Netflix recently unleashed a fairly nice bounty into their Watch Instantly section, so here are a bunch of my selections from that group. Lord knows there's a ton of crap to sift through on InstaWatch, so please consider this my community service for the weekend.
Airplane! (1980) -- Quite possibly the all-time king of "quotable comedies," this 1980 mega-spoof simply never gets old. Next time you sit down to savor the lunacy, take special note of actors like Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, and Peter Graves. These are serious actors doing remarkably silly things, and doing it really well. (Of course Leslie Nielsen, too. Kinda goes without saying.)
Dazed and Confused (1993) -- Forget how sly and sunny and funny the movie is, or how awesome the soundtrack is, or how keen all the clothes are. Just sit back and watch the future stars wander across the screen. It's not just Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey!
My Bodyguard (1980) -- A sincere and warm-hearted "kid-friendly" comedy about a bullied teen who hired a bodyguard -- and somehow finds a friend. (Awwwww!) Jokes aside, this is a beautiful little movie.
Some Like It Hot (1959) -- Yeah, yeah, it's black and white and old and you're only 22 and you've already seen a bunch of cross-dressing comedies and blah blah blah... Not only is this flick perpetually hilarious, but it also acts as a perfect gateway film into the wondrous world of Billy Wilder.
Conan the Barbarian (1982) -- Whether you loved, hated, or ignored the recent remake, there's still a lot to enjoy about John Milius' pulpy yet admirably straight-faced adventure epic.
Cypher (2002) -- One of those slick futuristic sci-fi flicks with a bunch of action. Only this one also has a brain.
Dirty Harry (1971) -- The first, the best, and still remarkable bad-ass at 40 years of age. (InstaWatch also has The Enforcer, which is Part 3, but not Magnum Force, which is Part 2.)
The Last of the Mohicans (1992) -- Michael Mann. Madeline Stowe. Stunning score. Worth watching for Act III alone.
Waking the Dead (1999) -- The men get Jennifer Connelly and the women get Billy Crudup, but be forewarned: this is a three-kleenex tragedy.
The Burrowers (2008) -- We don't get too many "western horror" flicks that are worth a damn, and even when they show up they're sort of goofy like Tremors. Such is not the case here. JT Petty's dark tale is a western first and a horror flick second, but both genres are well-represented here.
The Descent Part 2 (2009) -- There are several classic films that somehow spawned a solid Part 2. Jaws, Rocky, Psycho, Halloween ... and fine, maybe The Descent isn't a "classic" on that level, but this half-decent follow-up does a fine enough job of delivering the subterranean heebie-jeebies.
The Gravedancers (2006) -- Arguably the best of After Dark's first batch of horror flicks, this one covers a group of friends who (very unwisely) awaken a group of evil ghosts with decidedly unpleasant habits.
Leviathan (1989) -- Have you ever seen Peter Weller, Hector Elizondo, Daniel Stern, Ernie Hudson, and Richard Crenna get devoured by a giant sea monster? Well now you can.
Or hey, hold an impromptu Steve Martin double feature with the very sweet Roxanne and the sadly overlooked Leap of Faith.
..and here's a loopy little bonus selection: no less than five episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in which the film at hand stars a certain large monster: Gamera, Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gaos, Gamera vs. Guiron, and Gamera vs. Zigra. I never knew Gamera had such a good agent.
And here are a few tips from my twitter feed:
-- "The Streetfighter: erupting w/every schlock '70s cliche *&* every Asian cliche. Instaversion bonus: TigerLily-like dubbing" -- @peter_gutierrez
-- "Zerophilia: person gets turned into opposite sex whenever he/she gets turned on. Sounds dirty, actually very mild & sweet." -- @loquaciousmuse
-- "SQUARE GROUPER = the best pot comedy real life has ever produced" -- @lanelaw
Last but hardly least: it seems that virtually all of the James Bond films have just returned to Netflix IW. Go catch up on the ones you haven't seen that aren't called Moonraker.
(Final tip: bookmark InstantWatcher.com if you like to dig through the flick titles like I do.)