30 Things Turning 30 in 2017

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If you were born in 1987, you're in good company! Here's our annual list celebrating 30 things (products, companies, TV shows, books, heck—even people!) turning 30 this year.

1. CHERRY GARCIA

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Ben & Jerry's introduced the flavor Cherry Garcia on February 15, 1987. Honoring the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, the flavor was originally suggested by Jane Williamson, a fan. She had contacted the company several times with the idea, and her suggestion turned into a hit. The company thanked her with a year's supply of Ben & Jerry's.

2. THE PRINCESS BRIDE

The Princess Bride hit theaters on September 25, 1987, and became an instant classic. Featuring the Cliffs of Insanity, the Pit of Despair, and Rodents of Unusual Size, the film struck a chord with lovers of adventure, romance, and fantasy. It also gave us a terrific revenge tale, as Mandy Patinkin's character says: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

If you're a super-fan, there's an entire website devoted to the movie. (We have our own facts about the movie here). They also sell "tweasure." And if you haven't read it, William Goldman's original book—published way back in 1973—is inconceivably good.

3. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA (IN THE U.S.)

As with many Nintendo games, The Legend of Zelda has multiple birthdays. It was first released in Japan in 1986, but had its U.S. debut on August 22, 1987 in a signature gold-colored cartridge including a special battery pack to keep saved game data. Meanwhile, Japanese players had been enjoying Zelda II: The Adventure of Link since January 14, 1987.

In the three decades since Zelda reached America, more than a dozen sequels have emerged. It remains one of Nintendo's most popular franchises. The latest installment, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is slated for release this year.

4. PANERA BREAD

In 1987, the first St. Louis Break Company opened in Kirkwood, Missouri. It would go on to expand to several more locations before attracting the attention of Au Bon Pain, which was trying to enter the suburban market. By the late '90s, the chain was renamed to its current Panera Bread. The name "Panera" is derived from the Latin for, effectively, "breadbasket." The chain features soups, salads, and sandwiches in addition to typical bakery fare.

The company now has over 2000 locations, and in the mid-2000s gained fame for its free Wi-Fi. These days, your free Wi-Fi time may be capped at 30 minutes.

5. U2'S THE JOSHUA TREE

On March 9, 1987, U2 released their epic album The Joshua Tree, featuring smash hit singles "With or Without You," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," and "Where the Streets Have No Name." The supporting tour was suitably epic, and during the tour they shot scenes for the upcoming album and film Rattle and HumThe Joshua Tree was U2's first album to reach No. 1 in the U.S.

Other big music releases in 1987 include Michael Jackson's Bad; George Michael's solo debut, Faith; The Cure's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me; Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation; Fleetwood Mac's Tango in the Night; Def Leppard's Hysteria; and Guns N’ Roses's seminal Appetite for Destruction.

6. FULL HOUSE

The quintessential American '80s sitcom Full House premiered on September 22, 1987. It had a slightly grim premise under its wacky surface: After the death of anchorman Danny Tanner's wife, he pulls his best friend and his brother-in-law into his San Francisco home to help care for his three daughters. Fortunately, hilarity ensued, and we all learned catch phrases like Dave Coulier's "Cut—it—out," the Olsen twins' "Aw, nuts!" and Jodie Sweetin's "How rude!"

Today, the web is full of fan sites and even a podcast. Netflix launched the spinoff series Fuller House in 2016, featuring an all-grown-up Candace Cameron Bure as D.J. Tanner-Fuller. Fuller. Get it? Huh? Oh well. Watch the hair!

7. THE SIMPSONS (ON THE TRACEY ULLMAN SHOW)

Before The Simpsons had their own show, they appeared in animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. The first short appeared on April 19, 1987. Entitled "Good Night," it showed Bart, Lisa, and Maggie going through their bedtime routines, inadvertently becoming terrified by their clueless parents' comments.

Looking back at the animated shorts, most of the show's DNA is already in place. Although the art is crude and some of the characters aren't full developed, the core dynamics are there—even including Itchy and Scratchy!

8. PRESIDENT REAGAN'S "TEAR DOWN THIS WALL" SPEECH

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan visited West Berlin to deliver a speech. Standing by the Brandenburg Gate, he exhorted Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!" At the time, the Berlin Wall was just over 25 years old. It would begin to fall in late 1989. While the president's speech didn't cause the fall by itself, it sure felt like a big factor at the time. President Reagan said, in part:

There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

The speech touched on a variety of other issues as well, including President Reagan's desire to limit nuclear weapons proliferation. At one point he called for the Soviets and the U.S. to "[eliminate], for the first time, an entire class of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth."

You can watch the entire speech courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, or check out the money quote in the YouTube clip embedded above.

9. BLACK MONDAY

Monday, October 19, 1987 was a rough day. Stock markets crashed worldwide, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22 percent of its value in one day. In previous months, the Dow had soared more than 44 percent over the previous year's close. Starting in mid-October, the Dow was hit by a series of major losses, culminating in the crash of Black Monday (which is, incidentally, known as Black Tuesday in Australia and New Zealand, due to time zone differences).

While Black Monday brought us the biggest one-day drop in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the market recovered quickly. Over half the losses were regained in just two days of trading. Then, early in 1989, the Dow surpassed its previous high. The most notable effect of the crash was the creation of tools to temporarily halt trading (seen as a hedge against computer-trading programs running amok) to reduce volatility.

10. CANADA'S LOONIE

In June 1987, Canada introduced a new $1 coin to replace paper $1 notes. The coin featured the image of a loon, and the coin quickly earned the nickname "loonie." (Over the years, various non-loon versions have been minted; the Royal Canadian Mint maintains a nice list.)

In 1996, the Canadian $2 coin debuted. Predictably, it became known as the "toonie."

11. STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

Star Trek fans rejoiced when Star Trek: The Next Generation aired on September 28, 1987. The original series had stopped producing episodes in 1969, though TV syndication, new movies, and fan conventions kept the series alive in the pop culture landscape.

Helmed by Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, TNG followed a later iteration of the starship Enterprise on a "continuing mission" of exploration. It was set a hundred years after the original show, and Roddenberry had some odd rules of play. He suggested that conflict among members of the crew would not exist in this new future, which led to awkward plots in the first few years of the show. (This lack of internal conflict required external forces to emerge, constantly, to create conflict.)

TNG was the background TV of many '90s kids' childhoods, as hour-long episodes ran in reruns after school. The show ran for seven seasons and produced a staggering 178 individual episodes. It still runs in syndication today, and we write about it often.

12. DIRTY DANCING

Released on August 21, 1987, Dirty Dancing was a massive hit. Featuring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in period drama, the movie took us all the way back to 1963. (That's a gap of 24 years. If we made a modern Dirty Dancing with the same time gap, it would be set in the good old days of 1993.) As Grey's character "Baby" unleashes her inner dancer, Swayze's "Johnny" taught America to love dancing again. Dirty Dancing won one Academy Award, for Best Original Song: "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." That song also picked up a Golden Globe and a Grammy.

Just remember: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

13. BABY JESSICA'S RESCUE

On October 14, 1987, 18-month-old "Baby Jessica" McClure fell down a well in her aunt's back yard. The well shaft was just 8 inches in diameter, and Baby Jessica was stuck 22 feet underground.

