Best Netflix and Chill Movies | July 2018
Last Updated July 5th
Look, we know you want to Netflix and Chill. Who doesn’t? But until Netflix creates a “Netflix and Chill” category–a real one, this time–you might find yourself struggling to come up with new movie suggestions to keep things fresh. Sure, you might have your tried and true, go-to make-out movies, but if you’re tired of watching Titanic or Pretty Woman for the 100th time, you need to change it up. That’s where we come in.
The staff here at Collider put in some hard hours researching the best movies that the streaming giant had available for your next Netflix and Chill session, so you’re welcome. We tastemakers have provided you with an eclectic selection of the best films to suggest the next time a certain someone invites you over for a cuddle, or vice versa. From arthouse cinema to pop culture classics to Oscar-winning pictures, we’ve got you covered. So allow Collider to do the homework while Netflix provides the entertainment; now all you have to do is chill.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The following is an excerpt from Adam Chitwood’s editorial, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ Is One of the Most Essential Comedies of the 21st Century.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Jason Segel
Cast: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand
The comedy genre was forever changed in the early 2000s, and much of it was due to Judd Apatow. The Freaks and Geeks executive producer made his feature directorial debut with 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which was warmly received by both critics and audiences but also marked a significant change of pace for the comedy genre as a whole. Instead of high-concept antics or heavy starpower, Apatow populated his film with a bounty of young talent, let improvisation lead many of the scenes, and concocted a deadly mixture of R-rated raunch and James L. Brooks-esque emotional truth.
But 40-Year-Old Virgin was just the beginning, as Apatow would go on to produce a number of other tonally similar comedies that shaped and molded the genre, including 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall.—which was released a decade ago today. For this film, Apatow mentored Freaks and Geeks actor Jason Segel, who mined his own personal life to write the ultimate breakup movie. Nicholas Stoller, with whom Apatow had worked as a writer on the TV series Undeclared, was selected to make his directorial debut on the project, and a modern romantic comedy classic was born. –Adam Chitwood
Director: Roger Kumble
Writer: Choderlos de Laclos (novel), Roger Kumble (screenplay)
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon
Based on “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”, the French novel responsible for introducing two of the most seductive characters in literary history, Cruel Intentions is one of those contemporary high school-set adaptations of classic literature that were so popular for a while. However, for a “teen movie”, Cruel Intentions is wildly suggestive and occasionally downright explicit.
Transplanting the French aristocracy for the privileged VIPs of an upper crust prep school, Cruel Intentions follows Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s Kathryn Mertueil and Ryan Phillippe‘s Sebastian Valmont as they seduce, corrupt and blackmail their way through the student body in a series of escalating bets. That is until Sebastian meets the remarkably wholesome Annette (Reese Witherspoon) and falls in love for real. Cruel Intentions delivers the feels and the feels as it bounces between the risque and the romantic, and for folks of a certain age, no less than one of the characters was probably responsible for a minor sexual awakening. Factor in the quintessential soundtrack of sultry nineties pop and it’s a contender as a Netflix and Chill all-timer. – Haleigh Foutch
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Greg Mottola
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig
Writer/director Greg Mottola’s coming-of-age drama Adventureland is a perfect fit for all those misanthropic couples out there (you know who you are). With a hefty dose of malaise, uncertainty, and yearning, Adventureland is the heartfelt 80s-set story of a college graduate (Jesse Eisenberg) who ends up having to take a summer job at the local amusement park rather than traveling abroad as he initially intended. Faced with the reality of impending adulthood, something of a quarter-life crisis ensues while Kristen Stewart—in a subdued and intriguing performance making for a swell co-star–enters the picture. Mottola adeptly avoids drowning in the cynicism of the film’s main character and instead focuses on the happiness that can result from the curveballs life tends to throw oh-so-often, all wrapped up in a sweet yet realistic romantic relationship. For the dreamers with a healthy pragmatism, I recommend Adventureland. – Adam Chitwood
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman (screenplay), Matthew Vaughn (screenplay), Neil Gaiman (novel)
Cast: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ben Barnes, Henry Cavill, Peter O’Toole, Mark Strong, Ian McKellen (Narrator)
If you’re looking for a little light fantasy to go with your chill, look no further than the 2007 film Stardust. This adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel is cast in the mold of The Princess Bride 30 years earlier, so if you haven’t seen it, give it a chance; your date will likely thank you for it. It’s got something for everyone: romance, high adventure, mysticism and magic, evil witches, sword fights, and even Robert De Niro as the captain of a flying pirate ship who has taken on a rather familiar name. There’s plenty going on in this recent addition to the fantasy genre to keep you entertained, but it’s not so vital as to demand your full attention.
At its heart, Stardust is a love story between Tristan, a dewy-eyed lad (Charlie Cox of Daredevil fame) and the object of his affection, Victoria (Sienna Miller). But when Tristan promises to bring back a fallen star for his beloved, his fate is forever changed when that star takes on the appearance of the lovely Yvaine (Claire Danes). Romantic entanglements ensue, distressed damsels are saved, and long-lost loves are reunited, all accompanied by some fine swashbuckling. It’s a sweeping fantasy epic that should put a little stardust in your eyes. — Dave Trumbore
Eyes Wide Shut
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael, Arthur Schnitzler (Novella)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Rade Serbedzija, Alan Cumming
It may not be the most obvious Netflix & Chill movie, but Eyes Wide Shut is certainly a strong choice if you’re bold enough to make it. If you’re into cult followings, mask play, lavish parties which only the crustiest of the upper crust can attend, you’ll find a lot to love about Kubrick’s erotic drama. (It’s also Kubrick’s final film, but that factoid will probably kill the mood unless you’ve found yourself a special kind of cinephile.)
