Summer is halfway over, and you haven’t even started on that Netflix queue, have you? I’ve had Melvin and Howard in my possession for two months now. We’re all going to get through this together.
Let me help you on your journey by suggesting 10 wildly different titles that are now available on Netflix Instant. It’s a glamorous, funny, serious, sometimes gay, and usually damn smart series of works. Let’s watch ‘em and report back in a month, shall we?
Of Human Bondage
Ah, flashy young Bette! A one-of-a-kind imp and coquette! Of Human Bondage isn’t exactly light cinema, but of Ms. Davis’ contributions to ’30s, it’s her finest hour. Or is it Dark Victory? OK, I do love Dark Victory. But Somerset Maugham won’t ever let you astray. Did you see The Razor’s Edge? Anne Baxter tearing. It. Up. Anyway. See Of Human Bondage.
Now 50 years old, Cleopatra is a bit of a bear to get through, but you still need to see it because of those priceless moments in which Liz Taylor‘s beauty shines like A REFLECTION IN A GOLDEN EYE (sorry) and you can totally track the beginning of ’60s sartorial and makeup trends. “Sphinx pink” was a real color at one point.
Barefoot in the Park
Barefoot in the Park may mark one of Jane Fonda‘s lightest roles (it’s even lighter than California Suite, y’all), but it’s so worth viewing now thanks to its three timeless attributes: 1) Jane’s fabulous comic chops, 2) Robert Redford‘s golden visage, 3) Mildred Natwick‘s Oscar-nominated turn as Fonda’s concerned, sputtering mother. Movie stars named Mildred, guys. You’ll never get that back.
Don’t Look Now
Don’t Look Now only gets more beloved as each year passes, and thank God: At the time of its premiere, it garnered a controversial rap for its graphic sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, the reigning king and queen of the early ’70s. But the amazing editing, fascinating depiction of grief, and shocking thriller elements still make this a one-of-a-kind film. Totally, totally captivating. If you want a less hair-raising Julie Christie, fear not: Heaven Can Wait is also available on Netflix Instant starting this summer. And of course, if you want a hair-flattening Julie Christie, rent Shampoo.
The Parallax View
Now, of the films in Alan J. Pakula‘s Political Paranoia trilogy, The Parallax View is certainly the one you should see least. (C’mon, Klute and All the President’s Men? Jane Fonda’s weary prostitute act and Jane Alexander‘s liar face are more important than Warren Beatty taking himself seriously, I insist.) But there’s something to mine here: Beatty is a good actor, and he holds his own against the great Hume Cronyn. The crescendo of intrigue here is definitively ’70s, and everyone looks amazing swept up in it — because let’s face it, the real reason to watch this is for the remains of Jane Fonda’s shag that Paula Prentiss calls a haircut here. Sigh!