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. And, as is my credo, if I’m watching them all, why not make you all have to hear about it?
This isn’t a definitive ranking by any stretch. It’s really just how much I like each of the movies and want to recommend them to you. That’s it. Because at this point, there’s so much stuff that’s put out on the platform that unless something truly breaks through, it immediately gets lost under the pile of the newer, shinier stuff. So the goal is to just talk about everything in relation to all the others, so you can gauge what you have seen versus where I’ve put everything and then maybe go, “Oh, what’s this one? This one sounds good.”
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. It’s all up for debate, so I just kinda went with what made sense to me. 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. The next update will hopefully be sometime after the Oscars.)
150. 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.)
This was one of the first movies they put out. An indie drama with Elliot Page as a homeless (by choice. He travels the country in a van) person 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.
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.
147. What Happened to Monday?
The only real appeal to this movie is that Noomi Rapace plays seven different characters. Basically, they’re all clones, and each has the name of a day of the week. It’s a futuristic society where they monitor how many children a family has. So because there are seven of them, each one is only allowed to go out on their assigned day of the week. And it’s about (naturally) what happens when one of them goes missing and the others have to find out what happened without letting the government find out how many of them there are.
This is the kind of movie that’s perfect for Neflix. It’s never gonna be considered a masterpiece, but it’s got enough delights to entertain someone looking for a good piece of entertainment in the amorphous mass that is Netflix content.
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.
145. The Dirt
Ah, yes, the Mötley Crüe biopic. I’ve seen this floating around for years trying to get made. At one point I feel like Val Kilmer was gonna be in it and Christopher Walken was gonna play Ozzy Osbourne. That’s gotta be 15 years ago. Anyway, they finally made it and the Jackass director was behind the camera.
This got pretty bad reviews, but to me it feels like a perfectly Netflix kinda movie. It’s nothing special, but it’s got an energy to it and it certainly feels like something the band endorsed, which is really all you can hope for with a movie like this (especially since it’s not overly kind to them. It deals with some dark shit they all went through).
If anything it’s worth it for the one scene with the dude playing Ozzy. That guy… is spot on.
144. In the Tall Grass
Another Netflix Stephen King adaptation. This one has an interesting premise — couple stop on the side of the road outside a cornfield and hear someone screaming for help inside. They go in… and then can’t get out.
The problem with it is the problem I have with most Stephen King stuff… it goes supernatural and unnecessarily weird. Of course, something like this, it has to be supernatural, but not in the way this movie is supernatural. Time paradoxes and weird stones in the middle of the cornfield that do some magic shit or whatever.
It’s watchable and it’s a nice little contained thriller, but it just gets increasingly weird as the film goes on and doesn’t really amount to much. But hey, it’s perfect for Netflix. Watch it once, be moderately entertained and then move on with your life.
143. Little Evil
A movie with a great premise: what if you became the stepfather to the antichrist? Being a movie released on this platform, the heights this movie reaches are modest, but they are amusing for what it is and what it’s trying to be.
This is the kind of movie I’d be more apt to recommend to people over some other ones in this area just because the premise is good and it feels like it’s more likely to be forgotten about and never seen because it doesn’t have the visibility some of the others may have due to the people involved.
142. First They Killed My Father
Angelina Jolie made a movie about the Cambodian genocide. It’s not Beasts of No Nation, but it’s also not terrible. It’s the epitome of a perfectly solid movie, that I imagine most people would like more if they felt like they wanted to see a movie about the Cambodian genocide. It’s hard to make people want to sit down and watch this. Especially since it doesn’t have the air of “masterpiece.” Which typically is what gets people over the hump to wanting to see something like this.
That said, it’s very solid. And arguably could have gone several spots higher on this list. But I have to go by what I think the quality/entertainment value/my enjoyment of them is, and factor all that into my rankings. So yeah, maybe this could go a bit higher, but also, I’m a realist and I know that there are other movies I found more entertaining that I think people are more likely to discover than this.
So, if you wanna go in for a movie like this, know that it’s worthwhile. This is about the tier of, “Solid if you wanna go there.”
141. Imperial Dreams
This is one of the first Netflix movies, it feels like. Stars John Boyega as an ex-con just trying to get by and keep custody of his son. It’s that — ex-con tries to stay straight even though the world doesn’t seem to want him to — kinda movie. They’re always pretty interesting.
