CLOSE
Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Keith Bernstein, Netflix

13 Must-See Movies Coming to Netflix in February

Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Keith Bernstein, Netflix

The movies popping up on Netflix in February are a grab bag of comfort food for Millennials, prestigious Oscar winners, and brand new wonders all swaddled in a huge nest of Netflix Original series. And stand-up specials. Oh, the stand-up specials.

The best of the bunch offer you a chance to either relax your brain with nostalgic familiarity or challenge it with complicated human challenges that run from the Civil War to a mute bartender dismantling a sci-fi gang operation.

Plus, since we’re in the age of infinite entertainment, if none of these titles perk your ears, our picks for the 25 best movies currently available to stream await your judgment. In the meantime, here are 10 can't-miss titles that are coming to Netflix in February.

1. GOODFELLAS (1990)

Spoiler alert: That guy was talking to Joe Pesci. The Godfather rightly gets a lot of accolades, but Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece of ambition is always in the running for best crime film of all time, anchored by Nicholas Pileggi’s real-life experiences, Thelma Schoonmaker’s peerless editing, and Ray Liotta’s manic portrayal of rising mobster/cocaine trade star Henry Hill. Endlessly quotable, now you can do your best De Niro in the comfort of your own home or while riding the bus.

2. MEN IN BLACK (1997)

On the lighter side of things, here's a movie where Will Smith catches an alien squid baby covered in what looks like runny mayonnaise. Smith’s follow-up to his career-launching turns in Bad Boys and Independence Day was a perfect showcase for his action and comedic chops that treated the end of the world with a smiling intensity. Smith got a chance to crack wise while Tommy Lee Jones bristles and Vincent D’Onofrio’s skin falls off his bones.

3. AMERICAN PIE (1999)

Paul and Chris Weitz’s surprisingly empathetic look at a group of insecure high school dudes promising to lose their virginity by graduation revitalized the sex comedy genre with a poppy soundtrack and the most advanced dial-up webcam technology of the day. The first two movies and three of its direct-to-DVD spinoffs are all coming to Netflix, so, you know, watch the first two movies and then go canoeing or start a glee club.

4., 5., AND 6. OCEAN’S ELEVEN (2001), OCEAN’S TWELVE (2004), AND OCEAN’S THIRTEEN (2007)

Steven Soderbergh captured an incredible magic with Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen, creating heist films with the biggest stars on the planet that somehow felt fresh and thrilling while promising at every turn that it would all work out just fine. George Clooney’s devil-may-care swagger and Brad Pitt’s constant snacking gave the movies wings, but they took a backseat to the real star: the labyrinthine plot winding through Las Vegas.

7. AND 8. KILL BILL: VOL. 1 (2003) AND VOL. 2 (2004)

Before John Wick, The Bride was revenging all over the place, leaving stylish bodies in her wake. Quentin Tarantino’s four-hour epic—which was eventually broken up into two films—updated grindhouse aggression for a 21st century audience, offering Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah, Lucy Liu, and Vivica A. Fox a platform to chew gloriously through scene after scene of destruction and dark revelations.

9. WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY (2007)

Criminally underrated, the John C. Reilly-starring spoof is still sharp and hilarious—more than 10 years later. Reilly twists the self-seriousness of figures like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan into parodic genius, and the script from Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan takes exactly none of it seriously. It’s a pitch-perfect sendup of both protest-era musicians and their biopics.

10. THE HURT LOCKER (2008)

Percussive and harrowing, Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Picture winner was a sensation just five years into the Iraq War. Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) is a kind of superhero who’s an expert at disposing of bombs, using a sniper rifle, and sneaking off post without consequence. But even if his actions offer a comically inaccurate version of military operations, the movie is still profoundly compelling, and Renner digs as deep into his character as an actor can.

11. LINCOLN (2012)

If you happened to miss Steven Spielberg’s biopic of our 16th president’s courageous push to pass the 13th Amendment through an unfriendly congress, now’s your chance for a stunningly beautiful history lesson. Daniel Day-Lewis’s Oscar-winning performance as Abraham Lincoln is astonishingly layered, offering us a look at a man dwarfed by the crucible of the moment finding the intestinal fortitude and honor necessary to bend the arc of history.

