When Amazon Prime launched in 2005, it billed itself a simple way frequent Amazon shoppers could save themselves a few bucks on shipping by paying a single annual membership fee. The service drew a massive and devoted following, and over the years Amazon has only kept adding perk after perk, such as unlimited ad-free streaming of over a million songs on Prime Music, unlimited photo storage on Amazon Drive, and free same day delivery to members in 14 metropolitan United States areas.
One of the biggest perks is Amazon Video, which offers instant streaming of a surprisingly awesome selection of movies and TV shows at no additional cost to existing Prime members.
Just how awesome is this selection? Read on to find out some of our favorite movies you could be streaming now with just a click of a button.
With roots in Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name, No Country for Old Men embodies nearly everything quintessential about the Coen Brothers. Stark, relentless, bleak, and engrossingly thoughtful, this movie is a harrowing exploration of violence, greed, the depths of human depravity, and the extent men would go to to escape fate and the consequences of their own misdeeds.
The action begins with Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a down on his luck Vietnam veteran who stumbles upon the grisly aftermath of a drug deal gone horribly wrong: several dead men and dogs, a wounded Mexican begging for water, and two million dollars stuffed into a briefcase.
Instead of doing the right, or even the smart thing, Llewelyn grabs the money and runs. Unbeknownst to him, the briefcase is embedded with a tracking beacon which allows cartel members to track his location. Sure enough, the mobsters send out Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), an assassin who might as well be the personification of unrelenting, bloody comeuppance.
Hailed as one of the great modern Westerns of the 2000s, the film is rife with dry wit, pithy and acerbic dialog, nail-biting suspense, and the Coen Brother's hallmark black humor and cinematic artistry.
2. Pulp Fiction
A must-see in any movie lover's library, Pulp Fiction gained widespread critical acclaim when it released in 1994, most notably bringing home the coveted Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or for best picture. In that same year's Academy Awards, the film might have narrowly lost out on Best Picture, but it did garner an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and forever ensured director Quentin Tarantino's position as one of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers.
All professional praise aside, Pulp Fiction is one wild, weird ride. Told with a crazy, deliberately mixed up chronology, Pulp Fiction interweaves the stories of several disparate characters: professional hitmen Jules and Vincent (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, respectively); Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman), wife of crime boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames); boxing champion Butch (Bruce Willis); and a host of others.
While the bizarre, mad spiral of events is not terribly complicated to piece together, it is a story that's masterfully told, revealed through brilliant characterizations and infinitely quotable dialog. Pulp Fiction is one of those productions that demand several viewings to fully appreciate.
And there's lots to appreciate, from Tarantino's remarkable cinematography, outrageous violence, larger than life characters, and uncanny knack for writing some of the most unforgettable lines of grotesque humor ever spoken in any movie.
Blurring the line between good ol' fashioned Western and horror, Bone Tomahawk is as surprisingly scary as it is remarkably engrossing. Kurt Russell stars as Franklin Hunt, the sheriff of the small, remote town of Bright Hope, who takes it upon himself to investigate a series of strange and gruesome murders happening along the bleak, unforgiving frontier of the old American West.
A fateful discovery of a strange arrow at one of the crime scenes leads Hunt to identifying the killers as a tribe of deranged cave-dwelling cannibals infesting the mountains. When a group of townspeople vanish from their homes, it's up to the Sheriff and his posse to mount a desperate expedition into the wilderness to come to their rescue, or discover their fates in the “Valley of the Starving Men.”
But the men soon find that the dark places of the lawless frontier hides more threats than man-eaters...
In the before times, when the world was young and knew nothing of Jay, nor Silent Bob, nor a young independent filmmaker named Kevin Smith, there came a quirky black and white buddy comedy about Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). Dante and Randal are two high school drop-outs, now in their twenties, who work dead end jobs at their local Quick Stop.
When Dante is unexpectedly called in to work on his day off to cover a sick employee, his experiences quickly turn to agonizing tedium. To stay sane, he passes the time in rambling conversations with his best friend Randal, conversations about life, the universe, and whether or not the contractors working on the second Death Star were innocent victims or willing subjects of a despotic galactic government.
As the day wears on, Dante and Randal's boredom turn to misadventures involving the two most memorable shoplifters in the View Askewniverse, an overturned coffin, and the significance of someone who brings you lasagna at work.
