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A smart man once said “Gimme that short-ass movie.”
Hollywood movies are getting longer than ever, from superhero behemoths that clock in at three hours to even the most standard movies, which regularly go over two. Sometimes you just want to curl up with a good old-fashioned 90-100 minute movie, and that is your right as a cinephile. We’re not about to start The Irishman at 10 p.m.! Be rational!
For those situations and really any situation where you just do not have time to spare, here are the best short movies on Netflix with a reasonable runtime: an hour and 40 minutes or less. Less than 100 minutes? Yes, please.
Netflix’s rom-com revival kicked off in 2018, a year whose slate included this criminally charming movie based on the novel by Jenny Han. Lara Jean (Lana Condor) is a hopeless romantic in the habit of writing letters to her most epic crushes — writing, not sending. When the letters are leaked, she starts pretending to date Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) to divert attention from her real crush on her sister’s boyfriend.
With a bouncy pop soundtrack and visual style that is the envy of your entire Instagram feed, To All the Boys is the kind of movie you can return to again and again, a comfort watch as sweet as Lara Jean’s baked goods. Will we ever tire of watching fictional characters fake love until it becomes real? If they’re even half as adorable as Condor and Centineo, the answer is no.* —Proma Khosla, Senior Entertainment Reporter
Where to watch: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before(opens in a new tab) is streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
In his directorial debut, found-footage genre genius Patrick Brice stars as Aaron, a freelance videographer who accepts a job working for a strange client, played by Mark Duplass. A spectacular combination of comedy and chills, Creep does a lot with a little — delivering a horror gem so good it merited a phenomenal sequel starring Desiree Akhavan that’s also on Netflix(opens in a new tab). — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter (*)
How to watch: Creep(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
Oh, Freddy, you old so-and-so!
The inaugural outing of the Springwood Slasher, written and directed by terror titan Wes Craven, is among the sillier supernatural nightmares out there. And yet, there’s no denying the charm that comes with rewatching the imaginative havoc wrought by this venerable, villainous heavyweight.
Kick back and relax as Mr. Krueger, played by Robert Englund, terrorizes teenagers unlucky enough to live in his zip code. You’ll enjoy dreams that are real but sometimes not, fashion decisions that didn’t even make sense then, tongues coming out of telephones, and more. Sweet dreams!—A.F. (*)
Where to watch: Nightmare on Elm Street is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
Writer-director Remi Weekes’ His House is easily my favorite scary Netflix release of 2020. Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu star as refugees from South Sudan seeking asylum in Britain who are assigned to live in an eerie neighborhood where they aren’t welcome. Spectacularly frightening and ruthlessly critical of its subject matter, His House delivers everything it must — and then some.* —A.F.
Where to watch: His House(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
Vikings! Dragons! Epic battles! How to Train Your Dragon has it all. This animated fantasy from Dreamworks is a high-flying delight, featuring exceptional animation that will transport you to the village of Berk and the starry skies above. Berk is at war with the dragons who constantly attack them, making killing a dragon a rite of passage for any Berk resident. However for Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), things are a little more complicated than that. He meets a Night Terror dragon named Toothless and develops a real bond with him, learning that dragons may not be as deadly as they appear. Will Hiccup be able to change years of brutal tradition? You’ll have to ride along with him and Toothless in order to find out. — B.E. (*)
How to watch: How to Train Your Dragon (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
Want a movie that’s got excitement, comedy, a scorching message about the evils of gentrification, and is a kid-friendly romp? Then take a bite out of Vampires vs. the Bronx. Oz Perkins’s PG-13 horror-comedy centers on Afro-Latino teens, who recognize that a flurry of missing person posters and influx of rich white folks with tote bags means bad news for the neighborhood. Together, they team up Monster Squad-style to take down the bloodsuckers and save their community. With a sharp wit, a warm heart, a rich sense of atmosphere, and an equal appreciation for the Blade movies and ’80s Amblin, Vampires vs. the Bronx is an easy watch full of rewards. —K.P.
How to watch: Vampires vs. the Bronx is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
From cellos and foreplay to hallucinations and hiking, The Perfection does absolutely whatever it wants. Featuring Allison Williams in her best role since Get Out and Dear White People‘s Logan Browning in her best part ever, this vibrant genre blend will get a reaction out of you. Not necessarily a good reaction, but a reaction nonetheless. It’s body horror meets psychological thriller meets occult drama meets classical music. With bugs. And vomit. I, for one, loved it!* —A.F.
