Whether it be beloved classics or the latest in animation, Netflix is covering its bases. (Illustration by Kira Widjaja, Rhode Island School of Design )
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Whether it be beloved classics or the latest in animation, Netflix is covering its bases. (Illustration by Kira Widjaja, Rhode Island School of Design )

Time to add these titles to your binge list.

Netflix has been stepping up its game recently with a slew of new originals and stand-up specials. Although the streaming app is most commonly used for binge-watching TV shows until 3 a.m., the movie selection isn’t necessarily something to scoff at.

With multiple categories to browse through, you’re sure to find a film that fits your mood — and this year has been no exception. Here are five of the best movies added to Netflix so far in 2018.

1. Shrek

Of course, “Shrek” is at the top of this list. Ever since its release in 2001, “Shrek” has been providing the world with unforgettable quotes, spicy memes, and a storyline that can be watched over and over again. Starring big names like Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy, “Shrek” is a film that can be enjoyed by anyone, anytime, anywhere.

The movie revolves around the character of Shrek, a reclusive ogre who spends his days of solitude in the comfort of his swamp. His simple life is turned upside down when mythical fairy-tale creatures appear on his doorstep without warning. Having been kicked out of the kingdom by the evil (and short) Lord Farquaad, the creatures are forced to bombard Shrek’s once peaceful existence.

Shrek, with the help of his chatty sidekick Donkey, set out to find Lord Farquaad and demand his swamp be returned to its quiet — and empty — state. After Shrek proves himself worthy of battle, Farquaad decides that in return for his swamp, Shrek must take on the dangerous task of rescuing the ravishing Princess Fiona, Farquaad’s soon-to-be bride.

The story unfolds as Shrek develops feelings for Fiona and begins to wonder if he is more than the heartless brute everyone claims him to be. With a deeply embedded secret woven into the plot, “Shrek” demonstrates lessons of friendship, love and acceptance.

2. Phantom of the Opera

This orchestral masterpiece was added to Netflix in May and has revived the beauty behind the tale. Actress Emmy Rossum’s road to stardom was achieved by her magnificent portrayal of Christine in this 2004 remake. The musical also stars young heartthrobs Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson.

Set in Paris, “Phantom of the Opera” recounts the story of Christine and her complex love triangle between Raoul (Wilson) and The Phantom (Butler). The mysterious masked Phantom lives beneath the Opera House due to a facial deformity that has plagued him since birth.

When he hears Christine sing, he becomes captivated by her angelic voice and knows he must have her, and he writes a play for Christine and terrorizes the opera house into performing it. Christine is intrigued by the Phantom’s dark lure but is also in love with her childhood sweetheart, Raoul.

The film explores feelings of heartbreak and betrayal as Christine must decide between the kind-hearted Raoul and the enticing man behind the mask. The visuals entwine impeccably with the film’s score, creating one of the most well-known cinematic beauties to date.

3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

A much more light-hearted film, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is a semi-romantic comedy featuring main characters Peter (Jason Segel), Sarah (Kristen Bell) and Rachel (Mila Kunis). Peter, an aspiring musician, is dating well-known TV star, Sarah. When Sarah decides to break off the five-year relationship, Peter takes a hiatus to a Hawaiian resort to clear his head.

The fun begins when viewers discover that Sarah, along with her new man Aldous (played by Russell Brand), is staying in the same tropical resort. What was supposed to be a peaceful getaway for Peter turns into a series of hilarious heartbreaks as he uncovers the secrets of his past relationship.

Throughout his time at the resort, Peter learns more about himself and what it means to truly love someone with the help of Rachel, the hotel desk clerk. Rachel forces Peter to make his time on the island fulfilling despite his circumstances, and he begins to fall for the lively clerk.

The flick is perfect for viewers who just want to sit down and have a good time. The quirky situations the characters get themselves into is nothing short of entertaining. Oh, and if you love Dracula, there’s something special in store for you.

4. The Conjuring

For all the horror buffs out there, this one’s for you. Scary movies oftentimes get a bad rap for their cheesy scares and noticeable special effects. This film, however, will break all those barriers. Based on a true story, the hauntings of the Perron family in 1971 play out on screen in all its terrifying glory.

Carolyn and Roger Perron, along with their five daughters and the family dog, move into their dream farmhouse. Unaware of its eerie history, the house seems like the perfect place to raise children. As with every scary movie, the plot is slow at first but quickly gains momentum as the paranormal makes itself more prominent.

When the family begins to experience happenings out of their control, they contact Ed and Lorraine Warren, notorious paranormal investigators. The couple concludes that a demonic presence has washed over the house and an exorcism is in order.

As the spirit continues to terrorize the family, viewers learn the tragic origin of the house. Loaded with jump scares and tension-filled moments, “The Conjuring” shatters the negative stigma surrounding the horror genre.

5. Coco

If you want to laugh, cry, and audibly say “aww” in one sitting, Disney Pixar has got your back. “Coco” unravels a beautiful tale of familial struggles in a Hispanic community.

Miguel, the adorable main character, has dreams of becoming a famous musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. However, he must keep his passion hidden from his family as they have banned any kind of music. Miguel’s great-great-grandfather is said to have deserted his family and his daughter Coco to fulfill his musical aspirations.

Ever since then, the family refuses any kind of involvement with music and instead owns a humble shoe-making business. One day Miguel finds a photo of young Coco with a man who’s face has been removed from the picture. The boy is shocked to see the mystery man holding his idol’s guitar, and discovers that Ernesto is undoubtedly his great-great-grandfather.

This incredible revelation causes Miguel to ignore his family’s warnings and he enters a talent show for Day of the Dead. The heartwarming adventure of Miguel unfurls as he is thrown into the Land of the Dead. Visited by his ancestors and a kooky skeleton named Hector, Miguel learns the real truth of his family. If your heart isn’t swelling by the end of this film, try watching a couple more times.

Writer Profile

Tori Ihnen

Fort Hays State University

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