Tag Archives: movies to stay the fuck away from on Netflix

The F**k-It List

Brett Blackmore (Eli Brown) is a high school senior whose academic resume is spotless. Much like the ladies in the much better film Booksmart, Brett has spent his high school career studying and achieving but never really socializing or experimenting. He hasn’t had the time to stop and consider this lack of balance until the senior class prank goes wrong. Very, very wrong. And Brett, who was there but barely involved, falls on his sword and ends up taking the blame. His parents, who threw themselves a party to celebrate his acceptance to 7 out of 8 Ivies (Harvard merely wait-listed him), watch his brilliant future get yanked away as one by one, every one of those 7 Ivies back out of their offers. Brett is despondent, but this bleak turn of events does have him reflecting on whether this was the path he’d want for himself anyway.

Spending time with childhood crush Kayla (Madison Iseman), Brett feels empowered to send his friends a ranting video where he proposes a F**k-It List, a list of all the things he wishes he’d done but never had the courage. Item #1 is of course to kiss Kayla, and having done that, his blood is coursing with teenage hormones and adrenaline, he’s both free-falling and emboldened, and ready for whatever comes next. Except for what actually comes next, which is that his video goes viral, and instead of heading off for Yale, he’s instead become the most Gen Z of all things: an Influencer.

This movie believes that it’s putting the educational-industrial complex on trial. It also believes that it’s about an obedient teenager gone wild. Really, the movie is about Brett’s parents, Jeffrey (Jerry O’Connell) and Kristen (Natalie Zea), or it should have been anyway. They’re the ones who have bought into this machine, they’re the dictator parents who have structured their kid’s whole childhood around building the ultimate college application and then taking all the credit when their son actually succeeds despite this enormous pressure. A better script might have seen that, but then again, a better script may not have constantly confused the F**k-It List, which it both invented and defined, with the Bucket List, which is in fact a whole other thing. And better writers (not to mention better human beings) might have seen that Brett is neither a victim nor a hero – he’s a perfect and rather blatant example of privilege, and the only person who accidentally calls him on it is love interest Kayla who intends to pay for college by modelling her way through Europe (which turns out to be a euphemism for sex trafficking).

This kid’s “problem” is that his parents’ money and his cushy lifestyle have netted him literally every advantage in the world and now he wants to reject it, with no apparent irony or self-awareness, while continuing to spend their money unapologetically, and whining about it every step of the way – which only makes him more rich and more popular. It’s actually a super sad commentary on how toxic youth culture has become, and an even sadder example of how out-of-touch the rich white man (I’m guessing) directing this film is to not even realize it.

Every character in this movie is a bland personification of plain, fat-free yogurt; not one of them the least bit interesting or distinctive, so they’re absolutely painful to watch. Luckily, actual young people have never been half as dumb as Boomers make them out to be, and I bet most will be sharp enough to stay clear of this.

365 Dni (365 Days)

Laura is kidnapped on her 29th birthday by a criminal who saw her in a vision after being shot. The criminal’s plan is to hold Laura captive for one year and wait for her to fall in love with him. And in the meantime, force himself on her at every turn. Essentially, this is a Beauty and the Beast situation, if Beast was a sex offender.

msemail_days__5_jpg-JS575478900The worst part is this guy clearly believes Laura will love him despite his abuse, or possibly because of it. Has he been watching too much Disney, too much porn, or both?

The second worst part is the English, the low quality of which seems like it’s dubbed, but it’s not. This is a Polish film that uses three languages, Polish for Laura, Italian for the criminal, and “English” for when they talk to each other. I’m almost positive you will recognize many of the phrases in this film, such as:

“Who the fuck you are?”

Or, “I’m not a bag of potatoes.”

Or, “If you feel like running you should wear a different pair of shoes.”

Or, “Why are you looking at it? Do you want to touch it?”

And that’s just a small sample of the prose that’s on offer. Naturally, the “it” in that last one is the rapist’s penis. And naturally, we shut off this movie at that point, much later than we should have. Here’s hoping I can save you from making a similar mistake.

The Last Days of American Crime

Welcome to near future Detroit, just a few days before a new mind-control signal will be broadcast across the U.S.A. to end crime.  In the lead-up to turning on the mind-control switch, anyone trying to cross the border to Canada is shot on sight by the fine, upstanding members of the U.S. Border Patrol.  Also, all police officers are being laid off, which puts an awful lot of faith in this new system to be in good working order as it comes online. Oh, and for some reason you have to trade in your old money for new money as part of this switchover. Last_Days_Of_American_Crime

Anyway, a few idiots decide to stage the last great heist in American history (hence the title) by hacking the mind-control system, stealing a billion dollars’ worth of the old money, driving to Canada, and living free for the rest of their lives. That is literally their plan, word for word.