For the next 58 hours, TV viewers were glued to CNN TV coverage as rescuers worked to save Baby Jessica's life. They drilled a much wider hole parallel to the well, then tunneled from the larger hole to the smaller well shaft. While this went on, rescuers added oxygen to Baby Jessica's well shaft, hoping to keep her breathing. Adults spoke to her, singing songs and trying to stay in contact.

On October 16, 1987, the rescue was successful—and it was televised. Baby Jessica was safe, and she went on to live a normal life. Local news photographer Scott Shaw snapped a photo of her rescue that won a Pulitzer Prize.

14. THE MAX HEADROOM INCIDENT

On the evening of November 22, 1987, Chicago-area TV viewers saw something unexpected. A news broadcast on WGN was interrupted for just under 30 seconds by a guy wearing a Max Headroom mask. The audio didn't work, and the station successfully cut the pirate out quickly.

The TV pirate struck again that night during an episode of Dr. Who on WTTW. The show was interrupted for about 90 seconds when the faux Max Headroom cut into the signal and spoke in heavily distorted seeming non-sequiturs, ultimately showing himself being spanked by a fly swatter. The incident remains a mystery, as the perpetrator has never been identified or caught.

(For our younger readers, check out this article for an explanation of who or what Max Headroom was.)

15. PROZAC

In December 1987, the FDA approved Prozac, a prescription antidepressant known generically as Fluoxetine. The drug was a blockbuster hit, soon becoming a multibillion-dollar-a-year business for drugmaker Eli Lilly.

Prozac was also a cultural milestone, leading to a series of books about depression and medication, including Prozac Nation, Prozac Diary, and Listening to Prozac. Prozac quickly became synonymous with antidepressant drugs in general, and remains a true icon of the 1980s.

16. MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN

When Fox launched in late 1986, it went head to head with the Big Three TV companies: ABC, CBS, and NBC. Fox was looking to join that lineup, and it quickly cemented itself as a player with a series of popular shows, including The Tracey Ullman Show, 21 Jump Street, and the instant classic Married... With Children.

The show focused initially on Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill), a dimwitted women's shoe salesman with a feisty family. It launched on April 5, 1987 and ran for just over a decade, earning modest ratings for the channel as part of its Sunday night lineup (which would later be anchored by The Simpsons).

17. MICHAEL JORDAN'S 58-POINT GAME

On February 26, 1987, Michael Jordan set a Chicago record by scoring 58 points in a regular-season game. He led the Bulls to beat the Nets 128-113. He voluntarily stopped playing after setting the record, and told The New York Times:

"I knew the fans wanted me to get 60, then 63, and maybe 70. But the bottom line is, that by scoring more points I'll always have to shoot for more and more, and there's a lot more to the game."

Jordan had previously set a playoff game record in May 1986, scoring 63 points against the Celtics. His records are so numerous that Wikipedia has a long article devoted solely to his achievements.

18. LARRY BIRD'S 59-BASKET FREE THROW STREAK

Larry Bird had a habit of making free throws. In 1987, he went on a 59-basket streak from November 9 through December 4. Two years later, he went on a 71-basket streak, though even that one fell short of Calvin Murphy's 78-basket streak in 1981. (All of these records have since been broken.) But hey, it wouldn't be 1987 basketball without mildly dissing Larry Bird, right?

19. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE GIN

Although the bottle makes Bombay Sapphire look centuries old, it was first introduced in 1987. Designed to be a "luxury gin" akin to how Absolut was considered a "luxury vodka," Bombay Sapphire took the existing Bombay line and elevated it, going back to Bombay's famous 1761 recipe ... and adding a dash of new botanical ingredients.

20. ROBOCOP

Paul Verhoeven brought us his dystopian RoboCop on July 17, 1987. Featuring Peter Weller as the title character, the film shows us what happens when a private corporation takes over the Detroit Police Department ... and starts staffing it with cyborgs. What could possibly go wrong?

Fun fact: In the movie, the 1986 model Ford Taurus appears as a futuristic police cruiser—because that design was actually pretty sleek for its time! Various Ford models were also used in the sequels and reboot. "Your move, creep."

21. MACINTOSH SE

The Macintosh SE came out in on March 2, 1987, and it would set you back $2899 with two floppy drives—or $3899 with a 20 megabyte hard drive. Yikes.

Refining the design used in the original 1984 Mac and the Macintosh Plus, the SE ran at a decidedly non-blistering 8 MHz, but it could support up to 4 megabytes of RAM, and it became a common machine in computer labs across the U.S. Because it allowed for an internal hard drive and also had a built-in expansion slot, the SE was more expandable than previous Macs, which helped it hang on for more than two years.

22. CONGRESSIONAL BAN ON INFLIGHT SMOKING

On July 26, 1987, the U.S. Congress mandated a ban on inflight smoking for flights of two hours or less. The ban went into effect in 1988, and was eventually broadened. Interestingly, regulations still mandate the presence of ashtrays in airplane lavatories.

(Incidentally, starting on April 26, 1987, Air Canada started experimenting with its own smoking bans.)

23. AZT

On March 19, 1987, the FDA approved a drug called azidothymidine for treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS infection. Because the drug's name was such a mouthful, everybody called it "AZT" from the start. It was the first-ever drug approved for treating HIV/AIDS, and its approval came in record time, after only a single 19-week trial on humans.

While AZT was the first effective medication for some cases to fight HIV/AIDS, it was only the first step. Over the coming decades, scientists added medications and refined dosages, arriving at modern treatments. But in 1987, AZT was the only medical hope for patients with HIV/AIDS.

24. "THE DRIVE" (JOHN ELWAY'S BIG WIN)

On January 11, 1987, the Denver Broncos made a legendary comeback known as "The Drive." Playing against the Cleveland Browns, the Broncos were down 20-13 with 5:32 left on the clock. Quarterback John Elway took over, and led his team on a 98-yard drive in just over five minutes. That left the game tied with 0:37 on the clock, and Elway's Broncos proceeded to win the game in overtime with a field goal.

That win allowed the Broncos to advance to Super Bowl XXI, which they lost to New York Giants. But still, The Drive is what football fans look to as a textbook example of a last-minute rally.

25. WINDOWS 2.0

Microsoft released Windows 2.0 on December 9, 1987. It was a transitional operating system, bridging the gap between the (borderline unusable) Windows 1.0 and the very successful Windows 3.0.

The banner features of Windows 2 were overlapping, freely resizable windows (previously, windows had to be "tiled" and couldn't overlap). Aside from the slightly improved user interface, Microsoft Word and Excel both arrived for Windows 2.0, and it also included a slightly updated version of the game Reversi!

Apple sued Microsoft in March 1988 over the graphical user interface in Windows 2.0. Microsoft won. Apple appealed repeatedly, attempting to get the case before the Supreme Court, which declined to hear it. Tensions between Microsoft and Apple remained high until 1997, when Microsoft invested in Apple and the companies' CEOs buried the hatchet.

26. STEPHEN KING'S MISERY

On June 8, 1987, readers got a taste of the horrors of writing. In Stephen King's novel Misery, a famous writer is rescued from a car crash by a super-fan, but finds that his recuperation is not as pleasant as he'd hoped.

