The 25 best movies on Netflix you can stream right now

Finding the *perfect* movie to watch for your evening's entertainment used to be an entirely different proposition. It mostly involved getting your parents to drive you to Blockbuster to peruse the new releases, and after 45 minutes of indecision you'd leave with a film that sounds epic - Eight Legged Freaks! - but turns out to not be quite the experience you were hoping for. 

Times have changed. Now thanks to Netflix there's thousands of movies at our fingertips, changing every month, just waiting to be watched. With so much available, it's like staring at the video store shelves all over again! Just what should we be hitting play on? Lucky for you, some very kind person (me) has trawled through the Netflix catalogue, unearthing the must-see movies that should be on your watch list. There's a cracking selection of all genres. And if you'd rather catch up on some of the best TV around, here's the 25 best TV shows on Netflix right now. 

25. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Region: UK 

The movie: Imagine living in a world where your existence is the result of someone else's creative whimsy. Yes, I said whimsy. Stranger Than Fiction is that very world, where Will Ferrell's nice guy Harold Crick one day hears Emma Thompson's voice narrating his every move. That's when he discovers that he's actually a character in a novel. 

Why it's worth watching: One of a handful of movies where Ferrell plays a genuinely pleasant character and not an OTT comedy caricature. It's his performance that makes this such a sweet, funny dramedy. Oh, and the flours line. What a charmer.

24. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Region: UK, US  

The film: The juicy filling in the middle of Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy brings back his trusted comrades Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two cops in a quiet English 'burg. One is straight-laced, the other, more of a free spirit. Things inevitably go awry as they often do in quiet, idyllic movie villages. 

Why it's worth watching: Imagine your favourite buddy cop movie. And now imagine it retold through the cheeky, meta-tinted eyes of Pegg, Wright and Frost. This is how you homage.  

23. Looper (2012)

Region: UK

The film: Ponder, if you will, what life might be like if you found out that in thirty years' time you become Bruce Willis. That is but one of the intriguing questions plaguing Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character Joe. He's a "looper", a hitman working for the mob who utilize a fancy way of ensuring bodies don't pop up - time travel. They send people back, Joe takes 'em out. Well, until his future self appears before him.  

Why it's worth watching: First off, you need to see this as part of your Star Wars: The Last Jedi homework. This superb time travel thriller is directed by Rian Johnson, who takes a great concept ("looping") then weaves in a vengeance plot AND a killer twist. Added bonus: you get to see JGL in prosthetics. 

22. Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Region: UK

The film: You thought Scream was a fun spin on scary movie tropes? As this film's tagline says "You think you know the story." Things appear to be like your typical slasher at first. Five college kids head out to a remote cabin in the woods, and begin to behave as you'd expect, until they head into the basement and start meddling with the dusty trinkets down there...

Why it's worth watching: Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon hashed out the script for this twisty, turny, WTF? gem in just THREE days. Sure, that's impressive, but what's most jaw-dropping is *that moment* when the horror community gets rewarded with an onslaught of absolute chaos. One of the best horrors of the last decade. 

21. The Big Short (2015)  

Region: UK, US  

The film: A star-studded cast tells this behind-the-scenes story of the financial meltdown. It's both funny and heartbreakingly sad at times, as the likes of Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and (albeit in a large cameo) Brad Pitt reveal the truth about the people involved in the 2007-2008 crisis.  

Why it's worth watching: The guy who directed Anchorman directed this. Yep, this is Adam McKay's work; an assured drama with flashes of wry humor you might not expect from the man who gave us Ron Burgundy.  

20. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Region: UK  

The movie: Tony Stark's third solo outing ramps things up from the middling Iron Man 2. Director Shane Black pushes the boat with a double whammy of villains, the destruction of Stark's Malibu pad and Guy Pearce as uber-baddie Aldrich Killian. dropping the billionaire Avenger into small-town America where he has to wangle his way out of a scenario without the help of his high-tech gadgetry is a genius move. 

Why it's worth watching: Besting its predecessor in every way, Stark becomes somewhat human again. He's brought down to Earth emotionally by the weight of what happened during the Battle of New York, and literally by a damaged suit.

19. Beasts of No Nation (2015) 

Region: Worldwide 

The film: One of Netflix's first steps into simultaneous streaming and theatrical releases, hails from True Detective creator Cary Fukunaga. Time is not a flat circle here, however. This is a harrowing tale of a young African boy enlisted into the dangerous ranks of a fearful militia crime lord played by Idris Elba.  

Why it's worth watching: At times a brutal watch, it's nevertheless a solid piece of gritty filmmaking from a director with masses of empathy for the tragedy depicted onscreen.  

18. Clueless (1995) 

Region: UK

The film: The teen flick against which every new teen flick will forever be measured. Alicia Silverstone stars as Beverly Hills brat Cher, who discovers she's clueless in matters of the heart despite her like, totally awesome fashion sense. Director Amy Heckerling's film is still stupidly witty and hasn't aged a day, even though its over twenty years old.  

Why it's worth watching: What's brilliant still about this amusing Jane Austen update is how its teenagers are both remarkably foolish and smart at the same time: the whole point of the movie, yes. The scene on the freeway in particular is evidence of Dionne's utter cluelessness.  

17.  Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Region: UK 

The film: If you, like us, are excited for Thor: Ragnarok then you might want to scope out director Taika Waititi's comedy from last year. Shot on location in New Zealand, the film tells of a young boy (Julian Dennison) adopted by a couple out in the valley who befriends his foster dad (Sam Neill) when the pair end up on an adventure in the wilderness.  

Why it's worth watching: Part-comedy, part-drama, Wilderpeople's got that unmistakable NZ humour throughout that prevents the flick from growing stale. Twin that with the gorgeous cinematography of the sweeping island valleys and forests, and you're in for a treat.  

16. Zootopia (2016)

Region: US 

The film: This is an absolute delight. I mean, who's not going to get drawn in by a movie about anthropomorphic animals that live in a bustling metropolis? Now that's got your attention, the main plot tells of a young bunny from the sticks who relocates the big bad city to live the life of her dreams: that of a cop. 

Why it's worth watching: Disney's fun, colorful tale appeals to both youngsters and parents alike with a very funny, rather unusual plot that doesn't try too hard to mask its true message.