Ranking All the Netflix Original Movies (101-150)
The governing principle behind this website has always been, “Well, I did this, so I might as well document it.”
I think we’ve established by now that I watch ostensibly everything that matters each year (in terms of American feature releases), and a lot that doesn’t. And that now includes an ever-increasing number of Netflix movies. I think they put out something like 60 movies last year. And, as is my credo, if I’m watching them all, why not document it?
This isn’t a definitive ranking by any stretch. It’s a combination of how much I liked the movies mixed with how well I think they personify the “brand” of the Netflix Original, whatever that is. Mostly I just wanna recommend some cool stuff to you that you may be overlooking. Because the way the Netflix model works is, unless it hits the zeitgeist like Bird Box or The Kissing Booth, it just gets absorbed into the ether and after two weeks (if not immediately), people forget about them and never get around to watching them even if they thought they looked interesting. They just fall away under the pile of newer, shinier toys. So hopefully, with my doing this, maybe it’ll get some eyeballs on some of the really cool stuff that’s there.
I will also say (because it has to be said) — it’s vague as to what constitutes a Netflix Original film. I generally use Wikipedia as a guide, because Netflix has never put out an official list, and it’s impossible to use their site to figure it out. But also, some of the stuff on Wikipedia’s list are foreign films no one in America has heard of, and some other stuff that we all clearly think of as a Netflix movie isn’t. Here’s one: Annihilation. Netflix movie or not? It was released day-and-date everywhere in the world except the U.S., where it played in theaters for over a month before going on Netflix. Hard to see that as a proper Netflix Original. Though by that rationale, Roma wouldn’t count, because they released it into theaters first. But that was clearly for Oscar purposes. It was always meant to be on the platform. It’s all up for debate, so I just kinda went with what made sense. So the rules are my own and I’ve decided what I think counts. The point is: shut up and let’s just celebrate the cool movies that are here. Cool? Cool.
(Note: I try to update these articles every few months as we get close to another round number of films. I’m thinking the next update will be sometime in spring.)
So this movie is if The Game were about Scientology.
But it’s also literally The Game. Adam Goldberg is the Sean Penn character, and as you watch the beginning of this movie, you can’t help but think, “This is The Game.” Only yeah, with a crazy religion at its center. So he goes on this retreat thing, which turns into this fucked up experience that feels like a weird trap, but since we’ve all seen The Game, we know where it’s going, especially since there are religious overtones, so you can literally pinpoint the ending as early as you care to spend time thinking about it. Which, in a movie like this, is for most of it, since there isn’t a terrible amount of stuff that holds your attention.
This is perfectly decent, as far as a watch goes. In the early days, I’d have said, “Sure, why not? Not great, but you can get through it.” Now, there are literally a hundred movies you could watch above this. So keep that in mind.
149. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny
This was, I think, the second ever Netflix Original movie. After Beasts of No Nation. Feels like so long ago, doesn’t it?
They made a sequel 15 years after the fact, which isn’t great. And then they didn’t bring back the director, who was really the only thing that made the original work as well as it did. Granted, the director was the fight coordinator of the original, so that’s something.
I guess if you really like these kinds of movies you can give it a shot. But there’s nothing particularly worthwhile here, not as compared to the original.
What a fucking crazy movie this is.
Here’s the premise: kid gets shot while running away from bad guys. He has his phone in his hand, so the bullet, while hitting the phone first, causes fragments of his phone to lodge into his head. And then… he gets superpowers. Basically his brain has the functional capacity of a cell phone. So it’s kind of like Transcendence meets Lucy, but if it were sponsored by Apple.
This premise would have been rejected from an ad campaign.
It’s competent, and the premise is nuts, but it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Though I’m not sure why you would spend your time on this.
Florence Pugh and her brother perform fake paranormal visits in people’s allegedly haunted houses. It’s a scam, but of course, in this house, it starts to seem all too real.
I like her a lot, and there’s almost enough to be entertained here, but in the end it’s just another generic thriller. Unless you really love this genre, I’d recommend everyone just go see Lady Macbeth instead. There’s much better Florence out there.
146. Next Gen
This is the off-brand version of Big Hero 6. Fine if you need to entertain a child, but outside of that (and possibly even still), just watch Big Hero 6.
Starring Marlon Wayans… and Marlon Wayans… and Marlon… you get the idea.
