The Best Movies I Have Seen on Netflix Instant Streaming

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A few years ago, my parents ditched our satellite TV subscription in favor of a Netflix membership. At the time, I thought it was a dumb idea. But now, it makes more sense to me and I’m glad they made the change. Most TV shows, especially the ones I like to watch, are available to watch on Hulu or can be downloaded on iTunes. And Netflix provides just about every movie or TV show you can think of through DVD order, and fewer are available instant streaming.

95% of everything I watch through Netflix is instant streaming. Many people would argue that most of the “good” movies/shows are not available on instant streaming. Actually, it can be a challenge finding something worthwhile to watch, but the options are out there! I have watched several movies through instant streaming that I have enjoyed, and I thought I would share them with you.

So here they are – in alphabetical order.

…And it should be noted that I’m no Roger Ebert, so these “reviews” might not be of professional quality. Judge me. Check out the New York Times if you want something fancier.

Cashback

“It takes approximately 500 lbs to crush a human skull. But the human emotion is a much more delicate thing.”

This film is about a college student, Ben (Sean Biggerstaff, AKA: Oliver Wood in the HP films), who is newly single after an ugly break up with his longterm girlfriend, who he believed was the love of his life. He becomes depressed and loses the ability to sleep. To find something to keep him busy at night, he works the graveyard shift at a local grocery store. It’s there that Ben realizes he has the ability to stop time. He also has interesting encounters with his co-workers. Ultimately, Ben finds ways to move on and be happy with his life after his relationship.

Before the full-length feature film, Cashback was first made as a short film in 2004. Apparently, the short appears in the movie – so at one point the scenes were shot three years before the rest of the movie. The short film blends so seamlessly with the rest of the scenes that you can’t tell.

When I began watching this movie, I didn’t really know what to expect. But it exceeded my expectations. There’s a lot of nudity in this film, so if you’re prudish when it comes to that then this might not be your cup of tea.

Chasing Amy [While searching for this movie on Netflix, I was alerted that it is no longer available for instant streaming, even though it was when I enjoyed it. So it looks like adding this title to your mail-order queue is your only option. For those of you who lack patience, SORRY.]

“If this is a crush, I don’t think I could take it if the real thing ever happened.”

“Chasing Amy” takes an interesting look at human relationships. The film is about Holden (Ben Affleck), who authors a comic book with his best friend, Banky (Jason Lee). The film opens at a comic convention where the two friends are promoting their comic book, Bluntman and Chronic. Everything is going along swimmingly until they meet another comic book artist, Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden becomes infatuated with Alyssa and is really happy when she invites him to a club. He believes she is trying to pursue a relationship with him, and then he finds out Alyssa is actually a lesbian. Holden decides to pursue a friendship with Alyssa anyway, and is hopeful that he can have a relationship with her eventually even though she insists she is not attracted to men. Banky doesn’t like Alyssa and discourages Holden from pursuing a relationship with her. Holden’s relentless attraction to Alyssa threatens Holden and Banky’s friendship. Many more twists and turns occur in the plot, but I won’t give any more away.

This movie is a Kevin Smith movie (enough said). Clerks and Clerks 2 are some of my favorite films. I had never seen a Kevin Smith movie outside of the Clerks franchise, so I decided to try this one. It did not disappoint. Now, this IS a Kevin Smith film, so keep that in mind if you prefer more of a G – PG-rated fare in your films. Literally no subject is off topic in the dialogue, or no word too offensive. But if that doesn’t bother you, ENJOY!

Exit Through the Gift Shop

“There’s no one like Thierry, even though his art looks like everyone else’s.”

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary about street art, or “art developed in public places and mainly done in an illegal way,” (definition). The director Thierry Guetta is a French immigrant living in L.A. with his wife and children, and owns a successful vintage clothing store. He’s a bit of a local celebrity where he lives. Thierry discovers that his cousin is a widely-known (but anonymous) street artist, “Space Invader,” in France. This causes Theirry to become obsessed with the concept of street art. He grabs hold of another anonymous, famous street artist named Banksy. Thierry follows Banksy around, films him doing his art, interviews him, etc. Eventually, Thierry becomes inspired to become a street artist himself, and gives himself the name “Mister Brainwash.”

This film delves into the art world, and what makes art art. It can also be seen as a farce on the art community, because the success Thierry finds as “Mister Brainwash” can be seen as humorous. He mostly takes on the project in order to see if he can do it, and ends up wildly successful.

Reality Bites

“There’s no point to any of this. It’s all just a… a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know… a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle… and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt.”

