5 underrated movies on Netflix you need to watch in May 2024

Two men in suits sit in a theater.

May is the start of the summer blockbuster season. Thanks to the rise of streaming services, blockbusters are not only reserved for theatrical releases anymore. Netflix is one streamer with the money and power to release giant tentpole movies. For example, one of the new movies arriving in late May is Atlas, a sci-fi action thriller starring Jennifer Lopez about the battle against AI.

Because of Lopez’s star power, Atlas should become one of the most popular movies on Netflix upon its release. Beyond the marquee titles, plenty of underrated movies are available to stream right now. Below, you’ll find movies to watch in May, including a heist thriller from an Oscar-winning auteur, an eye-opening sports documentary about a polarizing team, and a romantic neo-noir from the 1980s.

Inside Man (2006)

Willem Dafoe and Denzel Washington in Inside Man.
Universal Pictures

Spike Lee is a writer-director at heart. Of his two dozen directed films, Lee has not written or co-written only six of the scripts. One of the six is Inside Man, arguably the best of the group. The crime thriller opens with Dalton Russell (Clive Owen) sitting in a small cell, revealing how he executed the perfect heist. Inside Man then jumps back in time to witness the heist at a Manhattan bank. After gaining control of the bank, Dalton and his gang hold the employees and customers hostage.

The authorities tap Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) to speak on behalf of the police. While Frazier works to meet Dalton’s demands, the bank’s chairman, Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer), hires power broker Madeleine White (Jodie Foster) to negotiate and retrieve a valuable item in his safety deposit box. What’s in the box? Inside Man is not a typical bank heist movie with shootouts and violence. It’s intelligent and clever, just like Dalton, who is an enigma until the bitter end.

Stream Inside Man on Netflix.

The Fab Five (2011)

"The Fab Five" ESPN Films Trailer - Airs March 13th, 2011 at 9PM ET

Basketball fans will automatically recognize the phrase “The Fab Five.” In 1991, the Michigan Wolverines basketball team recruited five freshmen — Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson — who would change the entire landscape of the sport. The Fab Five, an ESPN Films documentary in the 30 for 30 series, chronicles the rise of Michigan basketball and how five young men became cultural icons. From black sneakers and baggy shorts to trash talk and hip-hop, the Fab Five injected personality into the sport.

The documentary follows the two seasons when the Fab Five reached two straight title games, becoming the first team to start five freshmen in a national championship. Although the Fab Five reached the pinnacle of college basketball, the ensuing scandal complicated their legacy and led to massive ramifications for each player.

Stream The Fab Five on Netflix.

Against All Odds (1984)

A man lies down as a woman rests her head on his chest.
Columbia Pictures

Terry Brogan (Jeff Bridges) is in the back half of his career as a football player for the Los Angeles Outlaws. Because of a shoulder injury, the Outlaws cut Brogan, forcing him to find another means of income. Unfortunately for Terry, his only opportunity to make some quick cash is to take on a job for Jake Wise (James Woods), a local bookie and corrupt nightclub owner. Jake offers Terry $30,000 to find his girlfriend, Jessie Wyler (Rachel Ward), the daughter of the Outlaws’ owner.

Backed into a corner, Terry reluctantly accepts and heads to Mexico, where he finds Jessie living in Cozumel. Terry and Jessie begin a passionate love affair over the next few weeks. This dangerous relationship brings murder, deception, and betrayal to the forefront as Terry becomes entangled in a complex situation. Against All Odds’ downfall is its erratic plot, leading to numerous confusing storylines. However, good luck taking your eyes off Bridges and Ward, especially the latter, who finds herself in the hall of fame for short haircuts. Also, you can’t go wrong with Phil Collins during the end credits.

Stream Against All Odds on Netflix.

The Disaster Artist (2017)

A man holds a water bottle and stands in front of a green screen.

Search for a list of the worst movies of all time. Chances are that The Room will be there. The 2003 romantic drama attempts to be a serious movie. It’s a complete failure, so much so that theaters still play the movie to attract filmgoers who need a good laugh. At the center of The Room is the indescribable writer, director, and star, Tommy Wiseau. Tommy’s journey to making The Room with his best friend, Greg Sestero, is dramatized in The Disaster Artist. Set in late 1990s California, Greg (Dave Franco), an aspiring entertainer, meets Tommy (James Franco) at an acting class.

The two quickly form a friendship and move to Los Angeles to pursue acting careers. When they struggle to gain employment, Tommy and Greg decide to make their own film, The Room. Because of their inexperience and Tommy’s controlling demeanor, the production suffers numerous setbacks. Yet, The Disaster Artist is far from a catastrophe. It’s a charming depiction of friendship, passion, and moviemaking. It’s also hilarious, with an all-time great performance from Franco as Wiseau.

Stream The Disaster Artist on Netflix.

The Dirt (2019)

Four rock stars walk together toward the camera.

The wild and chaotic journey of Mötley Crüe is depicted in Netflix’s The Dirt. Directed by Jackass’ Jeff Tremaine, The Dirt begins with the formation of the band in the early 1980s, which includes bassist Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth), drummer Tommy Lee (Machine Gun Kelly), singer Vince Neil (Daniel Webber), and guitarist Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon). Thanks to their heavy metal music and eccentric personalities, Mötley Crüe quickly became international rock stars.

When they’re not on stage, the band indulges in sex, drugs, and a lot of partying. These vices lead to crippling addictions, which threaten the future of the band. Debauchery is at an all-time high in The Dirt. Spoiler alert: There’s a scene where Ozzy Osbourne (Tony Cavalero) snorts ants with a straw. The Dirt is not the best music biopic by any means. However, it’s a wild, sleazy ride, and not a bad way to spend 108 minutes.

Stream The Dirt on Netflix.