Eyes Wide Shut follows Cruise’s Dr. Bill Harford on a sexual odyssey rife with orgies and secret societies, all while his wife (Kidman) goes on a dream-tripping sexual fantasy of her own making. This story is built around sex of all kinds: The marital, the taboo, the promiscuous, the dangerous, the illegal … Kubrick attempts to explore every aspect of the seedy side of sexuality. It may not be his best film, but it’s safe to say it’s his sexiest.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Reid Carolin
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello
Magic Mike is much more than you think it is. Oh, make no mistake, there’s definitely plenty of shirtless dudes grinding it out to the sounds of Ginuwine, but this is a Soderberg film after all. Loosely based on Tatum’s own experiences as a stripper in his youth, Magic Mike is actually a drama centered on Tatum’s character’s dreams for a better life and his failure to prevent the vices of his side job from corrupting a young dancer. It’s quite a surprising installment in Soderbergh’s filmography.
Then again, if you just want to see a bunch of very fit actors performing stripteases, Magic Mike will do that for you just as well. - Dave Trumbore
Y Tu Mamá También
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón, Carlos Cuarón
Cast: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Daniel Giménez Cacho
Written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Y Tu Mamá También is a stunning Mexican drama that stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as two teenage friends who embark on a road trip, and are unexpectedly joined by a young married woman (Maribel Verdú), which makes all the difference. The trips means different things for each of them (escape, coming-of-age, an exploration of sexuality), but on a macro level, it showcases (visually and through narration) the realities of late-90s, rural Mexico, as well as historical footnotes and commentary. Y Tu Mamá También is occasionally difficult and bittersweet, and filmed in a documentary-realist style that only deepens the truths about love, friendship, sexuality, politics, and more that it betrays. But mostly the film is emotional, gorgeously filmed, and very sexy. (In fact, because of its portrayal of sex and drug use, the film was released as unrated in the U.S. to avoid a NC-17 marker). — Allison Keene
Director: Errol Morris
Cast: Joyce McKinney
So, you meet this guy named Kirk Anderson and almost immediately form a connection with him, even though he’s a Mormon. The problem is that you don’t know exactly how to show him you’re the one. Well, if you’re Joyce McKinney, you kidnap the guy and allegedly rape him in a hideaway cabin in England for several days.
This crime was at the center of one of the biggest tabloid wars of the 1970s, and director Errol Morris finds the haltingly strange heart of the matter by talking directly with McKinney in his customary fashion in Tabloid. Morris asks questions that might seem obvious, but the way he words them and builds up a rapport with McKinney teases out an unhinged yet startlingly sincere persona in a woman that fueled some of the most eye-grabbing tabloid headlines in history. McKinney would go on to pose nude, attempt to write a novel, become a courtroom starlet, and, in her elder years, adopt a cloned dog of her late, beloved pet. The result of all of this is a bewildering case of romantic obsession and an oddly endearing ode to having a lust for life even when you can’t quite control it. – Chris Cabin
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Cast: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban, Jason Schwartzman, and Tilda Swinton
There is one scene that lands right about in the middle of Moonrise Kingdom that could have gone so wrong. The two (very) young lovers at the center of the film, played by Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, are stripped down to their underwear, dancing to a turntable record, and begin to, um, experiment with each other. Nothing like a Larry Clark movie, mind you, but enough to stare directly at the discomfiting realities of budding sexuality. It’s in Wes Anderson’s tenderness as a writer, and as a director of actors, that makes the scene not only work but prove to be spellbinding and endearing. There’s plenty to love about this wild, wondrous, and estimable romantic comedy, but at the center of the deadpan laughs, the lacerating emotional disconnections, and the general, glorious chaos, there are these two kids who have decided they’re in love and cannot be told otherwise. Another director would look at the foolishness and naivete of these young characters, but Anderson looks at them with sincerity and heartbreaking, discombobulating empathy that rattles you to your very core. - Chris Cabin
Director: Joe Swanberg
Writer: Joe Swanberg
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Ti West, and Jason Sudeikis
The thing you might call “modern romance” has been at the center of Joe Swanberg’s films since his big breakout, Hannah Takes the Stairs, and continues to be what drives his most recent works, including Digging for Fire and Drinking Buddies. The latter is arguably the most satisfying film that Swanberg has made in his career, which has as much to do with bigger actors – Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, etc. – as it does with the complex emotional scenarios that Swanberg puts his characters in. The film centers on a tentative romance between two co-workers (Wilde and Johnson) at a Chicago brewery, and Swanberg captures plenty of convincing detail in the day-to-day labor that goes into such a business. More importantly, Swanberg, who wrote the script, studies the nuances and illusions that come with casual sexual attraction and flirtations, how the proposition of a lasting relationship is a far different beast than an actual romantic relationship with responsibilities and intimate discussions. Swanberg picks up on the thrill, the arousal, of casual sexual attraction and how it can be viewed as an escape from a monotonous serious relationship, but he also sees how quickly attraction turns into duty and the frustrating lack of independence that comes with such maturation. - Chris Cabin
Blue Is the Warmest Color
This entry originally appeared in our Best Movies on Netflix article.
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Writers: Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix
Cast: Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos
While Blue Is the Warmest Color got plenty of press for its explicit sex scenes and the subsequent rift between its stars and director, the film remains an epically intimate portrait of love that is among the most engrossing and effective romances of all time. The movie tracks the life of a young woman named Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who falls in love with another girl (Léa Seydoux) while in high school and develops a complex and deeply emotional relationship. This is a deeply felt love drama that, while long, feels wholly complete and personal. Exarchopoulos turns in a brilliant lead performance that deserved much more recognition upon release, and the cinematography is hauntingly beautiful. If you’re in the mood for a love story that feels real, human, and epic, go for Blue Is the Warmest Color – Adam Chitwood
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