A few months ago I had a very stupid thought. On a wild hair, I decided that I was going to watch every original movie that Netflix released this year. I wanted to see more new movies this year, and I figured the best way to do that was to watch the new movies that I was already paying for with my Netflix subscription.
This was a foolish idea for several reasons. The first is that this year Netflix has ramped up the number of new releases they are putting out, which seems to be around one a week. Since I didn’t conceive of this plan until about two months into the year, I had quite the backlog as soon as I started. Additionally, while I knew not all of the movies would be things that appeal to me, I thought seeing different things would help expand my taste. I’ve been writing movie reviews on this blog for more than 5 years, and in the process of setting up this index, I realized that I have given a lot more positive reviews than negative ones. I generally only write reviews of movies I seen in the theater and it turns out I am a pretty good judge of my own taste. I don’t go see movies I don’t expect to like and while this isn’t foolproof – I did see Cowboys & Aliens – it makes most trips to the movies enjoyable. It also limits exposure to new experiences.
Netflix, though, has done a lot to help me find those new experiences. I hadn’t really watched many Asian films before subscribing to the service, but I’ve developed a taste for Martial Arts movies and Wuxia. Zeroing in on the Netflix originals, which started with Beasts of No Nation in 2015 though they came to my attention last year with the release of the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel, seemed like a good idea. So I am not only watching the movies that interest me, like the goofy British spoof Mindhorn or the war movie Sand Castle, but also the ones that don’t appear to be up my alley, like the foreign language acquisitions or low key thrillers like Small Crimes. It turns out, however, what I am forcing myself to do is watch movies I don’t think I’ll like instead of watching some I think I will like or already know I do like, making it even more likely that I will dislike the new thing. That has made me resent this project and that massive fool forcing it on me (ie: myself).
It hasn’t been a complete failure, though. I have watched and enjoyed some movies that I likely never would have even considered before. I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore, unwieldy title aside, was very enjoyable. I also really liked Win it All and Deidra & Laney Rob a Train. I think I am going to keep going with this stupid plan, though I intend to have a much quicker hook for a movie a movie I do not like.
Below is a list containing all the movies I have watched, in order of how much I enjoyed them. I’ve also included a one sentence review of each movie. There are still a handful of foreign language films and a documentary or two that I haven’t gotten to yet, but I hope to finish them up over the next few weeks or so.
- Okja – full review went up earlier. Okja is a near masterpiece that combines Steven Speilberg with Terry Gilliam.
- I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore – A woman gets burgled and teams up with her neighbor to get revenge; it is both charming and kind of dark.
- Mindhorn – a goofy spoof about a washed up TV detective desperate for one last chance at fame.
- Win it All – a gambling addict tries to go straight in this low key comedy.
- Nobody Speak – a documentary looking at the Hulk Hogan v Gawker lawsuit and the current attacks on the press.
- Deidra & Laney Rob a Train – two young girls rob a train to pay their mother’s bail, but its funnier than it sounds.
- Imperial Dreams – a newly paroled father tries to do what’s best for his son, but his past still has some hold on him. It is good if not groundbreaking.
- Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower – a both heartwarming and depressing look at a Chinese boy who lead protests against the Chinese government.
- Casting JonBenet – a documentary that examines the JonBenet Ramsay case by letting people familiar with talk at a supposed audition for a movie about it. Its pretty good.
- BLAME! – an anime movie about an automated city that no longer recognizes humanity as its master. It is good if dark.
- Handsome: A Netflix Movie Mystery – it is essentially a movie that is a fake episode of detective show that is charming but weightless.
- Girlfriend’s Day – a look at a fake new holiday in a world where greeting card writers are celebrities that ends just as it gets going.
- Shimmer Lake – a crime movie that plays out backwards but still holds few surprises.
- War Machine – a broad and disjointed satire of the later days of the war in Afghanistan. Sometimes it is really good, often it isn’t.
- In the Shadow of Iris – a sexy thriller about a faked abduction that turns into a murder. It is fine.
- Counterpunch – a look at the modern state of pro and amateur boxing in America.
- Get Me Roger Stone – a bleak look at a human cockroach. It veers a little too close to making anything the subject does sound acceptable to be good.
- Coin Heist – a kid’s dad is accused of defrauding a prep, so he and some friends try to rob the mint of quarters to get the money back.
- The Discovery – a man discovers proof of an afterlife and people deal with the consequences. I found it frustrating.
- Sand Castle – another modern war drama; it is perfectly serviceable but unoriginal.
- Journey to Greenland – two French guys go to Greenland to stay with one of their fathers, they have mildly interesting adventures.
- Burning Sands – a well-meaning but ham fisted look at problems prevalent in traditionally black fraternities.
- Sahara – a mediocre animated movie about snake racism.
- Small Crimes – bad people do bad things, lots of people end up dead, I don’t know why I should be entertained by it.
- Clinical – a horror movie that lives up to its name. You couldn’t pay me to care.
- David Brent: Life on the Road – a follow up to The Office with none of the humanity and an undeserved happy ending for its protagonist.
- The Most Hated Woman In America – this is about 3 different movies, but none of them work.
- Sandy Wexler – Adam Sandler appears to be trying, but this movie is too long and not very funny.
- You Get Me – Fatal Attraction for teenagers, but with even worse sexual politics.
- iBoy – a kid gets his phone shot into his face and uses his new phone powers to become some kind of would be superhero. It doesn’t really work.
- Tramps – I checked out early and completely from this one, I can’t really give it a review.
- Take the 10 – a comedy about two kids’ attempts to get money to go to a concert or something. It isn’t good.