Streaming Movies: Find the Diamonds in the Rough


WNPR Public Radio

With the excess of streaming services, it can be hard to find new movies. As strange as that sounds, these brands all recommend movies based off of ones you have already seen!

This year, to celebrate the many holidays that occured in December, I decided to attempt to watch one new movie every day. It seemed simple at first, but finding the time to do it ended up being too much for my schedule. Though, this does not mean that nothing came of this experience, as I still got to see almost 20 movies, that I otherwise might not have. The best part of the whole experience was that most of these movies were amazing! I would not only like to share my experiences with you, but also convince you to watch some movies you otherwise would not have watched.

Doing things like watching new movies may seem silly at first, but I believe that there are some good uses for movies and other related media in our everyday lives. Watching new media is important because of the new perspective you can gain from it. In a good movie, the director can really allow you to see through the eyes of someone else with a completely different point of view, and there is always something you can learn from that. Gaining knowledge, or even just something like a new perspective on an issue can be made easy through these methods.

Of course, there is caution that has to be taken, as not all movies are as accurate as they are portrayed to be. While talking with Ms. Blackwell, my AP World History teacher, I asked her what she thought movies and other media should watched for, be it entertainment, knowledge, perspective, or anything else one could gain, and she replied with, “This is what movies and books can do for us, bring historical events to life, making it easier for us to grasp an understanding and feel the emotions of the people involved. However, because these movies are often made for the purpose of entertainment, it is important to be aware of the purpose and perhaps use it as a starting point for deeper, more meaningful research on a topic.”

This is what movies and books can do for us, bring historical events to life, making it easier for us to grasp an understanding and feel the emotions of the people involved.

— Ms. Blackwell

Not all media can be taken as fact, even when it tries to be true. Movies that claim to be “based on a true story” are exactly that, “based off of,” and are not an accurate retelling of that story. Elements will always be changed to increase the drama of the situation, and not all details will be accurately portrayed. This leads to the idea of using media as a starting point for doing your own research. Find something you are interested in, and research the topic to find out true information about it. However, not all movies are in the subsection of “Based on a true story”, and others like Pixar’s Soul are simply made for entertainment. Nevertheless, this does not mean that there is no value in watching these movies, aside from the sheer entertainment of them. Using Soul for an example, we follow Joe’s story as he learns the difference between passion, and reason for living. If you did not already understand this, watching Soul can give you this perspective, and hopefully teach you a little more than you knew before.

The multi-purpose function of movies to both entertain us and educate us is something that all generations can enjoy. Our principle, Mr. Meloche, finds many reasons for tuning into entertainment media. When asked what the purpose of entertainment media is, Mr. Meloche responded, “I think that media can be used for whatever you wish. Some folks prefer to tune out of the world and simply be entertained. Others, however, like to learn and be inspired through the things they watch. I think one of the great things about entertainment media is that there is something for everyone.”

His take on things affirm the idea that even when you don’t want to be inspired, or learn something new, or anything else, there is a place for entertainment, in being just that… entertaining! Of the movies I watched, a lot were just that, and some were really good at it. Below are the best films I watched for just being entertained, the most insightful, and what I thought were the worst movies I watched.

These are not all the movies I watched, but instead the ones that I won’t forget that I watched, for a good reason or bad. What surprised me the most are the movies that didn’t leave a mark at all, like Mulan (2020), It (2017), and The Invisible Man (2020). Most of these movies are fairly mainstream though, and not all movies that deserve exposure get it. Due to the amount of movies that are made on a regular basis, a lot of great movies are forgotten. Underrated movies, or sleeper movies are a big problem in the film industry and are part of the reason it is so hard to become a filmmaker. Most people have a movie that they love that nobody else seems to care/know about, and if I can do anything to spread the world I will try to. In an effort to gain more insight I asked both Mr. Meloche, and Ms. Blackwell what their favorite sleeper movie/book/show is. Mr. Melcohe Responded, “One of my favorite movies is The Sting with Robert Redford and Paul Newman. It’s a cleverly written movie with an amazing soundtrack made up of rags by Scott Joplin. Just a great piece of film that stands the test of time.” Whereas Ms. Blackwell Responded, “One more that I really enjoy is called Suffragette. It is a story of the fight for women’s suffrage in England during the late 19th and early 20th century. While the movie is based on historical events, the main character is fictional, however, it allows the viewer to gain an emotional understanding of the challenges of being a working class woman during the era.”

One of my favorite movies is The Sting with Robert Redford and Paul Newman. It’s a cleverly written movie with an amazing soundtrack made up of rags by Scott Joplin. Just a great piece of film that stands the test of time.

— Mr. Meloche

Their responses both show how everyone has that one piece of media that doesn’t get exposed as much as it should. All said, what is the point of finding new movies when Netflix or Disney+ just recommends what everyone else is watching to you? I believe that there is a power to seeing what everyone else does, but there is also power to knowing what other people don’t. Perspective is very important in life, and I truly believe that movies can provide it.
Not all movies can be found on streaming services, but if there is a movie that looks really great though don’t forget that there is a place to find it. I use Google Movies to find a lot of movies I can’t find anywhere else, or ones that I really want to keep. Although it is true that you have to pay more for each movie than you would for a subscription, I find that a lot of the time, it is worth it. I even find shows that I wouldn’t normally watch, and watch them on there! One of the best things you can do is to take the time to find a new perspective, and watch a new movie, so I will leave you with a list of movies that I love, whether for entertainment or insight, that no matter how popular they are, should always be watched again.

Rise of the Guardians (Google movies, Youtube, Amazon, Vudu)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Google movies, Amazon, Youtube)
Forrest Gump (Google movies, Youtube, Amazon, Vudu)
Mulan (1998) (Disney Plus, Youtube, Google Movies)
Good Will Hunting (Hulu, Google Movies, Youtube)
If Anything Happens, I Love You (Netflix)