We know, we know: there's too much choice these days. You can't just sit down and watch a movie because there are too many to choose from, so you just spend hours scrolling through potential films and then go to bed.
Not now, you don't - everything on this list is worth watching. And we know, because we've watched them all. The lengths we go to keep you guys happy, eh...
Of course to watch the films and TV shows here you'll need an Amazon Prime Instant Video subscription. Come on, you didn't think it was going to be free, did you?
You're also going to need a player that supports it. Take your pick from any of the following: Roku players, Google Chromecast, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox One and of course Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick. Or maybe you have an Amazon Video app built into your smart TV.
Some may argue that Moonlight received its Best Picture Oscar primarily due to its subject matter, but that does a disservice to the brilliant writing, editing, music and performances that all go together with, yes, the fact that it focusses on an identity – black, gay, poor – that’s seldom explored in cinema.
Telling the story of Chiron, a boy growing up in the Miami ghetto, in three distinct parts covering three different time periods (with Chiron played by three actors), it’s a film that questions the viewer repeatedly, and does so in such a way that it lingers in the mind long after the credits have rolled.
Manchester by the Sea
If you’re looking for a chucklesome barrel of laughs, we’d suggest you steer well clear of this brilliantly written, impeccably acted but unrelentingly heavy drama, in which sullen, reclusive handyman Lee (Casey Affleck in Oscar-winning form) is called back to his long-abandoned hometown by a death in the family.
Faced with new responsibilities and torn between duty and personal comfort, Lee is forced to confront a past tragedy and its effect on him. If Manchester by the Sea sounds serious and weighty, it is – but it’s also packed with affecting and amusing human moments that make it far more than your average Oscar-baiting gloom-fest.
It was always going to be a tough ask, adapting Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s iconic comic book series into a TV show, but the makers of Preacher have made an impressive job of it, at least as far as the first season goes. As we write this, the first episode of the second season has just landed, with another being added each Monday.
The show isn’t afraid to go its own way, building up the backgrounds of beloved characters like Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy and setting up themes and adversaries that will doubtless come to fruition in later seasons, rather than plunge straight into the books’ storyline. The jury may be still out on whether this approach will pay off, but the first season’s style, humour and (often incredibly violent) drama suggest it could go on to attain cult status of its own.
Mr. Robot (S1-2)
An office drone by day, Elliott Alderson (played brilliantly by Rami Malek) is also a morphine-dependent keyboard vigilante who hacks the lives of everyone he meets. That is until he’s lured in by Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) to join the hacktivist group ‘F Society’, whose grand plan is to cancel world debt by attacking ubiquitous conglomerate E Corp (or Evil Corp, as Elliott calls it).
Cue a trip down a rabbit hole that twists through Lynchian dream sequences, episode-long musings about the hackability of human minds, and a mounting sense of paranoia that leaves you suspicious of everything down to Elliott’s malfunctioning radiator.
That Mr. Robot resists Hollywood’s ‘Computers for dummies’ approach to the Internet is just one of the reasons why it’s great. The others are that it’s stylishly shot, unpredictable and offers a new take on cyberpunk, while wearing its influences (The Matrix, Fight Club and American Psycho) as proudly as the badge on its title character’s shirt.
Season 1 and 2 are both available for binge-watching right now.
Before director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu became a heavy hitter in Hollywood (he’s the man responsible for The Revenant and Birdman) he made his first feature film Amores Perros in his native Mexico – and it was very much a sign of things to come. Telling three separate stories that literally collide in bone-crunching fashion on the streets of Mexico City, it’s a debut that demonstrates skills far beyond a first-time director and plonked Gael Garcia Bernal well and truly on Hollywood’s radar. Just make sure you cover Fido’s eyes during the dog-fighting scenes – you don’t want him getting any ideas.
If you thought Asif Kapadia’s Senna was a biographical documentary that could bring on the tears, you ain’t seen nothing yet. His followup is a close-up look at the life and death of Amy Winehouse, the most gifted jazz singer of her generation, a tabloid target and a truly tragic figure.
As in Senna, Kapadia doesn’t insert much of an editorial voice into proceedings, leaving the story to be told by archive footage and interviews with friends and family. For those who remember Winehouse more for her off-stage activities, Amy is a reminder of her immense talent for songwriting and performance, her love of the craft and her infectious honesty and humour. Even if you weren’t a fan, you’ll find yourself swept up by this film’s devastating arc towards disaster.
The X-Files (S1-10)
The new series of The X-Files, which the producers sadly declined to call The Older Mulder Folders, has now arrived on Prime - so you can now watch every single episode of this beloved paranormal investigation drama.
This will take a while - over 150 hours, in fact - but you'll meet some old friends: the stretchy, yellow-eyed cannibal Eugene Tooms, the frighteningly intense Luther Lee Boggs (played by guest star Brad Dourif), That Guy Who Wouldn't Be Allowed to Smoke In All Those Public Places These Days, and - most memorable of all - Scully's wardrobe of enormous coats.
Red Oaks (S1-3)
A hidden gem in Amazon’s catalogue, Red Oaks’ unremarkable premise belies a nuanced show that blends humour and pathos with surprising aplomb.
Set in '80s New York suburbia, the show (now running to three full seasons) follows the bumbling but tumultuous life of David Myers. From the aloof love interest to parental turmoil at home, all the classic teen drama tropes are covered, with just enough of a twist to sustain your intrigue.
What really elevates this show above the many others that riff off a similar tune is its riotous roster of characters. Sleazy yet feckless tennis coach Nash alone is worth the price of admission.
No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men always felt like the most screen-adaptable of Cormac McCarthy’s novels, and with the Coen brothers at the helm it would have taken some kind of disaster to stop this movie from becoming an instant classic. And it is, thanks to not only the source material and its sympathetic treatment by two of America’s finest filmmakers, but due to strong performances from Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Tommy Lee Jones and, most memorably, Javier Bardem as a philosophising, seemingly unstoppable mass murderer. If you like your thrillers as contemplative and lyrical as they are nail-biting, look no further.
The Man in the High Castle (S1-2)
What if the Allies had lost the Second World War, and America was currently ruled by Germany in its eastern half and Japan in its western half? Well, you can find out in this big budget Amazon Prime original series, a thriller which zips around a 1960s North America that’s more “Ja wohl!” than “Aw shucks!”.
Dealing with underground resistance groups, various plots and an alternative Cold War (waged between Imperial Japan and the German Reich, now the world’s only superpowers), it’s the kind of series that’ll appeal to history buffs, sci-fi fans and anyone who’s into high concept, high budget television.