This movie follows a group of friends who are generation-X recent college graduates. As IMDB puts it, the friends are “looking for work and love in Houston,” (1,000,000 brownie points for being set in the best state ever!). Lelaina (Winona Ryder) was valedictorian of her college class, but is frustrated that her academic success is not translating to the professional world. She spends the majority of the movie filming her friends to eventually make a documentary, which she has entitled “Reality Bites.” Lelaina and her friends Vickie (Jeneane Garofalo), Troy (Ethan Hawke), and Sammy (Steve Zahn) gripe to the camera about their disappointment with the “real world,” struggles with relationships, quarter-life crises they are experiencing, etc. Furthermore, Lelaina becomes caught in a bit of a love triangle between Troy, a facetious but caring slacker, and young professional Michael (played by a very young Ben Stiller, who also directed the film).

I thought the relationships, situations and problems presented in this movie were very honest and realistic. That being said, if you enjoy more escapist movies, or movies in which things occur that could never happen in real life, this movie isn’t for you. I really enjoyed this film, probably because I found it relatable. I’m still in college and not out in the “real world” yet, but this film still presented some of my concerns, that I’m sure are resonating themes with 20-somethings everywhere.

Also, I did NOT find Ethan Hawke attractive in this movie. I have found him attractive in other roles, such as his role in the movie Gattaca, but not this one. It’s probably because his character epitomizes a product of the 90s grunge movement – flannel shirts, unkempt hair, 5 o’ clock shadow and membership in a garage band. The men I find attractive generally don’t look like cousins of Kurt Cobain.

Restrepo

I can’t seem to find the words to describe this film. I think it needs to be watched before it can fully be understood. Restrepo is a documentary that follows the 15-month deployment of an Army platoon in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan. As a whole the film is incredibly violent and dark, but most importantly powerful. My view on the war was altered after seeing this. It’s not an easy watch, but I would recommend that everyone see it at least once.

Wet Hot American Summer

“Well guys, we’ve made it to the end of the summer in one piece, except for a few campers who are lepers.”

“Wet Hot American Summer” follows the events of the last day at a Jewish summer camp in 1981. The plot focuses on the stories of the various adults working at the camp. Camp director Beth (Jeneane Garofalo, again) develops a crush on astrophysicist Henry (David Hyde Pierce), and the two have an awkward romance. Several camp counselors pursue romance…Coop (Michael Showalter) tries to kindle a romance with Katie (Marguerite Moreau), but she unfortunately is infatuated with Andy (Paul Rudd). Meanwhile, Andy is looking for romance with literally every other girl at the camp. Gail (Molly Shannon) is teaching an arts and crafts class, and then suddenly
has an emotional break down over her impending divorce. The 9 and 10-year-olds give Gail relationship counseling. As Henry is teaching the nerdy campers about astrophysics, he discovers that a piece of NASA’s skylab will fall directly on the camp grounds, and he and the campers must devise a plan to save the day.

There are more plot lines than just the ones I listed. If you have ever seen Dazed and Confused, the film is set up exactly like that – multiple plots occurring at once, all taking place in the span of one day.

This film is completely nonsensical and ludicrous. While watching it with my boyfriend, he said multiple times of the film “Oh my God, this is so DUMB.” …It is, and that’s the point. If you prefer “smarter” humor, you might not like this movie. Personally, I find it hilarious. I also like the fact that the film was made on a very low budget; and that several then-obscure now-successful actors make up the cast: such as Amy Poehler and Michael Ian Black.

Feel free to comment with your favorite Netflix instant streaming films 🙂

Peace, Love and Liberty,

Ann

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74 Days Later

It’s been 10 weeks and 4 days since my last post. OBVIOUSLY, a lot has happened.

I will have to spread out updates among multiple posts to accurately recount everything.

But here are some things in a nutshell:

  • By far the biggest thing that happened in the past 74 days was that I went to Iowa for eight days during caucus season to help campaign for the good Doctor…Ron Paul! It was, hands down, one of the greatest experiences in my life. I will without a doubt need to devote an entire post to my experience during those eight days.^With my friend Nash on caucus night in Ankeny, IA. Never mind the fact that I look like death…
  • I received an iPhone for Christmas! I no longer have a “dumb phone” (as opposed to a smart phone) as Tyler puts it.
  • Shortly before leaving for Iowa, I made an attempt to take control of my health. After weeks of NT Daily articles, research papers, finals and the stress of LIFE, I had put in many, many hours hunched over a computer and eating junk food. Toward the end of December, I became inspired by the ripped women in Oxygen magazine and began weight training. I decided to not necessarily focus on weight loss but on fat loss. It was going well until I took my eight day break, of course, during which I did not exactly lead the most healthy lifestyle (but I had a good reason not to!).

Upon returning from Iowa, I have been making a big effort to regain control of my health. So I have started using a juicer and experimenting with different fruit and vegetable juices.

^ 1 beet + the stem and leaves, 2 stalks of celery and some parsley juiced together and then mixed with carrot juice.

