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Netflix: Great TV Streaming Content and a Pile of Dredge in Films

By Edited Jun 12, 2016 4 12
Jenji Kohan
Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:MichaelNetzer

Jenji Kohan, the creator of Orange is the New Black, now available on Netflix.

Good Movies are Hard to Find

Great TV Series are Easy to Locate

My girlfriend and I decided to watch a movie on Netflix the other night.  I turned on the tube and we started scrolling through the movie fare.  I noticed on another occasion that finding a movie for us to agree on and watch was a laborious task.  I wondered if perhaps we had differing tastes in film.  This search was the same, everything was a big fat NO. 

It dawned on me that most of the movies available as streaming content were dogs.  They aren’t just middle of the road quality flicks, Netflix makes the list by scraping from the bottom of the lowest part of the bad movie ditch.  The problem is that "destination watching" with someone else doesn't lend itself to viewing streaming TV shows.  If your partner has never seen a series you’re currently binge watching, you have to start over from the beginning.  Plus, watching a feature-length film works better when done together instead of stringing several TV shows together.

To understand the quality discrepancy between the streaming TV shows and the movies, you can check out the list of new releases.  We may each have our preferences about what we like or not, but we can usually see as a viewing public what is poor quality.  Here is a comparison of new releases of TV shows and films:

TV Series:  Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black

A series created by Jenji Kohan, who also created Weeds.  This series follows a well to do woman from New York tossed into a women’s prison.  The critical reviews have been good.[1]  The series has actors I’ve seen, such as Jason Biggs of American Pie fame and Laura Prepon of That 70’s Show.  I plan on checking this out soon.

Movie:  Safe Haven

A mysterious woman moves to a North Carolina town and can’t get away from a scary secret.

Josh Duhamel
  I never heard of this movie, starring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, from the time of its release.  The film has a four out of five-star rating on Netflix, yet scored in the mediocre at the box office and with the critics.  Sappy describes the sentiment on this effort.[2]  This is a Netlix fail.

TV Series: Parks and Recreation

Amy Poehler
This TV sitcom is a 90 episode series starring Amy Poehler.  While I’ve never watched a lot of this show, it is generally considered a good one and a nice addition by Netflix.  I approve.  I may even catch a few episodes in some spare moments.

Movie: Blackfish

This documentary details the killer whale care and treatment at Sea World.  The film attempts to show that an “accident” in which a whale killed a trainer was avoidable.  This film is critically acclaimed by most everyone, except for Sea World executives, who find it annoying and bad for business.  Apparently, musical performers like the film because the new “in” thing to do among the music set is to cancel scheduled Sea World appearances.  Netflix did well on this one.

TV Series:  Scandal
Kerry Washington

This show starring Kerry Washington is very popular and is well reviewed.  It’s a great TV show with political intrigue and sexy scenes.  This could be a destination for some binge viewing soon.

Movie:  Lifeguard

This is a 2013 flick starring Kristen Bell.  While she is a fine actress, I think she did this one to fulfill a

Kristen Bell
studio obligation or to otherwise get a check.  When "drowns in its own boredom"[3] shows up in a review you should go in another direction.  This movie is symptomatic of Netflix film bottom feeding.

TV Series: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

This series starring Danny DeVito is raw and funny.  The Philly bar characters are goofballs who manage to screw up everything they touch.  I could watch many of these episodes again.

Movie: Jack Reacher

I’ve at least heard of this Tom Cruise film.  I also didn’t want to see it when it came out.  The

Tom Cruise
Jack Reacher character in the book series written by Lee Child is a big burly kind of guy.  It seemed central to his persona.  The only thing big about Tom Cruise is his paycheck here.  This flick is another Netflix miss, but not in the deplorable film range.

TV Series: Dexter

This serial killer with a purpose television series is very well received.  Michael C. Hall is great as Dexter, the crime lab blood splatter expert.  The series is different in that the killer is

Michael C. Hall
not totally a bad guy, but he is a serial killer.  I started watching this once and will get back to it again.

Movie:  Straight A’s

Ryan Phillippe stars in this movie about a family outcast returning to his hometown.  Nothing about this movie looks watchable to me, the critic verdict is “uninteresting.”[4]  Although it has a 2013 release date, I still don’t recall anything about this movie.  The movie was uninteresting even to the studio.  They tossed it to the Netflix film scrap heap. 