Someone had a comedy bit about how there’s this weird thing where famous black comedians somehow always have to wear a fat suit and play a woman at some point (see also: Norbit, Big Momma’s House), and that’s all I could think about while watching this movie.
It’s a very Wayan brothers type movie. Marlon Wayans plays a guy who, on the eve of his wedding, finds his birth mother and finds out that he also has five other siblings. Of course he plays all of them and it’s just a vehicle for him to do crazy shit. It’s weird that these movies still get made, but I guess when you have a platform like this, it’s meant for all sorts of people with all sorts of tastes.
So yeah. If you’re into dumb comedies with the same actor playing broadly stereotyped characters, this one’s for you.
144. Murder Mystery
To give some background on this… in 2012, Charlize Theron was gonna star in this and John Madden was gonna direct. And here we are, with an Adam Sandler Netflix movie. There’s a plot here. Just no comedy. So you’re left with a totally bland movie that meanders along with no real laughs, thrills or interest.
Of all the Adam Sandler Netflix movies, this is one of the least worst ones, but the bar is so low, that’s just my way of saying that it’s almost watchable enough that you don’t care rather than openly hating it.
143. Nappily Ever After
“How Stella Cut Her Hair Off.”
It’s about a woman finding herself after cutting off all her hair. Culturally, I get it. I understand everything they were trying to do with this movie. Did I love it? Not particularly.
This is one of those where I would say… don’t necessarily go by my opinion of it. Though aside from the good stuff, I did feel like a lot of the writing and the performances were wildly over the top, and that never helps ground me to a movie.
Still, this is one where, you’ll know if this sounds like it’s for you. If it doesn’t sound like it’s for you, then yeah, you can probably skip it. Though also don’t expect it to be much more than okay.
142. The Holiday Calendar
Part of Netflix’s Christmas rom-com universe. Woman gets an enchanted advent calendar, where each of the things inside it start to come true. It’s so stupid.
But you know what? Stupid isn’t the worst thing in the world, and this is the kind of movie that you can just put on and watch with your brain shut off. Granted, most of the stuff in this realm (which is really starting to borrow from the Hallmark model, isn’t it?) is more watchable than this. This one was generic bordering on not-good for me.
Still, the idea of this weird shared Christmas universe is amusing to me. So even as bad as some of the entries are, the fact that it exists does make me chuckle.
Very strange thriller. Carmen Ejojo plays a woman traveling through the desert with her daughter when her daughter gets bit by a snake. Somehow, there’s a trailer in the middle of nowhere with a woman who says she can help. And she does. She saves the little girl… and then disappears. Only for Ejojo to find out that because she’s been helped by whoever this mysterious entity was, she now has to pay off the favor… by killing someone.
And that’s the movie. She’s gotta kill someone or else her daughter will die. Pretty generic, as much as it’s nice to see Ejojo getting a lead role. It’s by the same director who did 1922 for Netflix, but this one just doesn’t ever take off. It’s really boring all the way through and there’s no real suspense in it whatsoever. This is the kind of movie where, if you fall asleep with the TV on, you’ll wake up at 3:45 in the morning and this is just randomly on, so you watch about ten minutes of it before falling back asleep. There’s a reason they only show it at that hour of the morning.
140. The Week Of
Perhaps the best Adam Sandler can do nowadays. This almost comes across as watchable.
Basically, his daughter and Chris Rock’s son are getting married. And both families are staying in the same house. Comic situations ensue. And there’s tensions because Sandler doesn’t have much money and Rock does, but Sandler feels the father of the bride should pay for the wedding, so he keeps trying to pay for it (while also being cheap) while Rock says, “Let me just write a check.”
There’s stuff there that would add up to a decent enough movie with different people behind it. But instead of a Sundance movie, it’s an Adam Sandler movie. At this point, you know what that means, sight unseen.
39. Wine Country
Amy Poehler got her friends together to make a movie where they all hang out and drink wine. Which is a totally admirable thing to do. Adam Sandler does stuff like this all the time. And, like Adam Sandler movies… this doesn’t add up to much of anything except people who like each other hanging out.
It’s your standard indie comedy — friends get together for a weekend, everyone has their own shit going on, it all bubbles to the surface… you know how that goes. Sundance/Tribeca/SXSW puts these out every year. This just happens to have a lot of people you’ve seen on SNL and other things. So I guess that will make it more palatable to some that they get to see Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph instead of alt comedians that you hear on podcasts and in the occasional comic relief role in Bruce Willis VOD movies.
