Each month, Netflix gives the boot to a number of movies and TV shows while also welcoming new ones into the fold. They’ve gotta keep things fresh right? No one would have kept their subscription if they hadn’t updated their titles since the streaming service debuted in 2007. While there were certainly a ton of great films that came out that year, we would have missed out on gems like Sharknado and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
All jokes aside, there are, sadly, a number of great movies and TV shows leaving Netflix’s streaming service starting April 1st. Joss Whedon must have really pissed someone off at Netflix, because four of his shows are getting the boot. All the old Superman films are also flying on out of there in all their cheesy wonder. Then, there are the handful of classic '80s and '90s films that you’ll have to say sayonara to. FOX’s Bob’s Burgers is also potentially gone come April (although they weren't on the list released by Netflix, so we'd recommend bingeing just in case).
The March departures were pretty lean, by comparison. Even though there are still plenty of underrated Netflix series just waiting to be discovered, this month's mass exodus feels especially brutal. There are over forty confirmed titles riding off into the sunset, but these are the 15 Best Movies and TV Shows Leaving in April.
15 Superman: The Movie
Even though Superman: The Movie and its subsequently terrible sequels (save for the excellent, Zod-kneeling second entry) were only just added to Netflix in January, it looks like they’re all getting tossed come April 1st. While getting rid of Superman III and IV probably won’t cause too many tears, the original Superman film might. For so many people born in the late '60s and early '70s, Superman: The Movie offers up a sense of nostalgia like nothing else. (Though it’s slightly heartbreaking to see Christopher Reeve in his prime and before his tragic horse riding accident.)
Superman: The Movie is more than just a trip down memory lane, it’s an Academy Award nominated film featuring Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, and Margot Kidder. Cheesy '70s special effects aside, it was a true comic book film before that was a thing, but also an impressive piece of art. It tells the story of how Kal-El came to Earth along with the discovery of his powers and purpose as Superman. We also see him develop an affection for Lois Lane and fight the evil, Lex Luthor. In short, it’s Superman in all his glory, and easily a better film than the current incarnations of the character.
Sadly, the Richard Donner cut of Superman II never made it onto the streaming service, though the departure of the studio version of the first sequel will likely upset a great many fans of the all-powerful Kryptonian as well. As for III and IV...well, they probably won't be missed by anyone.
14 Under the Tuscan Sun
Although it may get dismissed for just being another formulaic romantic comedy in a sea of similar tales, Under the Tuscan Sun has something those other films don’t: Diane Lane and the beautiful scenery of Tuscany, Italy. Lane earned herself a Golden Globe and Satellite Award nomination for the 2003 film, and was praised for her performance by the majority of critics at the time.
Based on a memoir by Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun tells the story of one woman’s struggle to find herself (and romance) again after a messy divorce. Thanks to the kindness of a pregnant friend, she takes her place on a trip to Tuscany, where she ends up buying and fixing up a cute little villa. Along the way, she meets a quirky slew of characters who all end up impacting her life in some way. If anything, this film will inspire you to visit the region of the world where some of the most famous Italian wines are made—or, at the very least, enjoy a glass or two of Chianti on your couch.
Jet Li has a few films leaving Netflix next month, but the only one you need to concern yourself with is his 2002 film, Hero. With the biggest budget and highest gross of a Chinese film at the time, Hero was a monumental undertaking, one that paid off with some stunning visuals and breathtaking martial arts choreography. Aside from his work in the Expendables series, Hero is one of the films Li is best known for, and for good reason -- it's spectacular.
Set in ancient China, the plot involves an assassination attempt on the life of the king of Qin. After one failed attempt, a nameless man claims to have defeated the three assassins, presenting the king with their weapons. However, the king doesn’t buy the man’s story completely, and multiple versions of the actual events are shown to the viewer. Fans of Akira Kurosawa films in particular will enjoy Hero's attempts to explore the nature of truth and honor, much like the legendary filmmaker did in his 1950 film, Rashomon.
12 Vanilla Sky
Vanilla Sky never gets the love it deserves because it has a somewhat convoluted storyline with a very cryptic ending. In fact, multiple endings were shot for the film, and the one that Cameron Crowe eventually went with has no fewer than five possible interpretations (according to his DVD commentary). But the film itself is an interesting exploration of dreams, reality, and the subconscious -- all before films like Waking Life, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Inception really took things to another level.
A remake of the Spanish film, Open Your Eyes, which Penelope Cruz also appeared in, Vanilla Sky is the tale of a man who is recounting his life’s story to a psychologist. In the process, he begins to realize that things aren’t what they seem, and that his reality may not be as real as it looks. Great performances are delivered by Cruz, Tom Cruise, and Cameron Diaz, the latter of which was nominated for a Golden Globe award.