King mentions Misery in his 2000 book On Writing, saying that the story came to him while he slept on a 1984 flight from New York to London. When he woke up, he wrote the following fever-dream ramble on a cocktail napkin:

She speaks earnestly but never quite makes eye contact. A big woman and solid all through; she is an absence of hiatus. (Whatever that means; remember, I had just woken up.) “I wasn’t trying to be funny in a mean way when I named my pig Misery, no sir. Please don’t think that. No, I named her in the spirit of fan love, which is the purest love there is. You should be flattered.”

Upon arriving at his hotel in London, King proceeded to write more than a dozen pages of the story, longhand, on what was formerly Rudyard Kipling's desk.

Misery was made into a movie in 1990. Kathy Bates played Annie, the super-fan, and she won an Oscar for Best Actress for that performance.

27. RANDY SHILTS'S AND THE BAND PLAYED ON

Randy Shilts was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1987 he published the bestseller And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, exploring the history of the HIV/AIDS crisis in America, with a focus on how leaders reacted to the crisis. Shilts himself died of complications from AIDS in 1994.

And the Band Played On has been in the news lately; the book mentions Gaetan Dugas as "Patient Zero" and describes his international travel and promiscuity as vectors for virus transmission. Shilts wrote, "Whether Gaetan Dugas actually was the person who brought AIDS to North America remains a question of debate and is ultimately unanswerable." In 2016, scientists published a study in the journal Nature proving that Dugas was not the first vector in North America.

And the Band Played On was adapted into a movie in 1993, starring Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Ian McKellan, Glenne Headly, and a stunning list of other major stars.

28. KENDRICK LAMAR, KESHA, RONDA ROUSEY, EVAN RACHEL WOOD, ZAC EFRON ...

Plenty of actors, musicians, and athletes were born in 1987. Here are just a few:

Ronda Rousey - February 1

Ellen Page - February 21

Kesha - March 1

(Lil') Bow Wow - March 9

Mackenzie Davis - April 1

Kendrick Lamar - June 17

Lionel Messi - June 24

Blake Lively - August 25

Evan Rachel Wood - September 7

Wiz Khalifa - September 8

Tom Felton - September 22

Hilary Duff - September 28

Zac Efron - October 18

29. FINAL FANTASY

The epic Final Fantasy game franchise began on December 18, 1987, when the first version of the game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Designed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the title's adjective "final" referred to the fact that if the game didn't work out, Sakaguchi was in serious trouble. He told Famitsu:

"The name ‘Final Fantasy’ was a display of my feeling that if this didn’t sell, I was going to quit the games industry and go back to university. I’d have had to repeat a year, so I wouldn’t have had any friends—it really was a ‘final’ situation."

Although this series of events has been disputed, FF was a hit, and it has gone on to spawn endless sequels and spinoffs. (The most recent is Final Fantasy XV, released in late 2016.)

30. thirtysomething

Unless you're at least 35, you probably won't recognize the TV show thirtysomething. It was a drama launched in September 1987, featuring Baby Boomers then in their mid-thirties, struggling with adulthood and parenthood in Philadelphia.

The term "thirty-something" became part of the popular lexicon, and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1993. The term refers broadly to people in their 30s, but more specifically to the generation of baby boomers who hit their 30s during the 1980s.

10 Facts About DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story For Its 15th Anniversary

Vince Vaughn stars in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004).
Vince Vaughn stars in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004).
Twentieth Century Fox

June 18, 2004 saw the release of two wildly different films in American cinemas: Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal and a goofy, cameo-filled, wrench-chucking sports comedy called DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. Guess which one came out on top at the box office? The sleeper hit both saluted and skewered the sports movie genre. It also gave Chuck Norris the chance to enjoy a free helicopter ride.

1. Dodgeball's creator was inspired by the book Fast Food Nation.

DodgeBall writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber considered DodgeBall an homage to some of his favorite flicks, including Revenge of the Nerds (1984), Rocky (1976), and Bull Durham (1988). Another source of inspiration was Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, the nonfiction bestseller about the modern obsession with greasy, ready-made cuisine. Published in 2001, Fast Food Nation sold more than 1.4 million copies within five years. It also left plenty of fingerprints on Thurber’s script.

"I really took a cue from that—there's an absolute love/fear relationship thing in our culture," Thurber told Film Freak Central in 2014. "We're so weight conscious, so image conscious, so youth-oriented—and wrapped up with all that psychosis are these ad images of it being so cool and all-American and sexy to eat McDonald's and drink pop and all that. It pulls people in all sorts of different directions, so I wanted [Ben Stiller’s character] White Goodman to be sitting there with a doughnut and the car battery attached to his nipples … That situation with food, with sports, with so much of our culture. [It’s] already almost too surreal to satirize."

2. The movie's actors went through some rigorous training.

To ready themselves for the movie, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and the rest of the actors ran indoor dodgeball drills at what many of them have since described as a “boot camp.” According to Stiller, this basically consisted of “us at a gym a few times a week playing dodgeball.” While that may not sound too intense, the physicality of these sessions took its toll on the performers. “It’s a game for the young,” Stiller said. “It’s one thing when you’re eight, but when you’re 38, it gets really exhausting. After three or four minutes, you’re fried.” Practicing at his side was Stiller’s wife, Christine Taylor, who plays Kate Veatch of the Average Joe’s squad in DodgeBall.

3. Ben Stiller took Christine Taylor down with a dodgeball ... twice.

As a general rule, it’s never a good idea to hit one’s spouse in the face with a rubber ball while playing any sport, but that’s exactly what Stiller did to Christine Taylor—twice. Blow number one came during the boot camp; the second strike occurred while filming the epic Globo Gym/Average Joe’s showdown. The latter ball was intended to strike Vaughn, who reflexively flinched to get out of the way. In any event, Stiller admits that those two incidents put a temporary damper on the couple’s marital harmony “for like a week, because there’s no way to not get upset with somebody after you’ve done that. It just sent us both back to eighth grade." (Though the couple announced that they were divorcing in 2017, the split has never been made official, and the couple is still regularly seen together—sparking rumors of a reconciliation.)

4. Stiller borrowed much of his character's personality from 1995's Heavyweights.

The fact that Stiller borrowed some of White Goodman’s traits from Tony Perkis, the fanatical fat camp owner he played in 1995’s Heavyweights, won’t surprise anyone who has seen both films. DodgeBall’s White Goodman (as played by Stiller) is a bombastic, egomaniacal fitness guru with some inherited wealth and major insecurities. The same description also applies to Perkis. A lighthearted family comedy, Heavyweights didn’t fare well at the box office, grossing a meager $17.6 million. As such, when Stiller copied a few of Perkis’s mannerisms in DodgeBall, he figured that no one would notice.

"I always thought, ‘Well, nobody ever saw Heavyweights, so I can do this,” Stiller recalled. “But a lot of people saw Heavyweights … Apparently, it shows on the Disney Channel a lot or something.” Regarding the two characters, Stiller has said that Perkis is “definitely a first or second cousin” to Goodman.