I feel like this is a movie that should go on Netflix, since it’s clearly targeted to middle-aged women, but as an overall movie, it’s pretty bland.
Okay, so I don’t know what the hell this was. Daryl Hannah (yes, that Daryl Hannah) directed a western that stars Neil Young and his band.
It’s not really a western, though. It’s a strange compilation of scenes around western tropes that feels like something they’d have made to promote an album back in the 80s. It doesn’t amount to a whole lot, but then the second half (and it’s only 70 minutes, so you’ll get there quickly) is just a straight up concert film with Neil Young songs. Which is awesome.
As a movie, I can’t recommend it. As a weird, whatever the hell this is experience, I say give it a shot. It’s not good, but it’s so unique that it’s worth having in your bag of, “You know what weird ass movie I saw?”, that you can bring up to people.
And also, it’s got some great musical performances in it. So you can do as I did, fold your laundry and listen to Neil Young. There are worse things you can find on Netflix.
137. Falling Inn Love
Major props to them for that pun title. It’s so awful that it may actually be genius.
At this point I feel like all you have to do is go into Netflix with a title and they will green light your rom com. (Which reminds me, look out for my upcoming movie, “Thyme of Your Life,” about a plucky young woman who decides to get out of the city and start a spice farm.)
This one is about an American woman who wins ownership of an Inn in New Zealand (because apparently that’s a thing) and decides to put her life on hold (and she’s just about to get that big promotion and get engaged, too!) and go renovate it so she can sell it. But of course, she’s gonna find love and a way of life that just speaks to her!
It’s… I can’t totally shit on it because there’s an entire industry of these movies that people just flock to. I am not one of those people, even though I can be tempted to be moderately charmed by some of them. This one didn’t do it for me, as much as I respect the effort. Though in the gamut of Netflix rom comes, this one edges closer to respectable than a lot of the others.
136. El Camino Christmas
Yes, that is Tim Allen holding a beer and talking to a cardboard cutout of a woman in a bikini.
Not the best movie in the world, but it is sort of a single location movie that takes place over a single day. So that makes it more interesting to me than most stuff.
Premise is: Dude comes to a small town to find the father he never met. He starts getting harassed by a douchebag cop. Through a series of plot contrivances, the guy ends up in a liquor store, involved in a hostage situation. It’s meant to be a comedy. Series of errors and all of a sudden dude looks like he’s holding all these people hostage and is in a shootout with police. Allen plays a local drunk, who, as you can imagine through the Law of Economy of Characters, ends up being more important to the plot than just the comic relief.
It’s perfectly watchable, and it all takes place on Christmas. Nothing too great here. I saw it for Tim Allen. Mostly you watch this and wonder what this could have been if someone like Shane Black wrote it and it came out in 1998.
One of Netflix’s many “Groundhog Day but with…” movies. This one is “Groundhog Day, but with a wedding.” Marlon Wayans keeps waking up on the morning of his wedding, naked and in an elevator in a hotel that’s not his. And basically he has to get to the altar in just the right way in order to break the time loop.
It’s not terrible. But it’s also not good. It’s totally watchable, and the concept makes it at least something you can get through. Though the problem with this as a “Groundhog Day” movie is more about — as he repeats the day, all these pieces come in, and in the end, he has to put the pieces together in just the right way for everything to work out. Groundhog Day — it’s more nihilist and is just about the absurdity and sadness of this fate. It’s about self-discovery more than a tidy plot. So that’s what keeps this from being something particularly worthwhile.
But as far as a throwaway movies goes, something with the “Groundhog Day” plot is far from the worst you could do.
134. The Titan
Oh look, Sam Worthington is playing another variation of an Avatar character.
That’s really all this is about. Astronauts take part in some experiments. Most of them die. The one that doesn’t turns into that thing. And it’s about him slowly turning into the thing. Like The Fly, meets Dr. Manhattan.
Pretty all around standard, as Netflix movies go. Not great, not terrible, totally watchable, and pretty forgettable.
133. Christmas Inheritance
This was the first of the Netflix Christmas movies. At the moment, it’s not connected to this universe thing they’ve created. So it’s like the Edward Norton Incredible Hulk. Early and forgotten, but helped lay the groundwork.
This is also basically a Hallmark movie. But all of these Netflix Christmas movies are. It’s about a city girl who has to go back to her small town home. Of course there she’s gonna find love and want to stay… you know how these movies go.
