Ever since Netflix came into our lives, we’ve been pretty spoiled by having so much in one place.
Sure, sometimes we get our favorite movies and shows taken off the site, and we realize there’s a little love-hate relationship there, but just imagine living without a service like Netflix. Can you really imagine “Blockbuster and chill” catching on?
What about the original movies that Netflix has dished out? Which ones are worth watching, and which ones should you avoiding hovering over at all cost?
We’ve compiled the best and worst movies Netflix has distributed. From Sundance to Cannes, South by Southwest to Toronto, the website has swept through these festivals for new content, and this is what we came up with.
Here are the 10 Netflix Movies That Are Terrible (And 10 You Need To Watch Right Now).
20. Don’t: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny
Crouching Tiger, Hiden Dragon: Sword of Destiny is on the list primarily because of how big of a disappointment it was, rather than it simply being bad.
Not only is this a follow-up to a movie that won four Oscars, but it also brings back Michelle Yeoh as Yu. Additionally, no matter how great the predecessor was, adding in Donnie Yen once again would give even more character to this sequel.
When the Crouching Tiger story picks up, Yu is now guarding the sword, Green Destiny, but is challenged for it by the warlord Hades Dai and his powerful clan. Donnie Yen’s Silent Wolf and a small contingent of warriors come to the aid of Yu.
Even with these two stars becoming involved, the perfect touch of emotion isn’t present in this film, and the story itself isn’t nearly as appealing. What’s even more disappointing is the fact the action sequences aren’t nearly as fluid as in Ang Lee’s original.
19. Do: Tramps
Tramps is a comedy that not nearly enough people have seen. It is a story of two young adults who botch a tradeoff of briefcases and must travel around New York to the right their wrongs.
Tramps premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and was released by Netflix in April of this year.
You may have never heard of Grace Van Patten or Callum Turner, the two stars in this film, but they’re worth watching, mostly for what they don’t do with their performances. They’re not showy or over-acting, and instead are subdued and legitimately fun to watch.
The movie is directed by Adam Leon, who previously helmed another underseen New York-centered film: Gimme the Loot. He gives a more complete project here in a brisk 85-minute runtime.
18. Don’t: You Get Me
Netflix has picked up plenty of good movies for distribution. When it comes to thrillers, though, they haven’t exactly had any Get Out’s.
You Get Me is also technically a thriller, as these types of movies are supposed to be the least predictable. However, this is not the case here, as we’re subjected to staying two steps ahead of the story.
The movie is essentially about a boy who has a nasty breakup and has a one-night stand with a girl from out of town, only for his ex to end up wanting him back. However, by this time, the new girl is already attached, and this leads down a very dark path of obsession.
It does seem like Bella Thorne in the stalker role is convincing, and there’s at least noticeable effort on her part. If you want to watch a stalker thriller, though, you can do much better with Fatal Attraction. You Get Me is far too hackneyed and unexciting.
17. Do: The Incredible Jessica James
Jessica Williams stars as the delightful title character in this rom-com, which premiered at Sundance this year and was one of the many films swept up by Netflix for distribution.
The Incredible Jessica James isn’t the most unique film you’ll find on the streaming service. It mostly centers around a hopeful playwright’s growing friendship after a nasty breakup. Simple is sometimes best, however, and with the one-time Daily Show correspondent Williams on screen, there is plenty of life brought to the story.
The romance doesn’t always hit its mark, but both leads (Williams and Chris O’Dowd) turn in charming individual performances. The film won’t be blowing anyone’s mind or causing you to fall in love with the first person you see, but at a slim 85 minutes it’s easy to consume and will leave you in a good mood.
16. Don’t: Death Note
It’s nowhere near the worst Netflix film, but it may be the biggest letdown they’ve had yet. At least we can say Death Note looked good, with the style of the Japanese manga coming to life. However, beyond that, there’s really no proper representation to the original series to be found.
