Sign in to follow this  
Henke

Netflix Originals

Recommended Posts

I mainly wanna talk about their movies, but feel free to use this thread to share you thoughts on their series and documentaries as well if you wish.

 

I've watched a bunch of their original movies lately, and y'know what I've realized? They're not that good. Not bad either, most of them are just... watchable. I guess this stems mainly from the process through which most of them end up with the "Netflix Original" label slapped on them. As I understand it, most of these are not originally produced by Netflix, but rather it's small movies that have already been made and end up getting picked up by Netflix when they're looking for distribution. It stands to reason that any real masterpieces will find more lucrative distribution deals than what Netflix can afford to give them. But maybe, I thought, some gems managed to slip through?

 

These are my Top 10 Netflix Original Movies of 2018 (so far)

 

1. Annihilation

This one got a theatrical release in the US, but apparently didn't do very well and so Netflix scooped up the European distribution rights for a pretty penny. It's one of the best sci-fi films I've seen in a long time.

 

2. Us and Them

A sad and beautiful tale of a young Chinese couple who meet, become friends, fall in love, fall out of love, and meet again 10 years later.

 

...er, and that's it as far as "great movies" go. The rest of these I would merely classify as "good". The kinda stuff that pops up on Netflix and you watch it and go, "hey, that wasn't bad!"

 

3. A Stupid and Futile Gesture

National Lampoon biopic with some great performances.

 

4. Apostle

It's like the Wicker Man but even crazier. Also since it's directed by The Raid's Gareth Evans it has some nice fisticuffs.

 

5. Ibiza

Comedy about some friends who go to Ibiza to paaaaaartyyyyyyyyyy. I came for the Gillian Jacobs, I stayed for the Vanessa Bayer. Seriously, she steals the show.

 

6. Manhunt

John Woo's latest! Yeah, the guy's output has been in steady decline since the early 90's, but this still provides some thrills. The farmhouse shootout in the middle is great, almost up there with his most classic actionscenes from Hardboiled and The Killer.

 

7. The Cloverfield Paradox

Hey I liked it OKAY??? Yeah it was a bunch of bollocks, but it was very entertaining while it was happening.

 

8. Roxanne Roxanne

Biopic about 80's rapper Roxanne Shante with some very good performances.

 

9. The Ritual

A movie about a bunch of Britts who get lost in Norwegian woods and then Satanic shit starts happening. It was pretty creepy!

 

10. Like Father

Between this, Kodachrome, and Father of the Year, there's been a lot of BAD DAD movies on Netflix this year, but this one takes the cake. Kelsey Grammer is a dad, so bad. Kristen Bell is a daughter, so sad. This movie was perhaps not RAD, but I was GLAD, that I watched it!

 

Also watchable: Illang: The Wolf Brigade, Errementari, Hold The Dark, The Polka King, The Night Comes For Us

 

Of course the year is not over. The new Coen brothers movie is arriving up in the middle of this month, AVClub say it's good, and I'm sure I'll have to work it into the list after I've watched it. Also there's that new Orson Welles movie that just popped up out of nowhere, but I haven't watched it yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the only three Netflix originals I've seen are AnnihilationOkja, and Mute.

 

Annihilation is wonderful. I saw it in theaters and I'm glad I did, because the sound in that movie is out of this world.

 

Okja is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love the director and this is by far my favorite of his films. Nobody pulls off tonal shifts as often or as well as he does. And I love Paul Dano in everything he's in.

 

Mute is dogshit. Someone needs to stage an intervention for Duncan Jones because he's basically just been spiraling downwards with all of his movies. I really hope he hits rock bottom and bounces, as opposed to just, like, getting worse and worse. But it's hard to imagine him getting worse than Mute. It's also such a shame 'cuz he's fallen so far. Moon was tremendous and Source Code was fine. I haven't seen Warcraft: The Movie Based on the Hit Video Game but I can extrapolate and guess that it's mediocre.

 

I've heard Mudbound is good but I have yet to see it. The Other Side of the Wind perhaps does not count but I've heard it's tremendous. 13th is good from what I hear. And the Coen brothers have never made a bad film, so I'm sure that will be great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a sucker for romantic stories and half my favorite Netflix Originals have been romances (dramatic or comedic.) The other half is a mix of reality & documentaries/mockumentaries

 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before a delightful movie about a young Korean-American girl who idealizes love but is unwilling to ever confess her feelings. Through wacky circumstances her love letters are sent out and the recipient of one decides to strike a deal with her to pretend to date in order to make his ex girlfriend jealous. It's very good, very sweet & I love seeing stories with WoC protagonists. Highly recommend.