This is like all the others — if you’re predisposed to liking them, you’ll like it just fine. It’s one of the weaker ones, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it, but this is comfort food to most people. You know what you’re getting.
Ghost soldiers. That’s really all this is. Soldiers fighting ghosts. (Black Hawk Undead?)
It’s whatever. If rom coms are comfort food for some, this is comfort food for people who like these kinds of movies.
131. Sand Castle
It’s one of those Jarhead type movies about a young soldier in Iraq. I’m not quite sure what it’s going for.
One of those movies that has fallen into the abyss and with good reason — there’s not much real reason to recommend it and not much to get out of it.
This is in that realm of “it’s just fine,” so there’s nothing really to say about it, good or bad.
130. The Siege of Jadotville
Another army movie. Siege movie, so at least it has that going for it.
Just kind of non-stop action, and period action, so it’s got that. Otherwise it’s just okay. Worth it if you’ll watch any kind of war movie. Otherwise pretty skippable.
129. Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
This is Cyrano de Bergerac (look at the title) set in high school.
Unpopular smart girl has a crush on a hot guy, and teams up with the pretty girl to woo him. She’s the voice and the pretty girl is the face. And they use social media to make it happen.
It’s… I didn’t like it too much, just because the plotting feels lazy and it doesn’t follow much logic, but you know, if you like high school movies, you might be okay with this.
128. Burning Sands
It’s about fraternity hazing. A bit too dour and serious, but overall a decent movie. One of those “watch it if it seems interesting to you, but otherwise you’re fine” kind of movies.
127. The Cloverfield Paradox
Does anyone really enjoy this Cloverfield universe? I think this movie may have made everyone realize that.
It’s got a hell of a cast… but really it’s just about bad shit happening in space. Alien, Life… all that shit. Only this one deals with alternate realities and stuff. It’s got a whole lot of stuff going on, none of which amounts to anything interesting.
You can get through it because it’s of a certain production quality that it’s just watchable, but I don’t know why anyone would go out of their way for this, unless it’s for the cast.
126. The Perfect Date
This is like, the quintessential rom com storyline. And for that, I am not downgrading it. Also the main character has the quintessential rom com name. Brooks Rattigan? That’s so on-the-nose it’s disgusting. You’re either the lead in a rom com or the villain in The Great Mouse Detective.
Anyway… premise is… dude is trying to save up money for college, so he develops an app on a whim where he will be (insert title here). He will show up as whoever you want him to be for a date. So it’s like prostitution without the sex. Want someone to go to a renaissance fair? He’ll do it, and he’ll commit. And so on and so forth. Of course, along the way, he’s falling in love for real, and there’s all that… it’s pure rom com.
I thought, going in, and in the first five minutes, I was gonna hate it. Ultimately it won me over and was perfectly fine. I feel like if you really love rom coms, then you’re most likely to get something out of this. I’m not sure it’s a particularly good movie, but if you’re the type who will eat up anything in this genre, I think it’s fine.
It’s Groundhog Day but with time travel.
Basically a time travel machine is in the garage, and a husband and wife wake up in bed minutes before they get killed. So they have to keep going through this to figure out how not to get killed and stop the loop.
It’s totally watchable, but nothing special.
124. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
The sequel. the first one was surprisingly okay. This one was… surprisingly average? The Netflix Christmas Universe (X-Masverse? Holi-Date Movies? … P.S. how is there not one of these called The Holidate yet?) is in full swing by this one, to the point where they rushed to put this out a year after the first one came out.
It’s a continuation, like The Princess Diaries 2… of course there has to be a wedding. And then a baby for the third one.
These movies are paint by numbers, and you know what you’re getting all around. I expect them all to be dog shit going in, but this one was actually not half bad. So there’s that.
123. Tall Girl
Yes, this is a movie. It’s a high school movie, but the girl is 6’2”. Which could be a decent enough set up for a rom com, only everyone is so cartoonish that all they do is make fun of her height as if meanness is just a compulsion every time they pass by her. But then she meets a foreign exchange student who is also her height, and guess what… he gets her! But then there’s Duckie, her best friend, who’s been there all along!
I will say, there is a dumb motif that happens in this movie that pays off at the end that, while stupid as all hell, made me go, “You know what, I’m fine with that.” So there’s that. A lot of the movie is straight up bad. Everything that Steve Zahn does as the father with the dumb comedic moments of trying to prove that he’s cool with her being tall is just awful. But then there’s a sweet moment near the end with the two of them at a piano that almost totally redeems all that crap. It’s a very weird mixed bag of a movie. Overall I would say not totally successful, but, like its protagonist, it does stand out. So I guess it’s got that going for it.