This feels like the kind of movie that’s small, personal, well-acted, and will always get tossed aside for bigger, flashier movies. But it’s perfectly solid, Boyega delivers a fine performance, and it really is the kind of movie that, if you gave it the time of day, you’d feel like your time was not wasted.
How Alfre Got Her Groove Back. Is basically what this is. Alfre Woodard’s husband adapted a book specifically for her to star in and remind us that she’s great. There are worse premises to a Netflix movie.
It’s a movie you’ve seen before — woman fed up with her life just goes away and travels around to reinvent herself and start new. It’s fine. It’s got some interesting magical realism moments going on in there and while it doesn’t do anything particularly special, it does have enough flair to it to make me go, “I appreciate they tried to do something different” rather than just cast it aside, as I likely would have done if it didn’t try the interesting stuff it did.
Also — and I cannot stress enough how much I liked this — it casts Adam Beach as a romantic lead and not as another “random Native American dude because that’s all he can play,” and I really appreciated that. Usually when I see him pop up in stuff, it’s just to play the token Native American character.
A movie with a good premise: guy is in the middle of the zombie apocalypse with his infant and gets bitten. So now he’s gotta find a home for this child before he turns into a zombie.
It was expanded from a short, and because of that, I feel like it doesn’t remotely get into all the interesting aspects of the premise. It’s a pretty straightforward movie, to its own detriment. It’s totally watchable and fits what I consider to be a “Netflix movie,” but with a premise like that, at least my personal hope would have been that it did something more interesting than it does.
138. The Willoughbys
Animated movie. Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I tend to be indifferent toward 95% of American studio animation that’s not Disney or Pixar. But this one was well-animated (despite being CGI, which I just don’t like more than 95% of the time). The plot is very kids-movie — kids have horrible parents who have no time for them and never pay attention to them. The kids feel they’d be better off without the parents, so they convince them to go take a vacation. The plan works out a little too well, and then all sorts of complications ensue from their decision and they eventually have to go try to get the parents back and all sort of stuff with the help of a kooky nanny and a Willy Wonka-type inventor. It’s honestly not that great, but I found myself not actively disliking it, which is a plus for me with these things. It’s perfectly fine, and knowing that, if I think it’s just fine, other people will probably think it’s pretty good. I think you can do better, but most people seem okay settling. So there you have it.
137. The Lovebirds
Action-rom com with Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple on the verge of breaking up who, just when they decide to break up, get involved in a whole murder/on the run situation. It’s dumb fun. Nothing particularly original or interesting here, but the two of them have good chemistry and make it watchable. Nothing more than just okay, but you’re at that point in the list. This space is reserved for all the ‘perfectly watchable middle of the road movies’.
136. 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.
135. 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.
134. The After Party
This is another one of those movies that — could go either way for you. It’s about two friends, one an aspiring rapper and his best friend and aspiring manager. After a horrible incident that goes viral, the aspiring rapper decides he’s gonna give up. But his friend is determined to find him success, so he tells him he’s going to get them into a huge after party and get his friend the redemption/success he deserves.
It’s the kind of movie that you think is going one way, but actually steer clear of that and avoids a fair amount of the pitfalls I’d have expected it to fall into. Sure, the opening and the inciting incident is a bit cringeworthy, but the rest of the movie finds relatively solid footing. Put it this way… this could have easily ended up about 60-70 spots down on this list, but it didn’t. So good on them for that.
Also, without spoiling anything, this movie features a very quick cameo that comes out of nowhere and is absolutely hilarious. Maybe it’ll appeal to only me, but I could not stop laughing when it happened and I think those twenty seconds are worth the entire time.
This shouldn’t necessarily be people’s introduction to Christopher Guest, but if it has to be, hopefully it makes you interested in the rest of his oeuvre, because the man basically perfected a genre. Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration are all fantastically funny movies, and he is one of the stars and major creative influences on the granddaddy of the genre, This Is Spinal Tap.
This is a mockumentary about people who dress up as team mascots. And it’s got a lot of his usual cast of characters (with some recurrences from previous films). It’s one of his weaker films, but it may get some people who are too young to know how great his movies are to look into them, which is why I think it’s worth a solid place on this list. You could do so much worse on this platform than this.