 

Meteor Garden this is a Taiwanese romantic comedy series based off of the manga Boys Over Flowers. There have been like 6 adaptations of this Manga between Japan, Korea & China/Taiwan. Plucky protagonist goes to school and refuses to cow to beautiful powerful boys. Love triangle, will they won't they (they will.) Not a depiction of what one might actually want out of a romantic relationship, but this is fiction baybeee. I love the chemistry that the main two actors have, and it's fun to watch the characters change over the course of the run. Definitely does the Asian Drama thing where all of the kisses are so awkward looking and zoomed in on.

 

Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City and Terrace House: Opening New Doors with an honorable mention to Terrace House: Aloha State  - The only good non-competition reality show. 3 men and 3 women live in a house together and move out whenever they feel that it's time for them to move on. They get jobs, they form friendships, they flirt and date each other, they resolve conflicts by sitting down and talking to each other. It's remarkable.

 

Nailed It - The episode where they had to sculpt a human bust out of cake made me laugh so hard I felt sick. This show is very good. Reality competition baking show where they're all bad amateur bakers.

 

American Vandal - Mockumentary series about high schoolers. Season 1 is properly phenomenal.  Season 1 is a young man accused of drawing dicks on the cars in the teacher's parking lot and the 'investigative journalism' needed to find the truth.The acting is sublime, the jokes are hilarious, and functions as a great commentary on current trends in documentary making (podcasts and videos.) Season 2 episode 1 is super gross, but the rest of the episodes are great. Season 2 is a young man admits responsibility for the a series of poop based pranks and his friend asks the documentary film maker characters to come in and exonerate her friend. Season 1 for dick jokes, season 2 for poop jokes.

 

Hip Hop Evolution - hosted by one of my favorite rappers, Shad, a documentary of the history of hip hop. If you like the comic Hip Hop Family Tree or are interested in seeing what the development of rap looked like, wholehearted recommend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will second A Stupid and Futile Gesture; fun movie and I hadn't an inkling where the story would go. [So I absolutely had no idea when the surprise was coming up.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like I should give Annihilation another chance. I watched the botched release on Netflix that was 480p or something. And then I kept noticing all the other problems. Maybe a second watch sometime in the future if I manage to forget the plot...

 

I second that American Vandal is great and that Mute is horrible garbage and one of my biggest disappointments in a director ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't seen many Netflix Original movies. All I can say is that I laughed at the trailer for BRIGHT, and then I watched the movie and it was just as dumb, so I enjoyed that dumb, bad movie.

 

Here are some shows I'd recommend:

The Get-Down - This is a human story about teenagers and young adults living around the death of Disco and the birth of Hip-Hop in the late 70s. It's colourful, it's got big personality, the characters are passionate and emotional, and there's always some looming danger. It's about real music and battling MCs who were really around at the time, but this isn't a documentary it's a character-driven story from a young person's perspective as the events are happening.

Only problem: Each episode is MOVIE-LENGTH! Watch episode 1 if you have time for a film- don't worry, it tells a fully encapsulated story.

 

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - I watched 2 episodes of this, and the whole premise of a woman in a bunker kind of freaked me out and I didn't wanna laugh. Then I came back to it a year later, and once the characters and setting had settled in, I absolutely loved this show. It's so fast-paced, it's jokes back-to-back-to-back, there are jokes packed into the script, the performance, the props, the set, everything. It's very similar to 30 Rock.

 

Dirty Money - Watch this if you like documentaries or podcasts about strange real-life events. Each episode of this series is a different story about some heist, or some con, or some hundred-million dollars being embezzled. There are a lot of interviews, and usually an exciting or scary timeline of events.

 

I'd also agree that American Vandal is a fun, weird show. I've only watched season 1, season 2 seems gross.

A bunch of teenagers give some SPOT ON performances in this show, they ride the documentary style, the true crime drama and the underplayed comedy so well. I was actually drawn in to the mystery by the end.

 

Man my girlfriend watches Orange Is The New Black, and I can't stand it. I think a women's prison is a good setting for a show, but every character devolves into this corny, candy-floss youth-club entertainer. They're all talking about Buzzfeed factoids and Twitter trends and American brands I don't know about like one big homogeneous blob all written by the same bored dude. The emotion is so up and down, and the villains so cartoonish, it feels like a Disney Channel show. What a disappointment! Maybe it was good 4 years ago?

 

I also think that Netflix is generally getting worse as other services are fighting for their audience. I used to be excited to check out these quality Netflix Originals, but nowadays there's just as much filler garbage here as there is everywhere else, unfortunately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody watch Ozark? Spoilers below:

 

Spoiler

Man the last few episodes were so symbolically heavy handed it was almost laughable. The badger in the woods. Jeezy petes.

