And with that, the 2023 year in film has come to a close, and Netflix is wasting no time getting into their January 2024 slate. Kevin Hart is set to headline Lift, a plane heist action film debuting on January 12. Due to Hart’s popularity, Lift will likely become one of the most popular movies on Netflix. Also, check out Good Grief, Dan Levy’s critically acclaimed directorial debut premiering on January 5.
Beyond the high-profile releases, many underrated films on Netflix deserve your time and attention. Here are five underrated movies on Netflix to watch this January. The list includes a heartwarming basketball tale, a culinary drama, and an underappreciated gem from a prominent filmmaker.
Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)
There was a time when Taylor Sheridan made movies. Before becoming Paramount’s golden goose with hit shows like Yellowstone and 1923, Sheridan was an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter for Hell or High Water and penned Sicario and Wind River. One of Sheridan’s directorial efforts – Those Who Wish Me Dead – is one of his more underrated selections from his catalog.
After failing to prevent a forest fire that resulted in four deaths, smokejumper Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) elects to work in a secluded watchtower in the Montana wilderness. While on patrol, Hannah runs into Connor, a young boy on the run from two assassins who killed his father. With her communications equipment down after a lightning strike, Hannah and Connor must navigate to safety while avoiding the assassins and a deadly forest fire on the horizon.
Stream Those Who Wish Me Dead on Netflix.
Adam Sandler has always been a quietly terrific actor when he’s not starring in junk like Jack & Jill. With a good script and a charming role, Sandler can give awards-worthy performances. Hustle is a case in point. Stanley Sugerman (Sandler) is a veteran scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. After years on the road, Stanley gets promoted to assistant coach. However, the 76ers’ owner dies that night, and the owner’s son demotes Stanley back to a scout.
While observing players in Spain, Stanley finds a diamond in the rough at a local pickup game in Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez), an amateur baller with tremendous potential. Stanley dives into training the Spanish prospect, believing Bo can be his ticket back to an NBA bench. Hustle is a basketball movie, but it’s more of a charming story about perseverance.
Stream Hustle on Netflix.
Jackie Brown (1997)
It’s hard to consider Quentin Tarantino movies underrated. However, most cinephiles will mention Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained before speaking about Jackie Brown, Tarantino’s homage to 1970s blaxploitation films. However, Jackie Brown was arguably Tarantino’s sweetest movie until Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Based on Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch, Jackie Brown stars Pam Grier as the titular character, a flight attendant caught smuggling gun money for her boss, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). Agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and Detective Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) threaten Jackie with prison time if she does not flip on Ordell. Knowing Ordell will kill her if she helps the cops, Jackie decides to play both parties in an attempt to score all of the money. However, she’ll need help from Max Cherry (Robert Forster), a bondsman in love with Jackie.
Stream Jackie Brown on Netflix.
The Bear has opened many eyes to the chaos of the restaurant business. It’s a terrific show, with a stellar lead performance from Jeremy Allen White. While waiting for season 3, fill the culinary void in your life with Burnt, John Wells’ 2015 drama about a chef attempting to earn a third Michelin star. Bradley Cooper stars as Adam Jones, a talented two-star Michelin chef in Paris whose career plummeted due to his erratic behavior and rampant drug use.
Now clean, Adam attempts a career comeback by heading to London to work for Tony Balerdi (Daniel Brühl), the former host at Adam’s previous restaurant who now manages The Langham Hotel. Adam recruits some former friends and a talented sous-chef named Helen (Sienna Miller) to join his kitchen and help resurrect his career. Can Adam handle the heat in the kitchen without resorting to his old habits?
Stream Burnt on Netflix.
Good Time (2017)
The Safdie Brothers achieved mainstream success with 2019’s Uncut Gems, which resulted in an Independent Spirit Award for the directing duo. However, their film two years prior, Good Time, put the Safdies on the map and introduced audiences to their signature visual style and anxiety-inducing thrills.
Connie Nikas (The Batman’s Robert Pattinson) and his developmentally disabled brother Nick rob a New York City bank for $65,000. Unfortunately, the brothers get separated while trying to flee, leading to Nick’s arrest and imprisonment at Rikers Island. Connie tries to secure a bail bond but needs $10,000 more to get Nick out. Fearing for his brother’s life, Connie goes on a wild all-night adventure, risking his own life to get the money.
Stream Good Time on Netflix.