12. THE RITUAL (2017)

A new release that played at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival, this woodsy horror flick is based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Adam Nevill. The concept of old friends heading into the forest to relive warm memories and rehash old arguments is familiar, but the execution is surprising and clever. Directed by David Bruckner (who made his name with indie The Signal and the V/H/S anthology), it’s also gritty, unnerving, and should make you want to seal your camping equipment in your attic (if you feel safe going up there).

13. MUTE (2018)

A spiritual sequel to his breakout sci-fi meditation Moon, Duncan Jones has been trying to get Mute made for years. It focuses on a mute bartender (Alexander Skarsgård) looking for his missing girlfriend (Seyneb Saleh) in futuristic Berlin. Jones has shown incredible strength when playing in the science fiction sandbox, and the prospect of him riffing on Blade Runner is fantastically exciting, especially since it includes a cameo from Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, reprising his character from Moon and tying it into this new adventure, which Jones hopes will be the second of a trilogy.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
15 Heartwarming Facts About Mister Rogers
Getty Images
Getty Images

Though Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered 50 years ago, Fred Rogers remains an icon of kindness for the ages. An innovator of children’s television, his salt-of-the-earth demeanor and genuinely gentle nature taught a generation of kids the value of kindness. In celebration of the groundbreaking children's series' 50th anniversary, here are 15 things you might not have known about everyone’s favorite “neighbor.”

1. HE WAS BULLIED AS A CHILD.

According to Benjamin Wagner, who directed the 2010 documentary Mister Rogers & Me—and was, in fact, Rogers’s neighbor on Nantucket—Rogers was overweight and shy as a child, and often taunted by his classmates when he walked home from school. “I used to cry to myself when I was alone,” Rogers said. “And I would cry through my fingers and make up songs on the piano.” It was this experience that led Rogers to want to look below the surface of everyone he met to what he called the “essential invisible” within them.

2. HE WAS AN ORDAINED MINISTER.

Rogers was an ordained minister and, as such, a man of tremendous faith who preached tolerance wherever he went. When Amy Melder, a six-year-old Christian viewer, sent Rogers a drawing she made for him with a letter that promised “he was going to heaven,” Rogers wrote back to his young fan:

“You told me that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. It means a lot to me to know that. And, I appreciated the scripture verse that you sent. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister, and I want you to know that Jesus is important to me, too. I hope that God’s love and peace come through my work on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

3. HE RESPONDED TO ALL HIS FAN MAIL.

Responding to fan mail was part of Rogers’s very regimented daily routine, which began at 5 a.m. with a prayer and included time for studying, writing, making phone calls, swimming, weighing himself, and responding to every fan who had taken the time to reach out to him.

“He respected the kids who wrote [those letters],” Heather Arnet, an assistant on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2005. “He never thought about throwing out a drawing or letter. They were sacred."

According to Arnet, the fan mail he received wasn’t just a bunch of young kids gushing to their idol. Kids would tell Rogers about a pet or family member who died, or other issues with which they were grappling. “No child ever received a form letter from Mister Rogers," Arnet said, noting that he received between 50 and 100 letters per day.

4. ANIMALS LOVED HIM AS MUCH AS PEOPLE DID.

It wasn’t just kids and their parents who loved Mister Rogers. Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who understands 2000 English words and can also converse in American Sign Language, was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood watcher, too. When Rogers visited her, she immediately gave him a hug—and took his shoes off.

5. HE WAS AN ACCOMPLISHED MUSICIAN.

Though Rogers began his education in the Ivy League, at Dartmouth, he transferred to Rollins College following his freshman year in order to pursue a degree in music (he graduated Magna cum laude). In addition to being a talented piano player, he was also a wonderful songwriter and wrote all the songs for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood—plus hundreds more.

6. HIS INTEREST IN TELEVISION WAS BORN OUT OF A DISDAIN FOR THE MEDIUM.

Rogers’s decision to enter into the television world wasn’t out of a passion for the medium—far from it. "When I first saw children's television, I thought it was perfectly horrible," Rogers told Pittsburgh Magazine. "And I thought there was some way of using this fabulous medium to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen."

