Best movies to stream during break

Andrew Cripe
Film Critic

As a student or teacher who loves movies, you are probably anticipating this upcoming winter break so you can finally get away from the stresses of studies and finals and catch up with all the cool new stuff in theaters. But what about those days when the snow crashes down, traffic to your favorite theater is heavy, and you just don’t feel like sharing your favorite pastime with a bunch of strangers when you could be home, curled up with microwave popcorn and all the booze you wouldn’t be able to sneak into theaters? I have just the batch of films for your couch-locked needs. Here are ten stream-able movies to watch during break (plus five honorable mentions).

  1. “Inherent Vice” (2014)

If you like: Lengthy, complex, bizarre movies.

The ultimate stoner-noir, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2014 masterpiece is an overwhelmingly faithful adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel about a private investigator who falls down a rabbit-hole of corruption, drug benders, and gonzo-shenanigans. This is a film-watching experience that’s comparable to being on a lazy-river: it carries you wherever it goes, and it’s best savored if you just go with it. It can be best summed up as Raymond Chandler smoking weed and watching Looney Toons.

Available on: HBO GO

2. “Fargo” (1996)

If you like: Pitch-dark films that are morbidly funny.

One of the greatest films of the 90s, “Fargo” is gut-twistingly funny, sad, beautiful, and occasionally horrifying. Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance.

Available on: HBO GO

3. “Children of Men” (2006)

If you like: Daring filmmaking and post-apocalyptic movies.

If you’re chomping at the bit for the “Gravity” director’s upcoming Netflix film “Roma”, take a look at his 2006 opus “Children of Men”, one of my all-time favorite films. Every scene is directed to perfection, and there are countless moments that will leave you in awe. A perfect example of the limitless possibilities of filmmaking.

Available on: Netflix

4. “Heat” (1995)

If you like: Crime films, heist films, noir, and “Grand Theft Auto”.

Michael Mann’s stylish cop-versus-criminal epic is one of the greatest crime films ever made. It is a tribute to two classic actors (Robert De Nero and Al Pacino), a swan song to old Hollywood cops vs. robbers narratives, and a remembrance of an era when movies could be butt-numbingly long and nobody would complain or constantly check their phones.

Available on: Netflix

5. “The Shining” (1980)

If you like: Horror, Stanley Kubrick, and amazing acting.

Audacious, chilling, and totally exhilarating, Stanley Kubrick’s film is the ultimate movie to watch when you’re home alone and snowed in on a cold, bleak day. It still has the power to drive you crazy, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Available on: Netflix

6. “Night Moves” (1975)

If you like: Films that pull no punches and make no apologies.

A mystery film that is ruthless because it isn’t so much about the need for answers as it is about the inevitability of consequences. Its highest priorities are tone, character, and feeling. Arthur Penn (director of the all-time classic “Bonnie and Clyde”) gets to the core of his characters gorgeously, filming every scene with a breathtaking confidence that keeps it a fresh viewing experience decades later.

Available on: Amazon Prime

7. “The Handmaiden” (2016)

If you like: Foreign films.

Chan-wook Park’s slow-burning erotic thriller is unpredictable, reckless, and masterfully crafted. It is sometimes frustrating and the last thing on Earth you should watch with a parent (there is a record-breaking amount of sex in this film), but the director hasn’t exhibited this kind of fearlessness, patience, control, and artistic bravado since “Oldboy” (2013), which makes it a must-watch.

Available on: Amazon Prime

8. “Hostiles” (2017)

If you like: Western films or are currently obsessed with “Red Dead Redemption 2”.

A relatively forgotten and severely underrated western from last year, “Hostiles” is an extremely violent and gorgeously shot meditation on death, the genocide of Native Americans, and the harrowing effect of warfare on the human soul. This is as far from pleasant as a major motion picture can get and is absolutely not a film for everyone, but its stellar cast (including Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike) and patient yet tense atmosphere make it Scott Cooper’s most memorable film.

Available on: Netflix

9. “The Hateful Eight” (2015)

If you like: Quentin Taratino.

The perfect film to sink into during a blizzard, Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” gives you everything you’d expect from him: a ton of swearing, a ton of gore, and a ton of memorable moments. Featuring an Oscar-winning score from Ennio Morricone (“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”), this is essential viewing for fans of America’s most popular weirdo-filmmaker.

Available on: Netflix

10. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)

If you like: Romance for nerds.

A relentlessly entertaining visual spectacle, Edgar Wright’s film is a celebration of love, video games, and escapism. A tornado of color and innovative editing, “Pilgrim” also boasts a stellar cast that includes Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, and Brie Larson.

Available on: Netflix

Five extras, if you (like me) really hate going outside:

“Certain Women” (2016)

If you like: Meditative, tender, quiet films.

Available on: Netflix

“The Third Man” (1949)

If you like: Film history, black-and-white films, and an amazing score.

Available on: Netflix

“Best of Enemies” (2015)

If you like: Documentaries, literature, and the art of throwing shade.

Available on: Netflix

“I Love You, Man” (2009)

If you like: Straight-up, feel-good comedies.

Available on: Netflix

“The Witch” (2016)

If you like: Art-house horror and the recent ‘Hereditary’.

Available on: Netflix