11 Superman Returns
While Superman Returns is a clear homage to number 15 on this list, Superman: The Movie, it holds its own due to an outstanding cast (save for one possibly miscast intrepid reporter) and impressive visual effects. In particular, Brandon Routh channels Christopher Reeve in looks and talent, creating a Superman that keeps his sensitive yet strong portrayal of the Man of Steel alive. Kevin Spacey makes for a creepy, sociopathic Lex Luthor, who is a lot more deluded, although just as dangerous (if not more so) as his character Frank Underwood in House of Cards.
Superman Returns skips over Kal-El’s classic origin story in exchange for a setting where he has been absent from Earth for five years. During that time, Lois has seemingly moved on without him, and Lex has been released from prison and is back to his evil ways. While the film received mixed reviews, there are a number of iconic scenes which are well worth a watch. Romantics will love Superman’s flight to the stars with Lois, and those who gleefully love rooting for the bad guy will enjoy Lex Luthor’s infiltration of the Fortress of Solitude, which features Marlon Brando’s monologue from Superman: The Movie.
Pre-Iron Man and even before his downward spiral into drug and alcohol addiction, Robert Downey Jr. played Charlie Chaplin in the aptly named biopic, Chaplin. Directed by Richard Attenborough, the two-and-a-half hour film covers Chaplin’s entire career as recollected to a biographer played by Anthony Hopkins. It chronicles his transition from British variety shows to his own American films, which he eventually directed as well as starred in. There’s also quite a bit in there about his personal life, namely his frequent romances and four marriages.
Despite an all-star cast featuring Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Kline, Diane Lane, and Dan Akroyd among others, it’s Robert Downey Jr.’s performance that truly shines. His performance earned him Best Actor nods at both the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs. As with many films that reference Hollywood’s heyday, it’s found favor with film history lovers despite bombing at the box office. It’s well worth a watch to see RDJ transform into The Tramp and actually play a convincing Charlie Chaplin.
9 Menace II Society
The directorial debut of the Hughes Brothers (who went on to do Dead Presidents and From Hell), Menace II Society is a bleak look at the lives of a group of black men living in South Central, right around the time of the L.A. riots. The film stars Tyrin Turner (Caine)—who often works on both Deon Taylor and Jamie Foxx projects—and Larenz Tate (O-Dog), whom you might remember for portraying Quincy Jones in Ray. Jada Pinkett Smith also makes her cinematic debut in the film as Ronnie, and Samuel L. Jackson appears as Tat Lawson, a hardass who gives Jules Winnfield a run for his money.
Menace II Society delves deep into the main characters' violent lifestyles, chronicling the crimes they commit and the consequences of their actions. As each character makes bad choices, the violence continues to escalate until there’s no turning back. The film tackles the childhood indoctrination of inner city crime among L.A. neighborhoods like Watts without getting too preachy. It’s a harsh reality most people would choose to look away from, but the Hughes brothers bring it to light, forcing the audience to see what was really going on in 1990s Los Angeles.
8 Ally McBeal
Ally McBeal was one of those rare shows where people actually realized how ahead of it’s time it was at the time it was actually airing. Vivid fantasy scenes were shown to portray the genuine thoughts and feelings of many of the main characters (like the dancing “Ooga Chaka” baby). Their office had a unisex bathroom, which was included to show how the characters had no privacy and that it was a highly sexualized environment (despite pretending to be otherwise). Plus, the FOX show was also one of the first to have crossover episodes with a series on another network, doing so with ABC's The Practice on several occasions. Then there's the cast, which featured an unbelievable amount of stellar comedic actors like 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski, Arrested Development's Portia de Rossi, and even Robert Downey Jr.
While ostensibly a legal drama, much of the conflict on the show revolved around the characters' love lives, particularly that of the titular character, played by Calista Flockhart. Although Ally leaves her previous job because of sexual harassment, the law firm she starts at in the show puts her in the middle of a love triangle between her ex-boyfriend and his new wife. Hilarity ensues, and the result is a quirky comedy worth bingeing five seasons in the next week. You can do it, we believe in you.
7 The Usual Suspects
The original Bryan Singer/Kevin Spacey team up (like number 11 on this list), the 1995 crime drama The Usual Suspects will leave you guessing until the very end about what really happened on that ship. Five criminals meet in a police lineup, the so-called "usual suspects,” and plot an elaborate scheme against the cops. After it all goes terribly wrong, the lone survivor Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey) is interrogated by a customs agent, Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri). As Kint recounts what happens, we the audience also learn about the series of events that led up to the ship incident, all leading up to one of the most memorable twist endings in cinematic history.
Aside from a memorable performance from Spacey (who, let's be honest, is great in practically everything he does), The Usual Suspects also includes Benicio Del Toro in a supporting role—one of the very first of his career. Del Toro dons a peculiar accent in the film, which he apparently created to make the character more interesting. As if he could be uninteresting if he tried. Psh.
