The Best New Things to Watch on Netflix This October

IT’S BEEN EIGHT years since Netflix first began streaming movies, and by now the catalog is essentially a tiny civilization; each month, dozens of titles shuffle off the cloud-based coil, and dozens more are born to take their place. And we don’t know about you, but the majority of these births and deaths are insignificant. Oh noes, Ink Master: Season 2 won’t be available anymore! That’s okay, though, because the first four seasons of The Vanilla Ice Projectwill slide in to fill the void. See?

So rather than just dumping a huge list on you and letting you wander around in the jungle of titles in a futile search for something worthwhile, we’re giving you the essentials. The must-watches. The opposite, if you will, of Seasons 1-4 of The Vanilla Ice Project. The good news is there’s plenty of stuff; the bad news is between this and the fall TV season being in full swing, we have no idea how you’re gonna fit it all in. Hope you didn’t have your heart set on reading, dating, or exercising!

October 1

Batman Begins (2005): Christopher Nolan elevated the superhero game to prestige picture status with his anti-Tim Burton take on Batman. Re-live the magic of hearing Christian Bale’s gravelly whisper-shout for the first time, or just take a drink and yell “LIAM NEESONS!” every time Ra’s al Ghul comes onscreen.

Boogie Nights (1997): While he’d garnered some attention for his debut film,Hard Eight, Paul Thomas Anderson launched himself (and Mark Wahlberg) into the A-list with this supersized (!) ensemble dramedy about the late-’70s porn world. It still holds up—especially Alfred Molina’s unbelievably unhinged setpiece—so jump back in the Jacuzzi with Amber Waves and Dirk Diggler for a hit of salacious fun.

Glass Chin (2014): Chances are this one snuck past you during its brief theatrical run this summer. A down-on-his-luck former boxer (Corey Stoll) can’t stop pining for that glitzy New York City life, and makes a what-could-possibly-go-wrong deal with a crooked restauranteur (Billy Crudup), at which point things go very very wrong. A nice, stylized hit of neo-noir featuring two strong but underrated actors.

Million Dollar Baby (2004): For a while there, Clint Eastwood couldn’t miss and Hilary Swank couldn’t stop winning Oscars (always at the expense of poor Annette Bening, oddly enough); thankfully for everyone, their peaks came together with this adaptation of F.X. Toole’s short stories about boxing. It’ll still make you cry, so queue this one up on a feel-bad kind of night—or just be ready to chase it with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s parody episode (also on Netflix!).

The Bourne Supremacy (2004): Matt Damon is coming back as amnesiac superspy Jason Bourne next year, making this second installment in the franchise the perfect appetizer. It’s Paul Greengrass’ first time directing a Bourne movie, and the Damon-Greengrass teamup is a huge part of what made this and 2008’s Ultimatum the standouts of the series. This time out, Bourne’s been framed by the CIA and is on the run—which leads to one hell of a chase scene.

The Nightmare (2015): Documentarian Rodney Ascher (who made the incredible Room 237) debuted his exploration of sleep paralysis at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it played in the Midnight section—where the scary movies live. Ascher interviews a handful of paralysis victims who share their shockingly similar stories of what it’s like to be stalked by The Shadow Man in an intellectual realm of pure panic, and he recreates their night terrors with highly stylized dramatizations of the visions. If you’re afraid of being incepted with sleep paralysis, avoid The Nightmare.

American Horror Story: Freak Show, iZombie (Season 1), The Flash (Season 1):Time to watch those shows you’ve been meaning to get to. Binge Freak Showbefore AHS: Hotel starts next week, and catch up with The Flash and iZombiebefore 4 seasons pile up of each and starting either feels too daunting. Now’s your chance!

October 16

Beasts of No Nation (2015): After Cary Joji Fukanaga directed the good first season of True Detective, he moved on to this Netflix Originals film about child soldiers in West Africa, and the buzz it’s been getting is unreal. The picture, which stars the incomparable Idris Elba as “The Commandant,” is getting a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release, so if you just can’t drag yourself off the couch to go support worthy art on a big screen, it will immediately be available for free. You lazy bum.

October 27

Results (2015): Cobie Smulders hasn’t done a lot of movie outside of playing SHIELD agent Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so to have her show up in two starring vehicles at Sundance this year was a great surprise.Results, the lighter of the two (the other is pregnancy-surprise dramedyUnexpected) stars Smulders—aka How I Met Your Mother’s Robin Scherbatsky—as a personal trainer whose life takes a surprise turn when a wealthy new client (indie-comedy vet Kevin Corrigan) walks through the door.

Manson Family Vacation (2015): Manson Family is but the latest star in the galaxy of Duplass Brothers-produced indies, a very weird road-trip movie about two estranged brothers. Nick (played by Jay Duplass, who despite appearing in Transparent is still far less recognizable than his brother Mark) has a loving family and an idyllic life—which is promptly disrupted when wandering ne’er-do-well Conrad (Linas Phillips) drops in for a surprise visit and wants to visit places around LA that are significant in the history of the Manson Family cult. Like Little Miss Sunshine, but way darker.

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