When Palm Springs opens we see Nyles (Andy Samberg) moving around a party acting like a Grade-A idiot. He seems unlikable and not in a good way. Then, as Palm Springs progresses we discover that Nyles is actually stuck in a time loop. He's literally reliving the same wedding day (not his) again and again. He meets Sarah (Cristin Milioti) and things seem to be moving in a totally different direction. Until we realize that Nyles is being hunted by Roy (J.K. Simmons) and then ends up, inadvertently, pulling Sarah into the time loop. They both can remember every day that they've relived while nobody in the wedding party has a clue. Nyles and Sarah's relationship deepens and then, if it's possible, Palm Springs becomes even more interesting.
Clearly one of the most original, time traveling/time loop, romantic comedies in recent memory (the only one that seems to come close is Brad Andersen's 2009 offering, Happy Accidents), Palm Springs is truly the sleeper hit of the summer. It is imminently watchable and re-watchable. In many ways this movie isn't long enough and could actually make for a really nice series. That would take a long time and, given the current global pandemic we are all dealing with, probably not on anyone's priority list. So if you liked Palm Springs, we've got all the time loop movies on Netflix to bring you back to that loopy state of mind.
If we're being specific about time loop movies, Groundhog Day just might be the gold standard. (It also seems like the movie that Palm Springs was channeling in its style and tone). This Netflix offering sees Bill Murray as a TV weatherman who cares only about himself. He gets a caught in a time loop and is forced to take a close look at himself when he keeps living the same day over and over. What starts off as a comedy soon becomes a film with extraordinary heart. Murray gets the thing we all wish we had: the ability to right the wrongs of yesterday. Groundhog Day is an excellent film for this loopy time.
See You Yesterday
This excellent Netflix original is both timely, well done, and incredibly acted. C.J. (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Crichlow) are science nerds of the highest order. Suddenly, they use their passion for justice when Calvin (Astro), C.J.'s brother, is unfortunately killed by police officers. Suddenly, C.J. And Sebastian kick into high gear. They create a make-shift time machine and use it to go back in time to stop Calvin's senseless murder. Well, messing with the space-time continuum is never as simple as that. Our main characters find themselves continually shifting events and time as they selflessly try pull back the hands of fate. In some ways this movie has the whimsical nature of Palm Springs, but ultimately it has a style all it's own.
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead star in this celebrated time loop extravaganza. They play brothers that return to a UFO cult that they used to belong to. Inspired by a message they receive via VHS tape, the brothers have to confront impending doom while also dealing with demons from their past. The Endless is one of those unique films that isn't afraid to push the boundaries of space, time, and story structure. It's plot is rich with new ideas and the film is, at times, visually arresting. Shot by Moorhead (he and Benson edited this film with an assist from Michael Felker), The Endless is the kind of time loop film that does the genre proud. Different stylistically than Palm Springs, it follows a similar trail with its inherent ability to keep you guessing.
This offering is one of the more straight forward time loop movies on this list. Palm Springs essentially drops you into a time loop movie and the viewers have to parse through information to figure it out. Time Trap has our characters on the trail of an archeology professor who has disappeared. As they move through a mysterious cave, they discover that time has changed from when they originally started their search. This Netflix offering is a time loop, action, adventure, sci-fi tale all thrown into a 90 minute film. With a solid cast that's not famous enough to mess with our expectations of its characters, Time Trap is a strong entry into a gene with a very high bar.
Marlon Wayans, Regina Hall, and Dennis Haysbert star in this comedy about cold feet before a wedding. This fear eventually gives way to something else as Rob (Wayans) finds himself unclothed and reliving the same period of time again and again. Obviously, the ultimate goal of this romantic comedy, fantasy film is for Rob to get this whole wedding thing figured out. Is he going to go through with it? Will he walk away? Can he walk away? Is there a way for him to break free of what seems like a never-ending time loop? That's where the true comedy of this movie lies... seeing Rob trying to figure this all out!
Before I Fall
Ry Russo-Young's Before I Fall is that rare teen, time loop story that continually leaves us guessing. With its crisscrossing time lines, swift camera movements, and its ability to engulf the audience, this unique drama, mystery is quite well done. Sam (Zoey Deutch) dies on February 12 and then keeps reliving her final day. As this unfold she starts to be touched by some universal truths and slowly realizes why everything is happening the way that it is for her. Mixing mystery, fantasy, and drama, Before I Fall is more serious than Palm Springs but that doesn't make it any less satisfying.
Tapping into the quarantine feeling we're all experiencing in some way, ARQ manages to be ahead of its time. This Netflix original from 2016 sees Renton and Hannah (Robbie Amell and Rachael Taylor) as a couple that can't escape their lab, they're stuck in their home, and to make matters worse a creation known as ARQ just might be controlling EVERYTHING. This time bender really taps into the couple aspect of Palm Springs. While Renton and Hannah are clearly not enjoying their situation, the same can't be said of the roles Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti inhabit. ARQ might be more serious in tone but Netflix does its best to try and explain everything with some semblance of levity.
When We First Met
This film sees Andy Devine as the character of Noah in a somewhat Palm Springs-like situation. He meets a girl named Avery and after hanging out with her one time she puts him in the "friend zone". Well, Noah figures out how, through the use of a photo-booth, to go back in time and try and get the girl he thinks he's meant to be with. Of course he keeps blowing it BUT because he's in a time loop he gets an infinite amount of chances. This film is enjoyable, fun, and if you want more of that Palm Springs flair you need look no further than this Netflix original.
This film takes a different approach to the whole time loop/time bending story. In The Incident we follow two different storylines. One is more of the time loop variety in which two robbers run from a police officer that they literally can't get away from. The other story looks at a family on a trip as they move down an endless road. These stories don't seem related but like the subject matter at hand, not everything is as it seems at the first glance. The Incident is a well told story from director Isaac Ezban. It has all the earmarks of the classic time loop stories but does everything it can to subvert that and tell a time loop tale all its own.
Back to the Future
Okay, I know this may not be a time loop movie per se. Also, this tale of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally traveling back in time in Doc Brown's (Christopher Lloyd) time machine is the stuff of legend. Marty inadvertently messes up his parents meeting and thus stops himself from ever being born. Back to the Future is an absolute time travel classic and is worthy of any list on the subject. That Netflix makes all three films in this beloved trilogy available is really awesome. Now, while Back to the Future might not be in the time loop genre, per se, it does feature moments of our characters reliving the same moments. Also, this film has been viewed so many times by so many people, it's like it's been on a constant loop since the moment it was released back in 1985.