15 Best Things To Watch On Netflix Right Now In January 2019

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OK, I'm going to be that person. I'm going to go all out there and boldly go where no one has gone before to say... I liked Bird Box on Netflix. Yes, I did. There, I said it. I liked Bird Box. So, for that reason alone, you should trust my recommendations of the best things to watch on Netflix to be at least humorous, if not completely ridiculous.

Why did I like Bird Box? Because there is very little about anything Sandra Bullock does that I don't enjoy watching. I find her beautiful, unique and gifted in her field, and I would watch anything she's in. I also like (LOVE) science fiction, and improbable, lonely, danger-riddled, suspenseful and possibly even ridiculous fantasies. I enjoyed it. I like Malkovich, I like Paulson. I like blindfolds. I like mist and little boats. What was not to like?


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Somehow, Hating Bird Box As A Lifestyle Choice became what America did for entertainment during the early days of the Government Shutdown. What I'm watching during the present shutdown are things old and new, and not necessarily categorized.

I couldn't resist sharing some of the stuff I've really found to be worthwhile. Bird Box aside, here are 15 of the best things on Netflix right now (not in order of greatness).

1. Bird Box

Apocalyptic tale, much like The Walking Dead, in so much as the characters are survivors of a dystopian and highly specific world of danger. In the Bird Box universe, the enemy is made known only when it is seen with the eyes.


The enemy is "out there" in the world, and it's a dark, shadowy bat-bell thing, and it travels with its little buddies, these fuzzy invisible shadow tots. And if one is to survive further, they must go out into the world blindfolded. Only the blind survive in this ridiculous but incredibly suspenseful and well-acted drama.

2. The OA

Yes, it was all the rage a few years ago, but what happens when the rage dies and wonderful concept shows like The OA die with them? Hopefully, we traverse our Netflix bank of stuff and find the good ones, and The OA is a good one.

It's sci-fi, with a touch of abduction, some torture, pretty young people being tortured, a mad scientist, and a flash mob that will unlock all the mysteries of the universe.


3. Perfume

I read the book about ten zillion years ago and it was so dull that I put it aside. Curious to see this title come up, I thought, "Egads, could it be the same dull tale, come to Netflix?" And yes, although, I must say the tale performs oodles better as a series, rather than as a book.

It's dark, it's German, and it's taken what the original book had too much of: the overkill of naming every scent, aroma and odor. But it's now turned that into an exhibition of intriguing words and chapter titles. Perfume is a murderous, romantic love of violence and the poetry of words.

4. Roma

The truth, I haven't seen this yet. I'm dying to, and I'm seeing it tomorrow night. But the reason I'm putting it down here is because everyone who has seen it says it's gorgeous beyond belief, and that's what I saw in the trailer. The black and white is stunning, and the faces and characters, the location, the scenes, the history, the people — this movie compels me to see it.


OK, update: Saw it. Gorgeous, amazingly boring tale that is outstandingly beautiful to keep on as background imagery. And if you happen to adore mid-century furnishings, you'll go bonkers over the set design and props.

5. The Endless

It looks cheap, and it is cheap, and no matter who or what, it's been recommended to you as one of the creepiest films you'll ever see. Yep, that's what the cheap ones do, sometimes — they rely on freaking you the hell out just by resorting to the simple terrors.

The Endless is that place you don't want to think about for too long, as it's a soul-sucking visit to the Twilight Zone, or as we also know it as, an existential crisis. A story. A loop. Two unknown actors. Weird, weird shapes. Have fun getting out of this one.


6. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

You see this because it's historical and that is why you see it. In ten seconds, I'm sure it will be obsolete media thinking, so grab it while it's hot and tell 'em you saw it when!

Bandersnatch — it's all spoilers here, take note — is an interactive Netflix Black Mirror movie. You get to make choices with your remote, and, get this, I had no idea I was supposed to do anything until I started seeing that prompt show up for the third or forth time.

You know, when I do Black Mirror, I wanna hunker down and get my mind shredded, hands-free. But no, this requires a player to forward the destiny of the characters on screen. It's innovative and tiring, and after I "got it," I had to make a mad dash to get it done with forever. Great effort, extraordinarily dull after a while.


7. The Kominsky Method

This is the best thing on Netflix right now, and possibly forever. I could not believe what I was seeing. It's the kind of laughter than comes from you where you think you're going to die. You know the kind, yes?

