The three-day weekend: The perfect excuse to stay up late for no good reason and watch TV long into the night.
But instead of just blowing through a bunch of old episodes of The Office or getting caught up in a House Hunters marathon, why not check out a few movies you haven’t seen yet?
Here’s a look at seven underrated movies on Netflix to consider for your next movie night.
Band of Robbers
The indie comedy Band of Robbers is one of those films that, despite solid reviews and an innovative premise, managed to slip through the cracks of many movie fans. Shot with cool, stylized visuals (think Wes Anderson or Jared Hess), the film features modern day versions of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, as they embark on a goofy heist centered around a hidden treasure.
The result is like mashing up Napoleon Dynamite, Bottle Rocket and a Tarantino movie all in one comedy. It’s funny, weird, smartly-paced and actually kind of moving.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Is Exit Through the Gift Shop a documentary about a strange, wannabe artist who infiltrates the world of street art occupied by legendary names like Shepard Fairey and Banksy, or is it an insane prank that serves as commentary about art, culture and consumption?
The answer is never really clear, but that only makes 2010’s Exit Through the Gift Shop even more fun to watch. The movie not only provides an in-depth look at the origins of the street art movement, but it also introduces social commentary on the dangers of consumerism and the nature of celebrity and introduces big questions about art itself.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
The critically acclaimed indie biopic about singer Nina Simone is a haunting look at celebrity, activism, domestic abuse, mental health and personal tragedy. It’s one of those films that never really leaves you after you see it.
It offers an intimate look at one of American culture’s most under-appreciated artists, and an interesting exploration of an important chapter of history of Civil Rights era music.
Best in Show
Though Best in Show isn’t Christopher Guest’s most well-known contribution to the mockumentary genre (Waiting for Guffman and This is Spinal Tap are both legendary), it may be the outright funniest.
Though it’s set in the world of dog shows, the setting and plot are really just excuses for Guest’s troupe of brilliant comedians and actors (including Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Michael McKean, Eugene Levy and others) to ham it up like lovable weirdos.
Guest’s films set the stage for shows like The Office, Modern Family and Parks and Rec, which were at their best when the characters are directly addressing the camera, being honest, raw and (unintentionally) hilarious.
OK, so it’s not really accurate to call Spotlight “underrated” considering it won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but it is criminally under-seen. The film, which was distributed by the indie company Open Road, failed to even crack the $100 million mark at the box-office during its entire run. (For comparison, Finding Dory made $135 million in one weekend.)
The in-depth look at the real team of journalists who exposed a horrific child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church—and their efforts to cover it up—is a meticulous and dramatic look at corruption and the importance of investigative journalism.
Take the most redemptive parts of Friday Night Lights and The Blindside and put them into a single film, and you’ll get the Undefeated. But unlike either of those films, the Undefeated isn’t a scripted reaction to real-life events: It’s an intimate, heartbreaking and inspiring look at a real high school football team and their coach who refused to give up on them.
Filmed at one of the poorest high schools in Memphis, the students and players in the film face unimaginable opposition on and off the field. Despite winning an Oscar for Best Documentary in 2012, the film still isn’t one of the better known sports films on Netflix, and once you see it, you’ll wonder why.
Jermaine Clement, Danny McBride, Amy Ryan and Sam Rockwell star in this satire of religious culture written and directed by Jared Hess, best known for Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre.
Though it’s a zany comedy, the story of a Biblical archeologist trying to prove the validity of scripture offers some interesting commentary about the intersections of Christianity, fame and money.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.