Staff Picks: Top 5 Netflix Films of The Summer

by Brittany Redding

Hi! I’m Brittany, the new merchandising and marketing intern (read more about me here) and I’m kicking off the first of our Staff Picks series with my Top 5 Netflix Films of the Summer.  

With summer in full swing, I’ve certainly had my fair share of lazy days. If I’m not hanging out around the lake, grabbing a bite to eat with friends, or interning at Viscera, it’s safe to assume that I’m curled up in bed binge watching Netflix or Youtube. At this point my summer movie count is well into the double digits but I’m still on the lookout for more. If you’re always on the hunt for good films or you just want to find something to watch on a random weeknight, then be sure to check out my list below.

If you liked Tyler Perry’s Diary of A Mad Black Woman or The Temptations watch….

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple

If you want to see a film that’s honest, raw, and true to the nature of its time period then this is the film for you. It’s a film adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel (with the same name) and it’s been praised in all corners of the world-- so much so that it’s now considered a classic. I will say that, with all of the civil rights issues going on in the U.S, this is one that may trigger a lot of emotions for those who hold those types of things close to heart. With that being said, however, it’s a great film for those interested in seeing history through the eyes of the alternative or oppressed. The film touches on the gritty development of the America we now have today and it pulls to surface some lesser discussed matters like sexual abuse within the family, the aftermath of slavery, and the battle of understanding one's sexual identity. After watching this film, you’ll definitely stop and think about some of the things that happened years ago and how they have shaped the world that we live in today.

If you’re into A&E’s Intervention, Beyond Scared Straight, or CSI watch….

The Panic in Needle Park

Ever wonder how some homeless people hit rock bottom and end up panhandling for change? Before you say you’d never end up in that situation, watch this film. Staring a young Al Pacino and Kitty Winn, The Panic in Needle Park gives you a glimpse into the the lives of two functioning addicts who are just as entrenched in battles within themselves as they are with heroin. I like this film for it’s ability to show how much association and curiosity go hand in hand with drug abuse and the start of a toxic addiction. If you’re into people watching or seeing how the other half lives, you’ll enjoy this film for its realistic portrayal of a life that you’ve (presumably) never known. With the current heroin epidemic reaching an all time high, consider this film a narrative of current events and a reenactment of reality.

If you liked Thelma and Louise or The Pursuit of Happiness watch….  

Anywhere but Here

Want to just pick up and start a new life on the other side of the world? Might think twice after you see Anywhere but Here. This film shows just how much the grass isn’t always greener on the other side---especially for those who never wanted to make the journey in the first place. Set in the late 90’s, it features Natalie Portman (you know her from Black Swan) and Susan Sarandon (she plays Louise in Thelma and Louise) as a mother-daughter duo relocating from small town Wisconsin to picturesque Beverly Hills. This film will rekindle all those adolescent feelings of wanting more freedom while also reminding you of the good intentions (albeit maybe not the best delivery) that parents have for their children. After watching, you’ll feel like calling your mom and thanking her for all of the sacrifices that she made for you throughout your childhood.

If you liked Sixteen Candles, Forrest Gump or Radio watch...

The Other Sister

Can’t relate to someone with a mental or physical disability? Think again. The Other Sister highlights the emotional and social struggles of someone with intellectual challenges and, unbeknownst to many, they aren't that different from anyone else in the world. This film is set in the San Francisco Bay Area (you’ll notice a lot of the locations right away!) and follows the life of Carla, an adolescent girl, fighting to find independence and love within a world that tells her that these are things of the impossible. I really like how the film draws on the similarities between the majority and those with disabilities. Instead of creating a wedge or contrast between the two, we see the main characters experiencing all of life's “firsts” (first love, first day of college, etc) that we too experienced as young adults. In short, you’ll end this film seeing those with mental disabilities for what they really are--no different than the rest.

If you liked Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hairspray, or Clueless watch….

Gentleman Prefer Blondes

If you’re a classic movie kind of person then you’ll enjoy one of the film industry's most prized possessions, Gentleman Prefer Blondes. This film, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, depicts the journey of two showgirls traveling on a cruise ship--one looking for love (or just a fling) and one looking for what love can buy her. Those who have good style (i.e anyone who shops at Viscera!) or who are interested in fashion will definitely enjoy some of the costume choices that Monroe and Russell don throughout the film. Think berets, leopard print, sequins, gingham, and, of course, diamonds all tied together with lighthearted comedy and over the top musical numbers.