There is a distinct variety of the quality of shows and movies that Netflix releases, and even though they provide many great ones, sometimes, they fall victim to showing epically terrible entertainment. These are the movies that came out in 2020, or shows that have just updated a new season in the past year. Most of these titles were on the top ten most-watched list, and yet they share problematic qualities. The following list is a subjective opinion based on what I watched, therefore I cannot judge shows or movies that I have not seen.
10. To All The Boys PS. I Still Love You
This “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” sequel follows the same premise of other YA series’ second movie that continues the main love interests after they got together at the end of the previous movie. A common trope in these “second movies” follows a love triangle, where another male love interest causes a rift between the main couple. A movie doesn’t need to be unpredictable and to have an intelligent plot twist to be considered enjoyable and good, however, we have seen this movie before many times, and it offers nothing new to the audience. It was a disappointing watch, since the first movie gained so much success and was a fresh new take on teen romance. This one ended up being boring, cringey, and as memorable as a stale cracker.
9. Love is Blind Series
In the height of the pandemic, memes about Jessica and her uninterest of her own fiancé helped cure quarantine boredness. If you have no idea about this popular show, let me enlighten you. This reality TV show tested the theory that you can fall in love with someone’s personality without seeing them, proving that love is blind. The premise is interesting, which grabbed my attention, however, many of the participants were annoying and petty in a boring way. The lure of reality television is the juicy drama however the only drama that ensued was Jessica and how she was still secretly into another man in the show. I did enjoy watching the star couple of the show: Cameron and Lauren who proved to be a wholesome couple, but the ending was anticlimactic with most of the couples breaking up. It was predictable as we saw that most of them were not compatible with each other. Most people who like reality television found that it was boring and drug out, however, it did capture my attention. It was mostly enjoyable for its increased popularity and the culture around the show, therefore it is not higher on my list.
This low-budget movie about a town girl who fell in love with a cowboy who supports the rodeo seems like a bad attempt to promote rodeos. It painted vegetarians and vegans as the villains who are ruining the cowboy’s lives, while also giving valid points about why the rodeo is cruel which makes the viewer confused about the point of the movie. Each character was two dimensional and simply had been created for their opinion on rodeos. The town people had a weird bias against rodeos, treating the cowboys like lepers, and gave false and exaggerated opinions on what conservatives believe about how animal activists and vegans act. The vegans are painted as the clear villain, and in turn, the cowboys look like clowns bringing around their circus from town to town. As a person who owns horses myself, I believe that this makes everyone on both sides look inaccurate and silly. Even though the ethics of roping can be discussed, I do not know of anyone who is so furiously against it. The romance also seemed fabricated because he kept trying to prove himself to the daughter of the mayor, who was the heart of the town’s hatred towards rodeos. It didn’t feel organic or natural and constantly forced while following the common trope of “city girl who falls in love with a country boy that shows her the meaning of being wild and free (and getting down in the mud)”. It wasn’t even a silly movie to enjoy, but just a stupid attempt at promoting the cowboy lifestyle.
7. Outer Banks- Season 1
After completing the show, I sensed that this show was similar to something else in the depths of my mind, and after sleuthing on the internet I came to find that this is a loose retelling of “The Goonies”. Instead of pre-teens, this show portrays slightly older teenagers and their quest to find the gold that the main protagonist’s father died looking for. They include a “Romeo and Juliet” aspect with two different economic classes that feud in the town. The first half of the show was good; nothing that blew my mind but remained interesting enough to stay engaged while also remaining simply like another teenage adventure show. As the second half continued, I found myself begging for the end, as the plot dragged while also becoming increasingly confusing. Three episodes from the end, I believed that the show was about to finish, but in a final chase scene that I thought would wrap the show up, it continued for two more episodes. Considering that the show is only ten episodes long, with almost an hour for each episode, one would not think that I would be scrolling through Instagram in the extensive climax scenes. The characters made dumb mistakes throughout the show, similar to bad horror movies that had me screaming at the screen, yelling at them to make better decisions. The ending was disappointing due to its popularity, but it could have been fixed if the plot had resolved earlier.
6. The Healer
I ended up putting on this movie because I was in the kitchen and I wanted to watch a new movie while cleaning, and this was on the top ten list. It turned out to be a clumsy attempt at a faith-based movie that basically painted the main character as a real-life Jesus. Along with the poorly written lines and the plotline that made me roll my eyes, the romantic twist was what enraged me the most. At the beginning of the movie, Cecilia, the love interest, turns down the main character’s advances by saying that she was a lesbian, and for a modern religious movie I found that this was very refreshing to have a big character who was also LGBTQ+. Even though Cecilia, claimed that she didn’t like men, Alec still proceeded to tell her that he would be able to “make her straight”, which is a disgusting tactic that many straight men use on lesbians who turn them down. Sadly however, this “representation” was nothing more than a ruse, as it is later revealed how Cecilia only said that so that he wouldn’t constantly hit on her. They end up together by the end of the film and with that, all of my respect was lost as well. This movie only perpetuates the idea that even though a woman might say they are gay, they are secretly straight, since they do not fall into the stereotypes of what a lesbian is supposed to look like.