^I’ve never referred to soup as “pretty” before I made this last night. It’s 1/4 of a cabbage, 2 celery stalks and some parsley juiced together and then mixed with 1 cup carrot juice, heated up and eaten as a soup.

^Breakfast juice: 1/2 a lemon, 2 medium oranges and 1 cup berries juiced together. This picture was taken before I added a packet of green superfood. The green superfood usually tastes disgusting by itself, but the fruits drowned out the taste.

All pics taken with my new iPhone 😀

I hope everyone is having a great start to the new year.

I will be blogging more often from now on! Hopefully, anyway. I want to chronicle my health pursuits, political exploits, and life occurrences in general.

Peace, Love, and Liberty,

Song of the Day: Melanie’s Melody by The Black Angels

A pictorial summary of the effects of my insomnia and caffeine dependence

When school started, I was like

Then I began doing homework and I was like

And then I was like

So I got some coffee

But that fueled my anxiety and made me like

So I ended up sleeping anyway

Stay up until what most would consider “too late” taking too long to do homework. Get up the next day and do it over again.

Today

Today, everybody has been posting their “Where were you when?” stories about 9/11. Mine is pretty unremarkable. I lived my whole life in Texas. I didn’t know anyone who was directly affected by the attacks. I have an aunt who, at that time, was living in the New York-area and working in New York. Thankfully, nothing happened to her.

Ten years ago today, I was ten years old. It was a regular morning in fifth grade at Gattis Elementary School in Round Rock, Texas. Class had just started an I was sitting at my desk, when my teacher, Ms. Newell-Byrd, answered the phone. I remember her stopping what she was doing, seizing the remote, and turning the TV on to the news. There was an image of the World Trade Center with smoke billowing out.

I don’t remember how many towers had been hit at that point, but it was before either had collapsed.

My teacher said, “A plane has hit the World Trade Center, and it wasn’t a mistake,”

I remember being completely confused by her statement.

She also told us that that day was a day that would go down in history books.

Later that day my mom came and picked me, my brother, and sister up from school. I told her about what I saw on TV, as if she didn’t already know. I don’t remember what she said to me, but she was uneasy. My dad had been on a business trip, I think it was to California, and was supposed to fly home that day, but not until later. All flights everywhere had been cancelled. My dad and his colleagues ended up renting a car and driving all the way back to Texas.

My mom told me later that after she heard of the terrorist attacks, she went and filled our mini-van up with gas. She was prepared to take us out of harm’s way, anywhere, if she had to.

I didn’t understand the magnitude of the attacks then. And while I have learned a lot since, I still don’t. In the past few weeks, I have been researching 9/11. I don’t know why, I guess just to make better sense of it.

I’m stopping because I don’t know why i’m writing this. I feel like, as a person, I’m pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. That’s what this event is causing me to realize.

9/11 has helped me to realize that evil, real evil, truly exists. But, so does pure goodness and kindness. And I thank God for that.

___

Where was God on September 11?

(God explains)

“I know you’re mad at Me right now. That’s alright. People have been mad at Me before and will be again. Being mad is part of being human. My Son got mad, too. It’s all right to be mad sometimes at injustice, for example, or the lack of charity.”

“You probably think I am unjust and uncharitable when an airplane goes down like that. All those people lost. The children gone. It doesn’t seem right; it can’t be loving. You ask, ‘Where was God?’ Why did He allow that to happen?”

“I allow it to happen because I allow you freedom. I could have left you on a string and made you dance all day without getting tired. I could have moved your mouth for you and made you sing all night without growing hoarse. I could have pulled a wire that would have let you soar skyward and never fall.”

“I could have, but I didn’t because I love you so much. I want you to be free to decide when to dance and sing. Free to determine when you will come to Me in faith and hope. Because you are free, some of you choose not to dance or sing. Some of you select hatred over love, revenge over forgiveness, bombs over a helping hand. As you choose, I watch. I do not disappear. I listen to both the songs and the bombs. AND I REMEMBER.”

“Where was God?” you wonder…I was there. I whispered in the ear of a little girl, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am with you.’ I held the hand of a business woman as tightly as she clutched mine. I cradled a pilot against my shoulder as if he were a baby again.”

“Amid the paralyzing fear, I was there, as I was there with my Son in the garden. Amid the unbearable pain, I was there, as I was with Him as He was whipped. Amid the terrible realization that life was ending too soon, I was there, with Him as He hung on the cross and asked, like you, “My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

“I had not forsaken Him. I did not forsake them. I was there as they fell, and as they rose to eternal joy. I listened to their anger, answered their questions and showed them why they had been created. Not to end that way, but to live with Me forever.”

“In an instant, they came into existence. As you did. In an instant, they left this world. As you will. But beyond that last instant, I kept my promise… A little girl dances, a business woman sings, and a pilot keeps his wings forever.”

