Netflix’s top 10 list hasn’t been around that long, but it’s already a staple part of the streamer experience. Because seeing what other people seem to be enjoying is a great way to filter the magnitudes of the content on offer. The problem is that a lot of the stuff that shows up is, to put it bluntly, crap.
The top 10 movies list is particularly prone to featuring some absolutely awful movies. Some flopped at the box office, some were hated by critics and audiences, and the rare few are a combination of all three. And yet, they don’t just make it to Netflix’s Top 10, they tend to stick around for a few days.
I’m not necessarily referring to Netflix original movies, which have a reputation for being a special kind of bad stuff that’s usually reserved for deals. I mean all movies, including the ones that were released in theaters and eventually hit streaming services.
The worst of the worst ranks high on Netflix
Movies like Morbius, which was, by most accounts, the kind of trash you’d get a prison sentence for if you dumped it in a river. Not only did it vastly underperform at the box office, but it flopped a second time when Sony re-released the film in theaters. And yet, Morbius immediately jumped to the top of Netflix’s top 10 as soon as it was released.
A casual glance at the top 10 as I write this shows a number of movies that are also pretty ridiculed. For example, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (which has a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in a new tab)), the overlong franchise that featured Russel Crowe’s ever-changing accent. At least this one is semi-watchable, unlike Taron Egerton’s. (opens in a new tab).
Then there’s Last Seen Alive, with Gerrard Butler, which has an RT score of 18% with an audience score of 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. (opens in a new tab), which has been ranked in the top 10 in the US for several days now. Inheritance, with the normally quite respectable Lily Collins and Simon Pegg, is also there, despite getting a 32% rating from viewers. And of course, the less said about Blonde, the better.
Granted, not every movie in Netflix’s top 10 is bad. Mr. and Mrs. Smith aren’t bad at all, and the first two Rush Hour movies are a fun way to spend a few hours (even if Chris Tucker has an acquired taste). Then there’s Jexi (opens in a new tab)starring Adam DeVine, which earned a 21% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics, but a much more respectable 71% from audiences.
The list always fluctuates, but part of my daily routine is checking out the current machinations of Netflix viewers. And I’ve noticed that bad movies appear and disappear from the list more regularly.
Why do Netflix audiences like bad movies so much?
There are a ton of reasons Netflix viewers might want to watch terrible movies. The simplest is that they really like doing it for whatever reason.
Some people actually take delight in watching terrible movies, accepting how bad they are, and finding some enjoyment in the whole process. You only need to look at the fandom that sprang up around Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (not to be confused with 2015’s Room starring Brie Larson) to see it in action.
Other people just want to watch something, anything, and the dumbest, most horrible movie is the perfect recipe to turn your brain off for a couple of hours and relax. Unless a movie is so bad it physically makes you flinch or cringe, there’s nothing wrong with sitting for two and a half hours with Russel Crowe deliberately ignoring his elocution training.
It is also necessary to take into account the curiosity of the viewer. Morbius garnered more attention online as meme fodder than ever before among moviegoing audiences. So by the time it hit Netflix, there would be legions of people exposed to “Morbin’ Time” memes, but never felt the need to pay up and experience it for themselves.
But once Morbius hit Netflix? Well, it’s basically free to watch as many times as you want. As long as they pay ten dollars a month to maintain their subscription, they can tease in front of the TV all they want.
Morbius is also a movie that received a lot of negative attention in the weeks after it was released in theaters. The movie wasn’t good for a variety of reasons, it didn’t make a lot of money and Sony re-released the movie and did very little extra money (opens in a new tab). The movie may have been the subject of many memes, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out that those memes were laughing at Morbius instead of laughing with him.
It’s enough to spark some morbid curiosity as to what this movie is really about. And if it’s free, you might as well give it a try. At least Matt Smith seemed to be having the time of his life.
Also, once the content hits the top 10 on Netflix, it will end up with a new way of getting people’s attention. And if there isn’t much the general public loves more than jumping on a trend.
When it comes down to it, does anyone really know why people do the things they do? Maybe psychologists have some idea, but the rest of us just have to guess and try to figure out why so many people want movies starring Adam Sandler and the same group of his friends.
Just be careful making your viewing decisions based on what Netflix says everyone else has been watching. Just because a lot of people are watching something doesn’t mean it’s good, even if they say they really enjoy it. Just look at Attack of the Clones.
But if you have nothing to watch, Netflix has good content. We have rounded the best netflix movies and the best netflix shows available right now. This way, you shouldn’t have to resort to watching Gerrard Butler’s career continue to spiral out of control to entertain yourself.