Five Great Movies Leaving Netflix in December

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Netflix Instant Streaming is clearing its virtual shelves again this month, because if you haven’t watched all the Left Behind movies yet—or Bronies, the documentary about adult fans of My Little Pony—well, your chance has just about past. But it’s not just two versions of Brian’s Song that will no longer be available. There are some good movies hidden among straight-to-video R.L. Stine adaptations, including two of our three favorite horror movies that were streaming on the site. Here are five movies to catch over Thanksgiving break before Netflix removes them from its catalog.

5. The Dark Crystal

Year: 1982
Director: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Aside from being one of the darkest children’s movies of all time, the Frank Oz and Jim Henson-directed puppet film is also one of the most beautiful. Taking place in “A land of wonder,” its the story of a nearly-extinct race, the Gelflings, who are trying to restore a missing shard to the Dark Crystal and establish unity among the races of their world. The buzzard-shaped Skeksis are the objects of terror here, as they die and decompose before our eyes, eat the tendons of small animals and suck the souls (and then drink them!) out of the creatures they capture.—Rachel Dovey

4. Batman Begins

Year: 2005
Director: Christopher Nolan
While Tim Burton may have taken the steps towards a dark Batman film, Christopher Nolan perfected. By bringing Batman into the real world and making a creative origin story that explains what no other form had even attempted, Nolan went from indie film director to Hollywood powerhouse, kicking off the best comic trilogy of all time in the process.—Ross Bonaime

3. The Hustler

Year: 1961
Director: Robert Rossen
It’s hard to believe this classic Paul Newman/Jackie Gleason movie about pool shark “Fast Eddie” Felson is over a half-century old. That might be why it was just nudged out of the elite eight of our Best Sports Movies bracket by White Men Can’t Jump. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, but Newman had to wait 25 years to win an Oscar as Felson for the film’s eventual sequel, The Color of Money.—Josh Jackson

2. The Omen

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Year: 1976
Director: Richard Donner
In the canon of “creepy kid” movies, the original 1976 incarnation of The Omen stands alone, untainted by the horrendous 2006 remake (not on Netflix streaming, thankfully for once). The film just has a palpable sense of malice to it, largely because of the juxtaposition of restraint and moments of extremity. Damien isn’t this little devil boy running around stabbing people—he’s full of guile and deceit. He knows that he’s playing the long game—it will be years and years before he achieves his purpose on the Earth, which gives him the uncomfortable attitude of an adult (and a pure evil one) in a child’s body. The film is brooding, morose, sullen, broken up by staccato moments of shocking violence—in particular, the infamous scene where a sheet of glass leads to a decapitation, or the fate of Damien’s nurse in the opening. It’s a film that genuinely can get under your skin, especially if you’re a parent.—Jim Vorel

1. The Silence of the Lambs

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Year: 1991
Director: Jonathan Demme
In the face of grotesque sequels, lesser prequels and numerous parodies, The Silence of the Lambs still stands as a cinematic work of art among crime dramas and serial killer movies. Winning the five gold rings of Oscar-dom (best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, best screenplay) Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the murderous Hannibal Lecter proves the worth of surrounding one of cinema’s greatest thespians with a stellar supporting team. Director Jonathan Demme deftly wields the brush of that talent to bring audiences into the dark, sadistic world of Dr. Lecter while leaving them gasping at the twists and turns of novelist Thomas Harris’ gruesomely wonderful story. As happens with all great films, second and third viewings fail to diminish the ride, but instead reveal even more subtleties of characterization. —Tim Basham

Leaving 12/1/15

All About Eve (1950)
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Season 1 (2012)
Batman Begins (2005)
Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
Brian’s Song (1971)
Brian’s Song (2001)
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
The Burbs (1989)
Cop Land (1997)
Damien: Omen II (1978)
The Dark Crystal (1982)
Employee of the Month (2006)
Forces of Nature (1999)
Get Low (2009)
The Great Escape (1963)
The Guardian: Season 1-3
The High and the Mighty (1954)
The Hustler (1961)
Insomnia (2002)
Juice (1992)
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Labyrinth (1986)
Last Night (2010)
Left Behind: The Movie (2000)
Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002)
Left Behind: World at War (2005)
Modern Problems (1981)
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
Necessary Roughness (1991)
The Omen (1976)
Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)
The Paw Project (2013)
The Pink Panther 2 (2009)
R.L. Stine’s Mostly Ghostly (2008)
R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It (2007)
Shrink (2009)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Soapdish (1991)
Trek Nation (2011)
Two Can Play That Game (2001)

Leaving 12/4/15

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally (2010)

Leaving 12/6/15

360 (2011)
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure (2012)

Leaving 12/9/15

C.O.G. (2013)

Leaving 12/10/15

Ultimate Spider-Man: Season 2

Leaving 12/11/15

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Season 2
Rescue Me: Season 1-7

Leaving 12/12/15

Why Did I Get Married? (2007)

Leaving 12/13/15

How to Build a Better Boy (2014)
Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers (2011)

Leaving 12/15/15

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

Leaving 12/17/15

Underclassman (2005)

Leaving 12/21/15

Red Hook Summer (2012)

Leaving 12/24/15

Una Noche (2012)

Leaving 12/30/15

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (2013)