132. The Fundamentals of Caring
One of the very first Netflix movies. And it’s one of those “Fault in Our Stars,” overly sappy kind of movies. It’s like The Fault in Our Stars meets The Intouchables. Paul Rudd is an ex-con who becomes caretaker to a disabled kid. The kid refuses all sorts of care and of course likes Rudd because he has no idea what he’s doing. So it’s basically The Intouchables. But the kid is a teen, so it’s got that Fault in Our Stars, “I wanna do shit before I die” thing going on as well.
It’s perfectly decent. You know what you’re getting, and the only question is whether or not you like that sort of thing.
131. Gerald’s Game
In a way, Stephen King movies were made for this platform. That is, if you’re gonna be faithful to the material.
This book, I believe, was largely considered unfilmable, which is probably why the resulting product is just kind of okay.
The premise is — a couple goes up to their summer home to get away, and during some kinky play in the bedroom, the husband dies of a heart attack. And the wife is stuck chained to the bed with no real way of getting out or being able to call for help. It’s a great premise. But as you can imagine, the novel is very internal and deals with her inner thoughts. Which the film can’t really do.
Still, it’s a worthwhile film and right about in the realm of “definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a random Netflix thriller to watch.”
I remember the weekend this came out, it got the vaunted 0% on Rotten Tomatoes and people called this a huge piece of shit. I don’t know what they saw, because to me this was perfectly fine.
Here’s the premise — guy abducts a woman and two other people. They are locked in a smart house controlled by a futuristic AI. The woman befriends the AI in the hopes that eventually it will help her escape. So it’s like The Collector (great movie, by the way) with HAL 9000.
Perfectly watchable, and it’s got some nice moments in it. I don’t see the problem people had with this one.
129. 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.”
128. A Christmas Prince
This is the one that started them all. This was a runaway “hit” (I guess that’s what we can call them) for Netflix, and has since spawned a whole universe of Christmas movies, including multiple sequels for just this film alone.
This is a pure rom com, though dipping toward the quality of a Hallmark movie. They have more pure rom coms that are much better movies in the canon of the genre, but this movie was surprisingly charming for what it is.
Premise is — a reporter is sent to a fictional country to cover the coronation of the prince, who is said to be a playboy and not fit for the throne. Through plot machinations, she ends up posing as a tutor for the prince’s younger sister. And of course… well, you know what happens.
Honestly, the cast is game and despite my disdain for movies like this when they’re overly cheesy or just straight up bad… I found myself charmed by this. And clearly people who like the genre ate this up, because they’ve got two sequels so far. And as far as the term “Netflix movie” goes, it’s hard not to say this isn’t one of the most representative of the bunch.
127. 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.
126. 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.
125. 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.
124. His House
Horror movie that actually has a point. Which I like. I don’t necessarily care for the genre at all or even like this movie all that much, but I appreciate what they did with it. It’s about a Sudanese couple who get themselves out of all the bloodshed of their country and make their way to London. They’re set up in government-controlled housing and struggle to adjust to their new lives. Meanwhile, an evil starts to creep up from inside the walls of their house that they have to fight. Which — you’ve seen that movie before. Only here, that evil is directly correlated to the trauma of their past and the respective demons they have to fight from that past and overcome in order to effectively ‘start over’. It’s a really smart and well-made movie that I suspect other people will rank way higher than I did. But, this list is entirely subjective and based on which ones I liked the best, so this is where it goes for me. I’ll say, though, that I do think this is a better movie than where I ranked it, and you should always take into account my personal feelings on the horror genre versus your own before reading my opinion on a horror movie.
123. Take the 10
It’s a madcap comedy. The kind you don’t see anymore that are making a bit of a comeback because Netflix is a home to these sorts of films. It’s two friends — one a grocery store manager trying to make something of his life and the other a drug dealer and fuck-up — who try to get tickets to a big concert, but end up on a big chase with gangsters and police and stuff like that.
It’s the kind of movie you’d have seen in the late 90s that was trying to rip off Tarantino. Now, it feels like a throwback kinda movie. Not great, but perfectly acceptable, and the kind of movie you go for if you want mindless entertainment and think the cast is interesting.
Ah, yes, this movie. Perhaps Netflix’s biggest cultural moment. Some would call it their biggest disaster. But you know what… it’s not about quality for them. Regardless of how everyone felt about this, they watched. And the watches are all that matters.