5. After We Collided
Wattpad studios strike again with their sequel adaptation to the popular book series of “After”. The first novel was adapted in 2019 and received many mixed reviews. Some fans were disappointed with the result, as the movie took on a more PG take on the sexually explicit book as well as keeping out key facts. The movie, “After We Collided”, picked up some of the slack that the previous movie had left behind, but accuracy to the book does not mean that the quality has increased. Once again we are met with constant screaming matches followed up by makeup sex, and a vague plot that has the viewers cringing at the sight. Throughout the movie, none of the characters have any development whatsoever, and the resolution of the book’s main issues are non existant. Hardin remains to be a toxic, controlling, whiny-baby, who doesn’t know how to treat a human being with decency, and Tessa becomes uncharacteristically flirty with absolutely every guy that she knows, while also adopting some of Hardin’s toxic traits. Overall, a movie simply based around a toxic love story and with no other plot or further meaning, leaves me ready to stare at a wall and still learn more.
4. Kissing Booth 2
Here we go with another sequel that focuses on a love triangle and the struggles of maintaining a relationship, in this case, a long distance relationship. While the idea of the plot is normal, where it highlights the struggles of a long distance relationship, it also falls into more tropes than I can pick up: love triangle, controlling boyfriend, token queer character, “new student” that takes a sudden interest in the protagonist, and the main conflict of the story: the boyfriend’s new college friends are getting a little too friendly with him, resulting in Elle’s assumption that he is cheating on her. There are so many cringey scenes, including the one where Elle accidentally was describing the “new student’s hot-bod” to the entire school body while on the intercom. This scene went on for way too long, and she got way too detailed for someone who was in a relationship. These movies are another adaptation of a wattpad story- however I do not believe that this is a fanfiction of Harry Styles. This sequel remains to be more uncomfortable than the first, and so much more unbearable to sit through. The awkward scenes and poorly written dialogue with humor that misses every beat can’t even be enjoyed for a guilty pleasure.
3. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina- Season 3
The third season of this dark and dramatic show was more than disappointing to the fans, including myself. The first season was a slow set-up for the second season’s great episodes, however, the third season took everything that I was able to overlook, and shoved it into my face. I liked the fact that this wasn’t simply Riverdale on drugs, due to the fact that the creators of the popular show are also big influencers on how “Sabrina” is made. The third season starts to show crossovers between the two shows, insiuating that they might be from the same universe. Some of the same sub-plot points are also similar, from bad cheerleading dances to “musical” episodes. I enjoyed the first two seasons because it was a gritty take on the cheery original Sabrina plotline (Sorry, I only watched the 1996 “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” and not the comics). However, I couldn’t finish the third season since it turned into simply a teenage drama with everything I have already seen, and hated, on Riverdale.
2. 365 Days
Going into this movie, I thought that it would be an explicit movie about how a woman is shown different and kinky ways to be sexual due to the cover pictures and the vague description. However, “365 Days” takes on a creepier and more concerning plot that had me stop the movie within 20 minutes to debate whether I really wanted to finish it or not. It follows a woman who is captured by a gang leader who saw the protagonist’s face in a vision when he was shot and dieing, many years in the past. After a long time searching for this woman, Massimo is not ready to let her go, and orders her to stay with him for 365 Days, and if she has not fallen in love with him by then, then she will be allowed to leave. This is simply another book-based movie that breeds from the toxic tropes found on Wattpad of a gangster who kidnaps the main character, and then they fall in love. Instead of the characters showing a playful resistance, Massimo’s violence was hard to overlook or see as remotely attractive. It should not be Laura’s job to “teach” him how to be gentle or how to treat a woman properly, but his attempts to make Laura love him are questionable at best. Even though he defends her sometimes, he also blames her for almost getting sexually assaulted, gives her boundaries and then simultaneously breaks those boundaries, and literally kidnapping her against her will. Massimo did not make any attempt to change his actions, therefore her “love” could be better described as “Stockholm Syndrome”. The movie also added way too many shopping scenes, but at least the music was good.
“Cuties” did not stay on Netflix for long due to its controversy, and due to its backlash, there was a trend of boycotting the Netflix subscription service. The goal of the movie is to show how young girls are being sexualized in the media, however this movie falls into that trap… by sexualizing the young characters. The movie follows an 11 year-old girl named Amy who joins a dance group named “The Cuties” and is entranced by their exuberant style and mature dance sequences. She rebels against her family’s wishes and falls into the trap of internet culture. The directors intent was to criticize the hypersexualization of pre-adolescent girls, however, due to the mature dance sequences, revealing clothes, the kid’s uncharacteristic hypersexuality, and the camera angles that lingered too long on the young girl’s private parts, it was no longer a critique of media, but a source that provided more sexualization towards the younger generation.
The order of this list is simply my opinion, therefore if you enjoyed some of these shows or movies, then you have every right to and I am not condoning your opinion. These recent releases are simply some of the most disappointing and concerning additions to Netflix that have gained a lot of popularity. Even though Neflix has released it’s share of bad titles, there are also a long list of ones I have thoroughly enjoyed. Hopefully ones in the future, however, won’t be as bad as these.