In our monthly Netflix list where we tell you the best new additions to the streaming service, we tend to strike a tone along the lines of “OH MY YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS IMMEDIATELY!” And oftentimes, since Netflix is amazing, our screaming fanboy rants are totally justified; we’ve witnessed the launches of Master of None, Luke Cage, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Stranger Things. But there’s been some crap too, like Fuller House, The Ranch, and recently Iron Fist. All of this is to say, Netflix isn’t perfect, but this April, they’re going to make up for the mistake of last month’s Iron Fist with a ton of great new originals – and Adam Sandler’s third Netflix movie, Sandy Wexler.
So with the expectation of incredible and life-changing series, delightful and unexpected specials and films, and one or two originals that just don’t live up to the hype, let’s explore what Netflix is pumping in front of our faces this month. And to help you straighten out your life and not let you waste away in front of your screens, as always, we’re here to narrow things down and choose the best of the best for you. Here’s The 15 Best New Netflix Additions to Watch This April.
15. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (Netflix Original Series) – April 14
Netflix loves pandering to nerds, and their newest original series is a clear example of their trying to win us over at any cost. Such blatant attempts at reviving geek properties only to get us geeks talking up Netflix is really starting to—wait, what’s that? Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back? Amazing! We love Netflix and all it’s ever done for us and we love all this pandering, especially when it means that we get stuff like Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return!
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to watch fellow geeks make fun of crappy sci-fi movies in outer space, which is to say that we couldn’t be more excited about Netflix’s latest cult series revival. With writing help by Community’s Dan Harmon and Joel McHale, and Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt starring, we have no doubts that one of the greatest nerd TV shows is in safe, nerdy-hands. And what better place for it than streaming online, where us nerds can watch it on a TV, on our phones, our tablets, our Alienware computers, or our virtual reality headsets? Let the binging begin!
14. An American Tail (1986) – April 1
If you haven’t heard of or seen An American Tail then don’t feel bad, you’re most likely just part of the entire generation that seemed to miss this classic Amblin animated film. It’s nothing to be ashamed about – the film is incredibly important to a number of people, and then seemingly forgotten by everyone else – but it is something to rectify immediately now that An American Tail is on Netflix.
Competing with the Golden Age of Disney at its peak, An American Tail is Schindler’s List meets The Lion King – not that it should ever be described as that. With heart achingly memorable songs and breathtaking animation, An American Tail tells the story of a Jewish family of mice essentially escaping the horrors of the holocaust and starting over in America. With endlessly resonant themes – especially these days – and a story that can make viewers of all ages tear up, you don’t need to stream this one with Netflix-apprehension. You can be sure that with An American Tail you’re watching a classic.
13. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – April 1
Netflix has always been great for watching horror, so it’s amazing to think that up until now we haven’t been able to stream A Nightmare on Elm Street. One of the first ever slasher movies and still one of the greatest horrors of all time, we can’t think of a more guaranteed fun time this April than sitting around with some friends in the dark and watching Freddy Krueger do what he does best; kill dumb teenagers.
Unlike a lot of 80s horror that has since become laughable when compared to today’s standards of gore and violence, A Nightmare on Elm Street holds up as well now – streaming in HD – than it ever has. Bolstered by a surprisingly solid story and concept, the film can teach endless lessons to movie fans that think today’s jump-scare focused films are all that horror needs to be. Not to mention that there’s a reason ‘teens swimming in lakes in the summer ending up dead’ has turned into a cliché – it works extremely well.
12. Schindler’s List (1993) – April 1
It’s safe to say that no one is ever in the mood to watch a movie like Schindler’s List. There’s really no good time to watch a three hour and fifteen minute holocaust epic. But look, it’s a seven-time Oscar winning film – including Best Picture and Best Director for Stephen Spielberg – for a reason. The scope, the emotion, the entire construction of the film from beginning to end is something endlessly impressive and harrowing to experience, and so even though you may not feel like it, you definitely need to push play on Schndler’s List on Netflix if you haven’t seen it already.
The black and white, the subtitles, the runtime – it’s amazing how all of those things melt away while you’re watching the film. A testament to Spielberg’s brilliance as one of the best directors of all time, Schindler’s List feels like a chore to watch right up until it sucks you in during the first minute. From there it’s endlessly gripping and full of that classic Spielberg mentality that will have you simultaneously crying your eyes out and feeling somewhat hopeful for the future.
11. Louis C.K. 2017 (Netflix Original Special) – April 4
It’s probably not best that you go right from An American Tail and Schindler’s List into Louis C.K. 2017, but that’s just where the newest special from the greatest comedian of our time falls on Netflix’s release calendar. So maybe take a few days, appreciate your tears and emotions, and then forget that anything in the world was ever sad because Louis C.K. is here to make everything okay.
Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration – Louis C.K. is certainly no optimist. He won’t make you think that the world is a wonderful place filled with sunshine and rainbows. It’s way more likely that Louis’ very first Netflix special will be like the rest of his specials: dark, deranged, absurd, honest, and funnier than anything you could possibly imagine. Louis C.K. 2017 may not be here to hold your hand and lead you through tough times, but the one thing that’s safe to say it will do without exaggeration – make you laugh so hard that death seems like a more enjoyable option.
10. Disney’s The BFG (2016) – April 6
Remember Stephen Spielberg from a few posts ago? You know, the guy who made a three plus hour holocaust film that won nearly every Oscar in existence? Well, this time he’s back with, um, a movie based on a Roald Dahl children’s book featuring a bunch of motion-capture CGI giants. You can’t say the guy doesn’t have varying interests!
No matter which way you look at The BFG you can’t say it’s Spielberg’s best film. You also can’t say it’s bad, because The BFG is endlessly charming and everything you could hope for in a family film. It’s imaginative, it’s fun, it’s gorgeously animated, and it’s the kind of film that you don’t have to be a child to enjoy. Sure, it’s a little silly and no one would confuse it for one of the best family films of all time, but The BFG is solid entertainment – something that you could stream on Netflix, watch in one sitting, and be happy that you didn’t chose something worse when it’s over. And damnit, that’s good enough!
9. The Get Down: Part 2 (Netflix Original Series) – April 7
If you watched Part 1 of The Get Down last year then you know that she show has a way of drawing you in, whether you want it to or not. Directed by Baz Luhrmann in his typical showey style, the Netflix original series is engaging and gripping, all while somehow being a bit slow and meandering. Having said that, we still can’t wait for The Get Down: Part 2.
Chronicling the early days of hip hop on the streets of a crumbling New York City in the 1970s, The Get Down has a diverse cast of characters and all the subplots in the world to keep you binging. Focusing on love, crime, music, decay, poverty, and the American dream, the series uses a wide brush to paint its themes and storylines. With episodes that are all at once personal and epic, the series looks to continue on its journey of surprising excitement when it returns this month for more music and beautiful Baz Luhrmann visuals. Not to mention that the newest batch of episodes are said to be darker and more ambitious than ever!
8. Win It All (Netflix Original Movie) – April 7
Director Joe Swanberg – originator of the mumblecore movement of indie films – is someone that you either love or hate, but with his newest film Win It All, he may be swaying your opinion more to the middle. In the past Swanberg’s films have been slow, plotless, and largely improvised – so it’s understandable why he either had fans or haters. But with Win It All, starring New Girl’s Jake Johnson, Swanberg has built his relationship with Netflix after his original series Easy premiered last year and has brought us something very Netflix, and not very Joe Swanberg.
All that’s to say that Win It All is quirky, fun, and more plot-driven than you’d expect from a tiny-indie. And that’s cause it’s not a tiny indie, with some Netflix money and real actors at his disposal, Swanberg has created a conventional film that’s fun and interesting in all the right places. The story of a man who is instructed by his now-convict friend to watch his duffel bag, the film follows Jake Johnson’s character as he discovers the bag is filled with cash, quickly spends it, then has to win it all back before his friend is granted an earlier release from jail than expected. And speaking of the expected, don’t expect the expected here: this is a worthwhile Netflix film that is sure to entertain all kinds of people, whether you like Joe Swanberg or not.
7. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) – April 8
Really great animated movies are hard to come by these days – that is, unless you exclusively watch animated films from Laika. The stop motion films that come out of the studio are nothing short of spectacular, and from every handcrafted frame it’s easy to tell that you’re watching something truly remarkable. With Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, Laika proved that it was quickly becoming the next Pixar. Then with last year’s Kubo and the Two Strings they blew all expectations away.
Epic in scope and beauty, Kubo is a difficult movie to explain, but an incredible one to watch. With influences in Japanese folklore and an attention to historic detail you’d never expect for an animated film, Kubo and the Two Strings is worth diving into no matter who you are. With an astounding voice cast and visual effects that will blow you away, this is a movie that you can feel good about watching at any time, whether alone, on a date, with your family, or even at 4AM after a long night of partying.
6. Sandy Wexler (Netflix Original Movie) – April 14
It’s true, Adam Sandler doesn’t need any more publicity, and he certainly doesn’t deserve any. We sat through The Ridiculous Six hoping it would be good, and then when it wasn’t we hoped The Do-Over would be, well, exactly that. It wasn’t, and here we are being optimistic that Sandy Wexler will bring us back to the days of classic Adam Sandler. We know it won’t, but it’s a tradition of all optimistic movie fans to think that this is the time Sandler will finally turn it all around, but of course it won’t, and of course we’ll keep convincing ourselves to take part in this endless cycle.
So here we are with Sandy Wexler no longer the third of a four picture Netflix deal, but the third of a now eight picture Netflix deal – and in fact we’re quite sure it will go on longer than that. Yep, Adam Sandler is officially in the Netflix business and it seems to be paying off for everyone but us. Then again, someone must be watching these horrendous ordeals – his first two films are the most watched movies in the history of Netflix. Is it you? Are you, like us, watching these and holding out hope? Maybe it’s time to stop. But maybe after we give Sandy Wexler a try?
