Leaving Netflix: 20 Great Movies Departing on Jan. 1, 2016

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The exodus of movies from Netflix continues at what we’re starting to consider an alarming rate. I think they know we’ll never give up the service as long as it keeps giving us TV shows like Master of None, Jessica Jones, Narcos, Daredevil and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (and those are just the new ones). But if you want to catch some of the quality movies the site offered this year, you better quit binge watching TV shows and stream one of the following. We usually struggle to find five or 10 good movies to recommend to catch before they’re gone, but this month we’ve got 20. We hope you haven’t used all your 2015 vacation days.

1. Almost Famous

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Year: 2000
Director: Cameron Crowe
Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film perfectly captured the essence of the world music geeks inhabit—the passion for the music; the joy in the concert experience; the obsession over the tiniest details of melody, lyrics, musicianship, artwork and liner notes; the camaraderie of fans and musicians. But even beyond the resonance that music fans feel, Crowe crafted flawless little scenes, peopled with fully fleshed-out characters who were funny, romantic, heart wrenching and utterly believable. Almost Famous is the essential movie for music aficionados, and a great one for anyone who cares about humanity.—Tim Regan-Porter

2. The Graduate

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Year: 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
In the undisputed king of movies for those headed out into the real world, a hyper-accomplished recent grad (Dustin Hoffman) panics at the prospect of his future and falls into an affair with the much older wife of his father’s business partner (Anne Bancroft). It helped define a generation long since embalmed by history, but the sense of longing for an alternative hasn’t aged.—Jeffrey Bloomer

3. There Will Be Blood

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Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Year: 2007
There’s a whiff of Citizen Kane about There Will Be Blood. Both Charles Foster Kane, the center of Orson Welles’ 1941 masterwork, and Daniel Plainview, the protagonist of Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 gem, are Shakespearean in their contradictions—too creative and too wounded to be fully condemned, and too ruthless to be fully admired. Like Welles, writer/director Anderson fashioned an original cinematic language to reveal Plainview’s strange mix of genius and monstrosity. Long stretches are virtually dialogue-free, but the close-ups of Daniel Day-Lewis’ glowering face—splattered with blood, sweat and petroleum—and the long shots of rickety derricks and shacks perched precariously on a savage landscape say more than words ever could.—Geoffrey Himes


4. American Psycho

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Year: 2000
Director: Mary Harron
There’s something wrong with Patrick, I mean really wrong. Although a Christopher Nolan-esque what-is-a-dream conundrum, Bateman is just all-around evil. He is also one of the few characters to blatantly express just how insane he is, unfortunately to uncaring or uncomprehending ears, because the world he lives in is just as crazy, if not moreso. Also the drug-addled banker gets creative with his kill weapons. Nail gun, anyone? Nobody thought of white-collar Manhattanites as characters in horror films until the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel changed everything. —Darren Orf

5. Lawrence of Arabia

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Year: 1962
Director: David Lean
They don’t get more epic than David Lean’s three-and-a-half-hour, seven-time Academy Award-winning biopic/adventure, which dropped Peter O’Toole in the middle of the Arabian desert circa World War I. O’Toole cemented his screen legend as vibrant hero T.E Lawrence, a headstrong British Army Lieutenant and reluctant recon grunt-turned-conflicted intermediary-turned-guerilla leader and rebel, as much at odds with his superiors as he is their professed enemy, the Turks. O’Toole is never better, nor, seemingly, more himself—a point (one of many) of debate among historians, who argued the real Lawrence’s high-profile stature was more occupational hazard than it was deliberate showboating. Little matter: O’Toole’s characterization is necessarily commanding and complex, a larger-than-life presence amid a gorgeous, Super Panavision 70-amplified expanse of sand and period detail. The sheer scale of the onscreen exploits is awe-inspiring: train wrecks, windstorms, camel attacks (!), and other set pieces specific to the exotic locales (the film was shot in Jordan, Morocco and Spain). Just as grand are Maurice Jarre’s (Doctor Zhivago, Ghost) score and the supporting cast: Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Claude Rains. Come for the romantic spectacle, not for the facts.—Amanda Schurr

6. Rocky

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Year: 1976
Director: John G. Avildsen
Rocky may be the one of the most inspirational films of all time. The movie poses the question: What happens when a small-time boxer from Philadelphia gets a one-in-a-million shot at the World Heavyweight Championship? All Rocky Balboa wanted to do was prove that he wasn’t a bum and that he could go the distance with Apollo Creed. With a budget under 1 million dollars, Rocky would go on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1976 and spawn the ultimate sports movie series.—Gregory Eckert