I’m not sure exactly just what they were trying to do with this — they took fantasy mythology and put it on a cop thriller. It’s trying to do a lot of things at once but also nothing. It’s the kind of movie that’s almost perfect for the Netflix model / what movies nowadays are essentially like for audiences. They just bombard you with bright lights and explosions for two hours, and by the end it doesn’t really matter if you liked it or not, because they spent all their money at the top to get you to see it, which is all they wanted.
I’ll admit that I actively disliked this movie on a lot of levels that have nothing to do with the objective quality of the film. If you strip all that away and just take it as a movie you put on and watch… it’s fine. It’s watchable and you can be relatively interested for the run time. That said… this is a pretty good indicator of just what the bar is for a Netflix movie at this point, and the fact that this is where it is on this list shows you the range of stuff they put out.
121. How It Ends
Netflix sure does love their post-apocalyptic thrillers. This one at least takes a semi-interesting angle, even if it doesn’t go to particularly interesting places.
Guy leaves his pregnant girlfriend to go fly to her disapproving father to get his permission to marry her. While he’s there, things happen. An undisclosed event occurs, and now lots of people are dying and the country is in chaos. So now he and his potential father-in-law are driving across the country to see if the girlfriend/daughter is still alive. And so you get their relationship building along the way mixed with road hazards like people and gangs and stuff. (Kinda reminds me of a Ray Milland movie called Panic in Year Zero. Which is much more in that wholesome-ish 60s zone than this is.)
This is one of those where, this is the epitome of the “cable watch” movie. You put it on, you watch it, you go, “That was okay,” and then you never really need to see it ever again. And anyone who knows my tastes, “cable watch” is a sign of respect. They’re not all great, but they are perfectly fine for a Saturday afternoon while you’re doing laundry.
120. 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.
119. Horse Girl
This is a weird movie. But, it’s by Jeff Baena, who exclusively makes weird movies. So that’s nothing new. This is co-written by Alison Brie, who stars as the main character — a socially awkward woman who… honestly, don’t even know how to describe this other than weird and offbeat and probably trying to be funnier than it comes across. Honestly just watch a trailer and see if it’s for you. I’m pretty indifferent toward the whole thing past feeling it was watchable.
118. Game Over, Man!
This is by the guys who did Workaholics, and it’s basically if you put those three in a Die Hard situation. Three fuckups/waiters of a fancy hotel get involved in a terrorist situation. And comedy and violence ensue.
It feels like it should have been made for Netflix. Otherwise it probably would have been a Comedy Central movie. If Adam Sandler is the lowest common denominator for Netflix comedies, this is solidly middle-of-the-road, skewing higher for people who enjoy this type of comedy. I’m not necessarily one of those people, but as far as a Netflix movie goes, I was okay with this.
117. Special Correspondants
I believe this is one of the first five Netflix movies to come out. Written and directed by Ricky Gervais, who also stars with Eric Bana as a newsman and his soundman who are sent on assignment to cover a potential uprising in Ecuador. Problem is, through various comedic conceits, they lose their passports. So they do the next best thing: hide out and fake their reports. Naturally, comedy ensues.
It’s decent. Not overly amazing, but also completely watchable. It’s definitely the median of what to expect out of Netflix movies.
116. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Well, at least this is unique. A movie based on the actual Eurovision Contest, which brought us ABBA. Set in Iceland and has Will Ferrell doing his best to make his first watchable comedy in a decade. It’s watchable, but only barely so, and likely only due to the fact that David Dobkin directed it, because at least he tries to maintain a semblance of story amid all the chaos. It’s… I can’t recommend it, but I already know enough to know that some people just like this sort of thing. So I’ll just leave it to you on that one. But I don’t think it’s very good.
115. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
The first one was surprisingly very good. This one, very unsurprisingly, is just another generic rom com sequel. She has two dudes to pick from, the whole deal. I feel like I’ve talked about this exact same sequel plot like six times now on this list. It’s everywhere. And it’s not interesting because you always know how it’s gonna turn out. This one tries to maintain the charm the first one had, a lot of which was in the writing and chemistry between the actors, but that only goes so far. It’s a watchable movie and fares better than a lot of these sequels do… but it’s still pretty generic. Watch the first one and then pretend it ended there, is my suggestion.
