I'm not professing that the following programs and films are the best ever. My Top Ten Netflix Suggestions consisted of the heavyweights. This list is composed of semi-mindless entertainment where one can comfortably zone out, which we all need sometimes, right?
If you're not into Phil, then pick from a myriad of amazing documentaries on the making of classic albums, from artists such as The Doors, Metallica, Steely Dan, Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, etc. Just do a search a search on Netflix for "classic albums" and turn your stereo up.
3. Primal Fear
Again, not a great movie. But very watchable. Richard Gere stars in this legal thriller as a hotshot attorney offering his services to Ed Norton, a Kentucky-born teenager accused of killing an archbishop in Chicago. What makes this movie so compelling? Ed Norton, who is just stunning and hypnotic...wow. A must-see for his performance alone.
4. Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey
I know, I know...you guys have all heard of Gordon Ramsey but I just stumbled across him for the first time last month and decided to start with his original shows, based in a myriad of UK-based restaurants. Perhaps by now, he's a little too "rock star" for his own good but these original shows totally won me over.
What's to say about Gordon that you don't already know? He's bold and outspoken but passionate about food and the restaurant business. You not only learn a tremendous amount about cooking but team work, ego-checking, goal-setting, business, marketing, speaking your mind...the list goes on.
5. Psychic Kids
Yes, they see dead people. Even if you're not into the supernatural like me, this real-life show about kids with varying degrees of psychic powers is eye-opening. Why? Not because of the "psychic expert" Chip Coffey (whom you will be annoyed by) but because of the children. Unless these kids are award-winning actors, it's hard not to take their experiences seriously.
6. Investigation Discovery Channel: (Deadly Women, Wicked Attraction, Stalked, Who the Bleep did I Marry, Sensing Murder, etc. )
Ah, my favorite mindless entertainment: documentaries on crimes, criminal psychology and forensic investigation. Ever since Quincy (oh yeah, that just dated me), I've loved the study of forensic pathology and criminal behavior. These programs aren't always well-acted or well-made, but they're fascinating...because they're true. (Warning: some of these programs are not for the meek at heart.)
(Above: Mary Bell, unique as a deadly women because she was only 10
years old at the time she committed her murders.)
8. The Caller
I dub this movie "just scary enough." It's not great and it's a
little dated, but it grabs you. A divorcee moves into an apartment
with a haunted phone. That's all you really need to know, right?
Definitely fits the "rainy day" bill.
9. Rid of Me
Being a gal who is pretty wary of most indie flicks, this one stuck with me. The lead actress (Katie O'Grady) is very good in this distinctive, awkward-moment-loving movie. An engaged couple move back to the fiance's hometown. Quickly the wife-to-be realizes she doesn't fit in with any of his "buddies" and downward spirals from there.
10. God Grew Tired of Us
Wow. That's the only word to describe this documentary. But I'll try to elaborate. The "lost boys" are Sudanese refugees who, after years of living in an encampment with other displaced Sudanese, are invited to America to work and study. They experience electricity, running water and supermarkets for the first time, which is funny and touching. But more impactful is their personal struggles of loneliness in a foreign country and the goals they set and reach. Just...wow.
Suggestions from Open Salon Members (not all are streamable)
The Ninth Gate
The Office (UK version, Seasons 1 - 2 + Christmas Special, which is the entire series)
Gimme Shelter (movie 1970)