3 Underrated Films on Netflix Worth Watching Over the Weekend

Two individuals converse outdoors in A Stroll in the Forest.

During the Memorial Day weekend, two dominant entities infiltrated cinemas across the country: Furiosa and … Garfield. However, the Mad Max prequel and the animated film showcasing everyone’s beloved lasagna-devouring feline failed to captivate movie enthusiasts, resulting in both movies being unsuccessful. What transpired? Perhaps the abundance of compelling content on streaming platforms played a role.

This holds particularly true for Netflix. Atlas, the sci-fi action film starring Jennifer Lopez, may not be exceptional, but it still offers some amusement while you attend to household chores. There are also older films worth viewing. We have curated a collection of high-quality movies currently available for streaming on Netflix. Each one possesses its own merits and is guaranteed to provide satisfaction without straining your budget.

Seeking more suggestions? Explore our recommendations for the finest movies on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO.

Public Enemies (2009)

A man fires a tommy gun in Public Enemies.

Featuring Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard, and Billy Crudup, Public Enemies boasted an exceptional ensemble in 2009. Depp, fresh from the immense success of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, while Bale and Cotillard were on the brink of receiving their well-deserved Oscars. With Michael Mann at the helm, one of the premier directors of that era and today, the film presents a beautifully stylized gangster narrative bridging the past and present. It exudes a level of violence akin to Quentin Tarantino’s works but maintains a sensibility reminiscent of Warner Bros.’ gangster films from the ’30s and ’40s.

Depp portrays the notorious gangster John Dillinger, dubbed “Public Enemy No. 1” by the FBI in the 1930s. Following his prison escape, he is pursued by Melvin Purvis (Bale), an FBI agent determined to apprehend him. Dillinger’s relationship with singer Billie Frechette (Cotillard), who shares his anti-authoritarian spirit though not his lethal tendencies, adds complexity to the narrative. Similar to Mann’s iconic heist film Heat, Public Enemies revolves around a tale of two men engaged in a protracted pursuit with an inevitable conclusion: one of them must perish.

Public Enemies is available for streaming on Netflix.

A Walk in the Woods (2015)

Two men converse on a boulder in A Walk in the Woods.

When contemplating a classic buddy comedy, titles like 48 Hrs. with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte or Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover may come to mind. A Walk in the Woods deviates from the typical buddy comedy formula. It’s not an action-packed film unless you equate hiking the Appalachian Trail to the high-octane pursuits in L.A. by Mel and Danny. This 2015 movie exemplifies an opposites-attract comedy that is portrayed with sincerity and occasional seriousness.

Robert Redford takes on the role of Bill Bryson, a retired writer who embarks on a nature exploration against his wife Catherine’s objections (played by the underutilized yet commendable Emma Thompson). Teaming up with his old pal Stephen Katz (Nolte, as rugged as ever), Bryson rediscovers his passion for writing and the value of his friendship with Stephen. A Walk in the Woods may not break new ground, but the opportunity to spend time with three of today’s most charismatic actors is an experience not to be missed.

A Walk in the Woods is accessible for streaming on Netflix.

The Catcher Was a Spy (2018)

Two men gaze ahead in The Catcher Was a Spy.

The Catcher Was a Spy narrates a tale so unbelievable, it must be based on reality. Moe Berg, a player for the Boston Red Sox, is recruited by the U.S. government to operate as a spy. His mission? Acquire intelligence on Germany’s atomic bomb development plans, crucial information that could aid America in crafting its own weapon of mass destruction. (For the outcome, watch Oppenheimer on Peacock.)

Despite its incredulous premise, the film strives to anchor itself in realism. This is largely attributed to Paul Rudd’s portrayal of Moe, infusing him with an all-American charm that conceals his remarkable intellect and adeptness at deception. Supported by a stellar cast including Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Tom Wilkinson, Guy Pearce, Hiroyuki Sanada from Shōgun, and Paul Giamatti, Moe’s narrative is a compelling one that deserved to be shared, making The Catcher Was a Spy a delightful watch for a leisurely summer weekend.

The Catcher Was a Spy is now streaming on Netflix.

Evan Brooks

Hey there! I'm Evan Brooks, a tech journalist based in New York City. With a knack for distilling complex industry jargon into engaging narratives, I've… More »

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