I'll admit, there's a very New York/Los Angeles vibe to the whole thing that gives it that edge that is so particularly hilarious, but Adam Arkin as the cranky agent and Michael Douglas as the acting teacher? Words could never compel enough as a recommendation. It's great.

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8. American Horror Story: Cult

I'm a huge, dedicated American Horror Story fan, and that means I go back and watch select seasons as I see fit. Having just completed the devilish Apocalypse, I thought an appropriate reviewing of Cult might prove to be a good follow up. I was right. Oh thank you, Netflix, for having all the AHS seasons (except the last one).

Cult is a smack-in-the-face look at politics, insanity, paranoia and hive mentality. It makes no apology about who it blames, nor does it lose relevance over time; what happens in American Horror Story: Cult has happened, and continues to happen today.

9. Ozark

I avoided watching Ozark because I was an idiot that didn't like the name Ozark. It scared me and made me think of banjos and pigs and naked men doing wacky things together. That's why I didn't watch Ozark... until, of course, I watched it. GREAT.


Two seasons? It was like hitting gold after watching the first few episodes. Jason Bateman is just "that guy" and it seems "that guy" is a whole lot richer in character than we gave him credit for — more dangerous, cunning and detached as well. Great role for him. Ozark's menace and illegal activity fulfills part of one's need for Breaking Bad.

10. Anon

Whoa, this was a surprising bunch of Matrix-y, Mr. Robot-ish, Harrison-Keanu-like tech hacker genius experiences! She, the hacker of all hackers, can erase it all; she's deep web in ways we haven't conceived of yet.

Anon is for science fiction tech lovers, crime and suspense, and some great graphics for the math freaks. It's one of those things you'd never see in your life if you didn't happen to stumble on it one late Netflix night. I did, and it's a fun find. I liked it a lot.


11. The Kindergarten Teacher

Don't even with this film. All I know is that it crushed my emotional universe. I happen to be all on board with anything Maggie Gyllenhaal does, and she was terrific in this as the sympathetic teacher who takes interest in a very young student because she believes he's a genius poet in potential.

Her renaissance thinking, however, is not sane as she goes a little too far to nurture her genius. No spoilers here — the ending will kill you. Hats off to 5-year-old Parker Sevak for his portrayal of the young boy.

12. Sex Education

Actually, I'm watching solely for the purpose of catching moments of Gillian Anderson, who is speaking in her British accent... again. I love this actress for so many reason, but just that idea that she's sometimes really English, and sometimes really American, is just fun for me.


Sex Education is about a bunch of teens attending a school in Wales where Gillian Anderson, one of the teens' moms, is a sex therapist, who lives and works in some sort of chateau that hangs off of the side of a mountain.

13. 2036 Origin Unknown

OK, just this name alone would make anyone shriek with laughter at the promise of cheapness to come. Well, the odd part was that this was surprisingly really good. There is something in the air these days that just says, "What do we humans really deserve more than anything else?"

With the answer being "Annihilation of the species and its home planet, of course!" I mean, aren't we all thinking this? Well, this movie fondly remembers this idea, and is quite efficient at serving up tech-based human destruction.


14. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Shut up, it happened. Yes, I like tidying up. It's a thing with me too, and I like organization. But I'll tell you this: I like it a whole lot better when the wizard herself, Marie, does it.

What is this program? It's background noise, but it's the kind of noise you like to stop and gawk in front of, like a crazy person. It's good to nurture your OCD with TUWMK, and if it leads to peace of mind, then consider yourself cleansed.

15. Springsteen on Broadway

Because Springsteen, that's why. Whether you're one of his ancient and beloved followers or you're doing a paper for school on what happened in music before the apocalypse, you're going to come across the mountain that is Bruce Springsteen, and you're going to bow down.


Springsteen on Broadway shows us yet another cut of this master as we follow his life, once again, through his creative endeavors. Fan or no fan, one must respect Bruce for being original, an innovator, a forever icon of the people and a beloved American legend.

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Dori Hartley is primarily a portrait artist. As an essayist and a journalist, she can be read in The Huffington Post, ParentDishYourTango, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, More Magazine, XOJaneMyDaily and The Stir. Her art books ‘Beauty’, ‘Antler Velvet’, and 'Mads Mikkelsen: Portraits of the Actor' are all available on Amazon.


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