In the time that it has been generating its own content, Netflix has experienced wild success. With original shows such as Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, and House of Cards, the streaming service has become semi self-sufficient while garnering support from the public and critics alike.
However, while Netflix has enjoyed hit after hit with its in-house television shows, it has not experienced anything remotely similar on the movie front. While some of Netflix’s original films have received positive reviews, it is hard to think of any which captivated the world in the same way as Making a Murder or, more recently, The Keepers.
While the most loyal of Netflix’s subscribers will dutifully watch every movie and ensure they get their monthly fee’s worth, the average Netflix viewer just does not have the time to make it through every feature-length offering from the streaming service. Nor do they have the dedication to sit through the films which have been panned by critics in negative reviews which are more often than not totally justified.
In order to save you from inadvertently clicking on one of Netflix’s many crimes against cinema the next time you sit down to make use of the streaming service, we have compiled this list of some of the worst films the Netflix machine has ever cranked out.
Here are Netflix’s 15 worst movies right now according to critics.
15 Special Correspondents
For years, Ricky Gervais was openly critical of what he considered to be tame, uninspired, lowest common denominator comedy. In an attempt to remedy the drivel being churned out by film and television production companies, Gervais wrote The Office, a hilarious yet subtle take on office life which became the single most successful British sitcom of all time. However, the fame which Gervais achieved as a result of The Office eventually went to his head and as his success grew, the effort which he put into his projects rapidly reduced.
Special Correspondents, a 2016 Netflix film written by and starring Gervais, is the culmination of years of reduced interest on the part of the comedian. The movie follows two friends as they concoct a wacky story of chaos and kidnapping in Ecuador in an attempt to cover up the fact they never went to the country despite being assigned to a story there by the news station for which they both work. Upon its release, critics bashed the film for failing to live up to the original French production. The characters were described as being flat and superficial while the project as a whole was labeled an embarrassment for Gervais.
XOXO is an odd drama for the rave era - promoted using the slogan “Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat. - which was directed by Christopher Louie and released by Netflix in August of 2016. The film follows six strangers and their various encounters throughout a single night of eroticism and pill popping after a young DJ scores a potentially life-changing gig at a potentially life-changing festival.
Although the movie proved somewhat popular with older teenagers who don’t quite have the capacity to tell a good film from a bad one, it failed to achieve similar success among critics or the experienced movie-going public. Almost immediately after being released, the movie was mocked for its unoriginality, with one critic describing it as being “as predictable as EDM”. Others noted that the film was loaded with cliches and served to prove that the folks at the top of the Netflix ladder are out of touch with young viewers, no matter how hard they try to convince us otherwise.
13 Sandy Wexler
Netflix recently announced a multi-movie deal with “comedy” “icon” Adam Sandler, much to the dismay of fans of quality cinema the world over. The general consensus is that each film produced through the Netflix-Adam Sandler partnership will be the usual unentertaining, cringe-worthy farce we have come to expect from the Happy Gilmore star. That being said, each of those films is going to have to be pretty unentertaining and pretty cringeworthy in order to be any worse than the third film of the partnership Sandy Wexler.
Sandy Wexler follows Adam Sandler in the role of the title character, an incompetent, down on his luck talent agent based in Los Angeles back in the 1990s. Unsurprisingly, the film was universally panned and loathed by virtually every film critic who found the energy to sit through it. It has been described as, among other things, annoyingly unfunny, sloppy, and underdeveloped.
Rebirth, which was released by Netflix in the summer of 2016 after premiering the previous April at the Tribeca Film Festival is an odd beast. I say this because the picture played on the middle-class comfortable type reconnecting with the eccentric, wacky character he was friends with a couple of decades prior which is usually seen in farcical comedies, yet it is intended to be a thriller. The movie follows Kyle (portrayed by Fran Kranz) who is talked into embarking on a voyage of self-discovery referred to as “rebirth” by an old friend. Chaos, as it so often does, ensues.
While Rebirth certainly has an interesting premise and an equally promising cast, it fails to capitalize on either and what we are left with is an underwhelming paint by numbers thriller which feels every bit of its 101 minutes. Critics, of course, panned it both following its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and again upon its Netflix release. One critic hit the nail squarely on the head when he described Rebirth as a “Self-help opportunity gone terribly wrong”.
