The holidays are a time to gather with one’s family, share a giant meal, and then move to the TV room to catatonically sit in front of a movie. But that can raise an issue as predictable as heartburn: How do you find a film that’s new to everybody? Netflix Streaming might as well be called “Netflix Screaming” for all the arguments it can spark of “How about _____?” “How can you not have seen that already?” “Well, excuse me, not everyone spends all their time in front of the TV!” “I’VE ALWAYS HATED YOU!” So in the name of family unity, Vulture is here to help by presenting our list of obscure movies you likely haven’t watched (but should). Every staff member has recommended their favorite films whose awesomeness are inversely proportional to how few people have seen them. Goofy comedies, heartfelt indies, compelling docs, cheeky whodunnits: No matter the genre, we guarantee that there are many picks in here that will be new for your entire clan, but will make them all happy. Any cries of “You are a disappointment!” heard over the holiday won’t be our fault. We’ve included five below that can all be found on various streaming sites, but visit our Facebook page to see the full list of eighteen and be eligible to win a year’s subscription to Netflix!
Death on the Nile (1978)
Murder on the Orient Express may be considered the Classic Agatha Christie movie adaptation, but I prefer Death on the Nile, which boasts an equally impressive cast (Peter Ustinov! Bette Davis! Mia Farrow! Angela Lansbury! Maggie Smith! Jane Birkin!) and a horse-riding-to-the-Pyramids scene that has become my dream vacation template. Also, the plot doesn’t involve too many Americans, which is important for purposes of escapism. (submitted by Amanda Dobbins)
The Baxter (2005)
Writer/director/star Michael Showalter sets out to tell the story of the other guy in romantic comedies, the dorky, unexciting lover who is all wrong for the woman — the Sleepless in Seattle Bill Pullmans. (Elizabeth Banks is Showalter’s out-of-his-league fiancée; Michelle Williams also stars.) A lot of the humor is similar to Showalter’s work in The State and Wet Hot American Summer, but here it’s rooted in something a bit more real and melancholic. (submitted by Jesse David Fox)
Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)
A slapsticky, alternate history of how two sets of identical twins shuffled at birth would go on to spark the French Revolution: The mismatched brothers — one pair spoiled aristocrats, the other dim, filthy peasants — are played by Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder (one in each pair). They lead this largely forgotten madcap comedy that is silly in the best of ways, and as the evil brother, Wilder is as terrifyingly apoplectic as he was at the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but this one is played for laughs, so no nightmares will ensue. (submitted by Josh Wolk)
Read My Lips (2001)
In the mood for a fun, sexy French thriller? Search for this early offering from director Jacques Audiard (who made the new Marion Cotillard drama Rust and Bone). Emmanuelle Devos plays a near-deaf secretary whose life is transformed when she hires hot thug Vincent Cassel as her new intern. Soon enough, she’s putting her lip-reading skills to better use as his criminal accomplice, and their sleazy chemistry together is electric. (submitted by Kyle Buchanan)
Hannah Takes the Stairs (2008)
Have you ever lived in Chicago in the summer and had crushes on too many people and felt an ambient grossness about your whole life and drank too much and had a job that you liked but it was sort of making everything worse, but as weird and unhappy-making as this existence sometimes was, you couldn’t help but feel like “you know, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be”? Well … I have. And this movie is a really, really good portrayal of that. (submitted by Margaret Lyons)
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