How to watch: The Perfection(opens in a new tab) is streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
Imagine: Prison cells stacked one on top of the other, with holes in the floor and ceiling. Randomly assigned levels that change each month. And a platform of food that gets slowly lowered from the very top, getting sparser and sparser with each floor it descends. This is the concept at the centre of Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform, a disturbing sci-fi thriller that wears its capitalist analogy plainly on its prison garb sleeve. It’s one of those rare gems where the execution is as strong as the idea at its core, driven by an excellent screenplay from David Desola and Pedro Rivero that’s dripping with horror and suspense. If you’re a fan of movies like The Cube or Saw, this is well worth checking out.* —Sam Haysom, Deputy U.K. Editor*
How to watch: The Platform(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
Thirty-one years before it was a Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It was the daring comedy that launched Spike Lee’s career and became a landmark in America’s emerging independent film scene. Filmed on a tight budget and on black-and-white stock, this Lee joint centers on Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns), a charming Brooklyn-based graphic artist who is juggling three male lovers. When these jealous men demand she choose just one of them, Nola is pushed to consider what she wants from love, sex, and relationships. Critics championed how Lee captured a side of Black experience rarely shown in mainstream movies. The prestigious Cannes Film Festival honored him with “The Award of Youth,” and the Independent Spirit Awards gave him the award for Best First Feature, and Johns the honor of Best Female Lead.* —K.P.
How to watch: She’s Gotta Have It(opens in a new tab) is streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)
Despite its short-ass run time, The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf adds a complete and satisfying chapter to Netflix’s ongoing Witcherverse. It takes place decades before Geralt’s adventures begin, focusing instead on the backstory of Geralt’s mentor Vesemir and the fatal battle at Kaer Morhen that decimated the Witcher population. Its beautiful animation (especially its impressively layered CGI fight scenes) illuminates Vesemir’s struggle as he parses the questions all people, mutated or not, must face — love or money? Preservation or sacrifice? To witcher or not to witcher? —Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter
Where to watch: The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is now streaming on Netflix.
This hidden gem comes from New Zealand, the fertile comedy ground that gave us Taika Waititi, Flight of the Conchords, and What We Do In The Shadows. Waititi collaborators Jackie van Beek, James Rolleston, and Jemaine Clement team up for a deeply quirky buddy comedy about two long-time besties with a bonkers — but brilliant — business model. Need someone to dump your partner so you can avoid a messy confrontation? Call on Jen and Mel (co-writers/co-directors/co-leads van Beek and Madeleine Sami). For a reasonable fee, these fearless Breaker Upperers will impersonate police officers, play pregnant, or even fake your death to help you ghost an ex. Whatever the shenanigans, van Beek and Sami sparkle. Booming with wild humor and big heart, this comedy is guaranteed to leave you cackling.* —K.P.
Where to watch: The Breaker Uppers is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
You might be more of a Holy Grail guy, and Netflix has you covered — but for those who value a true underdog (like Jesus) there’s Life of Brian. Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman) is born next door to a certain Son of the Living God, and grows up to despise and eventually defy the Romans occupying his home. Brian joins the resistance, meets a girl, gets declared the messiah — all stuff that would make his neighbor envious, though Brian may have gotten more than he bargained for. —P.K.
Where to watch: Monty Python’s Life of Brian is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
Depending on how you interact with Netflix’s choose-your-own-adventure Kimmy Schmidt movie, it might go over 100 minutes — but at that point, you’re having too much fun to notice. Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) prepares for her wedding to England’s Prince Frederick (Daniel Radcliffe), but an old book from her past leads her back to the Reverend (Jon Hamm) and a sinister secret he might be hiding. Come for the gameplay, stay for a sublime Radcliffe, and unlock every possible ending in this unhinged celebration of everything Kimmy Schmidt. —P.K.
Where to watch: (opens in a new tab)Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend is now streaming on Netflix.
Cathy Ang is the voice of Fei Fei, young girl with a love for science and an adorable pet bunny named Bungee, who was a gift from her departed mother. Years after the unfortunate passing, Fei Fei’s interest in space travel is kindled by the legend of Chang’e, Chinese Goddess of the Moon and a soon-to-remarry father who doubts the goddess’s existence.
So Fei Fei sets out to build a rocket capable of carrying her off to the stars. She almost succeeds, but her failure — and certain doom! — is averted when a beam of light saves her and carries her skyward. So begins an adventure that helps Fei Fei finally get a handle on her grief, and her path forward in life.
Over the Moon also features the voices of Phillipa Soo, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, Kimiko Glenn., Artt Butler, and Sandra Oh. —A.F. (*)
Where to watch: Over the Moon is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
*Connotes this blurb has appeared in a previous Mashable article.
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