7. KIDS WHO WATCHED MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD RETAINED MORE THAN THOSE WHO WATCHED SESAME STREET.

A Yale study pitted fans of Sesame Street against Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood watchers and found that kids who watched Mister Rogers tended to remember more of the story lines, and had a much higher “tolerance of delay,” meaning they were more patient.

8. ROGERS’S MOM KNIT ALL OF HIS SWEATERS.

If watching an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood gives you sweater envy, we’ve got bad news: You’d never be able to find his sweaters in a store. All of those comfy-looking cardigans were knitted by Fred’s mom, Nancy. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Rogers explained how his mother would knit sweaters for all of her loved ones every year as Christmas gifts. “And so until she died, those zippered sweaters I wear on the Neighborhood were all made by my mother,” he explained.

9. HE WAS COLORBLIND.

Those brightly colored sweaters were a trademark of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but the colorblind host might not have always noticed. In a 2003 article, just a few days after his passing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that:

Among the forgotten details about Fred Rogers is that he was so colorblind he could not distinguish between tomato soup and pea soup.

He liked both, but at lunch one day 50 years ago, he asked his television partner Josie Carey to taste it for him and tell him which it was.

Why did he need her to do this, Carey asked him. Rogers liked both, so why not just dip in?

"If it's tomato soup, I'll put sugar in it," he told her.

10. HE WORE SNEAKERS AS A PRODUCTION CONSIDERATION.

According to Wagner, Rogers’s decision to change into sneakers for each episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was about production, not comfort. “His trademark sneakers were born when he found them to be quieter than his dress shoes as he moved about the set,” wrote Wagner.

11. MICHAEL KEATON GOT HIS START ON THE SHOW.

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton's first job was as a stagehand on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, manning Picture, Picture, and appearing as Purple Panda.

12. ROGERS GAVE GEORGE ROMERO HIS FIRST PAYING GIG, TOO.

It's hard to imagine a gentle, soft-spoken, children's education advocate like Rogers sitting down to enjoy a gory, violent zombie movie like Dawn of the Dead, but it actually aligns perfectly with Rogers's brand of thoughtfulness. He checked out the horror flick to show his support for then-up-and-coming filmmaker George Romero, whose first paying job was with everyone's favorite neighbor.

“Fred was the first guy who trusted me enough to hire me to actually shoot film,” Romero said. As a young man just out of college, Romero honed his filmmaking skills making a series of short segments for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, creating a dozen or so titles such as “How Lightbulbs Are Made” and “Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy.” The zombie king, who passed away in 2017, considered the latter his first big production, shot in a working hospital: “I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made. What I really mean is that I was scared sh*tless while I was trying to pull it off.”

13. ROGERS HELPED SAVE PUBLIC TELEVISION.

In 1969, Rogers—who was relatively unknown at the time—went before the Senate to plead for a $20 million grant for public broadcasting, which had been proposed by President Johnson but was in danger of being sliced in half by Richard Nixon. His passionate plea about how television had the potential to turn kids into productive citizens worked; instead of cutting the budget, funding for public TV increased from $9 million to $22 million.

14. HE ALSO SAVED THE VCR.

Years later, Rogers also managed to convince the Supreme Court that using VCRs to record TV shows at home shouldn’t be considered a form of copyright infringement (which was the argument of some in this contentious debate). Rogers argued that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family. Again, he was convincing.

15. ONE OF HIS SWEATERS WAS DONATED TO THE SMITHSONIAN.

In 1984, Rogers donated one of his iconic sweaters to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Paul Rudd stars in Mute (2018)
Universal Pictures
arrow
entertainment
15 Fun Facts About Army of Darkness
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

On February 19, 1993, Army of Darkness—the third installment in Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell's Evil Dead franchise—made its way into U.S. theaters. You probably know all about Ash’s boomstick, but on the occasion of the hilarious horror comedy's 25th anniversary, it's worth a closer look.

1. ARMY OF DARKNESS ISN'T THE ENTIRE TITLE.

The film’s title is stylized onscreen as Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness. This phrasing was Sam Raimi’s homage to the defunct Hollywood tradition of putting stars’ names in movie titles (like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)—but the studio feared the long title would confuse moviegoers, so it was shortened for official purposes to just Army of Darkness.