5. Justin Long suffered a minor concussion on the set.

Justin Long, who plays Justin in the film, took some hard knocks while making this movie. For starters, a prop wrench made with hard rubber left a nasty cut on his eyebrow when Rip Torn, as Patches O’Houlihan, threw it at his face in one scene. Then, while filming another section of DodgeBall’s training montage, the actor was pelted with enough high-speed balls to render him "slightly concussed."

"They didn’t want me to drive home at the end of the day because I was a little off," Long told Today in 2017. “So next time you’re watching that and laughing, know that you’re laughing at my pain.” Still, the experience wasn’t all bad. According to New York Magazine, Long can often be seen riding a scooter adorned with the words “Average Joe’s,” a gift from Stiller.

6. Hank Azaria and Rip Torn didn't even try to synchronize their Patches O'Houlihan voices.

Early in the film, we get to watch an instructional video about dodgeball (and social Darwinism) hosted by a young Patches O’Houlihan, who is played by Hank Azaria. For the remainder of the film, however, it’s Rip Torn who portrays the seven-time ADAA all-star. You may have noticed that the two actors use very different accents in their respective scenes: Azaria, who joined the cast at Stiller’s invitation, called his performance “essentially a bad Clark Gable impression.” At the time, Torn’s sequences hadn’t been shot yet, leading someone in the crew to pipe up and say “You know, it’d be funny if Rip tries to emulate that voice!” “I was like, ‘Yeah, good luck walking up to Rip Torn and suggesting that he change his vocal quality in any way. Let me know how that goes for you,’” Azaria replied.

7. The Average Joe's team colors are an homage to Hoosiers.

Thurber, a fan of David Anspaugh’s Oscar-nominated Hoosiers (1986), tipped his hat to the Hickory Huskers’ red and yellow uniforms by giving the Average Joe’s squad—led by Vince Vaughn’s Pete LaFleur—an almost identical color scheme. 

8. Chuck Norris was reluctant to make a cameo.

The action star’s only scene was shot in Long Beach, California. Geographically speaking, this was problematic for Norris. “I was in L.A. when they asked me to do the cameo,” Norris told Empire Magazine. “I said no at first because it was a three-hour drive to Long Beach.” Hearing this, Stiller called Norris and begged him to reconsider. “He goes, ‘Chuck, please, you’ve got to do this for me!’” Norris recalled, “My wife said he should send a helicopter for me and that's what happened. I didn't read the screenplay, just did my bit where I stick my thumb up.”

After post-production on DodgeBall wrapped and Norris got around to seeing the finished product, he found himself enjoying most of it. However, there was one little moment in the final credits that really caught him off-guard. “In the end, when Ben’s a big fatty and watching TV, the last line of the whole movie is, 'F***ing Chuck Norris!' My mouth fell open ... I said, 'Holy mackerel!' That was a shock, Ben didn't tell me about that!"

9. One villain was originally supposed to be a robot.

By far the most mysterious player in the Purple Cobras lineup is Fran Stalinovskovichdavidovitchsky, an Eastern European all-star whom Goodman calls “The deadliest woman on earth with a dodgeball.” What’s the secret to her success? Well, in an early version of the screenplay, it’s revealed that Fran is actually a robot in disguise. Thurber ended up dropping the gag, which he considered too ridiculous—even by DodgeBall’s standards. However, when Missi Pyle was cast as Fran, the big twist hadn’t yet been cut.

“Initially, in the first script I read, she was a robot, like a sexy-bodied robot” Pyle explained. The original plan was to slowly pan the camera up over a partly-exposed Robo-Fran—with her metallic face and fake breasts on full display—at some point in the climax.

10. Alan Tudyk weighed in on a fan theory about Steve the Pirate.

In 2012, Redditor Maized made the case Steve the Pirate, Alan Tudyk’s swashbuckling oddball, is actually an “ex-Navy sailor who suffers from PTSD.” As evidence, Maized cited Steve’s tattoos, which bear a striking resemblance to those frequently worn by U.S. Naval recruits. In theory, the Average Joe’s patron uses his pirate persona to cope with his condition.

During a 2016 interview with Screen Crush, Tudyk was asked to offer his thoughts on the theory. With a chuckle, Tudyk replied that it “doesn’t seem like it’s impossible.” Emphasizing that he didn’t wish to “insult Navy sailors who have PTSD,” the actor said he’d consider taking the Redditor’s idea into account if a DodgeBall sequel is ever made.

100 Best Movies to Stream on Netflix Right Now

iStock/South_agency
iStock/South_agency

In the time it takes the average person to choose which movie to watch on Netflix, you probably could have finished watching two. With more than 75,000 different categories—some of them as hyper-specific as "Cerebral Scandinavian Movies" or "Movies Starring Casper Van Dien" (tip: Starship Troopers is never a bad idea)—you could spend months just scrolling through the streaming company's library of offerings. Lucky for you, you don't have to. Because we've done the work for you to come up with 100 fantastic movies that are on Netflix right now, from classic rom-coms to scary-as-hell horror movies. Ready, set, stream.

1. About a Boy (2002)

Comedy and drama blend nicely in this adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel about a self-centered professional (Hugh Grant) who tries picking up single mothers at a parents’ meeting. Instead, he befriends 12-year-old Will (Nicholas Hoult), who teaches him a thing or two about growing up. —Jake Rossen

2. All the President's Men (1976)

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are dogged newspaper journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, teaming up to pursue the story of the decade: The Watergate scandal. Their investigation implicated President Richard Nixon in a cover-up and changed the course of history. The film adaptation of Woodward and Bernstein's book earned raves and four Academy Awards, though it lost the Best Picture race that year to Rocky. —JR

3. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Director Francis Ford Coppola and star Martin Sheen suffered a long shoot and ill health—Sheen even endured a heart attack—to deliver this potent drama about a Vietnam military officer (Marlon Brando) slowly losing his mind in Cambodia. It’s widely regarded as Coppola’s best film apart from 1972’s The Godfather, though it wasn’t originally his; George Lucas once intended to direct it. —JR

4. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

When Marvel promised a comic book film of unprecedented scale with Avengers: Infinity War, they were not messing around. This film, one of 2018’s biggest, was the culmination of a decade of planning, casting, and cinematic storytelling all pulled into one massive movie event. It would be impressive for its ambition and scope alone, but it’s also perhaps the best attempt yet to tell a comic book crossover story on the big screen. —Matthew Jackson

5. The Aviator (2004)

Leonardo DiCaprio’s pairings with Martin Scorsese have resulted in a number of critically-praised films, including 2002’s Gangs of New York and 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Here he portrays pioneering aviator Howard Hughes, a man whose piloting and entrepreneurial prowess was quickly overshadowed by mental instability. —JR

6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Fans of the Coen brothers get a trail mix of stories in this anthology set in the Old West. A gunslinger (Tim Blake Nelson) proves to be a little too arrogant when it comes to his skills; an armless and legless man (Harry Melling) who recites Shakespeare for awed onlookers begins to grow suspicious of his caretaker’s motives; a dog causes unexpected grief while following a wagon train. Knitted together, the six stories total are probably the closest we’ll get to a Coen serialized television series that this feature was once rumored to be. —JR