Silly, surprisingly thoughtful and entirely memorable, it's easy to see how Clerks was the movie that spring boarded Kevin Smith's career in Hollywood: after all, the film was produced for under $30,000, and wound up grossing $3 million worldwide in theaters.
A riveting tale of violence and revenge, with the DNA of a neo-Western, martial arts / samurai slash 'em up, the premise of Kill Bill is quintessential Tarantino.
Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman), a.k.a. Black Mamba, lies badly beaten and bleeding to death in her wedding dress, on the floor of a chapel in El Paso. She had intended to leave the life of crime behind her and marry into a normal life, but Bill (David Carradine), the leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and with whom Beatrix shares a complicated relationship, hunted her down and expressed his violent objection.
Beatrix tells Bill she is pregnant with his baby. He shoots her in the head. Cut to four and a half years later: the Bride has miraculously recovered from her coma, but is told she'd lost her unborn daughter. Resolving to kill Bill, and each one of her former assassin co-workers, she embarks on a globetrotting murder spree.
From start to finish, Kill Bill (Volumes 1 and 2) is a tour de force of action, swordplay, and dry, darkly humorous dialog that only Tarantino could pull off.
Everyone who's ever visited Jiro Ono's sushi shop might not think it looks like much. Hidden hidden behind a subway turnstile, with just ten seats crammed into a tiny space, the restaurant sees more staff than customers for most of the year. And yet, to even get a seat, you'd need a reservation at least 30 days in advance, and expect the price tag to ring up at around $375 in US dollars... per person.
Hey, they don't just give Michelin three stars to anyone. (Reportedly, the third star, by Michelin standards, is meant to signify that it's worth visiting the country just to experience that one restaurant.)
A legend among lovers of food and true connoisseurs of sushi, Jiro Ono has devoted more than fifty years of his life to the single-minded pursuit of perfecting his craft: making the best sushi the world has ever tasted. He expects nothing short of a ten-year apprenticeship from his students, and if they don't measure up to his exacting standards, has no qualms about cutting them from the team after only a single day.
His rice dealers sell their finest grade of produce to him and him only, because no one else will prepare it correctly. His fish suppliers, when they bring in their catches for the day, question if each fish is worthy of Jiro-san.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a quiet, but delightful and deeply inspiring documentary about the greatest sushi chef in existence, and what it means to be a father to children raised with the burden of choosing between making their own way in the world, or to inherit such a rich and complicated legacy.
Everything is awesome! A Lego Brickumentary illustrates the history and global obsession with the most popular toy product of the 20th century, which also happens to be Denmark's most globally important export.
Take a trip down memory lane and learn about Lego's humble origins to its enduring dominance over the toy industry of today, where entire conventions, museum exhibits, and even art galleries are dedicated to showcasing awe-inspiring Lego creations from around the world.
And for the real science nerds among us, the documentary also showcases how Lego's not just appealing to artists and creators, but also scientists and engineers as well, all of whom found inspiration to build and create at an early age because of their play time with those iconic snap together bricks.
Today, sriracha is the eminent condiment in many Asian countries including Thailand and Vietnam. It's great as a dipping sauce, and to add one unforgettable kick to soups, broths and stews.
If you're any kind of fan of spicy food but have never tried sriracha, you owe it to your taste buds to sample this delicious hot sauce from Asia. And if you're one of the many Americans already addicted to the mouth-watering, tangy, garlicky goodness that is the original “rooster sauce,” you owe it to yourself to catch this witty, face-paced and engaging documentary about the man who started it all.
Sriracha tells the real, remarkable rags to riches story of David Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant who fled to America in 1980 with little more than the clothes on his back. Starting out by selling his chilli sauce to neighbors and close friends, Tran would refine his craft and grow his company into an internationally recognized brand name.
For fans of fine dining and food fans who enjoy talking about food, Sriracha is one documentary that'll keep your mouth watering for seconds.
Arguably its most awesome perk in recent years, Amazon Prime Instant Video gives you access to thousands of hit movies and documentaries. It's a treasure trove of titles you've always thought about seeing but never managed to catch in theaters – now it's yours to stream at your leisure, whenever and wherever you want, at no extra cost.
If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, there's no reason why you shouldn't be taking advantage of this oft-overlooked feature. You can even get Prime Video as a separate service that you pay for monthly!
So grab some popcorn, sit back, and start streaming right now.