Netflix Party is a handy extension for the Chrome browser that allows multiple viewers to watch a movie at the same time, communicating via a chat box at the right of the screen. The main drawback of this, of course, is that you’re limited to watching selections from Netflix’s hit-or-miss catalog of movies.
With that in mind, here are 10 stirring, strange, hilarious and thought-provoking Netflix-available films that may have flown under your radar.
The End of the Tour (2015)
Dir. James Ponsoldt. 106 minutes.
What’s it about? A Rolling Stone reporter writing a profile on a virtuoso novelist whom he both admires and resents.
Watch it for: excellent scenes of banter between Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel in gas stations or washed-out mall food courts. You don’t often find a period piece set in 1996.
Dir. Denis Villeneuve. 95 minutes.
What’s it about? A history professor, watching a movie, notices an actor who looks exactly like him. This discovery grows into a strange obsession.
Watch it for: Denis Villeneuve’s unsettling direction, and seriously peculiar imagery featuring skyscraper-sized spiders.
Good Time (2017)
Dir. Josh and Benny Safdie. 101 minutes.
What’s it about? Constantine “Connie” Nikas attempts a bank robbery using his intellectually disabled brother as backup. When things go terribly wrong, Connie piles one questionable decision on another in a desperate struggle to save his brother.
Watch it for: a bravura performance from Robert Pattinson. You’ll never look at him as “the guy from ‘Twilight’” again.
The Interview (1998)
Dir. Craig Monahan. 104 minutes.
What’s it about? A man is hauled out of his apartment and subjected to threatening accusations by police.
Watch it for: intense, dialogue-driven scenes featuring a young Hugo Weaving. “The Interview” is low-budget Aussie filmmaking at its best.
The Master (2012)
Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson. 150 minutes.
What’s it about? Down-and-out drifter Freddie Quell wanders hopelessly through the 1950s U.S. He runs into an L. Ron Hubbard-esque guru who seems to offer him a chance to save himself.
Watch it for: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final great role, a transformative performance by Joaquin Phoenix, lush and detailed set design, a unique soundtrack by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood — I could go on.
Dir. Duncan Jones. 97 minutes.
What’s it about? A man working a three-year contract, by himself, on the far side of the moon. Now, that’s social distancing!
Watch it for: Sam Rockwell’s performance as the homesick protagonist. As an aside, this film was directed by David Bowie’s son.
A Serious Man (2009)
Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen. 106 minutes.
What’s it about? A physics professor whose life is cursed by weird misfortunes.
Watch it for: weird imagery, head-scratching plot turns and a hilarious satire of life in an American Jewish community.
Train to Busan (2016)
Dir. Yeon Sang-Ho. 118 minutes.
What’s it about? Passengers on a moving train must fight a zombie infestation spreading from one carriage to another.
Watch it for: wildly entertaining action scenes and a low-key satire of xenophobic nationalism.
Under the Skin (2013)
Dir. Jonathan Glazer. 108 minutes.
What’s it about? An extraterrestrial, in the form of Scarlett Johannson, wanders through human society.
Watch it for: a vivid portrayal of an outsider’s experience, fueled by utterly original cinematography and sound design. Despite the goofy-sounding premise, “Under the Skin” is one of most serious alien movies you’re likely to see.
The Witch (2015)
Dir. Robert Eggers. 93 minutes.
What’s it about? Cast out of Plymouth Colony, a family of Puritan settlers struggles to survive in isolation, on the edge of a forbidding wood.
Watch it for: a wonderfully authentic portrayal of 17th-century colonial American life that makes the film’s spooky atmosphere all the more compelling.