122. When We First Met
Another Groundhog Day ripoff. Adam Devine is friend-zoned and is in love with her, even though she’s about to get married to someone else. Though through the magic of a magical photo booth (how millennial), he can relive the night they met (Halloween, naturally) and maybe change the future to one he prefers. Of course, each time the night goes different, the future changes to something else, and yada yada yada… you can guess where everything goes.
The Groundhog Day plot generally makes all these movies watchable, but it also prevents them from being particularly good. This seems to be for people who don’t know Groundhog Day exists. Because for everyone else, they’re probably thinking, “Why am I not just watching that instead?”
121. The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter
This is a Jody Hill movie. After Eastbound and Down, and Observe and Report, you’d expect it to be great, and hilarious. This, just kinda falls flat. There’s no real comedy in it, and it just kinda hums along for 80 minutes without a purpose.
Josh Brolin is a famous hunter who puts out videos (like Steve Zissou, but for killing deer), and wants to reconnect with his son, who grew up with iPhones and stuff. So he takes him out on his first hunt, thinking it’ll be a great video. Of course, the kid doesn’t give a shit and things go wrong… you know the drill.
I wish I could say this was worthwhile, but it just… doesn’t come together. You’ll get through it, but at the end you won’t really know what you got out of it or remember much of anything that happens.
120. Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie
It’s a throwback detective story, except built around the talents of Jeff Garlin. It kinda works. It’s only 80 minutes, so it flies.
Doesn’t amount to a whole of a lot, but there are interesting people in it, and this came out at the time when there were only like 30 Netflix movies, so it felt a bit more momentous than it would if it came out now.
Otherwise, it’s a decent enough diversion if you decide you wanna go there.
119. The Kindergarten Teacher
This is part of the increasing trend of festival movies that end up on Netflix. Which… is probably the only way people would ever go and actually see this.
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a teacher who is a failed poet. She finds that her student randomly makes beautiful poems out of nowhere (sure) and decides she wants to hone his talent. But of course it’s all part of a self-serving need, and things just go weird from there. It’s very indie, and not particularly interesting.
This is one of those movies where, it’s just kind of average. Which means there’s a very narrow window of people who will want to seek this out and actually really like it.
118. The Angel
Based on the true story of the son-in-law of Nassar and advisor to Sadat who was secretly also an Israeli spy.
This is a thriller where… it’s like all those other historical thrillers that come out… if you’re interested in the history or like political thrillers you’ll get something out of it. If you don’t really care, it’s just kind of a capable movie that totally works if you want to spend the time with it.
117. The Knight Before Christmas
They will green light any rom com with a pun title. This is also Vanessa Hudgens fully giving herself over to the Netflix rom com, which at this point is a full step of respectability above Lifetime movies (which are a full step above Hallmark movies, which is about a half a step below prison and high profile rehab).
The title basically tells you everything you need to know about it — small town teacher meets a knight who’s been magically transported from the 14th century into the present day. And guess what? He’s just the type of guy she’s been looking for!
It’s generic in every way and yet… somehow a little charming. I found myself completely fine with this, even though it’s not really something I can recommend unless you go all in on these cheesy rom coms.
Also now firmly a movie that exists within Netflix’s shared Christmas Universe of sorts, since at a certain point they briefly watch The Holiday Calendar. Though I guess that sort of makes it more like the Cars universe, where in the reality of the film, Netflix also exists and the movies that are on Netflix here are also on Netflix there, which really makes you question a lot of things about reality, when really you should be asking yourself whether watching all these rom coms is what you should be doing in the first place.
116. The Outsider
Jared Leto joins the Yakuza. That’s it. That’s the film.
The movie is about an American that joins the Yakuza, so it’s not like they cast an American in place of a Japanese person. But also, the movie doesn’t tell an interesting enough story to make you feel like it was worth telling over some other Yakuza movie.
It’s perfectly watchable, but… kinda gets boring the deeper in he gets. The early stuff, in the Japanese prison, is interesting, and the initial Yakuza stuff is fine, but once he starts ascending and goes all Last Samurai with the head guy’s daughter, it loses almost all interest.
This is about as average as it gets for a Netflix movie.
