Netflixing: 1. The act of watching multiple movies or episodes in one sitting, and 2. A perfectly valid excuse for avoiding social/academic obligations, as in “Sorry I can’t make it to the party/class later. I am Netflixing.” With Impact, you’ll never be exempt from such indulgence, as we bring you our next best recommendations on Netflix.
Set in an environment many of us may be unfamiliar with, Office Space‘s satire of the working world translates seamlessly over to the often tedious duties requested by academic life.
Protagonist Peter (Ron Livingston) loathes his employment at Initech, and begins to question his lack of passion as a disgruntled programmer. He hilariously receives more managerial attention after deciding to come in to work in his flip flops, if he comes into work at all, and generally just flipping off Initech and the corporate world more widely. When his friends and fellow employees Samir Nagheenanajar’s (Ajay Naidu) or something, and Michael Bolton’s (no, not the Michael Bolton, David Herman) jobs are in jeopardy, the three concoct a scheme to give Initech the ultimate flip off.
Mike Judge’s comedic goldmine, Office Space manages to be casual, ludicrous, relatable and subtle all in a short 89 minute time span. Much like both the British and US television series The Office (also available via Netflix), the film’s representations of white-collar workers is quite simply genius by being genuine.
The film’s standout character Milton Waddams (Stephen Root) dominates his scenes with perfected comedic execution. Whether he’s trying to get his stapler back, mumbling incoherently or playing musical chairs around the office desks, Milton manages to extinguish the memory of many other supporting characters in comedies.
If Office Space fails to have you repeatedly reeling in laughter, I promise to pay for the next month of your Netflix subscription. Okay, I won’t really, but seriously, it’s funny.
Into the Wild
“To be great is to be misunderstood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Adapted from Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book of the same name, Into the Wild is the inspirational biographical drama, which tells the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless, also known as Alexander Supertramp. The film chronicles McCandless’ journey to the Alaskan wilderness in search of a harmoniously simple existence in solitude in the early 1990s.
Ascetically Thoreauvian in his aspirations to be at one with nature, Supertramp is one of the most captivating individuals you’ll discover in any biopic. He is meticulously portrayed by Emile Hirsch into a vividly complex realm of likeability, ambiguity and pity. The artistry of Sean Penn’s direction is in objectively depicting McCandless’ philosophy to the audience, allowing us to consider for ourselves whether simplicity, nonconformity and internalised romanticism is the Magic Bus journey we’d like to take. He is represented as a misunderstood idealist who I instantly connected with.
Into the Wild is told quite fantastically through a nonlinear narrative. Its editing, cinematography and acting complements the source material with immense delicacy. The cutaway shots to nature, occasional fourth wall breaks and people McCandless meets along his pilgrimage constitute to the greatest discovery you’ll find on your expedition through Netflix’s library.
Into the Wild is not ephemeral in the least. It’ll encourage at least a Google search or 12 into the story of Alexander Supertramp, possibly a read through Krakauer’s book, or, if you’re like me, a unilateral obsession into the remarkable personality of Christopher McCandless.
Safety Not Guaranteed
So far, this list has covered the satirical and serious of Netflix’s catalogue. Safety Not Guaranteed is then the perfect picture to propose as the finale to this triplex of recommendations. The comedy-drama is a 90 minute experience of uncertainty over whether the events in the film are to be laughed at, or taken sincerely.
Safety Not Guaranteed is inspired by a 1997 magazine ad that read:
WANTED: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 322, Oakview, CA 93022. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
That pretty much sums up most of the film.
Audrey Plaza’s deadpan notoriety takes lead as she portrays the straight-faced Seattle Magazine intern Darius. Writer Jeff (Jake Johnson) drags Darius and fellow intern Arnau (Karan Soni) along to track down the creator of the wanted ad. What ensues is funny, sweet, thoughtful and most of all, awesome.
My unfamiliarity with Mark Duplass made his performance all the more phenomenal. Duplass plays the self-proclaimed time travelling tour guide Kenneth Calloway, and his sincerity complements Darius’ own seriousness, open-mindedness and intrigue in him, Jeff’s scepticism, and Arnau’s obliviousness.
Safety Not Guaranteed has a super premise that you instantly accept despite its seeming absence of veracity. Along with a surprisingly engaging subplot involving Jeff’s attempts to reconnect with a teenage lover, the film thematically focuses on the idea of certainty, or more specifically, lack thereof, in all realms of life.
Nothing is certain except my guarantee that Safety Not Guaranteed will leave your facial muscles in pain from smiling too much at its character chemistry, improvisational humour and wicked cool story.
I may have been lying about paying for your Netflix subscription, but your enjoyment of these three films is a promise I shall not relent.