Back to IndieWire

The 7 Best Movies New to Netflix in March 2018

Full of comfort viewing classics like "Casino" and "Cruel Intentions," Netflix's March offerings will keep you on the couch until spring.

CRUEL INTENTIONS, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, 1999

“Cruel Intentions”

©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Eve

March may be something of a light month in terms of new additions to Netflix, but it’s still a strong one, and it finds the streaming giant doing what they do best: Padding their library with the kind of comfort viewing that you’re perfectly happy to watch from your couch.

The movies coming to the service over this next few weeks represent a broad cross-section of comedies and crime dramas that have firmly established themselves as cable television classics — “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Casino” alone are probably enough to keep you busy until spring. March also finds Netflix continuing to serve up new titles straight from the festival circuit, with Alison Klayman’s “Take Your Pills” and Jody Hill’s “The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter” both coming to home video just a few short days after they debut at SXSW.

For a full list of everything being added to Netflix this month, click here. Here are the seven best movies new to Netflix in March 2018:

7. “Take Your Pills” (2018)

take your pills netflix

“Take Your Pills”

The latest from “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” director Alison Klayman, “Take Your Pills” will be dropping on Netflix just a week after its world premiere at SXSW. Sight unseen (but endorsed on the strength of her previous work), Klayman’s documentary offers the first feature-length analysis into the $13 billion industry of prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin.

Tracing the history of such drugs from their inception in the early 20th century to their current use by millions upon millions of kids and adults across the country (including kindergartners, Olympians, and presumably a good percentage of IndieWire readers), “Take Your Pills” promises to assess both the micro and macro effects of medicinal amphetamines. What do they do to our bodies when we use them, and what does it say about our culture so that so many people feel the need to abuse them? These are questions that we’re going to be grappling with for a long time, and questions that several generations of Americans have never been able to ask out loud.

Available to stream on March 16th.

6. “Cruel Intentions” (1998)

Effectively bridging the gap between “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Gossip Girl,” Roger Kumble’s hormonal teenage remake of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” arrived towards the tail end of the high school movie boom, when the target audience was aging out of the genre and growing thirstier by the second. To that end, “Cruel Intentions” was practically an ice-cold Gatorade on a hot summer day (admit it, ’90s kids, this thing got you turnt).

A golden opportunity for a generation of beautiful people to kink things up before they went back to network TV or graduated to A-list stardom or just continued being Selma Blair, “Cruel Intentions” is the kind of gloriously straight-faced shlock that works as both a twisted romp and a time capsule. Ryan Philippe is perfect as an Upper East Side monster who’s read too many Bret Easton Ellis books, Reese Witherspoon is delightful as the goody two-shoes he tries to seduce, and Sarah Michelle Gellar is all in as the horny stepsister who gets off on wrapping all the wrong guys around her little finger. Add in a killer soundtrack, a whole bunch of stuff that would never fly in 2018, and some peak Christine Baranski, and you’ve got yourself a delightful viewing experience for your next flashback Friday night.

A word of warning: Netflix is also streaming the direct-to-video sequels “Cruel Intentions 2” and “Cruel Intentions 3.” Yeah, the second features a very young Amy Adams in the Sarah Michelle Gellar role, but don’t be seduced by morbid curiosity. These movies are forged from the perviness that peeked out in the original’s worst moments (the Selma Blair scenes offer an uncomfortable taste of what’s to come), Kumble’s basic instincts unmoored from the time-tested story that kept the original on track.

Available to stream on March 1st.

5. “The Descent”

Too scary to re-watch, let’s defer to what IndieWire’s Eric Kohn had to say about Neil Marshall’s subterranean classic when he wrote about it for our list of the 20 best horror movies of the 21st century:

Neil Marshall’s economical monster movie takes place almost exclusively within the confines of a shadowy cave and the terrible, terrible things lurking within it. After a gradual beginning in which coworkers and friends venture into a cave during their weekend gateway in the Appalachian Mountains, the group winds up trapped in an unknown labyrinth and terrified about their prospects of finding an exit. In other words, “The Descent” is already a claustrophobic nightmare even before the monsters show up. But once they do, Marshall turns the slow-build suspense into a rollercoaster, with the survivors attacked from every corner by blind, monstrous humanoids craving blood.

Using the contained setting to his advantage, Marshall makes the characters’ ceaseless terror as much a special effect as the monsters; the vivid performances draw us into the visceral quality of running and crawling from an unstoppable force that no amount of physical dexterity can possibly deter. Rooting the drama in the plight of a heroine already reeling from the death of her daughter, the movie also takes on a keen allegorical quality, as if the never-ending paths of caves represent far greater challenges taking place in the beleaguered woman’s man. Psychological thrillers never knew such evils. —EK

Available to stream on March 1st.

4. “Adventureland” (2009)

No mortal could ever understand the divine mystery behind why — and when — certain movies wind up on Netflix, but it’s easy to understand why the company responsible for “Stranger Things” might add something like “Adventureland” to its library. A very different kind of ’80s nostalgia, Greg Mottola’s tender and true romantic drama isn’t hung up on the culture of his youth so much as the effervescent feeling that it framed for college-age kids who couldn’t wait to grow out of it.