Other than that I really liked the first season!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8-11-2018 at 12:16 PM, I_smell said:

I also think that Netflix is generally getting worse as other services are fighting for their audience. I used to be excited to check out these quality Netflix Originals, but nowadays there's just as much filler garbage here as there is everywhere else, unfortunately.

 

You know, good point there. Netflix feels a lot less essential as it did a couple of years ago. Don't get me wrong, I still watch it on a daily basis and it constitutes about 99% of all the television shows and movies I watch at home... but the selection of shows and movies is somehow a little disappointing. Whenever I browse for something, I just get lost in a lot of trash and rarely find the perfect thing that I'd like to watch.

 

Having said that, there are a few shows I really, really love. Lemony Snicket is quite amazing! And The Good Place is worth the price of admission alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd blissfully forgotten about Mute, only made it about a half hour into it before I turned it off. I liked The Get Down's first season, but couldn't be bothered with the second after a couple episodes.

 

On 11/7/2018 at 9:29 PM, jennegatron said:

To All the Boys I've Loved Before a delightful movie about a young Korean-American girl who idealizes love but is unwilling to ever confess her feelings. Through wacky circumstances her love letters are sent out and the recipient of one decides to strike a deal with her to pretend to date in order to make his ex girlfriend jealous. It's very good, very sweet & I love seeing stories with WoC protagonists. Highly recommend.

 

Ok I gotta add this to my list. The rom-com setup isn't enticing me, but I've heard enough hype that it warrants a look.

 

The Outlaw King came out on Friday. It's about the Scottish war for independence and the story picks up where Braveheart ended. Starts off strong with a one-take opening scene that really immerses you in the setting, but after that it tapers off a bit. Feels realistically un-glamourous for the most part. There's some decent war scenes and one super-gory part. It's ok.

 

Also watched the first half hour of Orson Welles' The Other Side Of The Wind. It's, uh, kinda all over the place and not really doing anything for me. :|

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To All the Boys I've Loved Before is excellent, don't sleep on it.

 

I personally really loathe this era of juggling subscriptions. Netflix kind of snuck in under my wife's purview but that's it. Still such a dumb situation compared to just getting a couple of TV channels and being able to forget about it.

 

Oh well, old person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, GAW DAMN!

 

It's a series of short stories. It starts off good, and then you think "ok, they start off with the good stuff, right?" NOPE, coz then it gets BETTER. The Tom Waits and Zoe Kazan segments were my favourite.

 

Also I, uh...

 

BillyKnapp.JPG?raw=1

 

may have developed a bit of mancrush on Bill Heck. :|

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found it to be quite entertaining. Favourite is the prospector story. The limbless thespian story seemed to play with color correction too much, it even dipped into black & white, I think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought it was fine overall, better than Hail Caesar but I wish the Coen Brothers would go back to making single long stories instead of short story films. I really felt the length of this movie and because it was many little stories I was less compelled to see it through to the end.

P.S. Tom Waits plz tour one more time so I can see you live before you die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favourite was the section with Zoe Kazan.

 

I wonder if we have anyone that can comment on the representation of Native Americans and the scalping stuff - I was under the impression that this practice was more of a white person thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 16/11/2018 at 5:57 PM, Henke said:

The Tom Waits and Zoe Kazan segments were my favourite.

 

Me too! I enjoyed it all but those two were outstanding. I also thought Carter Burwell's score was excellent. I've streamed the 'All Gold Canyon' section several times now.

 

I slightly regret not catching it on the big screen now, but I've been struggling with a cold all week and it was a very limited release (one week, Curzons only), so watching it on Netflix in bed was the only way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roma came to Netflix today. It's a beautiful movie, but also very slow. It's only in the 3rd act when stuff starts happening.

 

Also holy shit

Spoiler

that kid who keeps remembering his past life and Cleo is totally ignoring him. :D

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Movies:

 

Okja: because I'm crazy for Bong Joon-ho.

 

But I really want to watch Private Life, Fundamentals of Caring, Land of Steady Habits, The World is Yours, Meyerowitz Stories, First They Killed My Father, and Crossroads: One Two Jaga.

 

Series:

 

Bojack Horseman starts out excellent and gets better and better and better. Lots of non-traditional, even avant-garde storytelling. I was sure the show'd peaked by season 4, but season 5 started analysing the actual show and the people who watch it and use it to justify their own behaviour to themselves. So, so good.

 

Hilda is as good as you've heard. Great family fun.

 

American Vandal is immature, mature, stupid, intelligent, profound. It's one of my favourite shows. The fact it's a parody but so ridiculous is what makes it amazing. And then it actually has something to say! Twice! Hoping we somehow get a season 3 (and 4, and 5).