7. Rosemary’s Baby

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Year: 1968
Director: Roman Polanski
The most famous of Polanski’s paranoid thrillers, not to mention the most inviolable. The film infiltrates a privileged space of middle-class entitlement and pollutes it with the most extreme evil possible: sweet, unassuming Rosemary (Mia Farrow) is pregnant, but could her baby already belong to someone else? The volatile climax has an answer, and the sequence has remained one of the most celebrated in horror history for good reason.—Sean Edgar

8. The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Year: 1993
Director: Henry Selick
On simply a shot-by-shot basis, The Nightmare Before Christmas ranks as one of the most visually splendid films ever made. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, becomes obsessed with Christmas and decides to hijack the holiday. Often presented under the title Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, the film echoes many of the hit director’s pet themes, with Jack being one of Burton’s many brooding artistic protagonists. The film’s actual director was Henry Selick, who oversees an ingenious design and a cast of endearing monsters. The film doesn’t quite have the narrative fuel and graceful song lyrics to match Disney’s best animated musicals, but every year the film looks better and better.—Michael Burgin

9. A Clockwork Orange

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Year: 1971
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Malcolm McDowell’s creepy masterpiece of a movie villain, Alex DeLarge brings to light many innate fears. A sociopath who robs, rapes and murders with an uncomfortable, uncaring attitude, his attempted rehabilitation and its ultimate failure is just a cynical reminder that sometimes violence is endless. Stanley Kubrick’s classic dystopian crime drama is not for the faint of heart, but has plenty to say about modern behavioral psychology.—Paste Staff

10. Jerry Maguire

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Year: 1996
Director: Cameron Crowe
Besides acting as the megahit blockbuster of 1996, Jerry Maguire also quickly achieved the status of the modern day romantic-comedy done right. Certainly, between Say Anything and Almost Famous, writer/director Cameron Crowe has never been one to hide his inner softie. Jerry Maguire is no different, featuring career-best performances from Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr. as well as litany of memorable lines still quoted to this day. And, let’s face it, whoever doesn’t get at least a little bit teary-eyed when Renee Zellweger proclaims, “You had me at hello,” is probably a Cylon spy who should be blasted away at once.—Mark Rozeman

11. Serpico

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Year: 1973
Director: Sidney Lumet
You could have a great debate about who had the best acting decade between Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, and Dustin Hoffman, and while my vote goes to Nicholson (with Hoffman a close second), Pacino has a terrific argument. In Serpico, he plays the complicated figure of a detective who went undercover to rat out corrupt cops. His decision to turn against his own is as fraught as you might imagine, and he faces death at every turn from cops who’d love to shut him up. It’s an exciting street drama with the decrepit-yet-energetic look of urban ‘70s films.—Shane Ryan

12. Zoolander

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Year: 2001
Director: Ben Stiller
Zoolander was a landmark comedy in 2001, thanks to the wonderful chemistry between Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as a pair of male models. Wilson’s Hansel cares more about what bark is made out of and idolizing Sting (not for his music, but for the fact the he’s out there doing it) than his rivalry with Ben Stiller’s Zoolander. Eventually, the two supermodels must work together to try and bring down Mugatu (Will Ferrell), after he brainwashes Zoolander with the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song “Relax.”—Ryan Bort

13. The Great Mouse Detective

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Directors: Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, John Musker
Year: 1986
Four directors is never a good sign, even for an animated film, which is why I’m so stymied by such truth behind one of my favorite Disney films of all time—the 74 minutes which helped an impressionable nine-year-old realize that even cartoons could be thrilling, dark, complex, and fiercely smart. The short adventure of a mouse named Basil who lives in Sherlock Holmes’ flat on Baker Street—as well as a mouse who lives a life emulating his human counterpart, even absconding with Holmes’ beagle for assistance on occasion—rarely balks at complicated plotting or throwing out one homage after another to genres a kids film would typically avoid, knowing that the only people who have any idea what’s going on are those kids’ parents. Which is why the final noir-ish confrontation between Basil and his arch-nemesis, Dr. Ratigan (voiced inimitably by Vincent Price) still stays so firmly entrenched in my brain tissue: The older I get, the more I realize that, anthropomorphic rodents or not, this was some exciting filmmaking at work. —Dom Sinacola

14. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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Year: 1987
Director: John Hughes
Anyone who’s ever endured holiday traffic on their way home for Thanksgiving can relate to this John Hughes tale—although hopefully you’ve never had to endure the sheer number of transportation mishaps (not to mention some accidental spooning) Steve Martin and John Candy go through.—Bonnie Stiernberg