5. Slam (Netflix Original Movie) – April 15
In the grand scheme of weird Netflix originals, Slam probably doesn’t crack the top 10. After all, the streaming service is now home to TV’s best comedy about a depressed alcoholic animated horse, as well as a laugh-track filled show where Ashton Kutcher works on a ranch. But in the grand scheme of things, Slam, an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s YA book about a teen skateboarder who got a girl pregnant isn’t what you’d expect, mostly because it’s entirely in Italian.
The foreign film still plays like a teen movie, but it cleverly adapts a pretty good book from Nick Hornby and replaces the London setting with Rome. To be released globally by Netflix in 189 countries, Slam doesn’t scream worldwide-phenomenon, but it does make a pretty good case to introducing young people to the joys of foreign films. With universal themes and the good mix of comedy and drama that Nick Hornby books are known for, Slam is the kind of movie that you absolutely have to be in the mood for, but once you are you’ll find yourself falling for a film that you never would have expected to exist.
4. Lucas Brothers: On Drugs (Netflix Original Special) – April 18
If you’ve seen 22 Jump Street then you know that the Lucas brothers – the twins that lived across the hall from Schmidt and Jenko – are arguably the funniest parts of an amazingly funny movie. Since then they’ve had great turns in two criminally under-seen comedies, Lady Dynamite and The Grinder, and their comedic profile has risen steadily as comedy fans start to learn just how funny these two are.
With Lucas Brothers: On Drugs premiering on Netflix, it looks like their stars are about to explode as the whole world sees what they can do. Though much of the special is being kept under wraps, we’re excited to see exactly how a pair of twins can translate into a self-contained one-hour comedy act. Are they going to speak the whole act at the exact same time? Most likely the answer is absolutely not, but it’s just that kind of irreverent weirdness that we should be expecting from the Lucas brothers come April 18th.
3. Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 1 (Netflix Original Series) – April 21
Bill Nye is back! But fear not grown up fans that remember Bill Nye as the only good parts of your fifth grade science class, Bill Nye knows you’re not a child anymore, and his new Netflix show is catering to you! Featuring cameos from the likes of Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Joel McHale, Rachel Bloom, and more, Bill Nye and Netflix are giving us the adult version of Bill Nye the Science Guy that we never knew we wanted.
Focusing on topics like sex, global warming, alternative medicine, and all types of controversial science, Bill Nye is here to be funny and silly and educational just like in the good old days. With his time spent since Bill Nye the Science Guy went off the air yelling at creationists and laughing at anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming, Bill Nye has become every science-lover’s hero. Now, with Bill Nye Saves the World, he’s hoping to cash in on that reputation and educate those of us that didn’t pay enough attention to him back in the 90s. Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill!
2. Sand Castle (Netflix Original Movie) – April 21
If you’d think an Iraq war film starring Nicholas Hoult and Henry Cavill deserves a theatrical debut, then clearly you haven’t been paying enough attention to Netflix over the past few months. Netflix is now home to big-budget first-run movies, as evidenced by last month’s spectacular Jason Segal and Rooney Mara starrer, The Discovery. This month’s big release is Sand Castle, a gripping war drama that’s sure to make your friends without Netflix subscriptions jealous.
Following the true story of an army platoon tasked with fixing a broken water system in the Iraqi village of Baqubah, Sand Castle looks set to keep us on the edge of our seats all the way through. With the type of up close and personal tension that we’ve come to expect from the best war films, Sand Castle hooks us in with a stellar performance by Nicholas Hoult and keeps us intrigued all the way through with gripping direction and a fascinating script by writer Chris Roessner. Roessner, it should be mentioned, based the film off his own experiences fighting in Iraq. For those reasons and more make sure that Sand Castle is a film you check out once April 21st rolls around.
1. Casting JonBenet (Netflix Original Movie) – April 28
Netflix has made quite a splash debuting the movies they acquired at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – among them Burning Sands, I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore, and The Discovery. Those films have been met with rave reviews and have given Netflix some indie filmmaking cred, but Netflix isn’t done yet. This month they’re set to debut one of the rave-reviewed standouts from Sundance – the docudrama Casting JonBenet.
Following in the wake of true crime hits Making a Murderer and The Jinx, Casting JonBenet tackles the many mysteries left behind in the wake of the death of JonBenét Ramsey. Filled with beautifully shot reenactments and a chilling sense of scope, the film plays out more like a behind the scenes look at the making of a JonBenet Ramsey movie than a true documentary. However, the brilliance of the documentary comes from getting the actors playing the roles to discuss the real case, thus giving the whole movie a chilling reality that reminds you the entire time – this really happened many years ago, and there’s still no answers to this day.
Which of these new releases are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!