 

Everyone watches Black Mirror and I love it so much I parse it out. In case you needed my stamp of approval.

 

On 11/8/2018 at 1:16 PM, I_smell said:

 

I'd also agree that American Vandal is a fun, weird show. I've only watched season 1, season 2 seems gross.

 

Season 2 is as good as the first one. It starts out with a spectacularly disgusting scene (they just went for the jugular), but it tones it down. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I posted last, I've seen The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Night Comes for Us, The Kindergarten Teacher, Cam, and Private Life.

 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is one of my favorite movies of the year. Classic Coen dark humor turned up to 11. The last short was probably my favorite but I absolutely loved each and every single one of them.  I think the only things I dislike about it are some distractingly shitty special effects, the rather predictable but still disappointing complete and utter failure to engage at all with the racism present in a lot of early Westerns which it happily just sticks in the movie without comment at all, and the even more predictable but also still disappointing failure to include ANY NON-WHITE PEOPLE IN ANY SUBSTANTIAL ROLES because that's pretty much how the Coens roll.

 

The Night Comes for Us is series of amazing action scenes stitched together with an entirely forgettable but thankfully not objectionably shitty or problematic story. If gore/brutality doesn't bother you too much and you enjoy action, you'll pretty much 100% like this movie. Otherwise you'll be wincing too much to see. I think the fights generally get better as the movie goes on, which is nice.

 

The Kindergarten Teacher is a great little drama with a very good performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal. 

 

Cam is an interesting horror movie about a camgirl that never quite gets great. It has one moment that I briefly found sublime, and the rest of it's merely fine. Certainly this could easily have been shitty in like eighteen different ways, so it's nice that it avoided all those pitfalls, but ultimately it won't exactly go down in memory.

 

Private Life has some wonderful performances and it does a tremendous job making all the characters very real and honest. All the main characters feel really fleshed out. I liked it a lot overall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Haunting of Hill House was not good, but it was full of good moments that tantalized me, like chocolate chips in an underbaked cookie. There were themes that I really liked, most of all the implication that our experience of the present moment is, by the simple fact of how our consciousness works, inevitably and completely interpenetrated by the past and the future, and therefore that a solitary trauma can destroy someone's life with its reverberations. It's also interesting to think of a haunted house or, more relevantly, a broken social system as a predator that hunts us down through our anxiety and guilt and then feeds on our weaknesses.

 

Unfortunately, that was all smothered by the writing's willingness to make a given scene about whatever was convenient for the next plot beat, so these motifs of damage and dysfunction had to coexist next to themes of openness, forgiveness, and community. Every part of the show was most concerned with short-term impact. The actors, though competent even down to the children among them, were stuck playing characters who spent so much time being dysfunctional that we didn't really get to appreciate the cause and effect behind that dysfunction. And don't even get me started on the endless succession of monologues and voiceovers in the last couple of episodes! God forbid we don't know exactly what's happening in any given second of an already broad and obvious narrative.

 

The thing is, even considering those two paragraphs of griping, I mostly enjoyed it. It's sorely overwritten and overdirected, it's weighed down by a desire to scare without really upsetting you, and it's too long yet desperately in need of stronger characterization and payoffs... Yes, all of those things are true, but watching seemingly talented people making something ineluctably mediocre has become a private pleasure of mine, perhaps by necessity, so I don't mind Mike Flanagan trying to spook me with some grody ghosts while he wonders aloud what we owe each other.

 

I do mind him lifting the opening monologue of S-Town about antique clocks and witness marks beat for beat, though. It's a far better allegory for the hidden intricacies of a person's life than for, uh... ghosts in a scary old house? Did Mike Flanagan just think that no one listened to S-Town and he could get away with ripping off its most enduring imagery? I'll never know because I don't want to find out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vulture has ranked all of Netflix's original movies. I've watched quite a few of these, even on the crap-end of the scale. I'd say around #120 they get to the stuff I'd call "watchable", like Ibiza and The Incredible Jessica James.

 

In the top 10 I loved Shrikers, The Meyerowitz Stories and Buster Scruggs. Okja and Roma I liked well enough, but The Other Side of the Wind I turned off 30 minutes in. Gotta check out the rest of the top 10.

 

Also I totally forgot that The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, a dramedy starring Josh Brolin and Danny McBride, came out this year, gotta add that to my top 10 list.

 

My top 10 Netflix movies of 2018 (final list):

1. Annihilation (not on Vulture's list since I guess it was only primarly distributed by Netflix in Europe? I'm still counting it tho!)

2. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

3. Shirkers

4. Us And Them

5. Roma
6. A Futile And Stupid Gesture

7. Apostle

8. Ibiza

9. Manhunt

10. The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this