Death Note’s story centers around a notebook of the same name that falls into the hands of high school student Light Turner. With it, he has the power to bring death to anyone just by writing their name, a power he learns from the death spirit Ryuk.
If the idea sounds compelling, that’s because it is. You’re way better off watching the 37-episode manga series, though, or the Japanese live-action film that accompanied it.
The engagement, the thrill, and the creativity that Death Note possessed before vanishes with this iteration. Moving past its look, it doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it wants to be. It simply has no coherent plot and– even worse– no real purpose.
15. Do: Win It All
New Girl’s Jake Johnson leads the cast of this dramedy, one that premiered at the South by Southwest festival and came to Netflix in April. Between Johnson, an appearance by Keegan Michael-Key, and the direction of Joe Swanberg, there’s plenty of great improvised comedy to go around.
Win It All is the story of an amateur gambler who agrees to watch a large bag of cash for an acquaintance headed off to prison. He, of course, loses the money, and when the sentence is shortened for said acquaintance, he’s up against the clock to make all that cash back.
The film hasn’t been gifted with as great of a response from fans as it has by critics. This is probably due to the fact that it has a plot that takes time (and then some) to develop. However, for many, the well-timed comedy in between will go a long way. Also, the final act makes the rest of the film more than worth the watch.
14. Don’t: Rebirth
Remember what we said about Netflix thrillers? Well, Rebirth falls into the same sub-par category.
It was released on Netflix in July of last year after a turn at the Tribeca Film Festival. It follows the strange and dangerous journey through the mind of Kyle, who is convinced by his crazy best friend to join the Rebirth self-actualization program.
It has its trippy moments and an entertaining performance by Adam Goldberg (the friend) for as long as he’s in it. What sets up to be an interesting, down-the-rabbit-hole type of story, though, ends up with nothing to show for itself.
While taking a stab at irony, it also attempts to uncover the limits of human nature, and enjoys just having a few screws loose. However, it tends to wear you down watching it, and not because it’s very intellectually involved.
13. Do: The Fundamentals of Caring
This film is about a writer who, after a personal tragedy, decides to take care of a boy with muscle dystrophy. They go on a road trip together that also serves as an emotional journey while they attempt to cope with their issues.
The Fundamentals of Caring stars Paul Rudd, who’s shown to have some impressive acting chops in more dramatic environments. Sure, he always seems to have his same lovable quirks, but he’s not afraid to venture outside his comfort zone with this role.
However, it’s a little formulaic as an indie film and won’t give you much new. It may also seem like you’ve seen the third act before in another Sundance flick, but it does nail most of those trademarks, so it’s hard not to like if you’re an indie fan. It additionally has enough comedy to keep Rudd fans happy along the way.
12. Don’t: Special Correspondents
Ricky Gervais is one of the most polarizing comedians of his generation, but pretty much everyone’s unanimous in thinking that Special Correspondents was one of his worst creations.
A story about two struggling journalists staging their kidnapping seems like a story waiting to offer crazy hijinks and clever plot points. However, the film instead serves up a series of events far too predictable and boring.
Beyond Gervais and Eric Bana’s characters being thinly constructed, the comedy that sounds like a home run on paper is surprisingly dull. It has absolutely none of the wackiness that Gervais showed in his creation of The Office.
11. Do: To The Bone
When it first hit Sundance screens, some critics considered To the Bone controversial for the way it portrayed anorexia. However, it’s hard to say that the story wasn’t honest, considering the fact that the one telling the tale was the person that the story was based on.
To the Bone follows college dropout Ellen, who battles with anorexia. After going to a group home, she begins the long trek to understanding and defeating her addiction with the help of a peculiar doctor. Lilly Collins plays the role of Ellen, and Dr. Beckham is played by none other than Keanu Reeves.
The story is based off the actual battle that director/writer Marti Noxon had with the condition. Noxon had previously written episodes of Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to name a few.