11 True Memoirs Of An International Assassin
The script of True Memoirs of an International Assassin, which was written by one Jeff Morris, was included in the 2009 edition of the Black List which a list of screenplays that have proven popular with those who have read them yet have not been produced. As a result of this, Netflix saw it as the perfect basis for a Kevin James vehicle.
In November of 2016, Memoirs of an International Assassin was finally released by Netflix, with Kevin James in the starring role and Zulay Henao as the female lead. However, the final product was so far removed from the original vision of Jeff Morris that those who had been so crazy about his script back in 2009 turned on it and branded the movie as only occasionally funny and void of all integrity or wit.
Director Chris Sparling has not had the most stellar career in the motion picture industry since the release of his first notable film, Buried, in 2010. That movie, which starred Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy, an American truck driver who winds up buried alive in Iraq, received average to positive reviews, but little else. The movies which Sparling has been attached to in the years which have elapsed have been a collection of disappointments, including Mercy.
After premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival on the 4th of June, 2016, Mercy and its distribution rights were acquired by Netflix, who believed the film would be warmly welcomed by its subscribers. It was not. In fact, most who viewed the movie on the streaming service came out not just unsatisfied, but actively unhappy with what they had seen. Critics have described Mercy as plodding, illogical, and downright tedious to sit through.
9 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny
When Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon hit American screens in December of 2000, it became an instant hit. American moviegoers were fascinated by the breathtaking martial arts sequences which tied together an utterly captivating story set in the reign of the Qing Dynasty. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon received close to 50 awards and was nominated for a total of 10 Oscars. To this day it remains the single most influential foreign film in the history of American cinema, which I guess explains why Netflix assumed a sequel would be a good idea.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny was released by Netflix on the 26th of February, 2016, after much anticipation from devoted fans of the original movie. Unfortunately, the sequel, which was filmed in English and later dubbed to Mandarin, was panned by critics and foreign film fans alike. Producers received major backlash for shooting in English and the final product itself was described as something similar to a “Poor episode of Game of Thrones”.
Christopher Guest is undoubtedly the king of the mock-documentary (although Sacha Baron Cohen can lay some degree of claim to the title). Guest’s greatest success came, of course, in 1984, when he wrote and starred in This Is Spinal Tap, a now legendary comedy purporting to follow the antics of British heavy metal giants Spinal Tap. Each picture produced by Guest since the 80s can be looked on as an attempt to match the wild success of This Is Spinal Tap, though he has rarely even come close. Many felt he had a chance to finally outdo himself in 2016 when it was announced he had been working on a mockumentary for Netflix entitled Mascots, but again he missed the mark.
Mascots, as you likely gathered from the name, follows a collection of sporting mascots as they compete against each other for the Gold Fluffy Award at the World Mascot Association Championships. The film received predominantly negative reviews from critics due to its unoriginality and failure to elevate the genre in any way. One critic somewhat wittily observed that Mascots does not, despite Guest’s efforts, “go up to 11”.
7 I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House premiered as part of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016 before being acquired and subsequently made available for world viewing by Netflix in October of that year. The movie follows Ruth Wilson as she plays a live-in nurse who encounters a series of inexplicable, increasingly creepy goings-on at the house of her elderly patient.
The movie was panned by critics for a variety of reasons, not least of all the almost inescapable reminders of its low budget. A common complaint from Netflix subscribers who managed to sit through the entirety of the film is that is that it is slow-moving and is totally lacking in its payoff, which comes after 87 minutes (though it certainly feels like much longer).
ARQ is a low-budget science fiction film which was made available on Netflix in September of 2016. I know “low-budget” and “science fiction film” seem like a recipe for disaster when combined together, but even the shallowest pockets can produce a quality science fiction film as long as they know what they are doing. Tony Elliott, who wrote and directed ARQ, it seems, did not.