115. The Silence
If you like post-apocalyptic thrillers, you’ll get something out of this. It’s not Bird Box, and it’s got issues, but it’s totally watchable.
Basically, some primordial bats or something get let out and start murdering everyone. They’re blind (because they’ve lived in caves, and operate on sound) and it’s kind of Quiet Place-y. So A Quiet Place meets The Birds. So this family (whose daughter is deaf, also like A Quiet Place) has to survive. So it’s part road movie, part The Mist, where once people start figuring out how to get by, some overly fucked up religious group shows up.
It’s derivative as hell, but I honestly expect that out of your run-of-the-mill Netflix movie. Mostly it’s just watchable. And it’s got Stanley Tucci, which makes it just a bit more worthwhile.
114. Death Note
Anyone who’s watched the anime feels like this should go much lower. And maybe that’s true. But I’ve never watched it, and all I knew about this was that a kid had a notebook where, if he wrote someone’s name down in it, they died. So yeah, I’m sure they fucked up the character arc and changed things and fucked up other characters and made it shitty, but for someone who knew nothing about it… it’s just kind of a decently watchable movie that I’m never gonna need to see again. That’s the epitome of the Netflix movie, by and large.
The production values and the actors involved make this watchable, but if you at all care about the sanctity of the story and want to see the best version of it… this is not the way to go. (Also it’s another nail in the coffin of Adam Wingard as a promising filmmaker, but that’s a discussion for another article.)
113. The Princess Switch
This is the first of the Netflix Christmas movies that started tying the universe together. She literally watches one of the other ones on TV in the middle of the movie.
But anyway, this is Vanessa Hudgens playing twins. Or rather, two women who aren’t related but look identical. One is about to be the princess of a fictional nation and the other is a cook who wants more. So they agree to swap identities for the day (a sort of Prince and the Pauper), and of course each falls in love with the other’s love interest… you know the deal.
It’s pure Hallmark movie stuff, and it’s pretty down the middle as far as these Christmas movies go. Some are awful, some are halfway decent… this one’s just kind of at the median. It’s got moments, but otherwise is just kinda there.
112. 6 Balloons
The thing that saves this movie for me is the fact that it’s only 70 minutes long. Any longer and it would have gone lower than this.
It’s about Dave Franco as a heroin addict who relapses and his sister, Abbi Jacobsen, who is tired of his shit but decides to help him enough to get him into rehab.
The shortness of the film helps make it watchable, but I can’t say it was anything particularly special. Watch it if you want.
111. Come Sunday
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as a preacher who begins to preach that there is no Hell. And of course, all the people who are too into religion can’t stand it. (It’s like when people get too into TV shows, and decide they know what’s best for the characters in the final season.) So it’s about his struggle and ostracizing by his own church for preaching something different.
It’s well-made and Ejiofor is solid, but this isn’t anything more than a run-of-the-mill Netflix movie.
High school teen dramedy. Four friends deal with their impending graduation and what it means for the future. You’ve seen it before, it’s very much of the time (they smoke weed and use social media), and it’s really only remotely interesting because the cast is kind of interesting.
It almost goes too far — making these problems out to be bigger than they actually are, having the mindset of “we’re 18, the world is our oyster,” all that shit I can’t stand in these movies — but ultimately it’s just fine. If this is your genre, you’ll see if, if it’s not, it’s nothing you need to seek out.
109. Girlfriend’s Day
I don’t know what this movie is or wants to be, but this is, to me, exactly what Netflix as a platform is there for.
Bob Odenkirk stars in a neo-noir dark comedy about mystery and murder involving greeting card writers. That’s right. He plays a master greeting card writer whose divorce prevents him from writing the captions he once could. Then the governor creates a new holiday and the two feuding greeting card companies get involved in all sorts of corporate espionage and murder in order to be the one to create “the perfect card.”
Sounds weird, right? It is. And that’s why I like it. Because this is a movie that would never have had a home if not for this platform. Is it great? No. Is it watchable? Sure. Is it very admirable? Absolutely. And it’s only 70 minutes, so it’s a breeze.
108. Been So Long
Another movie that would never have had a platform or gotten any sort of traction with viewers if it weren’t on the platform. This is a British rom com with an all-black cast. And I’m here for it. It’s also part musical.
This is the kind of movie that I like watching. Because it’s different, it’s charming, and it’s the kind of thing I can go, “You know, this is a filmmaker who deserves more praise and work.”