15. Gladiator

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Year: 2000
Director: Ridley Scott
In Gladiator, Sir Ridley Scott shamelessly leans on the glitz of Hollyrome; it’s a shallow, overused trope, but if you can stomach the utter film’s veneer of historical fakery, you’ll be rewarded with some absolutely spectacular bloodshed. Here, too, Gladiator wrestles with issues of accuracy – particularly in its opening fracas – but when swordplay and siege is this well staged, you’re on the wrong side of cinema if you dare reach for your Latin textbooks. Whether on the battlefield or in the arena, Gladiator’s magnificently orchestrated violence will keep you held firmly in its crimson-streaked thrall; you will be entertained.—Andy Crump

16. Dumbo

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Year: 1941
Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Featuring everybody’s favorite lovable misfit, Dumbo was one of Disney’s earlier animated successes. Although it’s filled with creepy, psychedelic elephant trips, it’s a classic feel-good film that teaches lessons of acceptance and the celebration of people’s differences. Every kid should see it at least once.—Eric Gossett

17. James and the Giant Peach

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Year: 1996
Director: Henry Selick
When we think of Roald Dahl films, some of the first to come to mind are The Iron Giant, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and this one. But the list also includes the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice in 1967. Point is, the man could write a good story. He refused to allow an animated film to be made when he was alive, but his widow was thrilled with what Tim Burton did with James and the Giant Peach, and believes Roald would have been too.—Josh Jackson

18. The Rescuers

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Year: 1977
Directors: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens
A bright spot between The Jungle Book, released in 1967 just after Walt Disney’s death and his company’s renaissance with 1989’s The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers took four years and $8 million, time and money reflected in the quality of the production. Based on a pair of Margery Sharp fantasy novels, the story tracks a pair of mice, Bernard (Bob Newhart) and Miss Bianco (Eva Gabor) as they travel the Devil’s Bayou in search of a missing child. It’s a charming tale celebrating the little guys with big hearts.—Josh Jackson

19. Pocahontas

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Year: 1995
Directors: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
On my seventh birthday, I got two identical Pocahontas Barbie dolls. My parents asked me if I wanted to return one of them and exchange it for something else. I opted to keep them both. That’s how obsessed with Pocahontas—or in my case, the two Pocahontii—I was. Of course, as with most Disney movies, as I got older I could recognize its whitewashing of history and the less-than-feminist ideals, but despite its problems, Pocahontas remains at the very least a conversation-starter, a jumping-off point from which to begin talking to your kids about race. Pop it in and then discuss it with them, warts and all.—Bonnie Stiernberg

20. The Aristocats

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Year: 1970
Directors: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Simon Wells
The best kids’ movies are the ones that entertain while simultaneously imparting some sort of lesson, and The Aristocats achieves both. Besides the inherent adorableness that comes with a family of animated cats and classic Disney musical numbers like “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” (courtesy of Scatman Crothers’ Scat Cat character), we get all the morals that come from watching a snobby, wealthy feline family rescued by an alley cat.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Everything Leaving 1/1/16


A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Almost Famous (2000)
American Psycho (2000)
American Psycho 2 (2002)
The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Coach Carter (2005)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Corpse Bride (2005)
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior: Season 1
Four Brothers (2005)
Gladiator (2000)
The Graduate (1967)
Grandma’s Boy (2006)
Harriet the Spy (1996)
Heartbreakers (2001)
The Hours (2002)
The Italian Job (2003)
Jackass: The Movie (2002)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
Lawrence of Arabia: Restored Version (1962)
The Longest Yard (2005)
Max Steel: Seasons 1-2
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
The Patriot (2000)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Rambo: First Blood (1982)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Rambo III: Ultimate Edition (1988)
The Rescuers (1977)
Risky Business (1983)
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky V (1990)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Serpico (1973)
Sesame Street: Animals and Nature: Season 1
Sesame Street: Classics: Vol. 1-2
Sesame Street: Cookie and Friends: Season 1
Sesame Street: Creativity and Imagination: Season 1
Sesame Street: Elmo and Friends: Season 1
Sesame Street: Everyday Moments: Season 1
Sesame Street: Music and Dance: Season 1
Sesame Street: Numbers and Letters: Season 1
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Trading Places (1983)
Trekkies (1999)
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Zoolander (2001)

Leaving 1/4/16


Dumbo (1941)
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Pocahontas (1995)
The Aristocats (1970)
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
The Tigger Movie (2000)

Leaving 1/8/16


The Lying Game: Season 2

Leaving 1/14/16


Bad Ink: Season 1
Beyond Scared Straight!: Seasons 4-5
Dance Moms: Collection
Duck Dynasty: Collection
Hoarders: Collection
Intervention: Collection
Pawn Stars: Collection
Storage Wars: Collection
The Kennedys: Season 1