Ever since Netflix expanded into original programming, the streaming service has become one of the most respected sources of compelling modern content on television or the internet. Part of the reason that Netflix has been so successful with this new initiative is because they have proven to be absolutely fearless in their endeavors. Like HBO before them, Netflix has taken risks in producing shows and films that traditional studios and networks have otherwise shunned. It’s because of them that seemingly niche shows like Stranger Things and bold movies like Beasts of No Nation have become bonafide hits.
As much as you have to respect Netflix’s desire to serve as a home for every good idea that would otherwise be left in the cold, their willingness to explore all manners of amusement has led to the company greenlighting some truly awful pieces of entertainment. We’ve previously looked at the worst original shows Netflix has to offer, but Netflix’s worst original movies are somehow even more intolerable than their bottom of the barrel series. You may think that it defies logic that an hour-and-a-half movie can be worse than a 13-hour series, but that’s only because you haven’t seen these highly illogical testaments to the benefits of selectivity.
15. The Most Hated Woman In America
A good story doesn’t always make for a good movie. Madelyn Murray O’Hair was an outspoken anti-religious advocate who founded the American Atheists and managed to upset just about every religious person that ever heard her speak (and a few others for good measure). She fought against bible readings in school, made quite a bit of money from donations, and was infamously kidnapped. She lived a very interesting life.
So why was the movie based on her life so very dull? The Most hated Woman In America’s biggest problem is that the people behind the film seem to have believed that O’Hair’s story was interesting enough on its own. As such, they really didn’t put much effort into presenting it in an interesting way. The dialog serves little purpose beyond getting you to the next part of O’Hair’s life – it’s like a toddler telling you about their day – and the direction is lifted straight from every biopic you’ve ever seen.
14. The Discovery
The Discovery is a hard movie to hate, but we’ll do our best. The premise fueling the film is utterly fascinating. A scientist has just proven the existence of the afterlife, and the citizens of the world respond by killing themselves en masse. What follows is a look at how life manages to go on once such information is available as well as a subplot involving the machine that was used to look into the afterlife.
It all sounds great until you realize that the movie doesn’t really have that much interesting to say beyond the revelation of the movie’s core concept. The Discovery quickly abandons the idea of examining the global fallout of this event in favor of narrowing the story’s scope and looking at how the power of the machine affects a select group of people. In the process, the movie quickly dissipates into the kind of routine examination of death and mourning that is relatively interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the opening moments of the movie.
13. The Fundamentals of Caring
Fundamentally, we can’t be bothered to care about this movie. If you think that’s a bad attempt at being clever, then you clearly haven’t seen The Fundamentals of Caring. This film centers around a retired writer named Ben who decides to become a caregiver. He is charged with watching over an 18-year-old boy named Trevor who suffers from muscular dystrophy. Due to Trevor’s fascination with roadside attractions, Ben decides to take Trevor on a road trip.
Tonally, The Fundamentals of Caring is a mess. With Paul Rudd in one of the leading roles, you would expect the film to at least be a dark comedy. That appears to be what the director was going for, but the attempt at balancing drama and humor is undone by fairly uninspired jokes – Selena Gomez cannot deliver a line to save her acting career – and drama that boils down to a fairly routine story about two people finding themselves through unlikely circumstances.
If you’re a horror fan, you want to support movies like Clinical. Not only is it an original Netflix horror movie, but on the surface, it’s based on a fairly original premise. Clinical centers around a psychiatrist named Dr. Jane Mathis who is trying to piece her life together following a violent attack. As part of her healing process, she decides to make it her mission to save the life of one of her patients. Unfortunately for her, the patient she chooses happens to be an incredibly dark person whose terrifying past may just prove to further Jane’s own descent into madness.
Clinical is a familiar trip down horror cliche lane. From the softly spoken villain to the slightly modified damsel in distress, it becomes apparent that Clinical isn’t interested in telling a psychological horror story so much as it wants to slightly modify the basic paranormal slasher genre in a way that only pays lip service to genuine cleverness.
11. Take the 10
We’re not entirely sure why, but Netflix seems to struggle with original comedies more than they do original dramas. Whatever the reason behind the service’s struggles to produce a good comedy, Take the 10 is a pretty good representative of every below average Netflix comedy film out there. It’s a familiar story about two perennial losers who are trying to go to a big concert but get involved in a complicated web of violence and chicanery that is triggered by our young heroes’ stupidity.