I like movies with limited characters. This is a post-apocalyptic thriller that stars… four people? Margaret Qualley is the film, and Anthony Mackie shows up about a half hour in. Danny Huston shows up in some flashbacks and there’s like, one other person in the movie. And I tend to find those more interested because you’re not bogged down with unnecessary stuff as much.
The premise is, Qualley is the daughter of a scientist who has stayed behind on a dying earth to try to save it, while everyone else has long since left for life on another planet. The last ship is about to leave soon and she is determined to try to find a way to save the planet. Mackie, meanwhile, is desperate to find a spot on that last transport and tries to convince her to go with him.
It’s totally fine. Nothing overly special, but it’s got a higher watchability factor for me than most just because it’s mostly two people on screen for the entirety of the picture. The uniqueness of it helps it stand out from the rest of the stuff that’s out there. (That said, I’m more likely to recommend Z for Zachariah, which is not a Netflix movie, but is a more interesting post-apocalyptic movie with very small cast.)
113. 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.
Duncan Jones’ followup to Warcraft. Most people thought of this as a huge bomb and a major disappointment. I would more accurately categorize this as something that was really ambitious that doesn’t hit the mark of what it’s aiming for. This feels like it was better served as a graphic novel first, and then edited down into a movie.
It’s a futuristic society, and it stars a mute bartender (Alexander Skarsgard) who goes looking for his friend once she goes missing. So it’s got that noir mystery kind of story along with the weird turns of pop sci-fi.
Perhaps the best review of this was by a friend, who said it was like “if MTV made Blade Runner.” Which is about right. It’s not bad… it’s just unfocused and doesn’t get into all the things it wants to get into. It’s a disappointment if you have high hopes for the director, but if you just took this on its own terms, not knowing who made it, it’s a perfectly reasonable and watchable movie. The kind you expect to get out of Netflix.
111. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Chiwetel Ejiofor directed this, and it’s about a smart African boy who helps build a wind turbine in order to help his village.
It’s perfectly well-made and charming, but it’s also not the kind of movie you’re gonna get most people to just spend two hours with. That said, Netflix is a good place for it, because it means that they didn’t waste money trying to put this in theaters, where there’s no chance it would have ever turned a profit.
This is another one on that level if, “If you feel like this is something you’re interested in, go for it, because it’s well made and a solid watch.”
110. Irreplaceable You
I love the set up to this movie: couple who’ve been together since they were children, she’s very goal-oriented and has everything planned out. Only, when they go in to try to have a baby, she finds out she’s terminally ill. And the film is about them (but mainly her) dealing with that fact. She tries to deal with it by basically planning her own funeral and helping him get a relationship for after she’s gone.
It’s the kind of movie where… I wanted to like it more than I did, and I wish it did more with the characters and the set up, because it could have been really special. But on its own I think it’s a very watchable movie that some people will really like. This is the kind of movie — when it hits, it really hits. But it also misses a bunch too. So don’t expect perfection. But this is also the kind of movie I almost respect more than others, because I amplify the parts that work and rather than dwell on what doesn’t, think about what I’d do differently, which occupies my attention during those moments.
It also stars the criminally underrated Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who really should be a top-line star by now.
109. The Last Laugh
Okay, this one may be going a bit higher than it probably ought to due to my own personal biases. But this is my list and not yours. All you’re here to do is read this and find some movies to watch you may not have known about before.
The selling point to this movie for me is — it’s Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss. I don’t see either of them nearly enough anymore. And the idea of watching them, even in a mediocre movie (which this probably is), appeals to me way more than literally everything else that’s below this movie on these lists.
Chase plays an aging talent agent whose daughter wants him to go into a home. He agrees, but pretty soon meets up with Dreyfuss, a former client who decided not to go into show business but rather become a doctor and start a family. But now, Chase decides Dreyfuss can now have the career he never had, and can also be his shot at redemption. So the two hit the road as Dreyfuss starts booking stand up gigs around the country. So… two old guys on a road trip.
Look, it’s not gonna change your life, but if you’re like me, and you want to see two people you grew up watching and love do a movie together, this is totally worth seeing.