Why do they want to steal money that the U.S. government has marked for destruction? Well, that’s why I called them idiots in the previous paragraph. Their plan doesn’t make sense. And that’s just the heist. Don’t even try to reconcile the implementation of the mind-control system with little things like the U.S. Constitution or self-defence, or make sense of why people are lining up to kill themselves before this system comes into effect, or figure out why there are numerous large protests IN FAVOUR OF the mind-control system.

This movie is absolutely intolerable for many reasons but is absolutely unforgivable right now since police officers and FBI agents abuse incapacitated subjects ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS. All the stupidity in the script pales in comparison to Netflix’s decision to release this in the same week as George Floyd was laid to rest.

Avoid this film at all costs.

 

 

Blue Iguana

If you’re going to make a movie about seedy undergrounds, small-time criminals, and scary mob bosses, you need to pick the right tone. Make it funny like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Make it clever like Pulp Fiction. Make it suspenseful like The Town. But don’t you dare try to make your movie all of those things, because odds are you’ll end up with a mess like Blue Iguana.

Two ex-cons, Eddie (Sam Rockwell) and Paul (Ben Schwartz), are working in a diner trying to turn their lives around when Katherine (Phoebe Fox) offers them a job too tempting to turn down. Of course, it’s not a legal task, and of course, it goes sideways immediately as the target of their snatch and grab operation falls off a balcony face-first. Do they try to disappear after mucking things up? Of course not. They double down and go after the Blue Iguana, a giant diamond that they’re going to steal from mob boss Arkady (Peter Polycarpou), after he steals it first.

0818-stills-bi-day16-010816There’s just no one to root for in this film, which is surprising considering Sam Rockwell has made a nice career for himself playing various charming idiots (winning an Oscar as an amazingly bad cop in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).  And when someone like Rockwell can’t make us care about his loutish dirtbag, no one else has a chance. These characters just have nothing to offer.

No matter how many quick cuts were taken, no matter how many slow motion shootouts were paired with carefully selected songs, no matter how many montages contained colourful disguises, Blue Iguana never felt comfortable in its own skin. In trying to be lots of other things that writer/director Hadi Hajaig clearly admires and aspires to match, it just tries way, way too hard, to a painful degree.

At no point does Blue Iguana ever get close to being great, and worst of all, in trying so damn hard to emulate greatness, the result ends up being less than mediocre.

The Fanatic

This is the kind of movie I wish didn’t even exist because what if you accidentally watch it? You’re a nice person. You don’t deserve that. Promise me right now that you’ll never watch this movie. Promise! It’s because I care.

Moose (John Travolta) is a rabid fan. He’s on the spectrum and not exactly sensitively portrayed; Travolta goes all in, with every tic he can fathom and a bad haircut to boot (in fact, a wig). But it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

One of his absolute favourites is horror star Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa). He spends money he doesn’t have on movie memorabilia and waits in line to have it signed. But when Dunbar cuts the autograph session short, Moose just about loses it. He feels there are certain entitlements between a star and his fan and when Dunbar isn’t exactly gracious about it, Moose spirals. I mean, you know you’re in a bad space when a paparazzo calls you a stalker. Or you should. But Moose just keeps escalating things, showing up at Dunbar’s house, scaling the fence onto his property even, and he doesn’t take it well when Dunbar is increasingly hostile (he’s got a young son at home). Of course, Dunbar just thinks Moose is another crazed fan. He doesn’t understand how much danger he’s in. And maybe neither does Moose.

Directed by Fred Durst (yeah, I know), the movie starts mediocre and only declines. There are a number of poor directing decisions, my least favourite probably the fantasy scenes in which Moose imagine the roles reversed, himself a generous and magnanimous movie star.

No, I’m lying. It does get worse than that. I withheld some stuff to avoid spoilers, but you’re not going to watch this thing anyway, right? You promised. Not even out of morbid curiosity should you watch. I mean, it’s not even laughably bad, or watchably bad. But I suspect the movie (or, its director) thinks it’s clever, which is intolerable and awkward and just makes the whole thing feel so much worse. We always knew, intellectually, that something had to be the worst thing on Netflix, but never before has the answer been so obvious, or definitive.

 

Swiped

You should swipe left HARD on this movie. HARD.

James (Kendall Ryan Sanders) is a nerd at college where he is immediately bullied by his roommate Lance (Noah Centineo) and his mean boy cronies. They force him to code a new hookup app called Jungle that will allow them to sleep with women, no strings attached. Jungle has a whole bunch of stipulations: girls must post photos of themselves in underwear; no names are to be exchanged; no date or activity or expenditure of money is necessary; one night stands only. And for some reason, every single man in the entire world feels entitled to these conditions, and for fear of being alone, all the women go along with it.