Take the 10 isn’t particularly funny, but lots of movies aren’t particularly funny. What really makes Take the 10 irritating is how unlikable the film’s main characters are. We’ve rooted for irredeemable human beings in films before, but it’s hard to root for irredeemable human beings that regularly alter between boring and hateful. It’s the kind of movie that you would feel bad for laughing at if such a thing were actually a risk.
10. Girlfriend’s Day
Girlfriend’s Day follows a former greeting card writer named Ray Wentworth (Bob Odenkirk) who has been feeling a little down in the dumps. In the world of this film, greeting card writers are treated like great novelists. Because Wentworth is no longer the source of such admiration, he no longer knows what his purpose in life is. In an effort to find his purpose, he decides to invoke in a crazy life adventure in order to come up with the perfect card for girlfriend’s day.
This movie could have worked much better than it ultimately does if the director and writers had stuck with the film’s intimate initial premise. Instead, the movie veers off into absolutely bizarre directions that quickly render the movie surprisingly boring. You can see the potential for a great Coen Brothers-esque comedy here, but the final film just isn’t nearly as smart as the people involved with its production seem to think it is.
Rebirth is the kind of movie that is theoretically worth watching simply because it sounds fairly original. It’s about an average guy-type guy named Kyle who is visited by his eccentric former college friend, Zack. Zack claims to have invented an incredible new program that will allow users to experience “self-actualization” by embarking upon a bizarre journey. Kyle agrees to participate in the program and proceeds to experience a bizarre journey. Say what you will about crazy Zack, but the kid really delivers on his promises.
Rebirth’s premise might sound slightly familiar to those that have seen the 1997 film, The Game. The ideas are shockingly similar, but Rebirth fails to capture an ounce of The Game’s cleverness. The movie tries to make up for its lack of original ideas by presenting a series of weird occurrences that all supposedly mean something, but it becomes clear early on that Rebirth has nothing original say and no amusing way to say whatever is on the movie’s mind.
8. Brahman Naman
Every few years, Hollywood gets it into their heads the world needs another movie about teenagers trying to engage in sexual misadventures. To their credit, this formula has resulted in a few memorable films over the years such as Porky’s, American Pie, and Superbad. What you have to realize, though, is that each of those films had something to offer beyond that basic premise (clever writing, timely observations, etc.). At first, you think that Brahman Naman is going to turn its setting – Bangalore, India in the 1980s – into a compelling hook. Soon, though, you realize that this movie really is just another standard “teens lose their virginity” romp.
What a shame that is. Brahman Naman could have taken that classic formula and wrapped it around an entirely new culture, but instead, we get a fairly standard genre film that checks off just about every American film trope despite the fact that the movie’s hook is its setting and the people who live there.
7. Coin Heist
During a trip to a mint, a class of students learn that misprinted coins are incredibly valuable. They also learn that their school’s headmaster has been embezzling funds for years. Because of his actions, the school is now broke. That means no more extracurricular activities, no more scholarships, and perhaps even no more school. A group of students who are all affected by these events decide to break into the mint, forge some misprinted coins, and sell them for enough money to save the school.
If you’re still thinking that premise sounds interesting, then trust us when we say that Coin Heist will betray your misplaced enthusiasm. This is every bad heist movie you’ve ever seen mixed with every high school cliche you’ve ever known. There’s the jock, the nerd, the preppy girl, the hacker that can do anything with a laptop, etc. Unfortunately, Coin Heist’s dry writing and lack of style do little to rescue the film from its own repetitiveness.
6. The Ridiculous 6
We now begin the Adam Sandler portion of this list. You knew it was coming. Since inking a deal with Netflix, Adam Sandler has gone on to produce a number of low-effort movies that – much like his big screen films – were seemingly made to keep his group of friends employed. Somehow, these movies have apparently become some of Netflix’s biggest hits. We’re just as confused as you are.
Of course, we’re not nearly as confused by that news as you’ll be if you try to find the humor in The Ridiculous 6. This isn’t the worst Adam Sandler Netflix movie by virtue of a couple of scenes which may temporarily convince you to not forcibly rip out your eyes and use them to plug up your ears, but this Western parody is still one of the laziest, dumbest, and most painful attempts at skewering the genre you’ll ever have the misfortune of scrolling past while looking for Blazing Saddles. This is the movie that poses the ancient philosophical question, “If blatantly racist characters are inserted into an Adam Sandler film that nobody watches, are they still offensive?
