Netflix has become an undeniable force in the trends of modern Hollywood. If you ask most people at this point in their life if they’d rather spend $50 at the movies or sit at home in their sweatpants, watching Netflix originals, I think we’d all know their answer. This means many of us rely on Netflix to bring us some classic flicks we love, as well as some original gems in there to contend with current Hollywood standards. But with Netflix spitting out so much original content, how do you wade through the mud and only find the diamonds?
Here are 10 of the best worst Netflix originals according to Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an overall consensus by reviewers and fans alike.
10. Best: Imperial Dreams
This seems to be about as close to “Oscar bait” as Netflix gets. And while it can be a bit heavy-handed and overly melodramatic at points, this movie knocks it out of the park. It’s a story of a former New Order soldier who quits the republic to gain a better life so his son won’t turn to the dark side when he comes of age. The 2014 drama was really well told and superbly acted.
Funny enough, we have The Force Awakens and Imperial Dreams interconnected because they both star John Boyega in the same role (except he wears space clothes in one of them).
9. Best: Okja
A quick warning about this one: It makes you not wanna eat bacon again.
Okja is a sort of modern fairy tale for adults (and kids too, but they will be traumatized, make no mistake) about a large pork-esque beast who befriends a girl and tries to escape the butcher’s block. No, really. That is the summary of the film.
But it shines in its cast (Jake Gyllenhaal) and South Korean director Joon-ho Bong. Bong brings his name to other films like Mother, The Host, and Snowpiercer, so you know he was bringing his A-game with Okja.
In short, Okja is like E.T if they wanted to eat E.T.
8. Best: Cargo
Sadly, Cargo came and went silently this year and it shouldn’t have. Some would call it the quieter, more reserved twin of Train to Busan in the sense that it really works a sort of revisionist take on zombies. Though it’s very slow and methodical, it is a devastating glimpse into what life could actually be like. It feels much more palpable than any other zombie movie ever made in that sense. A truly intimate portrayal of devastation.
Focusing on a small family trying to make it in the times of the undead—starring the brilliant Martin Freeman—this is what The Walking Dead should’ve turned into. It’s an exhaustive look at just how taxing daily survival can be on the human condition.
7. Best: Beasts Of No Nation
Remember a few years back when everyone posted on social media about how the world needed to stop the tyrannical rule of Kony; a man who had amassed an army of child soldiers via brutal means? And then remember how, a week later, they kind of forgot about it and went back to posting pics of their pets and kids?
Well, in short, this is Kony, the movie.
All I have to tell you is Idris Elba plays the lead, so you know you’re gonna be taken for an intense ride. There will be scenes that truly leave you rattled, but in the end, the intensity of the performances (that kid had never acted before and hung with one of the best) and the power of the story will leave you shaken where you stand.
If you ask me, Elba was robbed of an Oscar last year and should have gotten the nod, as his performance as a truly detestable man was both raw and riveting.
6. Best: Annihilation
What?! Annihilation wasn’t a Netflix original! Yes. Yes, it was. It just wasn’t a Netflix original for the US.
This Alex Garland directed film was not only a staggering achievement but also, without a doubt, one of the best films of the year. It was one of the best science fiction movies of the last decade. A staggering piece about what it means to be human, and how our sense of insane self-importance could be our own undoing, Annihilation leaves you breathless by its stellar and somewhat obtuse ending. To tell you much more would ruin it.
The fact that Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, and Alex Garland are in it sells the movie even more.
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5. Worst: Father Of The Year
Dear Netflix, this is an intervention.
Someone has to warn you that giving millions of dollars to Adam Sandler, David Spade, and Rob Schneider is not gonna yield you the best results. Some would say find some brave, young filmmakers and invest in them instead. Help create the future landscape of film instead of dropping more bombs like this one.
The fact is, this list could be all Sandler and Spade, so picking just one was tough. But essentially, seeing David Spade unofficially renew his Joe Dirt character in 2018 to play another white trash outcast is about as appealing as dinner with Harvey Weinstein.
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4. Worst: When We First Met
You know what no one was asking for? A romantic comedy starring Adam Devine from Workaholics. While he can be funny under the right circumstances and in very short bursts, watching him trying to woo the freakishly attractive Alexandra Daddario ends up being nothing else but a cringefest. It’s like watching your one socially awkward friend try to not bet that… it’s that uncomfortable.
This is the movie version of being served mashed potatoes without butter or salt. It’s maybe not the worst thing on earth, but you are still smart enough to know you want nothing to do with it.
3. Worst: Special Correspondents
There is an unspoken film rule no one knows about: If Eric Bana is in your movie, it won’t do well. No one knows quite why this is, but if you look back through his career—though he is a decent actor—people seemingly do not like the movies he chooses. And Special Correspondents doesn’t falter in that sense. But the real let down was the fact that is was written by (and also co-starred) Ricky Gervais, which gave the people some hope about this meta take on fake news.
But no, it was bland and unfunny and utterly unmemorable in every sense. So much so that, at the time of writing this, no one here can recall even ONE scene. Yes, that bad.
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2. Worst: Brain On Fire
Ugh, this is another Netflix original where you can tell they really thought they were gonna bait the Oscars with a powerful film. But the movie felt so contrived from that exact standpoint that it failed hard on every single level.
Starring the normally likable Chloe Grace Moretz, this movie tries so hard to get feels from the audience that the end result just feels so vapid and desperate. It wants to be liked but doesn’t seem to know how to go about getting that in an organic manner, so it begs.
Jesus, even the name is pretentious. It sounds more like a three-word review someone would give after having sat through it.
1. Worst: True Memoirs Of An International Assassin
“Hey, screw it, let’s give a couple million to Sandler’s other friend, too!”
Whoever yelled that at the Netflix meeting that week needs to be fired, stat! Seriously, it’s pretty clear that someone is trying to destroy them from the inside with trite like this. It’s a movie that stars Kevin James as a James Bond type spy who… Yeah, you can see where this is going. It’s not even good enough to dissect.
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