If you’re a regular reader of VODzilla.co, you’ll be well aware that tomorrow sees just over 400 titles removed from Netflix UK. We’ve discussed what that means for Netflix and its subscribers in depth here, but right now there’s only one question that needs answering. It’s a Saturday. It’s raining. It’s the perfect weekend to stream things all day in your pants. So what should you watch in the next 12 hours before it disappears forever?
Ok, there are some others too. Luckily, after perusing the 400-odd list, we can can confirm that not all of them are solid gold classics (Derailed, anyone?) but this is your last chance to stream some brilliant titles. Of course, they may well come back in a month’s time – again, our discussion here – but for now, these are 20 must-see films and TV shows being removed in Steamageddon 2: 2014.
Put the bunny back in the box. That’s what we said to Netflix when they revealed that they weren’t renewing their licence for Con Air, but did they listen? No. So this is the last chance you have to admire Simon West’s pinnacle of 90s Nic Cage action. The hair. The jump suits. The bit where Steve Buscemi sings He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. A classic. Probably.
Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps
This is the very definition of classic. Hitchcock’s 1935 thriller, which goes from London to the Forth Bridge and back again, taking in everything from spies to handcuffs. Shackled together for the duration, Robert Donat’s Hannay is sets the template for Hitch’s wrong-man-on-the-run, while Madeleine Carroll’s sniping love interest adds a fun comic touch. The low-key climax may not be the Big Ben-straddling stunt of the 1978 remake, but this is cracking, tense stuff.
The Bicycle Thief
An unemployed man who can’t get a job unless he steals a bicycle? This neo-realist classic feels as relevant today as it did in 1948. Directed with real lighting, locations and people, Vittorio DeSica’s powerfully simple drama is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made – damn right. The fact that it won an Oscarfor Best Foreign Language Film before the award even existed says it all.
We’ve never seen William Friedkin’s Rampage. Why? Because it’s not available on DVD or VOD in the UK, which makes the 1987 legal drama’s imminent removal from the Netflix UK catalogue even more of an imperative to watch it.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Director Kenji Kamiyama’s most famous work, SAC is one of the best versions of GitS. The story of Section 9, a black ops cyber-security force, is full of great characters (free of the usual anime stereotypes) and stunning world-building.
Willy Russell’s famous play was brought to the big screen by Bond director Lewis Gilbert in 1983. Starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters, the class-difference comedy remains hilarious despite the couple’s formulaic relationship and features two actors at the top of their game.
The Ipcress File
Streamageddon is fast turning into a Michael Caine marathon with Netflix’s pending deletion of The Ipcress File (if you prefer your Caine more mature, The Cider House Rules is going too). Sidney J. Furie’s 1965 spy thriller deftly subverts any conventions established by the burgeoning 007 franchise, jauntily swaying from Harry Palmer frying eggs to mind-bending hypnosis, all the while accompanied by John Barry’s irresistibly cool theme tune.
As Netflix and Viacom’s deal comes to an end, all of Nickelodeon’s content on the service is set to leave. Top of our nostalgic childhood heap? Hey Arnold! From the do-good attitude of its lead to the violently repressed romance of pig-tailed school bully Helga Pataki, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the amusing dilemmas of their day-to-day city life. Easily the most enjoyable cartoon series about a nine year old boy with a head shaped like a rugby ball.
The good news? It’s now available on LOVEFiLM – along with all your other childhood favourites, from Blue’s Clues to Pingu.
“How was your day?” “I heard a new voice inside my head.” “That’s great!” If you prefer your TV series with a more cynical look at a life, today is your last chance to stream MTV’s high school satire Daria. You won’t get through all five seasons, but there’s more than enough time to enjoy the sarcastic company of Tracy Grandstaff’s drawling, nerdish student.