The movie follows Robbie Amell in the role of Renton, an engineer who manages to create a time loop during a home invasion, which allows him to attempt to rescue his ex-girlfriend, who is played by Rachel Taylor. The film may actually hold some appeal for die-hard fans of the sci-fi genre, but the general viewer will more than likely be unimpressed by the plot and the minimal resources with which the studio had to produce it. Critics who were left unsatisfied by ARQ have focused primarily on its conclusion which doesn’t provide a whole lot of closure for those who have sat through the entire feature. While it ends on a somewhat happy note, viewers are not informed as to exactly how everything played out in the lead up to the main characters making it out alive.
5 The Do-Over
Remember that multi-film deal between Netflix and Adam Sandler I mentioned earlier on? Well, it’s here again to make you cringe and want to put your fist through the screen of your smart television. The Do-Over is just another hacky Adam Sandler film that relies on cheap, hastily written jokes and overacting in an attempt to yield some laughs.
The film follows Sandler and David Spade (of course) as two friends who make the decision to fake their own deaths and relocate to Puerto Rico for a second chance at life. It is an uninspired plot which feels like it was planned out from beginning to end on the back of a McDonald’s napkin, something which critics were quick to pick up on. You’d think the worst thing a critic could call a movie would be “unfunny”, but those who saw The Do-Over managed to find even less favorable descriptions, with many labeling it as sexist, racist, and homophobic.
4 The Discovery
The Discovery, a Netflix original film set in the distant future, follows the journey of Thomas Harbor (played by Jesse Plemons), a scientist who manages to prove the existence of an afterlife beyond all reasonable doubt. Harbor’s discovery and the subsequent publication of the news leads to suicides around the world, with millions of eager people taking their own life just so they can experience what is on the other side. We are also introduced to Harbor’s son, played by Jason Segel, as he falls in love with a young woman who is as beautiful as she is troubled.
It is certainly an interesting plot, one which feels like it should have been done a long time ago, but beyond that, the film has little to offer those who make the time to watch it. In criticizing The Discovery, reviewers have bemoaned the film’s clunkiness and failure to develop the plot to the point that the general viewer feels satisfied with its conclusion.
3 Girlfriend’s Day
Bob Odenkirk has enjoyed immense success these past couple of years. While he was something of a washed up comedy writer a decade ago, that all changed when he was cast as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, which is arguably the finest television series ever made. Since then, Odenkirk’s career has been going from strength to strength, so it was only a matter of time before he was given the chance to write and produce his own original Netflix film.
Unfortunately for fans of Odenkirk, that film was Girlfriend’s Day, a comedy-drama in which Odenkirk plays an out of work greetings card writer who must create the perfect greetings card for a new holiday or pay the price. While the movie sounds as wonderfully wacky as many of Odenkirk’s past projects, it lacks a great deal of the charm and was bashed by critics for an over-reliance on deadpan humor and the failure of Michael Paul Stephenson, an experienced director of documentaries, to adapt to directing feature-length films.
2 Take The 10
With the year 2000 came the rise of road trip comedies featuring unlikely groups traveling across the country, sometimes even the world, for questionable reasons (a concert, a movie, the illusion of love, and so on). After a decade or so, road trip movies pretty much died out, but Netflix attempted to revive them in 2017 with Take the 10.
Take the 10 follows two friends as they abandon their dead-end jobs and “take the 10” to the hip-hop concert they have been dreaming about. The film did indeed carry on the tradition of road trip movies, so much so that was it panned by critics in much the same way as the “great” road trip movies of the past. Critics advised viewers to avoid Take the 10 unless they held the desire to be exposed to a series of uninspired raunchy jokes and a threadbare, inconsistent plot.
1 The Ridiculous 6
The Ridiculous 6 is the first in that blasted series of Netflix original Adam Sandler comedies. The film is set in the Old West era and sees Sandler acting alongside the likes of Terry Crews, Taylor Lautner, and Rob Schneider, and the end result is exactly as hokey and poorly produced as you would imagine.
The Ridiculous 6 was made available for viewing on Netflix in December of 2015 and exposed those who paid their monthly subscription to 120 minutes of reasons why they should not have done so. Critics of the movie have bashed it for much the same reasons they bash every Adam Sandler comedy, with many branding it as lazy, offensive, and void of any of the charm evident in Sandler’s beloved comedies of the mid-1990s.