This is the kind of movie that no one will ever watch, but is well-written, well-acted and has a big heart that it wears on its sleeve. I’d say this is worth seeing over a great percentage of the stuff that’s out there.
This was one of the first movies they put out. An indie drama with Ellen Page as a homeless (by choice. She travels the country in a van) woman who becomes a nanny to an infant child whose mother doesn’t really want to be a mother. It takes a lot of indie turns, and it’s mostly about how they execute it rather than any sorts of twists and turns… but I will say, there is a moment right at the end of the film that does take it to a different place, and I appreciated it.
Otherwise, middle-of-the-road. Solid enough performances, and it’s the kind of movie that would have been at Sundance, gone VOD and never been seen. At least now, some people might find it because it’s on the platform forever.
106. Alex Strangelove
Cute little… I guess rom com? Coming-of-out story?
Basically, guy has been with his girlfriend for a few years and she wants to take the next step… only he’s starting to realize he may have a crush on another boy instead.
It’s not the greatest movie ever, but it does feel a bit more mature than you’d expect, and doesn’t go to all the obvious cliches you would expect. Not for everyone, but also firmly in that realm of, if you think you’re gonna like it, then go for it.
105. Good Sam
I was surprised at how okay this was for me. Standard rom com, with about the same production values as those Christmas movies. Honestly I’m surprised this didn’t end up as part of that universe.
Ambitious reporter who works the murder/disaster beat gets grounded after being a bit too close to a warehouse fire. She gets put on the case of a mysterious stranger who leaves bags filled with $100,000 on the doorsteps of complete strangers. She thinks it’s dumb, but pretty soon she gets caught up in the story (as does all of the city), as well as two men who are trying to date her (one a hedge fund manager who works with her father and the other a hot fireman).
It’s totally watchable in every way. It’s actually kind of regressive in its narrative, to the point where you can see things coming from miles away. But honestly, it’s just fine. I found myself being more engaged than I expected. And honestly, sometimes you just need comfort food. And this is that kind of movie.
104. Let It Snow
Teen ensemble movie set around Christmas. Lot of characters — who’s throwing a party, who’s trying to get with this person, who’s mad with their friend, who meets a popstar traveling incognito and gets to know them while also dealing with a sick mother and the fact that they want to go away for college but can’t because of that — you know, the usual stuff.
It’s got every trope you fully expect to see in these movies. And yet — watchable. Because the cast is nice, and they make the most out of this even if it’s something you’ve seen before a dozen times. There are better Netflix movies out there, but there are also far worse ones. This is part of that baseline of “perfectly watchable, so long as it seems like it’s something you might be interested in.”
Biopic of young Barack Obama. Pre-Michelle, back when he was dating a white woman. Kind of forgotten once there was a hit TV show with the same name. It’s decent enough. Not overly peppered with moments of foreshadowing. Mainly just a movie about a dude. Honestly, if you forget it’s Obama, you just kind of watch it as a romance.
Not the best Netflix has to offer, but there are far worse options out there.
102. Rim of the World
This is like if they watered down Stranger Things and made it as a straight to VOD movie that could play in China. Everything about this feels manufactured. Yet… actually kind of okay.
Premise is, a bunch of kids (all stereotypes you’d see on a Nickelodeon show) go to some kids camp in Big Bear. Only, aliens attack. And they come in possession of a key that could help save the whole world, and they have to get from there to JPL in Pasadena. So it’s kids traveling and trying not to be killed by aliens.
While it does feel like it’s trying to be other things (and as someone said to me, “Stranger Things is already a watered down version of something else”), there are moments that made me go, “Oh, that’s actually kind of cool.” There are a few shots and instances that felt better than I would have expected out of something like this. Of course, that is balanced by a lot of cringeworthy moments. But it’s middle-of-the-road Netflix. I’m not expecting anything more than occasionally interesting but for the most part just watchable if you turn your brain off.
Stephen King adaptation that is basically The Tell-Tale Heart but in a cornfield. Guy (along with his son) murders his wife to inherit the land, and things (mainly guilt) prevent it from going as smoothly as he anticipates.
It’s perfectly watchable. The quintessential 3-star movie. It goes exactly where you expect it to and there aren’t really any surprises here whatsoever. Mostly it reminds you, “Hey, Thomas Jane is a good actor. I feel like I barely see him in stuff.”
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See the rest of the Netflix Rankings:
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