The Lives of Others
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck lived up to the awesomeness of his name with his 2006 debut, a slow-paced drama about Stasi agent Wiesler spying on a disillusioned playwright in East Berlin. As he gets more and more involved in his subject, we become absorbed in a gripping, quietly stunning character study that feels like a companion to The Conversation – not least because Francis Ford Coppola’s film was removed three days ago. A coincidence? A message from Netflix? If it is, it’s this: watch this film now.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
This overlooked and underrated 2002 movie is worth seeing for four reasons. 1. It’s written by Charlie Kaufman. 2. It stars Sam Rockwell as possibly-deluded game show host Chuck Barris, who says he was a CIA hit man in his spare time. 3. It’s George Clooney’s directorial debut. The script was chopped and changed a bit, but Rockwell’s leading man charisma and Clooney’s striking set pieces, helped by surreal set designs and seamless editing, turn this offbeat thriller into a fascinating little gem. Reason number four? You won’t be able to stream this from tomorrow.
Costume drama fans may already be very familiar with Douglas McGrath’s 1996 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic, but from Gwyneth Paltrow’s meddling matchmaker to Jeremy Northam’s broodingly obvious suitor, this is a pitch-perfect rendition of the author’s irony-laden humour. If you’ve already seen it once, take the chance to watch it all over again. (Alternatively, Finding Neverland’s leaving tomorrow too. It’s also great.)
One of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of 2004, Sanjay Gadhvi’s action flick Dhoom sparked a hit franchise that has broken box office records ever since. See where the series began with this odd-couple crime thriller that feels like The Fast and the Furious, but with motorbikes. And dancing.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has something of a bad reputation among some sci-fi fans, but Garth Jennings’ big screen adaptation of Douglas Adams’ world hits the tone bang on the head. Martin Freeman’s Arthur Dent wears a dressing gown with everyman charm, Zooey Deschanel’s Trillian is a perfect manic pixie given unexpected depth, while Sam Rockwell does surprisingly well as arrogant two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox. Add in Alan Rickman as the suicidal android Marvin and you have a laugh-out-loud adventure with visual effects to match its offbeat humour.
Grosse Point Blank
What have you been doing since you left high school? For John Cusack’s Martin Blank, the answer is easy: he kills people for money. George Armitage’s gun-toting comedy, which boasts stellar supporting turn from Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin and Dan Aykroyd, sees Cusack in his heyday, just after the winning Bullets Over Broadway and before The Thin Red Line and Con Air. Great fun.
Swedish people killing other people is so in right now. But if you’ve seen Kenneth Branagh’s BBC series and read Henning Mankell’s fantastic books, seize the opportunity while you can to watch the original Swedish adaptations starring Krister Henriksson as the troubled, weary detective.
Swedish detectives may be everywhere these days, but there’s only one Belgian sleuth worth mentioning: Hercule Poirot. David Suchet’s take on the diminutive private eye, all fake moustache and endearing mannerisms, is by far the definitive version of Agatha Christie’s creation. The later seasons, particularly Murder on the Orient Express, see Suchet do something Agatha rarely did: develop Poirot, turning him into a three-dimensional man who aged with every episode. Iconic.
The River Wild
Meryl Streep. Kevin Bacon. One tiny raft. Curtis Hanson’s 1994 thriller is claustrophobic fun that sees Meryl Streep in possibly her only action role. Needless to say, she nails it, but so does Jerry Goldsmith, whose Gail’s Theme takes your breath away every time you hear it.
What is there to say about South Park that hasn’t already been said? Evolving from crude humour to sharp satire, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s politically incorrect animation rarely fails to entertain. It’s a shame that Netflix UK only has the 2007 seasons onwards. Then again, in another 24 hours, they won’t have any of them at all. Soak up the sweary laughs while you can.
Ren and Stimpy
Ren and Stimpy were a much-loved duo of Nickelodeon’s classic line-up. The tale of an unbalanced chihuahua and a simple-minded cat? What’s not to like? Now, though, you see it in a very different light. Innuendo. Freaky dreams. VIolence. It’s hard to believe that John Kricfalus was ever meant for kids. Stream some of it now and fear for the sanity of your inner child.
What will you be watching on the eve of Streamageddon?
Tonight we shall be mourning the loss of hundreds of titles by streaming Con Air on Netflix UK at 9.30pm. Join us on Twitter – or watch any other film from our list – with the hashtag #lastchancetostream.