This movie is an anti-feminist pukefest. I could barely stand to hate-watch this. The writing is bad, and with the exception of Noah, the delivery is terrible. If you cast this from a sign-up sheet in any high school, you could not do worse that this assemblage of blatant first-timers. But let’s focus on the writing, because it is truly among the worst and the most offensive I’ve ever come across. Imagine in 2019 green-lighting a movie that has an 18 year old virgin mansplaining romance to a roomful of women. Clearly the only reason this movie got made is because it was lucky enough (or early enough) to attach teen heartthrob Noah Centineo in a lead role. Sure he plays a douchebag, but then again, 100% of the males in this film are complete and utter pigs. He just gets the most screen time.

I’m disgusted on behalf of all women of their portrayal in this film as weak, meek, and totally clueless. But I’m also disgusted on behalf of a good 40-60% of men who in fact would not be so shallow, short-sighted and slimy. If this movie is supposed to be satire, and believe me, that’s a big IF, it has completely missed the mark. It doesn’t have any of the insight or intelligence required to pull of satire. Instead it just reads as a reckless endorsement of a dating app gone wrong. It makes the folks at Ashley Madison look like angels. In fact, Ashley Madison, morals aside, is a site that offers people a choice. IF you’re married and you’d still like a side piece, sign up. But Jungle’s mission statement acknowledges that women won’t consent to this under normal conditions, so the goal is to make it so they don’t have a choice. Which is a much higher level of sleaze than anyone really wants to admit.

But the good news is: no one can force you to watch. This movie is a dumpster fire and a black hole of entertainment. Keep swiping. Netflix is the purest embodiment of ‘there are plenty of fish in the sea’ – they’re not all winners, but there are occasional gems, and frankly, it would be nearly impossible to do worse than Swiped.

Space Jam

It’s fitting that LeBron James is taking the Space Jam reins from Michael Jordan, since last week James passed Jordan in career points scored and the two have always been compared since James was in high school.  Jordan would have scored many more points if only he hadn’t taken two years off in his prime to try his hand at baseball.  Rumour has always held that Jordan went to play baseball in order to avoid a gambling suspension, mainly because it made no sense at all for the notoriously competitive Jordan to have “retired” at age 30 (Jordan would retire twice more before his basketball career was over).

Jordan’s baseball career features prominently in Space Jam’s loose plot, as if he had been playing basketball at the time, the evil aliens from the Moron Mountain amusement park would have taken Jordan’s skills and he never would have been able to help the Looney Tunes gang.  But because Jordan was retired, the aliens had to steal other NBA players’ talent, space-jam-bill-murrayincluding Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley.  Jordan is then recruited by Bugs Bunny to play with a bunch of other cartoon characters, with some help from Bill Murray and no help at all from Wayne Knight, as the cartoons take on the aliens in a basketball game to determine whether the aliens will enslave those loony ‘toons as an amusement park attraction.

This movie was probably never any good but it has been made worse with age.  The animation is dated, the green screen work is horrible, and worst of all, the “stars” involved in this movie, other than the great Charles Barkley, have been forgotten by all but the most attentive New York Knicks fans (who would punch me in the face for saying anything bad about Ewing and who will never forget LJ hitting a clutch four-point play against the Pacers in 1999’s Eastern Conference Finals).  Space Jam also really highlights how much the Looney Tunes feel like variations of one another (cat/duck and man/pig in particular) and pale imitations of their Disney counterparts.

Even with only a 90 minute run-time, a significant part of the movie feels like filler, including an opening scene with a 1- year old Jordan, about 5 minutes of Jordan highlights during the opening credits, and a subplot of sorts that features some really terrible acting by the three kids playing Jordan’s family (like so bad that you figure they have to be Jordan’s real kids, but they’re totally not – I checked).

lebron-vs-mjIf LeBron’s career arc is any indication, the next Space Jam is destined to be technically superior to Jordan’s original but lacking the same emotional core.  That doesn’t bode well for the reboot when there was no substance or emotion to the first Space Jam at all.  Watching it again only makes one wonder why anyone bothered to make it in the first place, as well as why James would want to invite any more comparisons to Jordan’s six for six NBA Finals record against LeBron’s three wins and six losses in his attempts (which I don’t begrudge but I’m in the minority on that point).  On the other hand, since the original Space Jam has nothing to offer, the reboot can’t possibly be worse!

