Orion Pictures

“Breaking Bad” is over, and you finished “Orange Is the New Black” in a day. You could browse Netflix for hours and not find something you know you want to watch, mainly because you’ve never heard of half of these movies and shows. To save you some trouble, we’ve gathered a list of hidden gems for the next time you want to watch something new or need an excuse to procrastinate on even the smallest assignment.


“Tiny Furniture”

This was “Girls” creator Lena Dunham’s first break, and she posed as writer, director and star of this film. It’s special for “Girls” fans because there’s something prequel-esque about this. Finding a job, getting along with her mom and sister and rifling through messy relationships with friends and lovers are some of the #firstworldproblems that Dunham portrays in subtle and authentic ways.

“Wet Hot American Summer”

It takes place all in one day, the last day of camp at Camp Firewood. We encounter love, engagement, marriage, capture the flag, a meteor approaching Earth, an angry chef named Gene and so much more. It features stars like Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce and Paul Rudd before they were huge.

“Pootie Tang”

This is a weird one, people. “Pootie Tang” is a comedy about a rapper of the same name. He is the coolest rapper around, having learned values from his father, played by Chris Rock, who taught him everything he needed to know by means of belt, before he tragically died due to a gorilla attack. Pootie Tang fights the likes of an evil businessman looking to make money off of selling children cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and fast food. Also, it’s directed by Louis C.K.


Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” was bound to develop a cult following immediately after Quentin Tarantino fought for it to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. The film follows a man who wakes up in a room without knowing how or why he got there, and is trapped there for 15 years. The main character is then released without warning and decides to seek out the people who did this to him.


It’s rare for a first feature to be so ambitious in scope and so slick with style, but that was the case for Rian Johnson’s “Brick.” Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “Brick” is about a high school student who is investigating the death of his ex-girlfriend but soon finds himself spiraling into something bigger than he could imagine. The film is a fresh take on noir and thrives on its biting satire of high school stereotypes, styled as if it’s a Dashiell Hammett detective novel. Rian Johnson later directed “Looper” and episodes of “Breaking Bad.”

“The Purple Rose of Cairo”

The 1980s were Woody Allen’s creative prime, when he made his most fantastical film, “The Purple Rose of Cairo.” Akin to his recent hit “Midnight in Paris,” the film is about an under-appreciated housewife, played by Mia Farrow, who finds herself lost in the movies. Without explanation, the main character from the film, played by Jeff Daniels, suddenly jumps out of the screen, leading to a love triangle of reality and fantasy.

“Waiting for Guffman”

A Christopher Guest mockumentary centered on a patriotic fictional town called Blaine, Mo., it follows a director and his actors putting on a musical in honor of the town and its history. Guest captures the absurdity of bizarre characters so masterfully that you feel like you’ve met them before.

“Mary and Max”

An Australian claymation film dealing with depression, Asperger’s and alcoholism does not sound like a fun viewing, but the dark humor of “Mary and Max” proves to be funny and poignant. Voiced by the talented Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Mary and Max respectively, the movie is about the unlikely pen pal friendship between a lonely little girl in Australia and an overweight, Asperger’s-ridden Jewish man in New York City. The film is one of the most well-crafted, beautifully animated films in the last decade.

“The House of the Devil”

Some of cinema’s best directors started in the horror genre, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron. All that potential is showcased in the horror film “The House of the Devil.” The movie pays homage to the babysitter genre of horror movies. Director Ti West knows how to carefully construct tension, knowing when the audience is expecting a scare and withholding it.

“Chop Shop”

Roger Ebert named “Chop Shop” in his list of the top films of the decade from 2000-2009. Made by Ramin Bahrani, who is currently a film professor at Columbia University, the movie uses non-actors and a limited script as well as a handheld camera to tell the tale of a child trying anything to get by at the auto repair shops in Willets Point, right by Shea Stadium. Bahrani relays a world that few of us witness or experience.


“Parenthood”/”Friday Night Lights”

Loosely based on the 1989 Steve Martin film, “Parenthood” centers on a family and features actors such as Lauren Graham, Peter Krause and Ray Romano. “Friday Night Lights” takes place in Dillon, Texas, a small town obsessed with the all-star football team, the Dillon Panthers. Both shows are created by Jason Katims, who masters unbelievably realistic portrayals of all kinds of relationships, dialogue and emotion. Thanks, NBC, you’ve done it again.

“Twin Peaks”

If you want weird dreams and a serious case of the heebie-jeebies, watch David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” This 1991 series has only two seasons, but it does to you 10 times what “Breaking Bad” does in five. Set in a fictional Washington town, the show begins with a man finding the dead body of Laura Palmer, the town’s beloved homecoming queen. An FBI agent, Dale Cooper, played by the incomparable Kyle MacLachlan, comes to the town to investigate. Get lost in this world of mystery.

“My So-Called Life”

Claire Danes stars in this heartfelt coming-of-age ’90s TV show. It centers on a high school chick who becomes more independent and in touch with herself — she dyes her hair, changes groups of friends and resists her “overbearing” parents (they just don’t get us). Though canceled after one season, “MSCL” gained a group of cult followers who appreciated its poetic and pensive nature, featuring characters mature and wise way beyond their years.

“The Office: UK”

Although the pilot of the original British “Office” is pretty much identical to the American one verbatim, beyond the first episode, there’s more depth to the English version. Created by and starring Ricky Gervais, “The Office: UK” skillfully paints painfully uncomfortable humor in the pathetic lives of the employees at Wernham Hogg. All of the romance, discomfort and laughter are way more subtle and way more real than the American version. Only 12 episodes!