5.) Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010)
Even though it doesn't sound like that peaceful or nostalgic a movie, it's one of my favorite documentaries to stream when I need to get some work done or I just need to feel inspired. Machete Maidens follows the short but zany boom in American-made B-movies filmed in the Philippines. Directors, editors, and actors recall the Wild West of rubber monster films as they waded into jungles and dealt with the increasingly restrictive Philippines government to make their movies. It's a tidy, authentic documentary filled with '70s graphics and music to accompany stories of exploitation flicks.
4.) This Filthy World (2006)
Another subculture non-fiction piece, This Filthy World is part lecture and part stand-up from John Waters, the Pope of Trash himself. His tales of childhood obsession, teenage debauchery, and middle-age discoveries are another good source of inspiration, particularly if one is interested in vaudeville or B-movie directors of the 1950s. I've watched it many times, but I always seem to catch something I missed with an additional viewing.
3.) The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011-)
Though I suppose this is more of a feature-length miniseries, I'm counting it anyway for the sheer length and the number of time I've at least started watching it. I was thrilled to find this on Netflix after devouring Mark Cousins's book of the same name during my junior year of high school. I'm still not sure how we got such a new book in my high school library, but I'm grateful none the less. Cousins's faithful and extensive visualization of his work with film history is so satisfying to watch; it's just voice, essential clips and contexts, and a few clarifying visuals. Be warned: Cousins's soft, lilting voice can have soporific properties.
2.) The Bad News Bears (I'm not even putting a date, because you know I don't mean the remake)
Yes, I have it on DVD. Yes, it comes on TV quite a bit. Yes, it has a number of ridiculous sequels. I don't care. I'm just happy to have the loping, haphazard soundtrack on in the background of most situations. It's a classic summer kid-centric movie, provided that the kids themselves are swearing, fighting misfits with social issues watched by an alcoholic pool cleaner.
1.) Clue (1985)
This may be considered cheating since I've been watching this movie on television and DVD since the age of twelve or so, but it's even more convenient now that it's on Netflix. Clue may be, at least for me, an example of textbook excellent comedy writing. The timing is so tight, the cast is so together, and everything happens inside one big location to contain it all. Murder mystery! Period piece! The soundtrack! Tim Curry! It's so difficult to beat.
- American Scary, Nightmare in Red White & Blue, or any number of movies about horror movies/horror movie makeup/Ray Harryhausen
- Anything Monty Python, though all of Flying Circus is gone from Netflix now
- Fat Head and food-themed documentaries