The After Party

Owen (Kyle Harvey) is known as Oh! when he’s rapping, and he’s hoping that as his high school career wraps up, his rap career will take off. For now, he’s working at his dad’s burrito shop. His best friend Jeff (Harrison Holzer) is acting as his “manager”, getting whatever amateur\talent show gigs for his bud that he can. But then something amazing happens: Wiz Khalifa turns up at one of his shows, and brings party favours. Which seems like the best thing ever until Oh! projectile-vomits on Wiz during the show, and collapses into a seizure on stage. It’s 2018 so that shit goes viral, and pretty soon Oh! is still a nobody but “Seizure Boy” becomes a laughing stock, even sparking a (very insensitive) dance craze.

MV5BNDgxMjE5Mzk0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODQxNzYwNjM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Discouraged, Owen decides to join the Marines, and Jeff has one last night, a French Montana concert and its after party, to get Oh! in front of the right executive and secure him the deal that will save him from his broken dreams.

I have a feeling The After Party is supposed to be a fun ride but oh my god I hated it. Possibly because of Jeff, who was often in the driver’s seat. What a terrible human being. Casual narcissism and misogyny aren’t much fun to watch, especially when no one acknowledges his flaws. His $800 jeans are allowed to stand in lieu of personality. But Jeff isn’t my only beef, he’s just the beefiest.

There’s also a cheesy, contrived plot that relies on this friendship when the script makes it awfully hard to believe in. And makes it hard to root for these two knuckleheads. And I often found myself wondering who this movie is for – there are eye-rolling and probably already out-dated references to dubstep and Venmo meant to establish some youth cred, but alongside  cameos from Rakim and DMX, it feels like maybe the film makers aren’t sure which demographic they’re trying to appeal to. Frankly, when we have Donald Glover’s rapper-manager dynamic in Atlanta for comparison, The After Party just doesn’t stack up. It feels forced, superficial, and not particularly grounded in reality. Despite some recognizable rap faces, The After Party is just another annoying, uninspired, raunchy teen comedy in a  hip-hop costume. If this was on a mix tape, you’d have a free pass to fast forward through it every time. Hard skip.

Ibiza

Harper gets sent to Barcelona on business, and I believe that her boss intended for her to do some actual work but instead her give-a-fuck meter is pointing to zero, which should have been evident the minute she invited her two best friends on her very important, very serious business trip.

Things that Harper (Gillian Jacobs) and besties Leah (Phoebe Robinson) and Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) do in Spain instead of work: sun tan, sun burn, rate nipples (Bilbo Baggins, Little Bo Peeps, Honeydews, Rhi-Rhis, and Daniel Craigs – which are you sporting?).

And that’s before they skip town entirely, chasing after a hunky DJ because Harper felt a “connection.” Hence, Ibiza.

This movie is almost entirely drugs, beats, black lights, confetti cannons, and naked sushi. Have you ever risked your career and future to get high and get dick, not necessarily in MV5BNjE3MDk1NTQ3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTMzODI0NTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1491,1000_AL_that order? Priorities, people! Now imagine, for a moment, being the HR lady back at Harper’s PR firm in New York. Imagine being Harper’s mother. Imagine being Harper’s urethra! Imagine being Harper: putting yourself in a series of really sketchy situations, and then having the privilege to call it “adventurous” and “risk-taking” because you had the good fortune not to get raped. Netflix wanted to dip its misshapen little toe into the raunchy comedy genre, and it did it EXACTLY as you’d expect it to.

To say this film is loosely structured is to loosely blaspheme structure. Twenty five minutes in, I still didn’t have the foggiest what this movie was going to be about. Ibiza puts a lot of faith in Gillian Jacobs’ ability to carry a film, to truly be its star, and as you can tell, I have absolutely no chill for this entitled character and her complete disregard for her colleagues, her clients, her dignity, her vaginal health, and worst of all, for me and my time and my vaginal health. Just kidding, about that last bit. My vagina is the only part about this with any genuine charisma or girl power, so go me, and also, don’t watch this movie.

The Kissing Booth

Oh my god I want to kill myself.

 

The movie made me say that, and actually I said it more than once. Sean thought it was a sufficient review.

Is it though?

I’ll give you just a touch more:

A girl and a guy, both virgins and best friends, have a couple of strict rules to their friendship, the most important one being don’t fall in love with each other’s siblings, so oh my god guys, guess what happens!

MV5BYjJlOTk2ZDctY2U5Mi00ZmJjLTk0YTAtMGY4NjNmNGI1OTE3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzI1NzMxNzM@._V1_.jpg

She totally falls in love with his hunky older brother, and a lot of the plot revolves around a kissing booth at their high school carnival, but I’m struggling to tell you why this was important.

Anyway, there was some dialogue so bad it still wasn’t good but I did laugh, in a gaggy, kill me now, can we turn this off kind of way. It feels written by someone who never even went to high school, and who doesn’t care if they damage female self-esteem for an entire generation. The stuff that happens is infuriating and improbable and I’d rather pull out my own toenails and eat them than watch this again.