2. EVEN THE SHORTER TITLE WASN'T RAIMI'S FIRST CHOICE.

Army of Darkness is the third installment of the Evil Dead series and the first to take place during the Middle Ages. Raimi’s original title for Army of Darkness was The Medieval Dead.

3. BRIDGET FONDA FINALLY GOT TO WORK WITH RAIMI.

Bridget Fonda makes a cameoas Ash’s girlfriend Linda during the beginning flashback sequence. She is the third actress in three films to play Linda (following actresses Betsy Baker and Denise Bixler). Fonda—a huge Evil Dead II fan—had originally auditioned to be in Raimi’s previous film, Darkman, but didn’t get the part.

4. ASH'S CAR HAD A LOT OF SCREEN EXPERIENCE.

The 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 allegedly appears in all of Sam Raimi’s films.

5. DARKMAN MADE ARMY OF DARKNESS POSSIBLE.

Raimi wanted to make Army of Darkness immediately following 1987’s Evil Dead II, but he struggled to find funding to finish his trilogy. The financial success of Raimi’s 1990 film, Darkman, eventually convinced Universal Studios to split the $12 million budget with executive producer Dino De Laurentiis.

6. A SUBTLE SCIENCE FICTION REFERENCE PLAYS A KEY ROLE.

The words Ash must utter to safely retrieve the Necronomicon (“Klaatu verata nikto”) are actually a variation on a phrase from the original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still. In that film, “Klaatu barada nitko” is the phrase one must say to stop the robot Gort from destroying Earth.

7. THE SKELETON DEADITES WERE AN HOMAGE.

Their design is a tribute to visual effects legend Ray Harryhausen.

8. THE STAY PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN MAKES AN APPEARANCE.

Billy Bryan, the actor who portrays the second monster in the medieval pit, also portrayed the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters.

9. SAM RAIMI'S BROTHER WORE A LOT OF HATS.

Ted Raimi—who makes cameos in all of his brother’s films—appears as three different background characters in Army of Darkness. He is first seen as a sympathetic villager, then as a dying soldier during the final battle, and, finally, as an S-Mart employee in the last scene.

10. RAIMI HAD TO FIGHT FOR AN R-RATING.

In keeping with the gory first two films in the series, Army of Darkness received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. It was subsequently bumped down to an R rating after the filmmakers pointed out that the ostensible gore in the film was happening to skeletons.

11. PLAYING EVIL ASH WAS TOUGH FOR CAMPBELL.

It took makeup artists three hours to get Campbell ready for shooting.

12. RAIMI STORYBOARDED EVERY SINGLE SHOT IN THE MOVIE HIMSELF.

About 25 shots in the final battle are taken from storyboards originally used in the 1948 Victor Fleming film Joan of Arc, which were brought to Raimi’s attention by visual effects supervisor William Mesa. Mesa got them from a friend, who got them from Fleming himself.

13. THERE'S AN EASTER EGG FOR TREKKIES.

Star Trek fans will recognize the location where Ash learns the “Klaatu verata nikto” incantation. The scene was shot at the iconic Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce, California, where the famous “Arena” episode from Star Trek was also shot. The movie also shot in the Bronson Canyon area of Griffith Park in Los Angeles that served as the Batcave for the 1960s Batman television show.

14. THE STUDIO CHANGED THE ENDING.

Bruce Campbell stars in 'Army of Darkness' (1992)
Universal Pictures

The original conclusion of the film—which Universal Studios deemed too negative—featured Ash taking too much potion to get back to the present day and waking up in a future, post-apocalyptic London. The ending can be seen on subsequent director’s cuts of home video versions of Army of Darkness.

15. EVEN AFTER YEARS OF TRYING, A SEQUEL NEVER MATERIALIZED.

Beginning in 2015, Bruce Campbell reprised his role as Ash in the Ash vs Evil Dead TV series. While fans of the Evil Dead franchise love it, Raimi spent years trying to get a sequel to Army of Darkness off the ground. On the commentary track for the first season of Ash vs. Evil Dead, Raimi even shared a few of the discarded ideas he had for the film.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER