Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Netflix Surprises (television)

Click to add it to your Netflix queue here!

I was a huge fan of The West Wing. I thought the show was amazingly crafted, not only because of the marvelous acting, but the superb story arches of the plot lines and fitting dialogue.

My liking of that show sparked my interest indefinitely in anything Aaron Sorkin touches, which is why I was so excited for his new movie "The Social Network" (by the way, if you haven't seen that yet, you should as soon as possible).

Anyway, I recently discovered that as soon as The West Wing finished, Sorkin created Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a show about the ins and outs of a "Saturday Night Live," only not SNL, because it's based in Los Angeles and plays on Friday nights.. see, it's different and stuff!

But it's quite different from 30 Rock in this regard, because the tone is basically the same as The West Wing's. It's serious, and the subject matter is always subtly funny (as opposed to a lot of the slapstick stuff on 30 Rock - which I love also).

I was bummed when I finished the 22nd streaming episode of Studio 60, because I discovered the show wasn't renewed past that ep. It's too bad, too. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are great as the leads, being backed by a cast of familiar faces from prior Aaron Sorkin projects.

If you watched The West Wing or appreciate good writing, the show is great. I really enjoyed it, and I really wish they would have had the chance to create more shows. I would have really liked to see where some of the characters' lives headed. At least the final episode in the series gave a lot of resolution.

Add it to your Netflix Instant queue and give it a shot!

New Year's Eve Movies Streaming on Netflix

Just as we did on Christmas, here's the list of all the movies you can watch on or around New Year's Eve! A lot of these movies only have a small aspect of the movie revolving around a New Year's celebration, but that's still enough of an excuse to watch it this holiday. I hope I managed to find them all, I had to do some research but I think I found most of them.

Hover your mouse over the name of the movie in order to easily add it to your streaming Netflix Instant Queue.

When I first sat down to write this blog post, no other movie came to my mind when thinking about "New Year's Eve" movies other than "When Harry Met Sally." The movie stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as old college friends who always seem to get together on New Year's Eve. I'm usually not one for romantic comedies, but I really enjoyed this one because it's quick, witty, and honest. I enjoyed this movie even watching it outside of December.
I've had this movie in my Instant Queue since it became available for streaming and haven't gotten along to watching it quite yet. In doing my research, I discovered that there's a crucial scene where the two main characters, played by Hugh Grant and Rachel Weisz, sit together at a New Year's Eve party. I'm going to try to watch it before the month is up!

Someone Like You involves New Year's Eve as a critical point in the plot. Apparently, the main character (played by Ashley Judd) realizes her true feelings for her friend (Hugh Jackman) on New Year's.

Another Meg Ryan movie, this time opposite Tom Hanks. In this movie, Tom Hanks' character has a critical dream sequence in which it's New Year's Eve and he has a resolving discussion with his deceased wife. Of course, this is a rather famous romantic comedy, and there's not many people out there who haven't seen it.

With a cast starting Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer, I'm surprised I've never seen this movie. There is a scene in which New Year's Eve occurs in this movie, and of course, it's a romantic comedy so I can only assume there's romance involved.

Apparently, the scene in which the shark attacks (spoiler alert?) in this movie, there is a New Year's Eve celebration going on. Outside of that, likely not too much New Year's action.
As the clock ticks down to zero, there's going to be a murder! Or, at least that seems to be the plot line to this movie. The bad guy in this film promises to kill someone as the New Year is brought in within each different time zone.

Somebody slips someone else some LSD in this horror film based around New Year's Eve, and after the characters get into a car accident, they're stuck in the woods! But, could those LSD hallucinations be real stalkers!?

That's it for now. Hope you enjoy the list and manage to stream one or two before New Year's Eve to get in the spirit! Let me know if you know of something I missed!

Top 10 Highest Rated Netflix Movies - December 2010

Displayed below are the Top 10 highest rated movies, according to user ratings, currently on Netflix.

I'm not very surprised by this list, because as you can see, it's chalked full of good movies. Although, I have yet to see Ip Man. Apparently the Netflix community enjoys it, so maybe I will too. Let me know if you think I should check it out either in a comment or by tweeting us at @WatchOnNetflix.

7. Up

Coming Soon to Netflix - January 2011

Wow, it's already going to be 2011 next month. I find that to be absolutely crazy. But, a new month means more releases to Netflix streaming. Here are some of the movies that we find to be notable that are being released in January!

Grey's Anatomy (television)

There are a lot of good ones coming soon to streaming next month! You can be sure to find a few of these in as upcoming suggestions on this Netflix blog.

Top 10 Comedies on Netflix Instant - December 2010

Here's the Netflix Streaming Top 10 list for comedies for the month of December!

8. Big

If you're looking for something funny to watch this holiday season, Netflix has a lot of good options. These are what I think are currently the funniest and most worth the add to the queue.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Netflix Surprises

Click to stream the movie on Netflix Instant here!

Here's a bonus that Netflix has given us right before Christmas! If you're anything like me, this was one of the movies that you always seemed to be able to find playing on TV on or around the days before Christmas.

The movie involves the famous "Vacation" crew, the Griswolds, as they head out on their version of a Christmas trip. Which means, of course, utter chaos.

I'm a big fan of Chevy Chase (and love watching him every week in his new show Community - if you haven't seen it yet, you need to check it out) and that's one of the big reasons I love this movie. This has become one of the most famous and classic Christmas films already, and if you haven't seen it yet, it's worth checking out, especially before Christmas. Christmas movies just don't have the same appeal after the 25th of December.

And then there's basically no good holiday for months. So get the most out of this one and stream this movie!

Skype and Watching Movies

If you're like me, you have friends now scattered all across the US (and maybe even the world), where it can be very hard to see one another, (or actually talk to one another).

I have a friend who now is living and teaching in Illinois. Prior to his moving, we would hang out and watch a lot of movies. It was convenient because we lived close as well as liked a lot of the same movies.

Since his moving, if we ever have a movie that we both want to watch, but want to watch together, we go and turn on Skype. Skype is a free communication service that you can download and video chat with anyone who also has Skype installed on their computer.

The key here is that in order to watch the movies at the same time, you have to be very careful to line-up where you are in a frame to be exactly the same. We usually do this by pointing the webcam at the television (or sharing the screen for a moment - an option on Skype) and lining everything up.

Then we simply keep the webcam image of the other person's video up and watch the movie. We're able to both comment and enjoy the movie simultaneously without having to physically be within hundreds of miles away from one another.

Skype is an amazing tool, and I use it the most frequently for this type of thing because the audio quality is phenomenal compared to other types of Internet communication tools.

If, though, you have several friends, Skype doesn't easily allow for several videos playing simultaneously. You can have several people speaking with one another audibly, but if we have several people all wanting to show their reactions physically, we use something called TinyChat to get the same result. It's a free web chatting device that you don't even have to install, but sometimes the quality can be a little iffy. It's really nice when we want to get our friend who's teaching in China involved.

Yes, there are other means in which you can probably more easily go about watching movies with select friends (ie Xbox 360's watch with friends option and/or actually being in the same place at the same time) but this approach has been very useful for me so far.

When there's a big blizzard and it's next to impossible to drive anywhere, it's nice to know that I still have the ability to watch movies with friends if I really want to.

The Internet is pretty awesome.

Streaming Christmas Movies on Instant

I've noticed that no other Netflix blog or site has really done a good job of displaying all the Christmas movies available on Netflix Watch Instantly. I know a lot of people in December are looking for good Christmas movies to watch, and Netflix has given us a lot to choose from!

Now a lot of these might not be happy with the fact that Netflix doesn't have the largest selection with big movies you remember from childhood, but let me say that this is a pretty good start! Think about where Netflix could be a year from now, with the growth they've had lately!

But alas, here is's official list of streaming Christmas movies for the 2010 Christmas season. Hover your mouse over the title to see a description and instantly stream it.

Home Alone was a phenomenally huge hit, and so of course they were going to make a sequel to it. Usually sequels are awful, but for whatever reason, this movie was great! I remember watching Home Alone 2 every Christmas season (mainly because it played on TV so much) and loving every bit of it. I've actually probably seen this movie more times than the original, and it never gets old.

Yes, Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie. I don't care if it's not known for it, everybody knows that at its hard, aside from being one of the most famous action movies ever, it's a Christmas movie.
The movie itself involves a large heist that's going down on Christmas and only Bruce Willis can handle taking care of it.

Miracle on 34th Street is one of the most famous Christmas stories of all time. It's famous enough to be remade several times, and though this may not be the 90s remake that many of you remember, it's still a long-cherished classic and worth a watch.

Obviously, this movie doesn't star the actors who starred in the original Dennis the Menace movie, but still, these are characters that many children grow up knowing. I wasn't a big fan of Dennis the Menace growing up, but if I was, you can bet that this would have been a Christmas movie that I'd seek out to stream.

This 1950s movie is filled with nine different Christmas stories. The animation might be a little outdated, but when has that ever stopped us from watching cherished Christmas movies?
Although maybe not that "heart-felt" feeling you're looking for from a Christmas movie, South Park nonetheless has done its part to add a little comedy to the world of cherished Christmas memories. This special is a collection of South Park episodes devoted to Christmas. Worth watching if you're a South Park fan - I know I am.

Weirdly enough, when I think of Christmas movies, Look Who's Talking Now somehow pops up in my head as one of the movies I'd watch in December when I was a kid. Now, that might give a little bit of a hint of how young I am, but still, it's a fun Christmas movie to watch that's family friendly and worth a chuckle or two (as long as you don't take it incredibly seriously - it's a Christmas movie!).

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Mystery Science Theater 3000 in some way in a holiday list. MST3K was one of the funniest television shows ever, and if they did something involving Christmas, you can bet I'd put it on this list. Not a day goes by that I wish MST3K was still on TV... 

The Christmas Carol Movies...

This movie is a take on the classic Dickens title involving the characters from the movie "All Dogs Go to Heaven.
This made-for-television version of the classic stars George C. Scott as Scrooge.

This rendition of Christmas Carol (that I hadn't heard of prior to seeing it was available for streaming on Instant) is stacked with actors and actresses: Nicolas Cage, Kate Winslet, Simon Cowell, and more. If you're looking for a cartoon, this might be something good to watch. 

Christmas Movies for Kids...

I also tried to go through the Netflix collection to display all the Christmas movies that Netflix has available for streaming that are directed towards children. Here they are. I might have missed a couple, but I've put here what I believe would be the ones worth watching:

A Few More...

I'm not quite sure what this movie is, but the description says that it's a Christmas story that's acted out by marionettes. If that's something that might interest you, you might want to give this one a shot.
Hollywood Christmas is supposedly a special devoted to displaying a collection of famous Christmas scenes from cherished Christmas movies. Especially considering that Netflix doesn't have a wide collection of very famous Christmas movies, this might be exactly the thing to wet your appetite for Christmas!

This foreign movie is described by Netflix as a "heartwarming drama from Finland" about an "orphan named Nikolas." If you're willing to give a foreign Christmas movie a shot, this sounds like something that might be worth watching. 

And for the adventurous...

Of course we had to put a horror movie on here! Black Christmas is the only one, though. The movie is about a terror in a sorority house. I've never seen this movie, but with Christmas in the title, it makes the list!

There you have it! That's my streaming Christmas movie list for December 2010! I hope you enjoy some of these movies, as this took a lot of time to put together. If you have friends who might enjoy this list or this Netflix blog as well, please, let them know about it!

Top 10 Scary Movies on Netflix Instant - December 2010

Here is the list of (what I believe to be) the Top 10 best scary movies currently available on Netflix Instant streaming service. I only list things I've seen here, so if there's something truly scary you think I should see, let me know!

I just noticed that pretty much every scary movie out there starts with "The."

Starship Troopers: Netflix Surprises

Click to stream the movie on Netflix here!

Starship Troopers was one of those movies that, when I was a kid, was playing at one of my friend's houses after school one day. My friend told me that it was "awesome" and that "I had to see it," but for some reason I hadn't even heard about the movie before.

Well, he happened to be right, and this movie can be described with absolutely no better word than simply awesome.

When you really get down to it, what do you expect from an "awesome" movie? Great special effects? Check. A cool science-fiction story with aliens? Check. Overkill action? Check. Over-the-top melodramatic acting that's easily explained once you realize the movie is actually trying to be somewhat sardonic? Check.

I'm a huge fan of the computer game StarCraft (and now StarCraft II), and this movie was astounding to me, simply for the fact that the movie itself seemed like the closest thing to a StarCraft movie I could ever imagine.

But if you've never played the game, Starship Troopers is a movie about humans who are at war with an alien race that are basically bunch of overgrown spider things with big claws and stuff. For some reason, they're really smart and able to accomplish attacks on the humans (who, as displayed by the movie, are hilariously ill-equipped for life) and so it's a pretty balanced battle-field.

I'd recommend streaming this movie on Netflix if you've ever played StarCraft, enjoy sci-fi (even if it's really over-the-top sci-fi), or enjoy action movies. It's a fantastic movie AS LONG as you don't take it seriously. If you do, I can only imagine pain and suffering coming from the movie. But I enjoyed it.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Netflix Surprises

Click to stream (the first season of) the television show here!

Avatar was one of those television shows that a bunch of my friends had been talking about for years, but I never gave a chance because of the fact that it was on Nickelodeon and was an anime (a Japanese-style of animation) show. I've never really been a fan of anime (I mean seriously, the animation isn't THAT great) and really, how many good things have there actually been on Nickelodeon this decade? Hmmm?

Anyway, my friends always talked about how awesome this TV show was, and I finally gave in a couple months ago, seeing as it was on Netflix streaming. Granted, it was everything I expected from an animation standpoint, but I was shocked at how deep the plot line of the show actually was.

This is a show made for kids, yes. But just because something is made for children doesn't mean it can't be emotionally and philosophically deep, as well as legitimately funny at times. This show was surprisingly complex, and I don't really understand how it became so popular with kids, seeing that you really have to watch the shows in episodic order to really get a full grasp of the story.

Alas, it was extremely popular, and for good reason. In fact, it's so good that it's even an Emmy winner. Yeah, a show from Nickelodeon won an Emmy.

If you're a fan of anime at all, of course you're going to like it. If not, it's still worth giving a shot if you enjoy a good episodic television show that, although written for children, has a lot of depth.

Netflix vs. Blockbuster

I just came across this article, which discusses how a few years ago, Blockbuster CEO John Antioco was approached by Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings about forming a partnership. This was over 10 years ago now (whoa, 2000 was that long ago?) and Netflix suggested a relationship in which Netflix ran the online brand and Blockbuster focused on brick and mortar store branding.

What was Blockbuster's response?

Apparently, Blockbuster figured that Netflix was an extremely niche business (to be fair, at the time, they might very well have appeared to be) and they were going to stay that way.

Well, within the past decade, Netflix has completely toppled the traditional method of "going to the video rental store to rent a movie" with their own methodology of mailings and streams. The subscription model that Netflix developed led to speedy growth, and today, they're basically viewed as the way to rent movies and TV shows.

This is fun for me to read because it really shows the exponential growth of technology within the past few years. It's so amazing to see how quickly a business can come out of no where and completely revolutionize and simplify something we all took for granted for so long. It really makes me wonder what the next big American business is going to be.

Matchstick Men: Netflix Surprises

Click to stream the movie here!

The movie I'm recommending today is something that I turned on solely because I saw Sam Rockwell was in it. Netflix said that I'd probably like it, and to be honest, I don't hate Nicolas Cage, so I gave it a shot.

Matchstick Men was so good that I literally streamed it from Netflix the very next night. I really liked it that much.

The movie is about a character played by Nicolas Cage, a "professional" con artist who makes his living doing all sorts of cons with his partner (Sam Rockwell). I don't know what it is, but seeing "cons" take place in TV and film has always been a really fun and thrilling thing for me to watch, and this movie has plenty of them.

Nicolas Cage has a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder, which doesn't add much to my pseudo-review here, but it adds a lot to the story. But that doesn't screw up his very organized con artist lifestyle as much as discovering that he has a daughter, who also really wants to be a part of his life.

I loved the film, and it didn't surprise me at all that when looking at the credits, seeing it was directed by Ridley Scott. I rated the movie five stars on my Netflix streaming account, and to be honest, I'm thinking about streaming it again tonight after writing about it just now.

I'd absolutely recommend it if you like quirky, smart, thrilling movies. If you hate Nicolas Cage, it might be an issue, but I feel like that's an issue you should get over, because he DOES play in some fantastic movies (like this one).

New ABC shows coming to Netflix Instant

As of today, we were very happy to discover that Netflix has announced that they will begin streaming a wide variety of ABC and Disney television shows and movies:
• Prior season episodes of current ABC hit series "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and, for the first time on Netflix, "Brothers & Sisters," all of which are among the network's most successful and popular TV franchises in recent years.
• Every episode of recent ABC favorites "Lost" and "Ugly Betty," the latter making its streaming debut at Netflix.
• Each season of several hit series from ABC Studios, including "Scrubs" and "Reaper," which are both new additions to Netflix.
• A host of content from the Disney Channel, including the hits "Phineas and Ferb" and "Good Luck Charlie," which are also new to Netflix; updated and expanded offerings of "The Suite Life on Deck" and "Wizards of Waverly Place;" and library offerings from the smash hits "Hannah Montana" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody."
• A wide range of content from ABC Family, marking the introduction of ABC Family content streaming from Netflix. Included are the hit series "Greek," "Make It or Break It," "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and "Melissa & Joey."
• Disney Channel and ABC Family movies such as "High School Musical," "High School Musical 2," "Camp Rock," and "Beauty & the Briefcase," as well as new releases "Avalon High," "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam" and "Revenge of the Bridesmaids"
Although new television shows won't be available for streaming until 15 days after their broadcast, this is nonetheless a big development in the world of Netflix Watch Instant. We're very excited for the day when we no longer need to pay for cable television at all, with Netflix supplying all of our TV show needs.

I can tell you, this Netflix blogger pretty pumped to finally catch up on Scrubs episodes that I've missed!

Death to Smoochy: Netflix Surprises

Click to stream the movie on Netflix here!

Edward Norton is one of my favorite actors. Robin Williams is one of my favorite comedians. Couple them together, and what do you get? Pure awesome.

Death to Smoochy might be a little different than a lot of comedies out there, but that's what makes it so awesome. I'm a pretty big fan of dark comedies, and that's probably one of the reasons I like this film so much.

This movie was directed by Danny Devito, and centers around the high-stakes world of children's television. Robin Williams' character is the most famous children's television show host in the country, but something goes awry to make him lose his job, only to be replaced by Edward Norton's character. Robin Williams doesn't like this idea very much and plots revenge.

The simplicity of the plot line for a dark comedy featuring some of the most high-caliber actors in Hollywood should be reason enough to add it to your queue, but if you really need me to say it - yes, this movie is funny. I know that when it first came out I loved it, and I'm going to love it again when I stream it from my Xbox 360 again this week.

Top 10 IMDB Movies on Netflix Watch Instant - December 2010

The following is a list of the Top 10 movies ranked by user ratings on the website IMDB, or the official Internet Movie Database, that are currently available on Netflix streaming.

A lot of people consider IMDB to be the best place to look for how good a movie is, mainly because the IMDB community is very active and always watching more movies. They rank their current list of 250 movies here, but I thought it'd be fun to correlate that long list with Netflix Watch Instant to see what the best streaming movies online are. So here you go, the best streaming movies available on the Internet according to the IMDB people:

Feel free to add any of these streaming movies to your Netflix Instant Queue. Apparently they're good.

Edit: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings was previously linked to the wrong movie (the extended version), and therefore couldn't be streamed. It has now been fixed.

Top 10 Science Fiction Movies on Netflix Instant - November 2010

Well it should be pretty obvious by now that I slacked quite a bit on getting a bunch of my current favorite streaming movies lists by genre up for the month of November. Here's my latest streaming Sci-fi and Fantasy movie Top 10 list for the month, just in the nick of time.

1. Moon

I've never really understood the need to also have the word "Fantasy" in next to "sci-fi." Isn't all science fiction fantasy?

Streaming Soon on Netflix - December 2010

Here is a list of some of the movies that will be streaming on Netflix Instant starting next month. Like always, there are hundreds upon hundreds of streaming movies that will become available starting next month, but listed below are the streaming movies that I found notable enough to be worth mentioning here!

All the Friday the 13th movies are also returning to Netflix in December. Does anybody like those?

Comcast & Netflix. Tolls, Fees, & Net Neutrality

The New York Times is reporting that Comcast, in a huge move, is charging Level 3, (the company responsible for the process of actually getting Netflix movies and television shows transmitted) huge fees due to the amount of traffic they've generated.

From the article:

Level 3 Communications, a central partner in the Netflix online movie service, accused Comcast on Monday of charging a new fee that puts Internet video companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Level 3, which helps to deliver Netflix’s streaming movies, said Comcast had effectively erected a tollbooth that “threatens the open Internet,” and indicated that it would seek government intervention. Comcast quickly denied that the clash had anything to do with network neutrality, instead calling it “a simple commercial dispute.”

This brings up a huge set of issues dealing with Net Neutrality, for as one can see, this puts Netflix at a huge competitive disadvantage and allows Comcast to easily move ahead with their own streaming services (at lower prices).

Please support Netflix and support Net Neutrality! I love Netflix streaming and I know you do too. This is a threat to Netflix, Netflix Watch Instant streaming, and the Internet as a whole. If we want the Internet to continue being a place where companies like Netflix can still exist, we must hope that Comcast retracts these fees.

Funniest Movies on Netflix (Top 10) - November 2010

I was looking through the comedy section on Netflix today and realized I hadn't made a Top 10 list for comedy movies (nor pretty much any other category on Netflix) for the month of November yet. I'm trying to not pay attention to previous lists when I develop new lists, so that that they can be as organic as possible, and hopefully my lists can differentiate.

Here is the list of my Top 10 Current Favorite comedies and/or funny movies that are currently streaming on Netflix Instant streaming. Feel free to add them to your queue. Hold your mouse over the title to get Netflix's description of the flick, and see if it sounds like something you'd like to stream!

If you want, you can see last month's list of Top 10 Funniest Movies on Netflix that I made. I wonder how similar it is to this...

Thankskilling: Netflix Surprises

Click to stream the movie on Netflix here!

Okay, so first of all, take this suggestion with a grain of salt. I do not, under any circumstance, want to claim that this movie is good. I'm suggesting this film for a few reasons, but not because it is good.

That being said, this movie is AWESOME. We had someone recommend this movie within the comments section of a post a few weeks ago, and even after just hearing the title, I knew it was going to be a fantastic experience.

Keep in mind, when I describe this movie with such adjectives as "awesome" and "watchable," I'm speaking in a relatively facetious manner. This movie is straight up one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen, but it's incredibly fun to watch if you are hanging out with friends.

The movie itself is about a legendary turkey who was alive during the original Thanksgiving. At that time, a turkey was cursed to kill all "white people." The movie starts off (with some completely unnecessarily nudity - which is hilarious in how distasteful it is) in a scene during this time, and the killings start swiftly.

The movie itself looks absolutely horrible. It looks like a bunch of freshmen college kids got together, took a standard definition camera, and decided to just make up a movie as they went along. This is the thing that makes the movie so watchable: because it's so very obviously not supposed to be taken seriously.

The murderous turkey has a hilarious gangster-type accent (is that what they sounded like hundreds of years ago?) and it brings so much more to the table to be able to hear him throw out quips and one-liners before killing people.

I'm suggesting this movie because I enjoyed it. But I must warn that it would likely be no fun to watch if you were watching it by yourself. If you decide to watch, watch it with others, simply so that you have someone to make fun of the movie with. If you do that, you're going to enjoy the movie a lot.

Also, it's Thanksgiving season, and this can be something else to add to your holiday spirit!

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