At the end of March, Bones is going off the air for good after twelve seasons on FOX. Sadly, all eleven of the seasons currently on Netflix will also become unavailable, probably in preparation for a special Blu-Ray/DVD release. The show stars Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan and David Boreanaz as Special Agent Seeley Booth, a crime-solving duo specializing in forensic anthropology of federal cases. One of the main themes of the show is the conflict between science and faith, symbolized by Bones and Booth’s contrasting views on the subjects.
While it's primarily a crime show, Bones offers up a tantalizing romantic dance between Bones and Booth that has largely contributed to its continuous success. Like The X-Files before it, Bones has that will-they-won’t-they dynamic that leaves its viewers wanting more. Pair that with some situational comedy, heady subject matter, and gross dead bodies, and Bones at least deserves a chance—although good luck trying to watch all twelve seasons by April once you get hooked.
5 House M.D.
Cranky ol' Gregory House is leaving Netflix come April, as well. Hugh Laurie plays the title character in the show, a medical genius who lives and breathes his profession and is addicted to pain pills due to a leg injury. He frequently butts heads with his colleagues and enjoys making everyone around him feel inferior. Essentially, he's a modern day Sherlock Holmes, piecing together symptoms, environmental factors, and medical histories to diagnose and often save a patient's life.
Usually, the patients on the show have been misdiagnosed, are rapidly deteriorating, or might have a rare illness that House and his team must pinpoint in order to provide proper treatment before it's too late. The show is a nail biter, as it's often down to the wire with the majority of cases. Although a lot of the episodes are relatively formulaic, House’s sarcastic, snide sense of humor and occasional moments of pure vulnerability and humanity make it a show worth watching all the way through.
4 Ferris Bueller's Day Off
One of John Hughes best and most well-known films, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off follows a trio of high school students on a particularly epic skip day. Ferris (Matthew Broderick), Sloane (Mia Sara), and Cameron (Alan Ruck) are three friends who explore Chicago like tourists, visiting the Art Institute, Wrigley Field, and Sears Tower. Like a grown-up Bart Simpson, Ferris is a known troublemaker who skips school so often, his principal actually tries to catch him in the act.
There’s a ‘seize the day’ spirit amidst all the funny physical comedy and witty banter coming from Broderick and co. He frequently breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to the audience, giving them advice on how to fake out parents and expressing his teenage ideologies. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it," he says matter of factly. It never hurts to have a little reminder that beautiful days are meant for enjoying, and this '80s classic delivers that point home in style.
3 The Princess Bride
Recently added to the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride consistently tops important film lists for its comedic intelligence. A very young Fred Savage who’s home sick from school gets a surprise visit from his grandfather, who reads him a fairy tale--a plot point that makes up the majority of the story. Savage’s character periodically interrupts the action to express his feelings about what’s happening, going from vaguely interested to expressing real concern for the characters’ welfare right along with the audience.
The Princess Bride also stars Cary Elwes as Westley, Robin Wright as Buttercup, Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, Andre the Giant as Fezzik, and Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, whose lives become intertwined after Buttercup is kidnapped. There are a number of memorable lines from the film that are instantly recognizable, such as the speech Inigo Montoya prepares for when he finally meets the six-fingered man who killed his father. Full of ridiculous situational and physical comedy, The Princess Bride is everything you’d expect out of a Rob Reiner film and more.
2 The X-Files
One of the biggest television hits of the 1990s, The X-Files lasted for nine years on FOX. A sci-fi mystery and crime drama all in one, the show follows two FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Like it’s modern counterpart, Bones, one character has a more skeptical scientific mind, while the other believes in the supernatural. As they begin to investigate a number of strange happenings, they become embroiled in government conspiracies and coverups that intend to keep their findings hush-hush.
Fans of alien lore, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal would be hard-pressed to find a more interesting show aside from say, The Twilight Zone. In order to keep the series fresh, the majority of episodes featured a “Monster-of-the-week," guaranteed to come straight out from the nightmares of a large portion of the general population. A genuinely spooky viewing experience, even the theme song will give you the chills.
1 Whedonverse Shows
Joss Whedon fans are in for a particular bummer of an April, as four of his TV series will no longer be available for streaming on Netflix. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse are out, although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appears to to be sticking around. Buffy fans, in particular, are up in arms about the drop, even creating a Change.org petition to keep the show on Netflix. With the show just having celebrated its 20th anniversary, the timing of this feels more than a bit out of place. However, Whedonites can take comfort in the fact that three out of four of the shows (no Dollhouse) are already available on that other streaming site, Hulu.
What’s great about Whedon’s shows are how each character operates on an equal playing field, no matter their gender, age, or occupation. He creates realistic depictions of people—flawed, but genuine in their determination to change and be better. All four series fall under the sci-fi umbrella, but there’s enough romance, action, and mystery to keep audiences of all sorts entertained. We recommend bingeing as much as you can (no one writes quite like Whedon does) and snagging yourself a Hulu account if you can’t finish a whole series in a week. Just keep calm and remember; you’re a leaf on the wind.
Which of these dearly departed movies and TV shows are you most upset about? Let us know in the comments.