10. Don’t: Naked
If a Wayans brother comedy is what you like, then you’re in luck. This will be exactly what you’d expect. For the rest of us, though, this may not be something to enjoy.
Naked is the nude, wedding day version of Groundhog Day, where Marlon Wayans’ Rob Anderson wakes up naked in a hotel elevator time after time. He just can’t quite get to the “I do”s.
It seems like this whole formula has been used for most special days or holidays, from days people die or go into a coma, to Valentine’s Day, to Christmas, to wedding days, and so on. These stories can be great, but Groundhog is one of the few dramedies to do it right.
Beyond Naked’s premise, it could’ve gone two ways with its structure. One would be to follow Groundhog Day’s blueprint and fill in the lowbrow humor. The other would be to go as senseless as possible with the concept, to the point of making fun of itself. However, it does neither and is at times yawn-inducing.
9. Do: I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
While on the subject of Sundance darlings, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore was a darker indie comedy that made waves in 2017.
The story follows a depressed woman named Ruth, who’s fed up with the way she’s been treated and what the world has come to. After being robbed, she finally has enough. Her and her eccentric neighbor Tony go after the pack of criminals, but soon realize that they’re in over their heads.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore was released on Netflix this past February after winning the Grand Jury Prize at the esteemed film festival the month before. The film stars Melanie Lynskey (Ruth) and Elijah Wood (Tony).
There’s the feeling of alienation and disgust with society that gives a lasting impression. The film’s also not afraid to be silly while spilling blood, and comedic even though it has such determined characters. While those characters are unconventional, there’s so many sincere qualities about them.
8. Don’t: Mercy
Mercy is the story of four brothers who come back to their old home to be with their dying mother. However, they’re interrupted by masked individuals from a religious group who try to take claim of the family’s large inheritance.
Amid several solid entries from Netflix is this thriller, which was rarely watched and quickly discarded. While it’s not the worst on this list, there’s more than enough reason for it to be instantly forgotten.
The protagonists— if you want to call them that— are nearly impossible to root for or even sympathize with. Also, from a technical perspective, Mercy simply does not look like a professionally made movie. The shot sequencing and cuts are, at times, extremely painful to watch.
The thriller does pose some interesting questions and scenarios, but it’s hard to get past the fact that it all goes unexplained at the end of the film and the lack of actual “thrill” that the movie has.
7. Do: Tallulah
As another film Netflix picked up rights to at Sundance, Tallulah is a family drama that pulls no punches.
It stars Ellen Page as the title character, who is left to take care of a young girl after her mother abandons her. Without a family of her own, Tallulah must seek the help of her ex-boyfriend’s mother to help take care of the child.
Tallulah is directed by Sian Heder, who seems a seasoned vet, but was making her feature-film debut. If Heder sounds familiar to Netflix fans, that’s because she was a writer for the hit show Orange is the New Black. She wrote some of the best episodes the series has ever seen, like “A Whole Other Hole” and “You Also Have A Pizza”.
What could be a ho-hum family drama throws in just enough shades of the melodrama that helped propel Juno. However, the attitude of Page’s characters always combats sappiness in the best way. Though the social commentary on parenting may not be for everyone, there’s more attention put developing great characters.
6. Don’t: The True Memoirs of an International Assassin
In the same vein of newer Adam Sandler productions is the recent Kevin James movies. Honestly, there aren’t many bright spots for him outside of television, but The True Memoirs of an International Assassin gives Paul Blart’s idiocy a run for its money.
Simply put, you know what you’re getting with these types of comedians. You either like them or you don’t at this point. The plot, which follows a fiction writer who is thrown into his own assassin story as the lead character, is something with serious potential. With a $40M budget, they had the money for considerable effects, seeing as there weren’t many superstars to pay.
However, the film lacks action, mainly because of how they must accommodate the main actor. There’s also not enough of the action to really make it an action-spy movie. The over-the-top slapstick is nothing new and the film drags on and on.