108. Coffee & Kareem
This didn’t seem like it was going to be for me, until I realized just how funny it is to watch a child swear. That’s what saved this movie. The plot is — Ed Helms is a cop who is dating single mother Taraji P. Henson. Henson’s son hates Helms, to the point where he goes to hire some guys to get rid of him. Only he ends up seeing more than he’s supposed to, and now the criminals want the kid dead, which leads to Helms and the kid having to team up to stop this big conspiracy. Really, the plot doesn’t matter at all. It’s mostly about Helms being cursed out by this child. And honestly, that’s enough to get you through this with a few laughs. It’s not really that good a movie, but as far as middle of the road fare goes — I didn’t hate this.
107. Hillbilly Elegy
Get ready for some Hollywood poverty porn! This was made entirely with little gold statues in mind. Amy Adams gets to not wear makeup and have a lot of ‘loud’ scenes that basically scream ‘Oscar clip’ and Glenn Close gets to be a foul-mouthed grandmother who steals scenes. This is the type of movie made by people who are only looking at what the movie will look like to people who give awards to those movies. Because it sure as hell doesn’t understand how real people act, even though the literal point of the movie is, “Hey, you know there’s this whole world of people that exist in the middle of the country, right?” It’s almost laughable, how not good this is. One of the lesser moments of Ron Howard’s directing career. You can watch it if you want, but you’re really not gonna get much out of it. But hey, we all like a good train wreck, don’t we?
106. The Life Ahead
Remake of Madame Rosa starring Sophia Loren. Mostly just worth it to see Loren still acting into her 80s, otherwise not really anything particularly noteworthy. But it is nice to see her still doing it
105. Candy Jar
Fun rom com that is already getting overlooked in favor of the higher profile ones. It’s about two students who are the top two in their class, debate champions, and rivals to the bitter end. One’s gonna go to Yale and one’s gonna go to Harvard, and they’re just doing everything they can to make their applications look great. And then of course, they fall in love. You know how that goes.
It’s cute. The performances are very good and it’s just a likable movie. This is the kind of movie where, if you go for rom coms, this is definitely one that you won’t regret.
This movie was an awesome little surprise. One of the gems of the platform.
It’s a slow burn of a thriller that takes place in the Scottish Highlands. Two guys go on a secluded hunting trip… only things don’t go exactly as planned. They shoot someone by accident, and that gives way to fear, paranoia and tension, and… well, it is a very slow burn that slowly chokes you until it reaches its conclusion.
Now we’re getting into the territory of, “You should see this movie.” Everything from here on up has elements to it that make them worth seeing. This is more in the vein of “this is a nice little gem you haven’t heard of that you’re gonna think was pretty solid.” It is slow, so be prepared for that, but I think most people will get something out of it.
103. To the Bone
This is a semi-autobiographical movie about eating disorders, and a bunch of people who live in a halfway house to help them overcome their illness. It’s quite solid. This is the kind of movie that some people will really get something out of, and others will think, “Yeah, that was pretty decent.” It’s got enough personal touches in this to not feel generic and not feel like it’s a waste of time. Definitely in the tier of worthwhile Netflix watching.
102. The Package
This used to be called Eggplant Emoji. Not sure they ever found a good title for this, but the premise is one of those things where… actually kinda funny.
A bunch of teens are camping in the woods and one of them accidentally cuts his dick off. And the film is about them trying to get him and the dick to the hospital so they can reattach it. Things… do not go as planned. It goes a bit off the rails in terms of realism, and that’s beside the fact that it’s about a dude cutting his dick off. The latter stages of the movie really do get kinda nuts (no pun intended, probably). But there are some funny moments, and that’s coming from me, who finds a way to hate almost every comedy that comes out nowadays.
This is a weirdly specific, yet weirdly universal movie. It takes place in the south, and the movie and the characters really like Dolly Parton. Which might turn off a lot of people at the outset. But the story actually is quite good. It’s about the daughter of a pageant queen who does not fit the mold of someone who would be in a pageant. But, sick of being overlooked by her mother, she decides to enter as a “fuck you” to the world.
It’s… it doesn’t go the places you would normally expect a movie like this to go. I can’t say it’s the most amazing movie ever, but it is very watchable and has some really nice elements to it. We’re at the stretch of the list where all the movies are pretty good, but might not be for everyone, yet have things about them that make them worth watching.
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See the rest of the Netflix Rankings:
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