Since Netflix has too many new shows and movies debuting every week to keep up with, only the truly spectacular offerings deserve attention. To this end, Streamline typically recommends the best of what the service has to offer. But occasionally, it’s fun to flip the script and highlight the memorable misfires.
Last year, Netflix had a clearly undiscerning, more-is-more philosophy when it came to movie releases. They dumped dozens of terrible Original movies onto the service. Movies like “How It Ends” and “Brain on Fire” felt like clear first drafts and never should have made it to Netflix except for as movies to make fun of and treat with voyeuristic, rubbernecking attention. In 2019, Netflix has been more careful, but a few Original movies have still risen (or rather, descended) to the level of “badness” that makes the failure funny.
So with that in mind, I have collected the worst Netflix Original movies according to Metacritic scores for your potential viewing pleasure/displeasure. You can read more about the five movies below and watch their trailers.
Details: In this road trip comedy, a manager convinces his retired client from half a century ago to tour as a comedian again. The onetime comedian never made it the first time around and ultimately quit to be a podiatrist. Through touring venues in various American cities, the two aging men rekindle a passion for life they thought was lost forever.
Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss star. The cast also includes Andie MacDowell, Kate Miucci and Chris Parnell.
“The Last Laugh” runs 1 hour, 38 minutes.
How it begins: Chevy Chase’s character grunts over a black screen that eventually opens to an extreme close-up of a grainy television screen showing an advertisement for a retirement home. Unamused by the possibility of moving there, Chase’s character pops the DVD of the promotional advertisement out of the television player and snaps the disk into parts. He then takes a walk to meet his granddaughter while wearing big headphones. While talking to his granddaughter, the movie makes a “Garden State” joke, as Chase’s character has her wear his headphones and listen to The Shins. “Ah, they’re terrific, very emo,” Chase’s character says. His granddaughter makes fun of him for being years behind the times.
Metacritic score: 31 out of 100. (Metacritic aggregates various scores from respected film critics, giving a more accurate determination of quality than Rotten Tomatoes, as that is an aggregation of simple good/bad votes. Metacritic scores the degree of good and bad.)
Read on: Keith Uhlich reviewed the movie in The Hollywood Reporter:
All highs eventually fade, and “The Last Laugh” quickly returns to its noxious mix of sweet and sour. A cancer diagnosis is hidden until an ineffective and inept dramatic reveal. Almost everyone finds [Richard Dreyfuss character] Buddy’s sixth-rate Don Rickles act endearing and hilarious, which nullifies any dramatic tension. And the film concludes with Chase proudly posing nude, his nethers hidden from view by a hunk of sculpting clay. Be grateful for small mercies.
Details: This espionage thriller is loosely inspired by true events. An Ethiopian Jew and an Israeli Mossad agent partner together to smuggle refugees out of Ethiopia and into Israel around the end of the 1970s. They do so by running a coastal hotel in Sudan as a front.
Chris Evans and Michael Kenneth Williams star.
“The Red Sea Diving Resort” runs 2 hours, 9 minutes.
How it begins: Explanatory text appears on the screen for a too-short period of time. It somewhat confusingly reads: “For thousands of years Ethiopian Jews yearned for Jerusalem. As civil war wages they begin to fulfill their dream.” Then a voiceover narrator further explains this same thing over gunshots and footage of soldiers shooting into buildings. The narrator says cliches such as, “The rivers again have turned red with blood.” To further the heavy-handed explanation, the first shot of an Ethiopian Jewish family about to flee features the family packing a menorah.
Read on: David Ehrlich reviewed the movie in Indiewire:
“The Red Sea Diving Resort” is a dull and derivative film that’s too in love with its heroes to bother with its victims. The Talmud says that “He who saves one life saves the world entire,” though when Nivola repeats that here, [it’s] like he’s quoting “Schindler’s List.” These Mossad agents saved thousands of lives, but this movie only leaves you feeling like they managed to save a Club Med.