7. Batman Begins (2005)

Following the tepid response to 1997’s Batman and Robin, the Batman franchise returned to its gritty roots with this story of Bruce Wayne’s arduous training and early activities as Gotham City’s Dark Knight. Opposing his brand of law and order is the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Ra’s al Ghul, a specter from Wayne’s past. Batman Begins spawned a trilogy from Christian Bale and director Christopher Nolan. —JR

8. Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Idris Elba astounds in this harrowing tale of child soldiers kidnapped and exploited by an African paramilitary group. Poignant and unflinching, the story will squeeze your heart until it bursts. —Scott Beggs

9. Black Panther (2018)

The first superhero film to ever earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Black Panther became not just one of the most successful movies in the history of Marvel Studios in 2018, but a full-blown cultural phenomenon. The film was an instantly quotable, instantly viral sensation, and a year after its release it remains not just an important landmark in the superhero shared universe phenomenon, but a great film that’s unlike anything else in its genre so far. (Though it lost its Best Picture bid, the film did win three of its seven Oscar nominations.) —MJ

10. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

Slapped with an NC-17 rating when it was released theatrically, this three-hour-long, coming-of-age drama from France was famous for its graphic, eight-minute lesbian sex scene. But the Cannes jury was (presumably) more impressed by the authentic, vulnerable performances by the two leads, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. When it won the Palme d'Or, the jury (headed by Steven Spielberg that year) took the unprecedented step of giving the actresses the award, too, along with the director, Abdellatif Kechiche. —Eric D. Snider

11. Blue Jasmine (2013)

Cate Blanchett delivers an Academy Award-nominated performance as Jasmine, a socialite who’s fallen on hard times and is forced to cohabitate with her less-than-prosperous sister (Sally Hawkins) in this acclaimed exclamation of sisterly bonds and personal reinvention. —JR

12. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

The Great Depression’s most infamous crime pairing is chronicled in this bullet-riddled love story about Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway), who garner public support for their bank robberies despite their itchy trigger fingers. If you’re in the mood for a double feature, Netflix’s 2019 film, The Highwaymen, takes a different tact, looking over the shoulders of the Texas Rangers (Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson) charged with bringing the couple down. —JR

13. Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood works as a kind of time travel movie, as director Richard Linklater spent 12 years filming the adolescence of a Texan (Ellar Coltrane) from age six to 18. This lengthy production process made it possible for Coltrane to portray the character at various stages, from coming to grips with his parents' divorce as a young child to his high school graduation. In lesser hands, it would be a gimmick. For Linklater, it's a chance to mediate on encroaching independence. —JR

14. Brick (2004)

High school meets noir in director Rian Johnson’s debut. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, an outcast who gets a frantic phone call from ex-girlfriend Emily (Emile de Ravin) that sends him through a labyrinth of criminals, characters, and hard-boiled confrontations. —JR

15. Brooklyn's Finest (2009)

An ensemble cast (Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes) navigate the temptations and pitfalls inherent in police work in this drama from director Antoine Fuqua. Producer John Langley also created the long-running reality TV series Cops for Fox. —JR

16. Brother's Keeper (1992)

In this haunting documentary, a trio of bothers in rural upstate New York fend off the advances of press and locals who believe the death of their sibling William may have been the result of foul play. What co-directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky discover is something even more disturbing, raising questions of privacy and the sometimes-strangling effects of familial bonds. —JR

17. Cabaret (1972)

Performers in pre-war Berlin cope with the rise of the Nazi regime by losing themselves in their stage performances at the Kit Kat Klub. The musical was a critical and commercial hit, with star Liza Minnelli winning an Academy Award. Thanks to its explicit dialogue, it also won an X rating before being edited and granted an R. —JR

18. Carol (2015)

One part glistening romance, one part social drama with a sour edge. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara transcend as two lovers who find each other because of a pair of lost gloves. —SB

19. Carrie (1976)

Brian De Palma’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel remains one of the best King works to move to the screen, with Sissy Spacek convincingly downtrodden as the high school girl whose meek disposition is seen as weakness by the mean girls. Pushed too far by both her classmates and an overbearing mother, Carrie’s rage takes the form of telekinetic vengeance. —JR

20. City of God (2002)

The lives of Brazil’s criminal class are examined in this moving and often harrowing film from co-directors Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund about a group of friends looking to escape the poverty-stricken favelas of their youth. The striking authenticity comes in part from the performers, most of whom were amateurs who had never before appeared on camera. —JR

21. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Stanley Kubrick’s mesmerizing and dystopian examination of violent street thugs was controversial upon its release for its violence. Today, it’s seen as one of his best and a fascinating mediation on the role of state-sponsored rehabilitation, with Malcolm McDowell’s Alex answering for his recklessness by being brainwashed into a productive citizen. —JR

22. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Paul Newman’s entry into the prison genre is a classic, with his affable Luke refusing to be cowed by the oppressive guards trying to break his spirit by any means necessary. —JR

23. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

“Wire fu” is on superb display in this Ang Lee film about swordmasters in 18th century China pursuing a mythical weapon. While ostensibly a martial arts tale, Lee uses the physical action to develop the love story between warriors Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh. Though it’s more substantial than your average action movie, it still manages to deliver an evolution of the graceful, gravity-defying style popularized by The Matrix just a year earlier. (Legendary fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping worked on both.) —JR

24. The Crow (1994)

Long before superheroes on the big screen became a part of shared universes and billion dollar mega-franchises, The Crow became what is perhaps the ultimate Generation X comic book movie: the story of an aspiring rock star (Brandon Lee) who is murdered by thugs on Devil’s Night, and returns from the dead one year later as a supernatural vigilante to seek his vengeance. Director Alex Proyas’s visuals are gothic perfection, and the film’s soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission. —MJ

25. The Dark Knight (2008)

Still considered by some fans to be the best Batman movie, and even the best superhero movie, ever made, the middle installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy still holds up more than a decade after its initial release. Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as The Joker remains wicked fun, and the film’s car chases are still among the most dizzying practical effects ever pulled off in a superhero flick. —MJ

26. Deliverance (1972)

Burt Reynolds began his streak of 1970s movie superstardom with this deeply disturbing tale of thirtysomethings (Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox, and a doomed Ned Beatty) who decide to go rafting in Georgia and find themselves in over their heads with the inhospitable locals. The result is a kind of rural horror film that resonates with the perils of paddling outside of your comfort zone. —JR

27. Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Director David Lean took on yet another epic tale in this story of a physician (Omar Sharif) whose life is disrupted in the wake of the Russian Revolution and whose love for Julie Christie is threatened by political upheaval. Locations in Spain and Canada make for convincing replicas of Moscow. —JR

28. Doubt (2008)

A Roman Catholic school in 1960s Brooklyn is the setting for this tense and terse drama about a nun (Meryl Streep) who begins to suspect a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of taking an unusual interest in a young student. Is he guilty of impropriety, or is Streep bristling against him for other reasons? Less a criminal drama and more of a comment on religious institutions, Doubt argues that morality and objectivity are often at odds. —JR

29. The Duchess (2008)

Few people can pull off the role of an 18th century aristocrat as well as Keira Knightley. In this case, she's forced to contend with a cruel and philandering husband (Ralph Fiennes) who makes it clear that his only use for his wife is for her to produce a male heir. But the Duchess knows that two can play at this game, and begins a scandalous (and not-quite-hidden) affair with a rising politician (Dominic Cooper). Come for the compelling period drama, stay for the stunning costumes. —Jennifer M. Wood

30. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Jim Carrey had a legendary year in 1994, moving from television’s In Living Color to the success of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask. He finished the year with this physical, farcical buddy comedy with Jeff Daniels that sees two clueless friends cross the country to pursue Carrey’s crush (Lauren Holly). Carrey is the human equivalent of Silly Putty; Daniels excels in one of the greatest laxative scenes in the history of cinema. —JR

31. East of Eden (1955)

James Dean made so few films that each plays with an urgency, offering what we know is going to be a fleeting glimpse into his talent. In East of Eden, he’s one of two brothers hoping to capture the affections of their farmer father. East of Eden was Dean’s first starring role. He would appear onscreen just twice more, having perished in an auto accident in 1955. —JR

32. Enemy (2013)

Jake Gyllenhaal has an uneasy feeling that his exact double—a man who looks like him but is substantially more successful—is intruding on his own life. The Gyllenhaal collision is the foundation for this psychological thriller from director Denis Villeneuve, who offers no pat answers but an effective undercurrent of dread. —JR

33. Ex Machina (2014)

Alex Garland's quiet—and quietly subversive—robot parable didn't arrive with all the hype of a major studio sci-fi release but still manages to outdo most big-budget android tales. As the enigmatic CEO of a robotics company, Oscar Isaac uses an underling (Domhnall Gleeson) to test his eerily lifelike AI (Alicia Vikander). But Gleeson may be the one who's really being tested. —JR

34. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Johnny Depp is gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in director Terry Gilliam’s filmed psychedelic trip through Las Vegas. Based on Thompson’s book of the same name, the film is a feverish fantasy and likely not for all tastes, though those who don’t mind a meandering narrative will find an enthusiastic performance by Depp and the kind of hallucinatory imagery Gilliam has become known for. —JR

35. The Fifth Element (1997)

Director Luc Besson delivers a sumptuous future in this marvel of production design, with Bruce Willis once again playing an everyman thrust into the middle of a grand-scale conflict. Here, he's a cabbie in the 23rd century who runs afoul of aliens looking to destroy Earth. —JR

36. The Fighter (2010)

Mark Wahlberg and director David O. Russell strip away the conventions of standard boxing movies and deliver a potent blend of pugilism and family drama. As real-life fighter Mickey Ward, Wahlberg tries to juggle his ring aspirations with the emotional challenges presented by his drug-addled half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale). —JR

37. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Serving as a big-screen coming-out party for Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, and director Judd Apatow, The 40-Year-Old Virgin mixes the best of romantic comedies with the crude humor of ‘80s cult classics like Porky’s. Its raunchy sentimentality won critical acclaim and commercial success, grossing more than $175 million at the box office. —Jay Serafino

38. Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

The snub-nosed persistence of television journalist Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) in the face of network and government pressure is the subject of this fact-based drama directed by George Clooney. As Murrow reports on a military officer accused of communist ties, he begins to suspect he doesn’t have all the facts, leading to a clash of ethics that would help define television news for decades to come. —JR

39. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Tired of being passed up for substantial roles, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote this Horatio Alger story about a janitor (Damon) whose surly demeanor hides both an impressive intellect and a reservoir of emotional pain. The late Robin Williams won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Damon’s gentle but challenging therapist. —JR

40. Gosford Park (2001)

A British murder mystery with talent to spare, director Robert Altman’s Gosford Park examines the class system in the guise of a whodunit. When Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) is found stabbed, everyone from his relatives to his servants are suspects. Screenwriter Julian Fellowes later mined many of the same themes (and actors) for Downton Abbey. —JR

41. The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman copes with plastics and Mrs. Robinson in this study in unwritten futures from director Mike Nichols. After graduating college, Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) ponders his next move while coping with the advances of an older woman (Anne Bancroft). It was Hoffman’s first starring role. —JR

42. Gremlins (1984)

Practical puppets steal the show in this story of a young adult (Zach Galligan) who befriends a Mogwai named Gizmo. The fluffy creature is cute, but breaking the rules of his species—getting him wet and feeding him after midnight are prohibited—leads to an outbreak of ferocious relatives. A black comedy about the perils of nonnative species, it spawned a sequel, 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch. —JR

43. Heathers (1988)

High school rom-coms don't get much darker than this cult hit, which sees a mysterious new student (Christian Slater) seduce one of the school's most popular girls (Winona Ryder), then lure her into a murder spree. Croquet, scrunchies, and corn nuts abound. —JMW

44. Hell or High Water (2016)

Taylor Sheridan's Hell or High Water follows two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who take to bank robberies in an effort to save their family ranch from foreclosure; Jeff Bridges is the drawling, laconic lawman on their tail. —JR

45. Hellboy (2004)

Before he was the Oscar-winning director of The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro tried his hand at a comic book adaptation, and he did it with one of the most Guillermo del Toro-esque superheroes out there: A demon (played wonderful by Ron Perlman) who hunts monsters. Though a reboot hit theaters earlier this year, the original Hellboy is still delightfully pulpy supernatural fun. —MJ

46. Hoosiers (1986)

Gene Hackman stars as a basketball coach in small-town 1950s Indiana looking to start over with a clean slate. His performance in the film manages to take the conventional trappings of the sports underdog genre and bring a multilayered portrait of a man plagued by a past who’s getting one last chance to get it right. —JR

47. Hot Fuzz (2007)

After taking a stab at zombies, Edgar Wright returned to pay homage and send up action movies with his unique style of intricate plotting, quickfire jokes, and explosive puns. —SB

48. Howards End (1992)

James Ivory's adaptation of E.M. Forster's 1910 novel tells the story of free-spirited Londoner Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson) who befriends a dying woman, Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), who ends up bequeathing Margaret her beloved country home, Howards End. It's a stroke of luck for Margaret, who is about to be ousted from the home she has leased for years, but the Wilcox family feels that something is amiss. As Ruth's widower attempts to investigate the situation, he finds himself falling under Margaret's spell. —JMW

49. The Hurt Locker (2008)

In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to be named Best Director for her work on The Hurt Locker, an unrelenting look at the psychology of warfare, as seen through the eyes of an American bomb squad in Iraq. —JLM

50. The Imitation Game (2014)

Benedict Cumberbatch earned his first (and so far only) Oscar nomination for his depiction of genius Alan Turing, who led the team of mathematicians who cracked the Enigma Code during World War II. But the film delves into the personal: When it's discovered that Turing is gay, he's turned from a hero into a criminal. —JMW

51. In Bruges (2008)

Oscar winner Martin McDonagh wrote and directed this dark comedy about two hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who are forced to hide out in a tiny Belgian town after a job gone wrong. —JMW

52. Incredibles 2 (2018)

Director Brad Bird took some 14 years to make a sequel to his superhero Pixar hit, but fans considered it worth the wait. While family patriarch Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) struggles with his role as a stay-at-home dad to three empowered kids, wife Helen tries to win over a government skeptical of superheroes with her actions as Elastigirl. Mind control, double-crosses, and epic disasters follow. —JR

