A holiday break movie guide to hidden gems on Netflix


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A still from the movie "Okja."

If you are one of the many students who felt the temptation over this past semester to sink more hours into Netflix than studying, maybe the holiday free-time is a chance for the guilt-free binging you've been waiting for.

After launching its streaming service in 2007, Netflix's catalog of movies and television shows has grown exponentially over the past decade. 

Due to the sheer amount of titles available on Netflix, even to the most dedicated subscriber of the streaming service might miss out on some excellent options that fall under their radar.

Central Michigan Life has put together a list of some of the hidden gems and must-see time-sinks available on Netflix for those looking to make the most out of their holiday viewing experience. 

Science-fiction (that isn't Stranger Things)

Dark

Netflix's first German-language program, "Dark" offers a more adult-oriented take on a scenario fans of "Stranger Things" will be instantly familiar with.  

After the strange disappearance of two children in the German town of Winden, relationships are torn apart, double lives are revealed and the dark past of four families living there collide to  uncover a mystery spanning three generations.

Okja

Mixing pulse-pounding action and adventure with some genuinely heartfelt and touching moments, this film is already finding its way onto several "Best of 2017" lists. 

Bong Joon Ho, the visionary South Korean director behind other sci-fi cult classics like "Snowpiercer" and "The Host," shifts his focus to the clash between environmentalists and the livestock industry, with a young girl and the "superpig" she calls her pet stuck in the middle of all of it.

Drama 

Mudbound

Directed by Dees Ree and based off of a novel by Hillary Jordan, "Mudbound" tells the multi-faceted story of two World War II veterans, one black and one white, who return home in rural Mississippi to face family dilemmas and post-traumatic stress disorder in their own unique ways.

A tale of racial politics and class struggles in the vein of "A Raisin in the Sun" or the works of John Steinbeck, "Mudbound" has been called by many critics one of Netflix's first truly great films, and is a shoe-in for several nominations this upcoming awards season.

Mindhunter

The latest pet-project from David Fincher, the filmmaker behind "Fight Club," "Gone Girl" and "The Social Network," "Mindhunter" follows a duo of FBI agents in 1977 who are tasked with interviewing imprisoned serial killers in order to understand what makes them tick, with the hope of applying that knowledge to solving future cases.

Instead of fetishizing the crimes and personalities at the center of its narrative, "Mindhunter" delves into the personal insecurities of the subjects and social hysteria surrounding mental illness that gripped America in the wake of Charles Manson murders, offering a more nuanced, but no less disturbing new look at the countries fascination with psychopaths. 

Courtesy Photo | Den of Geek

A still from the television series "Mindhunter."


First They Killed My Father

Angelina Jolie takes over as writer and director of this adaptation of Loung Ung's autobiographical tale of the horrors her family suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1975.

The film aims to give an unflinching, harrowing insight to a dark period of history that many today try to forget.

Wild Card

Turbo Kid

Following the adventures of a young boy known only as "The Kid"  as he wanders the wastelands of the apocalyptic alternate future of 1997, "Turbo Kid" mixes action, adventure, comedy and a hefty dose of 1980s nostalgia that fans of classics like "E.T." and "The Goonies" will feel right at home with.

Courtesy Photo | The Young Folks

A still from the movie "Turbo Kid."


Wormwood

Part documentary, part reenactment, "Wormwood" details the events leading up to and following the mysterious 1953 death of Frank Olson, biological warfare scientist for the CIA. Originally thought to be a suicide, the investigation took a turn when it was discovered that Olson's CIA supervisor had secretly given him an experimental dosage of LSD.

Errol Morris has made a name for himself as one of the greatest documentarians of all time with his groundbreaking works like "The Thin Blue Line" and "Tabloid," and "Wormwood" only furthers that reputation with its unique structure and shocking true premise.

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