___

Choose Happiness

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happy (comparative happiersuperlative happiest)

  1. Experiencing the effect of favourable fortune; having the feeling arising from the consciousness of well-being or of enjoyment; enjoying good of any kind, as peace, tranquillity, comfort; contented; joyous.
[via wiktionary.com]
Confession: recently, I have not been happy.
I’ve been stressed, sad, grumpy…feelings of that nature.
I’ve been thinking to myself, “I sure would be happy if ____” [fill in the blank]
If…
…I wasn’t taking classes.
…I had less responsibility.
…more of my friends were in town.
…I could take a vacation.
…I could get more sleep.
…I knew how to dress better.
…I knew how to do my makeup better.
…I had more money.
…I lost 10 pounds.
…I wore a smaller jeans size.
…I went to church more often.
…I saw my boyfriend more often.
But, ultimately, I believe that there is only one true way to fill in the blank:
I would be happy if I let myself be happy.
I keep thinking up all these scenarios that I think I would be happier in. I don’t ever think of how I can be proactive and be happy in my life right now.

proactive (comparative more proactivesuperlative most proactive)

  1. (proscribed) Acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty
[via wiktionary.com]
I’m going to stop treating happiness like something that I have to wait for to find me. I have to find it.
I know that I can look to the Lord for all things. I know that I can find happiness in Him. I’m still trying to figure this out.
Hope everyone has a happy week.
Peace and Love,
And Happiness,

Head Rush

So, my hair had gotten pretty long since my haircut in January…

I wanted to get a cut and color as well, since my roots were growing in.

But I kept putting it off since I wasn’t sure where to go to get my hair done. Back in January, I got my hair cut by Penny at Vain Salon in Austin. I was VERY pleased with the results and would recommend Vain to anyone.

I wanted to get my hair done very badly, but I didn’t have time to go home so that I could swing by Austin and take a trip to Vain. I decided to try somewhere in Denton.

I ended up choosing Head Rush, a cool little place off the square. I had heard some good things about it by a girl I used to work with, and thought it was worth a try.

I got my hair cut by Nicole, and ended up being very happy with the results this time as well:

 

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve found my go-to hair salon in Denton 🙂 Happy Ann.

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: Dear Prudence by The Beatles <—-Played it on Beatles Rock Band earlier

Music I’m Digging

When I’m With You by Best Coast

This has been stuck in my head since I first heard it, and I have not grown tired of it. I LOVE the video. Not sure I understand the significance of the guy dressed like Ronald McDonald, but I enjoy it nonetheless.

Santeria by Sublime

When this song came on the radio the other day, it instantly made me happy and I turned the stereo way up. It is played all the time on Austin’s rock station 101X; at least, it was when I was in high school.

Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground

Like disco superfly. Yep.

Razzle Dazzle Rose by Camera Obscura

Relaxing song. I believe Elsie Larson walked down the aisle to it when she was married this past May!

Storytelling by Belle and Sebastian

A good song from the movie, Storytelling. Belle and Sebastian made the entire soundtrack for the film, I think. I’d like to watch it again…it’s one of those films that makes you go “Hmmm…”

You’re My Best Friend by Queen

Another song that instantly makes me happy. RIP Freddie Mercury.

Pygmy Twylyte by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Listening to incredibly strange music while I do my incredibly boring statistics homework makes things more bearable.

Just a Friend by Biz Markie

Early 90s hip hop is where it’s at. “You, you got what I neeeEEEEeeed….”

What music are YOU digging?

Peace and Love,

Sorry I’m Not Sorry

[coming soon: a post about my awesome birthday and a post about my super-fun trip to New Orleans!]

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The title of this post is from an awesome post by Rachel Wilkerson. Read it. Now!

Here’s the deal.

It has taken ~20 years of having the same habits and the same reactions to certain situations to make me want to change.

Like many people, I am guilty of being overly concerned with what other people think of me. In many cases, I have changed for other people. I have put certain beliefs of mine on the back-burner in order to be more accepted. I have tried to change what I believe in order to be more accepted by other people.

Have I liked doing this? No. But my rationale was that I would like having friends more.

But if someone doesn’t want to be my friend because of how I really am, then that’s their loss.

I’m open-minded enough to befriend people of different belief systems than my own.

I should expect the same open-mindedness back; as long as I’m not being pushy with my beliefs. Which I never am.

I believe in having a filter from what goes from my brain to my mouth, but there’s a difference between filtering something and changing something altogether.

I’m going to be who I am for nobody but myself.

I’m not going to change the way I present myself in order to not offend anyone or to increase my chances of “being accepted”.

There are things I believe that I should not be apologetic about!

So from now on…

I’m going to own everything I do.

Sorry I’m not sorry!

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: Country Lane by Telekinesis