53. The King's Speech (2010)

From laughingstock to maestro of one of Great Britain’s finest public addresses, The King’s Speech tells the true story of King George VI’s triumph over stuttering. The film took home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Actor (Colin Firth), and Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler). —JLM

54. Layer Cake (2004)

Before embarking on a long tenure as James Bond, Daniel Craig starred in this twisty crime feature about a drug dealer who finds that going straight is easier said than done. Tom Hardy and Ben Whishaw appear in supporting roles. —JR

55. Lincoln (2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis gives a powerful, Oscar-winning performance in Lincoln, which recounts the final months of the 16th president’s life as he fights to end war, mend the wounds of a nation, and ensure the abolishment of slavery. —JS

56. The Lobster (2015)

Colin Farrell stars in a black comedy that feels reminiscent of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's work: A slump-shouldered loner (Farrell) has just 45 days to find a life partner before he's turned into an animal. Can he make it work with Rachel Weisz, or is he doomed to a life on all fours? By turns absurd and provocative, The Lobster isn't a conventional date movie, but it might have more to say about relationships than a pile of Nicholas Sparks paperbacks. —JR

57. Locke (2013)

The camera rarely wavers from Tom Hardy in this existential thriller, which takes place entirely in Hardy's vehicle. A construction foreman trying to make sure an important job is executed well, Hardy's Ivan Locke grapples with some surprising news from a mistress and the demands of his family. It's a one-act, one-man play, with Hardy making the repeated act of conversing on his cell phone as tense and compelling as if he were driving with a bomb in the trunk. (Oscar-winner Olivia Colman and Fleabag's Andrew Scott are two of the people whose voices we hear on the other end of the line.)

58. Logan's Run (1976)

Ageism is taken to extremes in this standout 1970s sci-fi film about a man (Michael York) who enforces his society’s mandate to kill anyone over the age of 30. When York has a change of heart, he goes on the run himself. —JR

59. THE MASTER (2012)

Director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a steady but absorbing tale of a World War II veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls under the spell of a charismatic philosopher (Philip Seymour Hoffman) whose teachings soon become the focus of a cult movement. Both Phoenix and Hoffman were nominated for Academy Awards. Of the films he’s directed, which include 1997’s Boogie Nights and 2004’s There Will Be Blood, Anderson has said The Master is his favorite. —JR

60. THE MATRIX (1999)

The revolutionary sci-fi film can still deliver a "whoa" reaction 20 years after its initial release. Computer programmer Neo (Keanu Reeves) is tabbed to explore the subversive rebellion that knows what the rest of humanity doesn't: that they're living in a simulation. —JR

61. Milk (2008)

Sean Penn won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, an enigmatic gay rights activist in San Francisco who became the first openly gay individual to be elected to public office in California when he became a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But not everyone was happy about the progress. —JMW

62. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

The Monty Python team delivers their best-known work, a silly and sharply satirical feature that uses the King Arthur legend as a springboard for sequences that feature brave-but-armless knights and highly aggressive rabbits. Opening to mixed reviews, it’s since become a perennial entry in lists of the best comedies ever made. —JR

63. Moon (2009)

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has been alone on a lunar mining mission for three years, but his isolation comes to an end one day when a stranger shows up at his facility—and this mystery man happens to look just like him. —JS

64. Moonlight (2016)

Barry Jenkins’s trailblazing film, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, chronicles the life of Chiron (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) as he grows up under the burden of his own and others’ responses to his homosexuality. It’s a stirring portrait anchored by phenomenal performances (including an Oscar-earning turn from Mahershala Ali). —SB

65. National Treasure (2004)

There's something for everyone—history buffs, conspiracy theorists, and Nic Cage enthusiasts—in this adventure about a cryptologist (Cage) who discovers a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. —JR

66. Network (1976)

A prescient film for its time, Network examines how far television will go to achieve ratings success. Peter Finch won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Howard Beale, the newscaster trying to cling to some semblance of integrity before succumbing to the pressures of the viewers and executives out for blood. Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall co-star. —JR

67. No Country for Old Men (2007)

The Coen brothers returned to the crime roots of their debut film, 1984’s Blood Simple, with this adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel about a downtrodden Texan (Josh Brolin) who makes the mistake of stealing a stash of drug money. Soon, he’s pursued by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a sociopath who uses a captive bolt pistol intended to stun cattle before being slaughtered. There are few happy endings to go around, though you may find yourself hoping the laconic sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) charged with following the bloody trail is left unscathed. —JR

68. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Director Sergio Leone earned praise for his crime epic that features Robert De Niro and James Woods as best friends who grow into formidable gangsters in 1930s New York. Though Leone objected to releasing the film in a severely edited 139-minute version in 1984, the Netflix presentation is three hours and 49 minutes, which the late director found acceptable, if not preferable: He once considered a six-hour, two-part edition. —JR

69. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Following the end of the Spanish Civil War, a young girl (Ivana Baquero) escapes the turmoil of her militant stepfather and ill mother by exploring a hidden labyrinth that houses a variety of strange creatures. Director Guillermo del Toro was praised for his specialty: weaving a fairy tale with sharp edges. —JR

70. The Pianist (2002)

Chronicling the true story of Polish-Jewish pianist Władysław Szpilman (Adrien Brody), The Pianist is widely considered one of the best World War II accounts ever committed to film. As Nazis overrun Warsaw, Szpilman tries to maintain his sanity by clinging to the only thing that makes sense in an increasingly senseless world: His love of music. —JR

71. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

The legacies of fathers are visited upon their sons in this crime drama starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper as men on opposite sides of the law. Gosling turns to robbery; Cooper is a cop in pursuit. Their paths intersect and resonate in ways neither they—nor the viewer—could ever anticipate. —JR

72. Poltergeist (1982)

Steven Spielberg produced—and according to Hollywood lore, may have helped direct—this Tobe Hooper film about a suburban family under siege by a paranormal spirit intent on disrupting their lives. Spielberg’s humor and heart is present, but so are some genuinely unsettling scares. Turns out there’s good reason to fear clowns and trees. —JR

73. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Quentin Tarantino’s breakout film sent him into the stratosphere and restored John Travolta’s star. All these years later, it’s still easy to see why. As hitmen Vincent and Jules, Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson roam an indelible pulp landscape of crime bosses, crooked boxers, errant dates, and discover the perils of shooting someone inside a car. —JR

74. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

All four Indiana Jones movies are on Netflix, but the original still stands its ground as the best in the series and one of the finest action movies ever made. Indy (Harrison Ford) pursues the Lost Ark of the Covenant while evading and diverting Nazis chasing the power the Ark is believed to contain. —JR

75. Roma (2018)

Alfonso Cuarón’s tribute to his upbringing in 1970s Mexico City tells the story of a housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio) watching over the children of her employers after their father runs off with his mistress. Cuarón’s film is a living photograph, an intensely personal story that holds no major surprises aside from the sheer craft it took to make it a reality. —JR

76. Room (2015)

A woman (Brie Larson) is held captive by a deeply disturbed man for seven years. During that time, her son (Jacob Tremblay) has never experienced the outside world. That kind of set-up is usually reserved for thrillers, but Room is not as interested in Larson’s potential escape as much as it is in her courage giving her son sanctuary in an unsafe space. Larson won an Academy Award for the role. —JR

