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Netflix Party: The best shows and movies to stream with your friends

The vast majority of humanity is in isolation for the next few weeks or months, maybe longer. Which means people are desperate for ways to connect with their loved ones from afar. With so many households undoubtedly binging similar things (ahem, The Tiger King), some genius cooked up a browser plugin called Netflix Party. It lets users stream entertainment together and in-sync — without wasting all that time at the start of your virtual couch sesh trying to get everyone to hit play at the exact same time.

Not every movie or series will be a joy to watch on Netflix Party. Anything you have to watch lots of or follow extremely closely isn’t ideal to stream when you’re also trying to socialize. But there’s plenty of “background entertainment” out there and tons of content that’s frankly better when accompanied by commentary from your besties. With those parameters in mind, here’s a list of what’s worth your while to stream with friends on Netflix Party.

Tiger King (2020)

Assuming your entire social circle hasn’t already binged the Joe Exotic-Carole Baskin-Jeff Lowe saga, Tiger King is a show I distinctly wish I’d watched with other people. I kept trying to work through different theories with my dogs, but they’re not skilled conversationalists, unfortunately.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

When was the last time you watched this movie? It’s a true delight. The great thing about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is that it’s a movie pretty much everyone has seen at one point or another. So it’s something you can watch with your cousins or your grandparents or your besties, doesn’t matter. Everyone loves it. One-liners from the film still permeate our culture… Every math teacher and every dad on the planet has made a “Bueller? Bueller?” joke at one point, trust me. Plus, isn’t it delightful to watch a young Matthew Broderick romp around Chicago in the 1980s? Especially right now, when nobody can do much romping around at all?

The First Wives Club (1996)

This one should have an Rx label on it, because The First Wives Club is basically prescription medicine for whenever you’re feeling blue. Or at least, whenever I’m feeling blue. The last time I watched it, I think I was nursing sad feelings after a breakup. My good friend Jordan put it on, poured us some wine and fed me pasta. Reader, I felt like a new woman after.

For the uninitiated, The First Wives Club is a 1996 comedy film starring Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler as divorcées seeking revenge on their ex-husbands for leaving them for younger women. Sarah Jessica Parker plays one of the aforementioned youthful lovers. Gloria Steinem, Kathie Lee Gifford and Ivana Trump all make cameos, too. It’s a joy, trust me!

Alternate choice: As Good As It Gets (1997)

The Lobster (2016)

People heckin’ love this movie. Do they love it in an ironic way? I don’t know. I didn’t enjoy The Lobster the first time around, when I watched it by myself. Maybe I’d enjoy it more with friends? It’s bound to be a long quarantine. Let’s find out.

Anna Karenina (2012)

It’s been a minute since I saw the Kiera Knightly remake of Anna Karenina, and I feel due for a rewatch. Joe Wright and Tom Stoppard’s 2012 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel may not be perfect, but if nothing else, the costumes are pretty freaking gorgeous. Jude Law plays her hapless husband and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is her lover; Alicia Vikander also has a supporting role. Round up your best girlfriends and dissect this classic love-triangle tragedy! Or just fall asleep on your respective couches together drunk on wine and dreaming of gowns and pearls. Dealer’s choice!

Alternate title: Mansfield Park (1999)

Paris Is Burning (1990)

If your gang is the documentary type, go for this classic, classic film about New York City’s ballroom pioneers, many of whom are no longer around. In my humble opinion, you can never see it too many times. There’s always some new detail that imprints itself. Watch it and dream about the euphoria of attending a ball yourself, around all those other humans! It’s too much. I need a moment.

Alternate title: 20 Feet From Stardom (2013)

20th Century Women (2017)

This Mike Mills flick from 2016 is a rewatchable gem that, like Paris Is Burning, keeps giving and giving every time I press play. 20th Century Women stars Annette Bening as the matriarch of a ragtag house of lovable characters, played by Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup. It’s partly based on Mills’ childhood, set in sunny Southern California in the 1970s, and the soundtrack is bomb.

Alternate title: American Honey (2016)

The Goop Lab (2020)

Maybe just while completely sloshed on your indulgent substance of choice — wine, weed, chocolate, whatever makes you giggly. Just please, for everyone’s sake during this health crisis, don’t take anything Gwyneth Paltrow says or does on this show seriously. It is the fakest of news. That said, enjoy!

Runners Up:

  • Purple Rain (1984)
  • Burlesque (2010)
  • Pose (2018)
  • Obvious Child (2014)
  • Hitch (2005)
  • Like Water For Chocolate (1992)
  • Crashing (the short-lived Phoebe Waller-Bridge series, 2016)
  • The Hangover (2009)
  • Love Is Blind (2020)
  • Queer Eye (2018)
  • Amy (2015)
  • Gilmore Girls (2000)
  • Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
  • All The Bright Places (2020)
  • The Spectacular Now (2013)
  • Schitt’s Creek (2015)
  • Kicking and Screaming (1995)