3 underrated Netflix movies you should watch this weekend (May 17-19)

A man fights another man in Upgrade.
Blumhouse Productions

Have you ventured out to see the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes yet? There’s a chance you have, as the movie grossed a better-than-expected $58 million last weekend. And it’s certainly understandable why that sci-fi movie is so popular as it received generally favorable critical reviews and is the perfect movie to watch as school winds down.

But those who don’t like talking apes or just want to watch a movie at home are in luck as Netflix has a vast library of TV shows like Baby Reindeer and movies like Scoop to watch. The three films below cover a wide variety of genres (sci-fi, rom-com) to please the most discerning viewer this or any weekend. So sit back, open up the Netflix queue, and prepare to be entertained.

Need more recommendations? Read our guides to the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, and the best movies on HBO

Upgrade (2018)

Upgrade (2018) - The Kitchen Fight Scene (2/10) | Movieclips

When Upgrade was first released in 2018, it received some positive notices from critics and made a decent amount of money ($17 million) against its miniscule budget ($3 million!). It’s also loved by a small circle of sci-fi nerds like me. It’s still underrated, though, and its high concept and dynamic action set pieces deserve a wider, equally appreciative audience.

Set in the near future, Upgrade is essentially a film noir with a cyberpunk finish. After witnessing the death of his wife in a brutal assault that leaves him paralyzed from the neck down, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) accepts an offer to get a STEM implant that will restore his mobility. The implant works, but there’s a side effect: the implant talks to him and offers to exact revenge on his wife’s killers. How? By essentially controlling Grey’s body and making him do almost impossible things, like effortlessly take down a group of thugs in a neon-lit bathroom. Upgrade is a lot of fun, and it has a sly sense of humor about its out-there concept that makes it addictive to watch.

Upgrade is streaming on Netflix.

The Young Victoria (2009)

A woman lays on top of a man in The Young Victoria.
Momentum Pictures

Costume dramas have a bad reputation nowadays. Too often, they are cast off by many as too stodgy, too remote, or too British to be anything more than a glorified history lesson. And certainly, some costume dramas are like that; just take a look at The Affair of the Necklace or Elizabeth: The Golden Age. (Better yet, don’t.) But Jean-Marc Vallee’s The Young Victoria is different and better than those films because it humanizes its royal subjects and allows its two leads to showcase their innate charm, sense of humor, and, yes, sex appeal. Who knew those future Victorians could be so horny?

The Young Victoria chronicles the early days of Princess Victoria, the presumptive heir to the British throne, who must navigate selecting the right partner to marry to cement her status in the eyes of the British public, as well as her own personal feelings toward Prince Albert, who is one of her suitors. As Victoria and Albert, Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer) and Rupert Friend (Asteroid City) display a rare warmth and chemistry with one another that is typically lacking in movies about British kings and queens. Blunt and Friend make a believable couple, and if you know your history, you can understand why Victoria never got over Albert’s death.

The Young Victoria is streaming on Netflix.

Micki & Maude (1984)

A couple meet two wrestlers in Micki & Maude.
Columbia Pictures

How can you pass up a movie that features one of the great British comedians of the last 75 years, Steven Spielberg’s ex-wife, one of Broadway’s greatest dancers, and Andre the Giant? Micki & Maude, the now-forgotten 1984 comedy by Blake Edwards, has an eclectic cast, to say the least, but it has an even crazier plot and vibe. It’s the kind of picture that’s so ludicrous that it can’t help but be charming, even if it’s a bit outdated.

Dudley Moore stars as Rob Salinger, a put-upon television reporter married to Micki (Bob Fosse dancer Ann Reinking), a career woman who doesn’t want children. Rob soon begins an affair with Maude (Amy Irving), a young cellist, who becomes pregnant with his child. Rob intends to divorce Micki and marry Maude until the latter drops a bombshell: she’s pregnant and wants to keep it. What’s Rob to do? Why, become a bigamist, of course, and see Micki during the day and Maude at night. Micki & Maude leans into its screwball antics aggressively, sometimes too much so, but it’s also madcap fun, with Moore giving his best performance in his post-Arthur years.

Micki & Maude is streaming on Netflix.