Parsing through the best movies on Netflix is exhausting, and deciding what movies to watch can be such a dull chore. That’s especially the case for Netflix, where scrolling through thumbnails is a frightfully easy habit to fall into. Then there’s the pressure to pick something good—if you’re going to make a time commitment, it has to be worth it. But sometimes you just don’t have the energy to watch the two-and-a-half hour long awards contender everyone’s been talking about (add another hour for The Irishman), or that cerebral indie film you’ve been meaning to see for ages. Why watch one of the best movies on Netflix when you can watch something bad? Like, really bad. With the sheer amount of content available on the streamer, it’s guaranteed that a few stinkers are going to crop up—this isn’t the ideal platform for quality over quantity. And judging by Netflix’s staggering output of originals, a lot of the junk is coming from inside the house.
The joy of the hate-watch comes at having your expectations adjusted so low that it’s impossible for you not to enjoy the mess on screen. They’re naturally easy to watch: no judgments, no critical thinking, just mindless consumption of garbage. And ignore the worrying real-life implications of what I just wrote—this is purely about movies. We’ve assembled a variety of bad movies to save the anxiety of the Netflix homepage scroll, from misjudged comedies to controversial arthouse fare. There are a few Netflix originals thrown in too, because if the algorithm wants me to watch them, then fine, I will.
6 Underground is an action movie in which Michael Bay does Michael Bay things—but this time he’s got that sweet Netflix budget and no PG-13 restrictions. (There’s a lot of blood, explosions and a very lengthy gag involving a loose eyeball.) I couldn’t tell you what the plot is except there are six people and they drive a lot—it’s essentially Fast and Furious by way of Bayhem. I’m happy Melanie Laurent is in this so she can cash her paycheck into making better movies.
Let me make this clear: Hot Rod is not bad. It has 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, so by that quantifiable measure, it is bad. But my word in this list is law, so it’s actually good—really good, in fact. The Lonely Island’s first venture into cinema was misunderstood, with its Wet Hot American Summer brand of surreal humor flying over viewers’ heads. But if people can’t understand that the “cool beans” scene is avant-garde art, then they don’t deserve it.
You can’t help but admire the boldness of the Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending, even if the end result is a catastrophic mess. With a starry cast that includes Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and a completely deranged Eddie Redmayne, it seems like everyone is acting in a different movie. Redmayne has since admitted that his performance was “pretty bad,” but I commend his risky acting choices, even if the only payoff was a Razzie award.
Lars Von Trier’s two-part, four-hour magnum promiscu-opus tells one woman’s life (Stacy Martin in her adolescence, Charlotte Gainsbourg in adulthood) through her many, many sexual encounters. Nymphomaniac is best watched on your phone with headphones on while you hide under your bed covers and try to get over your immense shame.
Only God Forgives
Only God Forgives has all the markings of a good Nicolas Winding Refn movie: daring choices, the Tumblr neon aesthetic, Ryan Gosling being sad. It also has what makes certain Refn movies bad: lifeless characters and an almost unbearable level of immorality. Only God Forgives is more divisive than anything, but it’s a good test of your tolerance for Refn’s slow burn brutality.
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
"Do you think God stays in heaven because he too, lives in fear of what he's created?” asks Steve Buscemi in Spy Kids 2. I like to believe he was preemptively referring to the movie’s sequel, a computer generated monstrosity that wildly miscalculates what future virtual reality would be capable of. I remember the DVD came with those cardboard 3D glasses with the red and blue lenses, and Netflix just can’t compete with that.
Jake Gyllenhaal is a character actor who tricked Hollywood into believing he’s a leading man. For proof of this, just look at the eccentricity of his best role as a lunatic TV host in Okja. (Fight me, I know I’m right). His high-strung art critic in Velvet Buzzsaw has elements of his rarely-deployed wackiness, but it’s not enough to save the rest of the film—a half-baked art satire that suddenly shifts into a horror movie where people die by a haunted painting. Admittedly, the death scenes are fun for sheer creativity. Also, do you know this movie came out in February? That’s how long this year has been.
In the late ‘00s, Great Britain saw a cinematic trend of teen comedies, often set in a boarding school that Juno Temple attends. Wild Child, the worst among them (but also the best in that sadistic way), stars Emma Roberts as a spoiled Valley girl who gets shipped off to England to learn a lesson in humility and destroying bullies through lacrosse. It’s clichéd in all the right ways and Roberts showcases her talents as the perfect cinematic mean girl.
Here's why, and what you can do about it.
Originally Appeared on GQ