One of the best movies about that magical summer when everything was awful and possible all at once, “Adventureland” refuses to look back through the rose-colored glasses that tend to distort these kind of stories. There’s nothing ironic or detached about Jesse Eisenberg’s tetchy lead performance as an Oberlin grad who’s forced to work at a shitty theme park when his family can’t afford to pay for grad school. Kristin Stewart has never been so fraught and real. Even Ryan Reynolds, so often a living cartoon, is movingly human as the sexy townie who’s raging against the smallness of his life.

Shot under slate-gray skies and attuned to the actual flow of pop culture (novelty hits like “Rock Me Amadeus” are played for laughs, while our hero crushes on a girl who changes his life with a single track from Lou Reed’s “Transformer”), Mottola’s semi-autobiographical throwback remembers what it’s like to be lost and found at the same time. Also, it’s funny as hell and features an original score by Yo La Tengo why aren’t you watching this right now?

Available to stream on March 1st.

3. “Wet Hot American Summer” (2001)

“Listen, Coop – last night was really great. You were incredibly romantic and heroic, no doubt about it. And that’s great. But I’ve thought about it, and my thing is this: Andy is really hot. And don’t get me wrong, you’re cute too, but Andy is like, cut. From marble. He’s gorgeous. He has this beautiful face and this incredible body, and I genuinely don’t care that he’s kinda lame. I don’t even care that he cheats on me. And I like you more than I like Andy, Coop, but I’m 16. And maybe it’ll be a different story when I’m ready to get married, but right now, I am entirely about sex. I just wanna get laid. I just wanna take him and grab him and fuck his brains out, ya know? So that’s where my priorities are right now. Sex. Specifically with Andy and not with you.”

It can be easy to forget just how funny David Wain’s absurdist comedy still is — just as it can be hard to understand why, after Netflix diluted the film’s charms with both a prequel series and a sequel series, the movie wasn’t already streaming on the site in perpetuity  — but it only takes about 30 seconds to remember why this star-studded ridiculousness eventually became a bonafide cult classic. The “Citizen Kane” of movies in which Janeane Garofalo saves a bunch of kids from a falling NASA satellite and H. Jon Benjamin voices a talking can of vegetable, this is the perfect thing to put on when you can’t figure out what else to watch.

Available to stream on March 1st.

2. “Casino” (1995)

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a casino.”

Wait, no, that’s a different Martin Scorsese movie. But while “Casino” may not be afforded the same classic status that’s afforded “Goodfellas,” this sprawling (and perversely nostalgic) portrait of mob-controlled Las Vegas is right up there with anything its director has ever made. Anchored by one of the last great Robert De Niro performances, accented by an unchained Joe Pesci, and seasoned by career-best turns from Sharon Stone and James Woods (whose work here makes full use of the fact that he’s such a terrible human being), “Casino” is a glitzy opera of capitalism gone awry.

But for all the flashy whip-pans and perfect needle-drops, it’s De Niro who emerges as the main attraction. He’s a bit more subdued than the average Scorsese hero, but Sam “Ace” Rothstein’s easy simmer provides a stark contrast to the hotheaded likes of Henry Hill, the protagonist’s survival instincts making him an especially compelling tour guide through the criminal underworld. De Niro has played a lot of tough guys, and a lot of the dialogue that he gets here could easily have come from any number of his characters, but “Casino” makes you believe every word. , but few of them feel like they earn the kind of dialogue he gets here. “There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that I do it. You understand?” You understand.

“Casino” may have seemed like more of the same when it hit theaters five years after “Goodfellas,” but there’s good reason that it’s recently been the subject of a critical resurgence. Enjoy it now before “The Irishman” comes along and complicates things even further.

Available to stream on March 1st.

1. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008)

When the dust settles and the world looks back on the age of Apatow, it will be “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” that emerges as the era’s defining masterwork. Not the game-changing “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which hilariously introduced a new breed of bromantic comedy. Not “Knocked Up,” which indelibly minted a new generation of comedy stars. And not the perilously underrated “Funny People,” which dissected the inner-workings of its genre with unflinching grace. No, it will be the movie where Jason Segel flaps his dick around while he’s being dumped that outlives us all.

One of the funniest and most re-watchable movies ever made, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” effectively marries the tropes of a traditional rom-com with the emasculated sensitivity that Apatow and his acolytes had already rebranded as a virtue. Directed by Nicholas Stoller from a semi-autobiographical screenplay that Segel wrote when he was appallingly young, the movie — about a giant man who’s forced to share a Hawaiian vacation with his famous ex and her rock star new boyfriend — is pretty much just an 118-minute supercut of immortal moments (“Die, die, die… I can’t”).

Featuring career-topping cameos from the likes of Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd, and highlighted by a dinner scene that ruthlessly mocks Kristen Bell’s remake of “Pulse” (still cathartic for anyone who had to sit through that), “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is objectively the greatest artistic achievement of our time or anyone else’s.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , , ,


Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox

Newswire