Like it or not, Netflix has absolutely succeeded in their long game of "undercut the competition with cheaper services until you complete replace them." It worked with video stores; and it ultimately worked when they moved into original content (although they do have some new competitors with that). At first, they used their data modeling to cash in on the TV bingeing trend, beginning with 2013's House of Cards (I recall there being a massive blizzard in Boston the weekend it premiered, and everyone I knew watched the whole first season while they were stuck inside). By the end of 2014, they were moving into original movies.
In just over 6 years, Netflix has produced 515 original films (excluding documentaries). And Vulture's Charles Bramesco watched every single one of them.
I don't know what's more ambitious: a corporate streaming service cranking out that much original movie content, or a human mortal trying to consume that much content. But as Bramesco points out, the company has come a long way from middling direct-to-TV-sequel-type movies, for better and for worse:
The second film they released was the one where a donkey explosively sharts all over Adam Sandler. Since then, Netflix has bagged an Oscar, elbowed its way into Cannes, and spent more than Panama's gross national product on content. These days, Netflix is made up of a fair amount of movies that attain mere forgettability instead of outright awfulness. But it's produced some genuinely good films, as well — as we speak, both Da 5 Bloods and Mank are both contending for Oscar action.
Since 2020, Bramesco has kept a running list, ranking all of Netflix's original movies. It's an impressive feat … and makes me realize just how little I knew about the Netflix original content mill. There are so many movies here that I've never heard of, because I'm clearly not on that branch of the algorithm. But I guess someone, somewhere is; or else, they were convinced to sign up for the platform, because they somehow hadn't been a member since 2006 like me.
To Netflix's credit: Bramesco ranks all of the Christmas Prince movies and Vanessa Hudgens romcoms towards the bottom of the list. And while those movies are bad and trite and formulaic…they're not horribly painful to watch. So props to them for having a low bar that's not too too low.
Eurovision ranks a lot higher than I'd think, though (although, I hear from actual Europeans that they enjoyed the hell out of it). Vampires vs the Bronx and El Camino definitely earn their spots though.
Ranking Every Netflix Original Movie: 2015-2020 [Charles Bramesco / Vulture]
Image: Michel Ngilen / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)