XOXO follows the adventures of a group of young ravers (or clubgoers, or dance music fans, or whatever terminology we’re going with these days) whose lives become interconnected through a series of events occurring at a famous festival called XOXO (basically Burning Man). Unsurprisingly, all of their lives are missing something and the music might just be able to fill the void in their existence.
Wow, this movie is just awful. Now, to be fair, XOXO looks pretty great and theoretically has a good soundtrack if you’re into that kind of thing. If you are not into this particular culture, you’re going to have to suffer through a mushy, romanticized look on how these wayward souls are actually better human beings than the rest of us. Even if you are into this scene, you’re going to have a hard time getting past XOXO’s impossibly shallow characters and painful dialog. Either way, we’d steer clear of this train wreck
4. Sandy Wexler
Our friend and yours, Adam Sandler, appears again on this list. Some will tell you that Sandy Wexler is Sandler’s smartest Netflix film to date. In some ways, they are right. Sandy Wexler is the story of a talent manager who mostly represents a series of misfit, B-level clients. His life becomes decidedly more interesting one day when he meets a singer who is actually talented and looking for representation. Sandler has stated that the story plays off of his relationship with his real-life talent manager, Sandy Wernick.
There’s an argument to be made that Sandy Wexler is a step above Sandler’s other efforts. The movie isn’t quite as grating as some of his other recent films and there are a couple of watchable moments. However, the movie is also over two hours long and lacks even a hint of the “My god, what am I watching?” brand of entertainment that Sandler’s other disasters have to offer.
3. The Do-Over
Guess who’s back… back again. Typically, we’d be opposed to beating a dead horse – be it metaphorical or literal – but this is Adam Sandler we’re talking about. The man built his career off beating dead horses. The Do-Over is a typical Adam Sandler movie with a slightly atypical premise. It’s about two friends (Adam Sandler and David Spade… they’re characters and their names are irrelevant) who become mixed up in zany shenanigans after they decide to fake their own deaths.
The Do-Over may just be Adam Sandler’s worst film due largely to the fact that it rarely aspires to be anything more than an Adam Sandler movie. Just in case you were intrigued by the set-up, the movie quickly betrays you with juvenile scenes involving topless women, David Spade’s awkwardness, and Adam Sandler’s seemingly infallible existence. Once the shameless product placements start rolling in, you’re left wondering if Adam Sandler is a legitimate wizard whose one power is the ability to turn 90 minutes into an eternity in hell.
Some people will tell you that it’s not fair to judge iBoy unless you’re in the film’s target teen demographic. Why should stuffy adults slam a film that clearly isn’t intended for them? That argument is undone by the realization that the best kind of films aimed at teenagers are the ones that treat teenagers as adults and not hormone-driven balls of bad taste.
iBoy is not such a film. It’s a lazy superhero movie based on the premise that a young man gains superpowers after an accident leaves him with pieces of a cellphone embedded into his head. iBoy‘s biggest failure is an underestimation of the film’s supposed target audience. The movie is aimed at appealing to the most technology savvy generation ever, yet its technobabble is largely nonsensical. It’s trying to tell a superhero story but resorts to superhero cliches that even teenagers have seen play out time and time again for years. iBoy feels like a movie made by people who stopped keeping up with technology, youth culture, and filmmaking techniques sometime in the ‘90s
1. True Memoirs of an International Assassin
As bad as Adam Sandler is, his one saving grace is that he’s not Kevin James. Some of you may know James as that guy who was on that TV show that you sometimes leave running in the background because modern televisions no longer have white noise stations. The rest of you know him as a comedian that has never actually uttered a legitimate joke in his career.
James’ impressive streak continues in True Memoirs of an International Assassin; a film about an author who becomes involved in an international conspiracy when his publisher decided to portray his fictional espionage novel as a collection of true stories. It casts James into the same bumbling idiot role that he’s known for. Despite years of practice, James remains as incapable as ever of actually amusing audiences with his bumbling reading from the same book of one-liners he’s been relying on since refusing to get a day job.
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