TV Series: The League

This FX series follows the guys and gal involved in a fantasy football league.  I’ve watched some episodes and it’s a funny show.  The football part is superfluous.  The characters are amusing together.

Movie:  The English Teacher

This is a 2013 movie starring Julianne Moore, one of my favorites.  She has made many fine

Julianne Moore
films.  Alas, this dredge master is not one of them.  Netflix got the big dredging scoop out for this one.  The movie was a clunker at the box office and critics saw the film as a sitcom without the laughter.[5]

TV Series:  Sons of Anarchy

This motorcycle gang inspired show starring Charlie Hunnam is very good, even if you aren’t a fan of biker gangs.  It has good intra family drama between stepfather and rival stepson, as well as mother and son disputes.  This is a great HBO series.

Movie:  It’s a Disaster

Julia Stiles
The title says it all for this 2012 flick starring Julia Stiles.  Four couples face the end of the world together.  While Indy movies are often fun, Netflix seems to dominate the “not critically acclaimed” portion of this genre.  The end can’t arrive soon enough.[6]

While Netflix is still inexpensive at around $10.00 per month, the movie listings available for streamed viewing definitely are examples of “you get what you pay for.”  With Netflix, if you want good series television for streaming you do receive good quality.  As to movies, dredge is the word.  The good films are rare.  The quality movies you do find, you’ve probably already seen.



Mar 4, 2014 1:43pm
Maybe Netflix is just more interested in TV than movies these days. I remember years back being able to see movies I actually enjoyed on Netflix streaming. With shows like "House of Cards," it wouldn't be surprising that TV is Netflix's future.
Mar 5, 2014 6:12am
Near as I can tell, they aren't going to change anything unless the licensing fees are greatly reduced for A List movie content, which is unlikely any time soon, or Netflix raises their subscription fees. Thanks for reading.
Mar 4, 2014 2:36pm
I really appreciate your reviews of these Netflix films and TV shows. I too, have found the movie selection dismal. I used to watch Six Feet Under (on HBO) and felt the actors (esp. Michael C. Hall) were great. I have yet to check out Dexter. Too bad about The English Teacher (I've always been impressed by Julianne Moore's acting). Pinning this gem.
Mar 5, 2014 6:14am
Thanks for the comment, at least Netflix is cheap.
Mar 5, 2014 2:29pm
Boy, you sure nailed this. Series? Yeah! Movies? Hell, no, not unless you like total tripe. Like you and your GF my wife and I sat around for about half an hour scouring the wastelands of Netflix (as it's patched into out television) and we found nothing. We're considering dropping it if it doesn't start putting something on there worth watching. We ended up watching a DVD of "My Super Ex-Girlfriend". Good piece, a thumb's up.
Mar 5, 2014 2:56pm
Thanks, finding a good movie on Netflix is a darn chore.
Mar 5, 2014 7:44pm
Hey. Good article.

I'm serious about cinema, and I've found netflix disappointing. The best category, IMHO, is the foreign films section. They have some good films there that would have a hard time getting distribution otherwise.
Mar 5, 2014 8:03pm
Thanks! I'll have to check out the foreign films.
Mar 7, 2014 6:17pm
Great article! I don't like to be a slave to tv and Netflix certainly allows me to practice what I think.
Mar 7, 2014 7:00pm
You have great insight, thanks!
Mar 21, 2014 1:16am
Just got to know where to look. Try Jsutin Tv if yo have good se + there geed and connection and Tube + there great television series and movies.
Mar 21, 2014 5:23am
Thanks for the info. I'll check it out!
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  1. Alison Willmore "How 'Orange is the New Black' Became One of the Year's Best Shows By Turning a Fish-Out-of-Water Tale on Its Head." indiewire.com. 20/8/2013. 26/02/2014 <Web >
  2. Rebecca Murray "'Safe Haven' Movie Review." about.com. n/a/n/a/2013. 26/02/2014 <Web >
  3. Kyle Smith "‘The Lifeguard’ drowns in its own boredom." nypost.com. 30/8/2013. 26/02/2014 <Web >
  4. Anne Campbell "Straight A's: Movie Review." filmgatereviews.com. 11/4/2013. 26/02/2014 <Web >
  5. Stephan Holden "Abruptly, She Lets Down Her Hair." nytimes.com. 23/5/2013. 26/02/2014 <Web >
  6. Manohla Dargis "The Apocalypse, for Laughs." nytimes.com. 11/4/2013. 26/02/2014 <Web >

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