Our 2012 Thanksgiving Feast of Netflix Instant Films to Enjoy on Break
by Ethan Anderton
November 22, 2012
It's that time once again where we eat ourselves into a food coma resulting from turkey, various casseroles, seemingly endless pumpkin pies and the best cooking a home can offer. Thanksgiving isn't just a time for satisfying our appetite for delicious food though. It's also a time to feed your eye and mind with some great movies. This week new releases like Rise of the Guardians, Life of Pi and Red Dawn arrive, and you can still check out Skyfall everywhere, Silver Linings Playbook in limited release, plus plenty of other films. But if you just want to stay at home and enjoy an excellent movie with the family, then we've got yet another Thanksgiving feast of films now available Netflix Instant to enjoy quickly and easily. Look below!
Here are some of our favorite offerings from the past few years available now (unless otherwise noted):
Watch It Now
For some reason, this film got shoved into a January release when it really deserved a release in the fall. A thrilling, realistic tale of man vs. nature that we don't see on the big screen anymore, Liam Neeson finds himself stranded in the harsh arctic wilderness with an oil rig crew when their plane crashes on the way home. It's easily better than Taken 2, and you can't go wrong with Liam Neeson fighting a pack of wolves tracking the stranded oil men. Joe Carnahan directs this film, and it's probably his best work in awhile.
Watch It Now
If you want to see a less muffled, but still muscular version of Tom Hardy after seeing him break Batman in The Dark Knight Rises this past summer, it's time to sit down and watch him enter the UFC ring. A tumultuous family relationship with his father (Nick Nolte) and brother (Joel Edgerton) makes what could be just another generic sports movie a truly harrowing tale of sibling rivalry with some stellar Oscar caliber performances. This deserves to be seen by everyone, even if you don't like watching MMA fights.
Watch It Now
Actor & comedian Jack Black finally made a film he can be proud of again this year. After a slough of numerous disappointments including Gulliver's Travels and The Big Year, Black decided to collaborate with director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, The School of Rock) on this unique mix of a traditional dark comedy and mockumentary. What really makes this adaptation of a true story spectacular is the real-life talking heads that show up throughout the film to talk about the strange relationship Black's character creates with Shirley MacLaine. Black might be a dark horse for a Best Actor Oscar.
Watch It Now
Hailed as last year's Blue Valentine for a younger generation, this romance will lift your heart up and slam it to the ground. Oh, and it also does that about three or four times. It may not make you want to see the movie, but this harrowing love story will make you feel like you've just been broken up with in the worst way possible. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones show that they're some of the finest young talent working today, and really make you feel like you're watching two of your best friends endure the most difficult relationship of their lives. Tip: don't watch this one alone.
Watch It Now
After winning Best Picture (and numerous other Oscars) last year, there's not much else left to say about this silent film revival which opened a whole slew of opportunities for French actor Jean Dujardin (who also won). In a charming and funny film that transcends time itself to work as a touching contemporary story about Hollywood's silent film era, this story, although derivative, somehow manages to feel fresh and wholly remarkable. It's a bit of Hollywood giving itself a pat on the back, but it still works, and works well.
Watch It Now
Solid screenwriting, almost worthy of Aaron Sorkin, is the star of this financial thriller film despite an all-star cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, and yes, even "The Daily Show's" Aasif Mandvi in a small role. The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, so that's the kind of film we're dealing with here. It was one of my favorites at Sundance in 2011, and it shouldn't be missed.
Casa de mi Padre
Watch It Now
Most parody movies today are just garbage. However, Casa de mi Padre is a great throwback to the hilarious spoofs like Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Complete with meta jokes about the genre and low budget props, soap opera style acting and more, this is like a straight-up comedic grindhouse film taking aim at Spanish westerns. Will Ferrell does an impressive job of speaking Spanish throughout the entire film, and talented Mexican actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are in tow as some bad ass drug dealers. Plus, "Parks & Recreation" fans will be happy to see Nick Offerman show up, too.
Watch It Now
This is just one of three performances that Ryan Gosling delivered in 2011 worthy of Oscar accolades. In fact, it's probably the role that should have landed him at least a nomination, but alas, the Academy is awful and he never got the recognition he deserved (for Drive). This gritty thriller from Nicholas Winding Refn really dug Gosling into a gritty tale of deception, crime and personal struggle. Come for the Gosling, stay for Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan, and Christina Hendricks rounding out the supporting cast.
Watch November 24th
Much in the same way that The Artist is essentially Hollywood giving itself a slap on the back, Hugo makes it a little more whimsical and adventurous thanks in part to masterful work from legendary director Martin Scorsese, delivering a charming "family film". Led by young stars Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz, the film is a fantastical mystery that leads to findingthe true magic of cinema and the impact it has on all of us. Hugo is basically Scorsese's love letter to film, and with the help of Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Christopher Lee and Jude Law, it's a true cinematic gem from 2011.
The King's Speech
Watch November 25th
Though many have called this film "Oscar bait," this story isn't in the same vein as some period dramas. Like Shakespeare in Love before it, the film doesn't intently focus on historical times just to recollect the achievements and events in history, but instead focuses on the touching relationships between people caught up events of the past. In this case, we get a view at one of the earliest bromances between King George VI of Britain (Colin Firth) and speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) as they become friends while attempting to cure His Highness of a terrible stammer. A friendship blossoms beautifully along with great performances from Rush and Firth who seem like they've been friends for years.
Here are other assorted superb movies from the past few years currently available on Netflix Instant:
God Bless America, Mansome, Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, Lockout, Everything Must Go, The American Scream, The Flowers of War, Footloose, Haywire, Indie Game: The Movie, Woody Allen: A Documentary, Rango, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop.
And here's a smattering of oldies-but-goodies spanning decades of entertaining movies also available:
Clueless, Team America: World Police, Best in Show, Groundhog Day, Hot Rod, Dumb & Dumber, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Harold and Maude, Out of Sight, Bottle Rocket, Manhattan, The Big Lebowski, Mean Girls, The Thin Red Line, The Evil Dead, Punch-Drunk Love, Office Space, Chasing Amy, Brick, The Graduate, Network, Chinatown.
And if that's not enough, here's a whole slew of TV shows with entire seasons available to watch now:
Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Office, Parks & Rec, Louie, Archer, Workaholics, Wilfred, Sons of Anarchy, South Park, Portlandia, Family Guy, The IT Crowd, Futurama, Firefly, Star Trek, Weeds, Scrubs, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Battlestar Galactica, Mythbusters, Rescue Me.
Well, we hope that's enough to keep you and your family busy the rest of the weekend, and the food, films, family and friendship over the next few days make for a nice Thanksgiving. What will you be watching?
I've seen everything except Casa De Mi Padre, so I guess I'll be checking that out tonight.
Matt Peloquin on Nov 22, 2012
Drive and Margin Call are the only good movies on this list.
nightgoat72 on Nov 22, 2012
Like Crazy and The Grey are both reasonably good as well.
clinteastwoodscloset on Nov 23, 2012
I enjoy a good cheese sandwich
Sometimesalwaysmostlynever on Nov 23, 2012
I actually hate both of those with passion.
nightgoat72 on Nov 23, 2012
ThanksKilling should be added to this list.
Erikk on Nov 22, 2012
I love ThanksKilling!
Michael McRorey on Nov 23, 2012
Needed something good!!! Daughter and her college friends in the house... thankgiving part II. Warrior did the trick, and the rest I'll check out I'm my own downtime. Thanks!
River on Nov 25, 2012
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