of millions of dollars in his efforts to peddle influence in Washington's corridors of power. As justice closes in on Abramoff and his associates, the audacious scope of his scams comes to light. Based on true events, this film from director George Hickenlooper, who tragically died shortly after the film's release, also features the talents of Kelly Preston and Barry Pepper.
The Trip: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, the stars of the 2005 comedy Tristram Shandy, reunite with director Michael Winterbottom for this mockumentary about a pair of actors -- handily named Steve and Rob -- who embark on a foodie road trip across England. Mostly improvised and highlighting the duo's penchant for dueling impressions of famous actors, the film follows them as they test their friendship while sampling the best restaurants in Northern England. And if you enjoy Michael Caine impressions, then this is the film to watch.
Rabbit Hole: In this highly acclaimed raw drama based on David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) grapple with the realities of life eight months after the death of their 4-year-old son, Danny. Even with Becca's well-meaning mother (Dianne Wiest) offering comfort and weekly group therapy always available, the couple go about their own secret ways of coping. John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) directs.
Life in a Day: After thousands of people around the world joined together to record banal and remarkable everyday events on July 24, 2010, director Kevin MacDonald led a team of editors to condense more than 4,500 hours of video into this picture of life on Earth. This is essentially the world's first crowd-sourced feature length documentary to get mass attention after its premiere at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947): When Santa falls down drunk in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, reluctant Macy's supervisor Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) offers the job to a bearded Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) purporting to be the real Santa! During the Christmas season, he shares a flat with Doris's neighbor (John Payne), who has eyes for Doris. Kris hopes to unite the two while winning over Doris's skeptical 6-year-old daughter (Natalie Wood). This is one of those classic holiday films that every family should watch during this most wonderful time of the year.
Limitless: With his writing career dragging and his girlfriend casting him off, Eddie Morra's (Bradley Cooper) life turns around when he takes a drug that provides astonishing mental focus -- but its deadly side effects threaten his future. Though Robert De Niro co-stars, pretty much any actor could have stepped into the role that serves as nothing more as a bland villain of sorts. However, Cooper turns in a solid performance despite a film that becomes a little too formulaic for a concept that could've allowed for a more original story.
Other Favorites: Tangled, Star Trek, Scarface, Toy Story 3, Edward Scissorhands, Kick-Ass, The Fighter, Good Will Hunting, Dumb & Dumber, Tron Legacy, Shutter Island, Big, The Big Lebowski, The Iron Giant, Die Hard, Let Me In, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Apollo 13, The Blues Brothers, Boondock Saints, Airplane! and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
That's all for this special Thanksgiving edition of Now on Netflix Instant. And remember, if you ever want to look back at the thousands of Netflix titles already released, look forward at what's on the way, or check out the entire library of Netflix Instant titles available, you can head over to InstantWatcher (in my opinion the most complete listing of Netflix's instant titles, updated daily) or also FeedFliks, whose hawk-eyes are on the lookout for all streaming release dates. We hope everyone has a totally wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!