5. Do: Imperial Dreams
The story of a 21-year-old ex-gang member from south LA trying to endure the nature of his roots to help his family isn’t what you’d think would get John Boyega his role as Finn. However, you do feel his desire for resistance, even if he’s not wielding a lightsaber.
This austere urban drama is both subtle and inspiring, a film that impressed many at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Because of Boyega’s scheduling, though, he wasn’t able to market the film properly. This led to a long hiatus before the film was finally released by Netflix on February 3rd of this year.
Imperial Dreams is a genuine tale with a great blend of bleakness and inspiration that immerses you in the life of the character and the world that tries to engulf him. Additionally, Boyega is fantastic.
4. Don’t: The Do-Over
While Sandy Wexler has at least a redeeming quality or two, as it restrains Adam Sandler, The Do-Over has no such value. Also, it’s even longer than it should be.
The film revolves around two long-time friends (played by Sandler and David Spade, real life long-time friends) whose boring lives change when they decide to change their identities. However, danger ensues after their switch.
Once again, this isn’t the worst idea that Sandler has ever had, but it doesn’t matter when you fumble setting up the premise and become more foolish with every scene. The problem here is that Sandler seems to be putting in some effort, but all this breeds is confusion and the dumbness that comes with it.
3. Do: Okja
This is one of Netflix’s crowning achievement when it comes to original movies.
Okja premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. After getting booed for technical issues 20 minutes into its press-screening, it was given a four-minute standing ovation by the audience when the credits rolled.
The film follows Mija, a young girl from South Korea who takes care of an enormous pig-like creature with floppy ears named Okja. When the animal is captured by a multinational company called the Mirando Corporation, young Mija sets off on the long journey to New York to save her friend.
This became the seventh feature-length film for Bong-Joon Ho, who to this point may still be best known in America for his cult sci-fi hit Snowpiercer.
Okja is an ambitious movie that dabbles into several different genres and somehow blends them in seamlessly. It has a strong but not clumsy anti-corporation message. Beyond its satire is simply an adventure story worth going on because of Mjia and Okja.
2. Don’t: The Ridiculous 6
Where to begin? We can’t say Netflix had the wrong idea by signing a deal with Adam Sandler to distribute several of his movies. There’s still plenty of clicks to be had from his audience, and The Ridiculous 6 broke records in terms of viewership.
However, this is not only bad comedy, but lazy comedy that’s consumed Sandler’s recent projects. Any chance that he had to return to form in a new setting after such cinematic catastrophes as Pixels and Jack and Jill was quickly squashed.
As far as being a spoof to another film (The Hateful 8), this faux-western falls somewhere between Meet the Spartans and Epic Movie. That’s about as bad as movies can become and still actually somehow be called movies.
It’s not like Sandler wasn’t once capable of being funny, but a film like this sends a clear message to all of us that the effort on his part just wasn’t there, and that any jokes that once landed are now worn out or cringeworthy.
1. Do: Beasts of No Nation
If Netflix ever had a heavyweight, this is it. Not only because of its subject material, but also because it supplies the best performance of Idris Elba’s wonderful career.
Beasts of No Nation follows a civil war in Africa through the eyes of a child soldier. It premiered in Toronto and was released in October of 2015 on Netflix.
Though it had Oscar aspirations, especially for Elba’s role as the rebel Commandant, it did not meet the release guidelines to be considered for the awards.
Even so, this film will be remembered as the first big fish Netflix grabbed in the film category. Cary Fukunaga’s vision is brutal but so beautiful it’s hard to take your eyes away. There’s nothing sugar-coated or over-dramatized, just pure reality in an ugly part of the world.
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of war movies, it’s still a must watch for the humanity (or lack thereof) involved and the flicker of hope the film casts within all the darkness.
What do you think? What’s your favorite (or least favorite) movie on Netflix? Let us know in the comments!
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