Brow Beat

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix in January

The French Connection is one of many titles worth streaming on Netflix in January.

20th Century Fox

Every month, a number of movies and TV series leave Netflix streaming, sometimes only temporarily, usually because licensing deals have expired. Several new titles arrive in their place. So what’s coming next month, and which of these new arrivals should you watch? Below, we’ve chosen the best new movies and TV shows coming to Netflix instant streaming in January 2015. Plan your New Year’s Day marathons accordingly.

Jan. 1
This indelible comedy—one of the best movies of 1999, one of the best years ever for American film—sprung Reese Witherspoon upon the world, gave Matthew Broderick’s career a second sad-sack act, confirmed Alexander Payne’s sharp satirical eye. And it gave us one of the most archetypal characters in cinema: Tracy Flick, gunner, go-getter, the original disruptor, the personification of a new generation come to supplant the old. It’s even better than you remember. Watch it as soon as you can. —Dan Kois, culture editor

: Jan. 8
Michael Fassbender in a giant papier-mâché head—what more could you ask for? This odd, dark and sometimes touching comedy is inspired by the ’80s/’90s cult character Frank Sidebottom (created by musician and comedian Chris Sievey, who died in 2010), but it’s also a pretty spot-on spoof of indie rock culture and SXSW circa 2014. It’s not quite a perfect movie, but those interested in the sometimes blurry-seeming line between mental illness and musical genius will find this to be a wiser and less self-serious movie than Whiplash. —Forrest Wickman, staff writer

The French Connection
Jan. 1
You probably don’t need anyone else to tell you to watch this William Friedkin–directed movie, frequently hailed as one of the best of the 1970s. But here’s my pitch for watching it now: Popeye Doyle, the legendary based-on-a-real-guy character played by Gene Hackman, is a bigoted New York cop who frequently breaks the rules. What is it like, at the dawn of 2015, with everything that has happened in the year just past, to watch him do his thing? I don’t know, as it’s been a long time since I’ve seen this. But I feel like I should find out. —David Haglund, senior editor

Fort Bliss
Jan. 1
Claudia Myers’ Fort Bliss stars the long-underappreciated Michelle Monaghan (who played the Woody Harrelson character’s wife on the first season of True Detective) as a field medic just back from Afghanistan and struggling to reconnect with her 5-year-old son. It’s a rare film about parenting that doesn’t idealize the maternal bond, and Monaghan’s performance is raw, real, and unforgettable. —Dana Stevens, movie critic

Mean Girls
Jan. 1
Mean Girls, Tina Fey’s first produced screenplay, is the millennial generation’s Clueless. Like its ’90s big sister, Mean Girls was made (with the exception of its director Mark Waters) by and about women. Its all-star cast includes several SNL alums (Fey, Amy Poehler, Tim Meadows, and Ana Gasteyer) as well as breakout performances by Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Lizzy Caplan. And it is still one of the most quotable movies of the last decade (wear pink on a Wednesday, and you’ll find that out for yourself). —Dee Lockett, editorial assistant

White Collar: Season 5
Jan. 3
This tale of handsome and stylish forger-slash-art-thief, Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), who is forced to help the FBI solve white-collar crimes, had, truth be told, become a tad repetitive by the time it reached Season 5. Neal and his FBI handler and friend Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) had already confirmed their bond and lost faith in each other 10 times or so; Neal had fallen for the wrong woman on multiple occasions, uncovered several secrets from his past, and relied on the posterior-saving skills of his crook buddy Mozzie again and again and again. But if you like a show, such formulas become somehow reassuring. The shots of New York City are beautiful, the cases are pleasingly fanciful, and everyone is appropriately handsome or beautiful. It’s fun, lightweight television dressed in a dapper suit and superskinny tie. —June Thomas, Outward editor

Also arriving Jan. 1
101 Dalmatians (1996)
Bad Boys II 
Batman & Robin 
Bruce Almighty
Cast Away 
Get Low 
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
Shall We Dance? 
To Be Takei 
The Quiet Man 
The War of the Worlds 
Wayne’s World 2