Out with the old, in with the new. As 2014 comes to a close and we bid farewell to the year that was, we have so many exciting things to look forward to in 2015—for instance, at 12:01 AM, Friends is coming to Netflix! That’s right, you can now binge watch it for the first time or revisit the classics. (Remember “We were on a break!,” “It’s a moo point,” and “Pivot!”?) Better news: It’s not the only thing coming to Netflix in January. There’s a handful of truly great movies available in the new year, and here are just a few you should immediately add to your queue.
More Jennifer Aniston, albeit in a minor role. This is a story about someone playing God for a week, because he’s so disgruntled with the job the real almighty is doing. Jim Carrey’s character, Bruce, wields his newfound power to hilarious ends—like when he makes a fellow newscaster do a segment in complete gibberish. This movie also features Steve Carell way before he was a leading man himself, and Morgan Freeman, because when we think of a higher being with a commanding voice, only Freeman will do.
This movie clocks in at two hours and 23 minutes, which is very, very long. Consider also that for most of that time, it’s Tom Hanks, alone and surviving, on an island with only his best friend, Wilson, for company. Oh, also of note? Wilson is a volleyball. No wonder the role of Chuck Nolan earned him an Oscar nod and a Golden Globe win.
Often hailed as one of the best high school movies ever made—right up there with The Breakfast Club—Election is more of a black comedy. It stars Reese Witherspoon as Tracy Flick, a grating overachiever determined to become student body president. Matthew Broderick plays a crumbling high school teacher equally determined to prevent her from winning. What follows is an often uncomfortably funny tale about ambition, failure, jealousy, and resentment. Seriously, you can’t miss it.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, and Colin Firth alert! If you’re more into thrillers than serious dramas, move this Cold War adaptation of John le Carré’s novel to the top of your queue. It’s got all the things you need for a tense spy movie: suspected moles, British accents, MI6, code names, seduction, and betrayal.
The French Connection
If you’re not into spy thrillers, how about a crime thriller with one of the most epic car chases ever filmed? This movie was made in 1973, way before CGI and green screens were a thing. So, yeah, that’s really a car chasing a train through Brooklyn. Tell your parents you watched The French Connection and they will be so impressed. Dad’s going to want to talk about it later.
To Be Takei
Here’s what you might already know about George Takei: He was in the original television series Star Trek and he posts a lot of funny memes on his Facebook and Twitter. Here’s what you might not know about him: He was actually in an American internment camp as a child, he was determined to break all Asian stereotypes in acting, and because of his role as a sex symbol in the ’60s, he had to keep his sexuality a secret. Now, he is finally being embraced for who he is, and it’s awesome. Check out the trailer if you need more convincing.
So there’s this little-known gem of a movie that LiLo starred in and Tina Fey wrote and it’s called—just kidding! I know you’ve probably seen this (10 times), but I just had to add it to the list. For a long time, Mean Girls wasn’t available to stream on Netflix. Then, one day, it was. Then, another day, it was gone again. Now, it’s back. This is so fetch.