I’ll admit it, while some of them were a huge pain in the ass, I miss Lunce’s List. Every night on Jox Primetime, my co-host Tim Melton would get me to list my top 5 of…something. It could be my top 5 breakfast cereals, the top 5 Super Bowl MVP’s, the best 5 sports movies, or anything in between.
I’ve missed doing Lunce’s List, and every day I see something that makes me think about Lunce’s List and how I would ultimately rank things. As we just celebrated the year anniversary of Primetime dying, I figured I’d jump back in with Lunce’s List and keep pumping them out.
Since Tim still constantly asks me for my Lunce’s List on particular topics, I’m sure some of his topics will find their way here. If you ever have a topic for a Lunce’s List, let me know on Twitter @jlunce.
Top 5 Netflix Original Movies
I actually saw this topic on Reddit and thought I’d jump in with my top 5 as well. With the pandemic, streaming services like Netflix have been a savior. I’m honestly surprised at how much they had in the can to put out, and it seems like they show no signs of slowing down. I’ve been impressed with the sheer number of movies and TV shows, but at the same time some of it has actually been somewhat entertaining. There are plenty of stinkers and things I don’t want to watch, but Netflix has ultimately produced some solid content.
In terms of original films, there are plenty now for Netflix, but most are seen as “not great” movies. I think there are some absolute gems, and those are ones most people agree on. Still, here are my top 5, with some honorable mentions. Of course, there are so many that I haven’t seen every single one of them, but this is just my opinion.
I’m also really looking forward to two movies I think could make this list – “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” and “The Devil All the Time”.
And if your curious what my absolutely least favorite movie is, the answer is easy – Sandy Wexler. Adam Sandler’s deal with Netflix hasn’t produced many great movies, although I’d say most of them are ok for killing a night watching TV and some have been decent. However, Sandy Wexler is by far the worst. I don’t know why, it’s actually looked at as one of his middle of the road movies, but for some reason I hate it. I’ll also say the most disappointing Netflix movie of all time was Mute. Such a great cast and idea for such a terrible movie.
Come to think of it, I can probably do a Lunce’s List of the worst Netflix original movies and it be harder to choose those five. And yes, The Irishman would make THAT list.
Anyone that knows me well knows I’m a sucker for one thing in a movie – expert cinematography. Roma is a masterclass in how to shoot a movie. I shouldn’t have been surprised since Children of Men is arguably the greatest movie of all-time in my opinion, and it’s also from Alfonso Cuarón. He does such an incredible job making movies feel real, like you are actually a part of a scene with people. Movies that cut to so many different shots within a scene get messy, but Cuarón lets films breathe when they need to.
I thought I wasn’t going to be a fan of the black and white look, but I loved it. And I had never been the biggest fan of subtitles until watching Roma, and I think it ultimately led to me enjoying Parasite much more this past year.
Although it was kind of long, I truly felt like I was a part of the moment, and that for that stretch of time my life was also black and white, like I was transported back in time to a time when movies were simpler.
This is a movie I deeply respect, and is the best thing Netflix has put out.
2. Marriage Story
While Roma has the one thing I’m a sucker for when it comes to cinematography, Marriage Story is brilliantly acted. I have always thought Scarlett Johannson is a good actress and more than the sex symbol she plays in action and romantic movies. This performance was phenomenal along with Adam Driver. This took two actors that may have had huge box office hits because of the properties they were attached to (Star Wars, Marvel), and put them on a level of acting that I’ve never seen from them before.
Neither won the Oscar that year because Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger both had to carry 100% of their respective movies while this was more 50/50 (or 40/40/20 if you count Laura Dern was who was good and DID win the Oscar, but wasn’t as good as the two leads in my opinion). Just because both were equal in the movie, both ultimately lost because of it. It makes sense, but it still sucks when both put on incredible performances that were Oscar-worthy.
Noah Baumbach did a great job as well, obviously coming from real events in his life with his divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh. It was his second Netflix hit with The Meyerowitz Stories coming a couple of years prior (which did make my honorable mentions). Looking forward to what comes next from all of them.
This movie will probably get lost in the shuffle when it comes to remembering great Netflix movies and their achievements. When people think back to what put Netflix on the map in terms of Oscar-worthy movies, people will remember Roma, Marriage Story and The Irishman – but it was actually Mudbound that earned Netflix their first ever Academy Awards nominations (not counting documentaries). Four of them to be exact. While it didn’t win any, Mary J Blige was nominated for two of them (supporting actress and original song) along with the film being nominated for best adapted screenplay and cinematography.
This film is an incredible take on two World War II veterans – one white and one black – and how they both attempt to survive in the deep south where racism runs rampant and they are both suffering from major PTSD in their own way.
The real winner of this film though was Jason Mitchell, who was fresh off playing Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton. He also was good in Detroit that year (and was in Kong: Skull Island). The overall cast was really good with Mary J Blige, Garret Hedlund and Jonathan Banks playing their roles great also.
People will remember the two films above for their Oscar wins, but this film should be remembered with them, especially for breaking ground with Rachel Morrison being the first woman nominated for Best Cinematography (although Roger Deakins was tough to beat that year) and for director Dee Rees for being the first black woman ever nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Before Parasite, there was Okja. Although it’s a South Korean based film like Bong Joon Ho’s others, it is primarily in English. So if that kept you away from Parasite, this should be one you check out. (Snowpiercer is his other English language film)
As goofy as it sounds, Okja is about a genetically modified pig and a girl who just wants her pig back after a corporation takes it for food. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and it’s a well done movie. As we all get ready for The Batman, it also is a movie I would put on the “Paul Dano Watch List”.
It’s mostly an English-speaking cast with Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins, Steven Yeun and more.
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
A bizarre Western anthology film that has almost become more known for it’s memes than anything. It’s got a great cast and is directed by the Coen brothers.
There are six different short stories that are told, and some of them hit well and others not so much. Still, the acting is great in it with a nice ensemble cast.
My favorite stories are All Gold Canyon (Tom Waits), Near Algodones (James Franco, Stephen Root) and the titular The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson).
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – This was fighting for the fifth spot on the list, but was just edged out. I really liked this movie and is a great serious film to be led by two comedic actors in Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler (also a good job by Dustin Hoffman). Definitely worth the watch and a good precursor to what we’d eventually get with Marriage Story.
Bright – This was supposed to be Netflix’s big budget break. A big action movie with Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and more? It’s got a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes, yet it is one of the most streamed movies ever on Netflix. I personally loved it, and while it didn’t make the top 5, it’s definitely worth the watch. I think there is more to the universe it is set in, and I’d love to see it, but I know I probably never will.
Special Correspondents – As someone who works in radio, I enjoyed this movie. This is actually one of the first movies to come out on Netflix. It’s got a terrible Rotten Tomatoes score, but don’t worry about that. It’s a fun watch.
The Cloverfield Paradox – Ok, so the only reason this movie made the list is that it let me live out the original Cloverfield movie a tiny bit more and the marketing for it was genius. No one even knew this movie existed until a Super Bowl commercial randomly aired and told everyone the film would be ninja releasing that night after the game.
Unicorn Store – The directorial debut for Brie Larson, and no, it’s not a Captain Marvel prequel despite it being her and Samuel L Jackson. It’s a whimsical movie that is worth a watch.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie – It’s Breaking Bad, but only like…part of Breaking Bad. It’s good, but not great. Still worth a watch if you were a fan of the show.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Honestly not that bad of a movie. Will Ferrell doing Will Ferrell things. It’s like a slightly watered down, singing version of Blades of Glory.