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The Five Best Movies on Netflix May 2016

Put your winter coats in the closet and break out the shorts and picnic basket – Summer is right around the corner! But before you decide to hit the great outdoors, we want you to think long and hard about one thing: isn’t there something you’d rather be watching on Netflix? The answer is YES! We hand-picked five of the best movies now streaming on Netflix so you don’t have to go out and get a sunburn. You’re welcome!

1. The Truman Show

On the subject of Jim Carrey’s dramatic acting, people will often tell you how “you gotta see Eternal Sunshine.” True as that may be, Carrey’s work in The Truman Show is still his best to date. Taking the guise of another over the top Jim Carrey comedy, The Truman Show works through some heavy subjects under its surface, and for anyone experiencing a particularly brutal patch of existential dread, this one is probably not going to make you feel much better. At the end of his rope, our titular hero takes sail to Tahiti in search of a new life outside of that which has been specifically manufactured for him, facing the all too real question of whether or not staying within his own cookie cutter, normal world is what’s best for him. And even if it is, should he stay for that reason alone?

Once the Truman Show Delusion, an actual psychological disorder some viewers of this film have developed, wears off, your opinion of Jim Carrey could very well be drastically altered. Comedy films in this vein are few and far between these days, but we should all be thankful we have this one to look back to. Perhaps you will even forgive the guy for Dumb and Dumber To.

2. The Machinist

Let’s get back to psychotic delusions for a second. Christian Bale is obviously going to be a pretty good bet to play someone who is seriously ill, and yet is still somehow a redeemable person (we’ve all seen American Psycho by now, right?). However, his role in The Machinist proves to be one of his most out there in his filmography. After not sleeping for over a year, our hero in this film – a machinist – begins slipping out of his sanity. Who can blame him, really? But things really start to hit the fan once his neglect of his work responsibilities lead to the loss of a coworker’s limb. Couple that with a new pal of his who may or may not be real, and we’ve got a real dark situation on our hands, and the end result is truly something to behold.

Bale’s performance in the film is almost masochistic. He is seriously hard to look at through much of the movie, and with good reason. Bale lost over sixty pounds for the part, which, for him, was not enough, but getting down to 110 pounds and living off of a can of tuna and an apple per day frightened enough people that he cooled off his body transformation. And, as if he needs another reason to be sickly applauded for this role, he gained all his weight back in time for his role in the first Batman movie, which was released just one year later.

June 17, 1994

3. 30 for 30: June 17, 1994

Easily the best installation of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, June 17, 1994 runs through the infamous OJ Simpson police chase. The film is entirely made up of found footage, with no interviews or voice overs to lend any sort of bias or agenda. Rather than lingering on just one event, the documentary gives a better perspective of the day by showcasing other historical sporting events that were also going on that day. Arnold Palmer was playing his last professional round, the Knicks were playing the Rockets in game five of the NBA finals, and Bob Costas was losing his mind over having to compete with OJ Simpson on the run in his famous white Ford Bronco. With all this competition for viewership, the film will make you reconsider your priorities. You can choose to observe the beautiful moments in life, such as the commencement of one of the greatest golfers of all time’s career, or you can choose the ugly moments, such as Juice burning himself out.

4. Elizabethtown

Orlando Bloom is a terrible actor. This is a true fact, and watching Elizabethtown is most likely not going to change your mind. Okay. Elizabethtown is still a movie worth watching, especially if you are a Cameron Crowe fan. With this film, he Crowe pivoted back to his Jerry Maguire “chick flick” sort of ways, but I don’t know. Something about this movie totally lands. Perhaps it’s the fact that there is so much soul in it, or maybe I’m just a massive Bruce McGill fan. Regardless, it delivers. Bloom, our hero in this one, is suicidal within minutes of the opening credits, and considers taking his life in what can only be explained as the most difficult to pull of suicide technique in the history of man. But, just at the right moment, he gets a call that his dad is dead and he needs to return to his hometown in Kentucky to help his family deal with it. Yadda, yadda, yadda, he ends up falling in love with Kirsten Dunst’s character, he does a real jerk thing to make her dislike him, then she sorta likes him, and then all the other stuff that happens in a romantic comedy happens. But this film is every bit as much about loss as it is anything else. Bloom’s character, numb to his father’s death, tries anything he can to connect with what he is dealing with. His family is doing some hardcore grieving, but he just doesn’t get it, and that is something that this film really does well. Everyone has been in this position, whether it is related to death or not. Any big event in life will be met with some degree of numbness before it truly sets in, and the exploration of that feeling really works here. And if watching it becomes too much of a downer for you, there’s a really great drinking game you can make out of it. Take a drink every time Orland Bloom screws up his fake American accent.

5. Four Brothers

So Orlando Bloom is a bad actor, yes, but Mark Wahlberg is (most of the time) even worse. Four Brothers is not necessarily an outlier in that sense, but it is better than your average Mark Wahlberg performance. And if you simply can’t get over the fact that he is going to be on your screen over the course of this two hour film, there’s always Andre 3000 to make you feel a little better. The first, oh I don’t know, half or three fourths of this movie isn’t going to be particularly groundbreaking, but once things really start taking off, it’s really a treat to watch.

Living in a stereotypical, wrong side of the tracks city, the titular four brothers’ mother is murdered by some stereotypical, wrong side of the tracks hoodlums. The four brothers try and run down these ruffians, using whichever side of the law they have to in order to avenge their mother’s death. Honestly, this thing is pretty Shakespearian in terms of revenge plots. There’s really not a whole lot more to the plot, either. It’s a pretty basic thing overall, but an entertaining watch. It is number five on this list for good reason. If you don’t watch it while it’s on Netflix, it comes on like TBS early on a lot of Sunday mornings and you can watch it to drone out the mysterious voices in your head, coming to you and asking “What have you done? What have we done?”

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Peter McCarville is a cool, smart, and all around great guy. He is a graduate from the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a degree in creative writing, which has afforded him the ability to write about himself in the third person. Before every major decision he asks himself "What would Stephen Malkmus do?"

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