77. Scarface (1983)

Scarface’s place in movie history was cemented by Al Pacino’s manic and downright frightening performance as gangster Tony Montana. But beneath that, there’s a sprawling, ultra-violent crime drama that is a must-see for any fans of the genre. —JS

78. Schindler's List (1993)

Arguably Steven Spielberg’s most personal film, Schindler’s List explores the horrors of the Holocaust through the actions of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who dedicates himself to saving as many Jewish civilians as possible from the fate of the concentration camps. —JS

79. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

A rare adaptation for writer/director Edgar Wright brings Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular graphic novel series to life. Michael Cera is perfectly cast in the title role as an awkward young man who is determined to win the heart of the woman he loves (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by literally winning video game style battles against her “Seven Evil Exes.” Wright throws every trick in his book at the screen, and the result is a film you can watch again and again. —MJ

80. Scream (1996)

Wes Craven riffing on Wes Craven, this is the ultra-rare horror film that manages to mock the genre while getting the blood pumping in terror. Come for the slasher brilliance, stay for the 1990s fashion and lack of cell phones. —SB

81. A Serious Man (2009)

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a man whose faith is being tested at home, at work, and all points in between. A Serious Man is equal parts dark comedy and existential drama, and it’s a perfect encapsulation of why the Coen brothers are masters at their craft. —JS

82. She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Spike Lee’s feature directorial debut also sees him playing one of three men under the thumb of Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns). None of them can stand Nola’s gender-reversing approach to casual relationships, and the three hope to goad her into living a monogamous life. Nola, however, wants to pursue happiness on her own terms, not society’s. Lee’s love letter to Brooklyn is still a standout in his filmography, which quickly grew to include 1989’s Do the Right Thing and 1992’s Malcom X. —JR

83. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Serial killer perfection. Jonathan Demme managed to create a incredible thriller, detective yarn, and horror film all in one. Of course, Jodie Foster’s performance as Clarice Starling is a quiet tornado at the dark center of this murder mystery, even if Anthony Hopkins gets to chew more scenery. Did you know it was released on Valentine’s Day? —SB

84. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Built on strong performances by Bruce Willis and a young Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense slowly ramps up the suspense from a simmer to a boil, culminating in one of the most memorable twist endings in all of film. —JS

85. Snowpiercer (2013)

In a dystopian future—in sci-fi, there may not be any other kind—a train carrying cars separated by social class circles the globe. Soon, the have-nots (led by Chris Evans) decide to defy authority and get answers from those in charge. —JR

86. Strangers on a Train (1951)

Criss cross. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best, this adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel features sociopath Guy Haines (Farley Granger) offering to kill the estranged wife of tennis pro Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) if Anthony agrees to off his new friend’s overbearing father. What starts as a hypothetical conversation between two passengers on a train ends in murder, mayhem, and twists, all of it anchored by Granger’s performance as the charmingly homicidal Haines. —JR

87. Swiss Army Man (2016)

Vibrant, effervescent, and deeply weird, Paul Dano stars in this musical collage as a depressed loner stranded on an island until he finds a talking, farting corpse played by a very post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe. They save one another and, together, attempt to get back to civilization while singing the praises of Jurassic Park. —SB

88. The Terminator (1984)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made good on his promise to come back in three—soon to be four—sequels and a theme park attraction. But the original The Terminator didn’t have any ambition to become a franchise. It’s a tight, lean thriller about a cyborg (Schwarzenegger) traveling through time to kill the mother of the man who will lead the resistance against the machines. —JR

89. The Third Man (1949)

In 1940s postwar Vienna, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) looks to meet up with old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) to take him up on a job offer. When Lime is reported dead, Martins navigates the seedy underbelly of the town to uncover the truth buried in the rubble of the war. —JR

90. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Netflix will host a handful of Marvel Studios movies before their inevitable movie to the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Until then, the standout on Netflix remains Thor: Ragnarok, a hybrid comedy-action movie that plays Thor's serious mythology for laughs. It's like a heavy metal album cover come to life, and we meant that in the best possible way. —JR

91. V for Vendetta (2005)

An Orwellian dystopia collides with costumed heroics in this politically fueled adaptation of the graphic novel by famed comic book writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd. —JS

92. Valkyrie (2008)

Tom Cruise took a leap in deciding to portray German officer Claus von Stauffenberg, a man looking sabotage the Nazi regime and assassinate Adolf Hitler. Based on a true story, you can guess he does not succeed, but that doesn’t impede a genuinely suspenseful and well-crafted war sabotage thriller written by Christopher McQuarrie. (Cruise and McQuarrie would later collaborate on the Mission: Impossible franchise.) —JR

93. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

The raunchy teen comedies of the 1980s get spoofed in this dry comedy from David Wain and Michael Showalter. Camp counselors (Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Showalter) juggle their crushes with the surreal intrusions of NASA debris and a cook (Christopher Meloni) who takes advice from a talking can of vegetables. The cast reassembled for a Netflix prequel series in 2015 and a sequel series in 2017. —JR

94. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Mike Nichols directs real-life couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in this adaptation of the Edward Albee play. Taylor plays Martha, a woman in an unhappy marriage who uses an evening of drinks to air her grievances in front of a younger, much happier couple. The film earned a nomination in virtually every major Academy Award category, with Taylor winning Best Actress for a powerhouse performance that could almost move tectonic plates. —JR

95. The Wild Bunch (1969)

Westerns had never looked quite like The Wild Bunch, a graphic and violent study in the true nature of outlaws from director Sam Peckinpah. Sensing their time coming to an end in 1913 Texas, gunslingers plot to make off with another score before the law—and the march of civilized society—does them in. —JR

96. Winter's Bone (2010)

Jennifer Lawrence’s breakthrough film is nothing flashy. As Ree Dolly, Lawrence is a teen in the Ozarks of Missouri charged with finding her missing father before her family loses their home to foreclosure. Her journey takes her through hostile territories and reveals truths that were best left uncovered. —JR

97. The Witch (2015)

Delicately crafted with an eye toward historical accuracy, this existential horror film focuses on a New England farming family in the wilds of 1630 who believe a witch has cursed them. Anya Taylor-Joy’s standout performance acts as a guide through the possessed-goat-filled insanity. —SB

98. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

The controversially sensual road movie that put Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna on the international map scored an Oscar nomination for writer/director Alfonso Cuarón. It's hard to believe he followed up this drug-and-sex-filled coming-of-age trip with a Harry Potter movie. —SB

99. Zodiac (2007)

The product of David Fincher’s notorious perfectionism, this deep dive into the unsolved case of a series of brutal crimes in the San Francisco Bay Area explores the depths of humanity’s depravity as well as its capacity for seeking justice. It’s a masterclass in filmmaking with powerful turns from Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jake Gyllenhaal. —SB

100. Zombieland (2009)

After a zombie outbreak turns the world into a land of the walking dead, a college student (Jesse Eisenberg) takes up with a traveling band of survivors (Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin) to find a sanctuary. It’s a buddy road-trip movie disguised as a horror film, with Bill Murray making a fleeting but memorable appearance as Bill Murray. —JR

Written by Jake Rossen, Scott Beggs, Matthew Jackson, Jay Serafino, Eric D. Snider, and Jennifer M. Wood.

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