When the present feels difficult, there's one clear entertainment solution: sifting through this list of nostalgic movies to watch on Netflix to find a cinematic time machine to transport you to an era that you might associate with your teenage years, classic horror movies, or the lost glamor of bygone decades. Many of the films on this list are a little slower in terms of pacing, but give your post-smartphone attention span a second to readjust and you'll learn to embrace the more rambling speed of some of history's greatest movies.
While it's fun to marathon the latest, greatest Netflix hits and then commence on a blog deep-dive or write something pithy about the zeitgeist on Twitter, sometimes it's even better to delve into an era you're not familiar with. It's easy to forget how much a movie is influenced by the stylistic tics of the the time it's made in; watching films from a broad variety of decades is a great way to train yourself to become more objective in your viewing habits.
Besides which, it also forces you to broaden the entertainment you opt for. It's all too easy to get into a niche and find yourself with an encyclopedic knowledge of sci-fi movies and not much else. By forcing yourself to watch movies from a whole lot of different points of time, you'll end up watching everything from romance to horror to adventure.
1. 'An American Tail' (1986)
This animated classic has everything you need: a compelling immigration story, Russian-Jewish mice and memories of your childhood.
2. 'Scream' (1996)
Baby Drew Barrymore, baby Neve Campbell, '90s fashion, and a postmodern take on the horror genre. What's not to like?
3. 'Cool Runnings' (1993)
Ready for an instant mood lift? Then check out this movie, loosely based on the true story of the national Jamaican bobsled team's debut performance competing in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
4. 'Gremlins' (1984)
Get set to never have a pet again after watching the story of a boy who keeps something called a mogwai a pet before chaos erupts. It's basically that time you forgot to spay your new kitten.
5. 'Good Burger' (1997)
When this All That sketch got blown up into a full-fledged movie, you might have been thinking that this would never work as two hours of entertainment. Well, you were so very wrong, because this Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson film is a comedy classic.
6. 'Mulholland Drive' (2001)
If you're enjoying the current Twin Peaks revival, maybe slip into director David Lynch's back catalogue and check out one of his most well-loved films.
7. 'Grease' (1978)
What says the beginning of summer like watching the musical aftermath of some summer lovin' unfold? In this John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, Danny and Sandy try to make it work amidst the drama, loyalty, and jeers of the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds — with a lot of catchy tunes on the way.
8. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)
This classic slasher about a group of teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams by the world's most terrifying villain, Freddy Krueger, may lack the special effects of the present's horror movies, but it's just as scary as anything in cinemas right now.
9. 'Can’t Buy Me Love' (1987)
Patrick Dempsey stars as a nerd who actually shells out $1000 to a cheerleader in exchange for her pretending to be his girlfriend for a month.
10. 'Basic Instinct' (1992)
This erotic thriller centers on the murder of a wealthy rock star. Sharon Stone stars in her most iconic role and there's, you know, the crossing leg scene, so maybe don't watch it with your parents.
11. 'Full Metal Jacket' (1987)
This war film from Stanley Kubrick scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and it's easy to see why. It's a tightly plotted masterpiece.
12. 'Babe' (1995)
If you need something a little lighter, settle into this adorable story of a pig who wants to be a sheepdog. But eat your heart out, Kubrick: this received a whopping seven Academy Award nominations and took home an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
13. 'Lost In Space' (1998)
When the Robinson family leave the overly polluted earth to head for a more habitable planet, they're thrown off course by a terrorist group. Matt LeBlanc stars in a weirdly un-Joey like role.
Whether you're into comedy, romance, sci-fi, or talking pigs with identity issues, this list has you covered. So cancel your plans and get ready to enjoy June the way Netflix intended — in your bed with the curtains drawn, streaming some seriously nostalgic old movies.