Perhaps the only thing we like talking about more than the movies we love are the ones that we love to hate. It’s been said that everyone’s a critic, but at the end of the day it’s surprisingly easy to define what makes something terrible—you simply know it when you see it.
After researching the titles currently on Netflix, I consulted my Facebook newsfeed and received a dozen suggestions that ranged from the rather self-explanatory “Sunday School Musical” to “Amy Schumer’s stand up was pretty trash.” With my top choices at hand, I settled in with a bottle of wine to see just how bad Netflix’s selection can be.
WARING: Spoilers (if you can call them that) ahead.
Jenny (Katherine Heigl) is a young woman whose family wants nothing more than for her to get married. However, after Jenny comes out as gay and decides to marry her partner Kitty (Alexis Bledel), Jenny’s family is plunged into small-town chaos.
At face value, this movie seems to have wanted to be an unassuming wedding flick: it’s got rom-com alum Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth) and music straight out of the 90s, but for a movie with the word “wedding” in the title there’s a surprising lack of romance. For example, when Jenny “proposes” to Kitty, she simply announces her desire to get married without ever asking for Kitty’s opinion—or, you know, proposing. Also, the couple only kisses twice in the whole movie!
Bottom line: for what should be a sincere LGBT romance, there is absolutely no romance and no positive representation for the LGBT community. This isn’t a fun bad movie, it’s just bad.
My most pressing thought when starting Shimmer Lake was simple: Why is Dwight Schrute here?
A heist story told in reverse, Shimmer Lake starts several days after a bank robbery and works backwards to show the events leading up to the crime. In doing so, we learn about the people living near Shimmer Laker and all their dirty little secrets.
To be fair, Shimmer Lake wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be: it felt more like a dark comedy that went a little too dark and bit off more than it could chew. There is some serious comedic starpower with Rainn Wilson and John Michael Higgins in play, but both felt underused and ill-suited for the high stakes drama, making it hard to tell what moments were supposed to be serious or not.
Ultimately, it’s clever storytelling that can keep you hooked until the end, but with very, very little reward.
John Dies at the End
To be honest, I can’t even tell you if John does die at the end –I didn’t make it that far.
Starring Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes, John Dies at the End is based on the book by the same name and hailed by many as a cult film. Including psychedelic “Soy Sauce”, alternate realities, paranormal activity, and at times horrible special effects, this movie has everything for audiences looking for “the worst things” on Netflix. Think Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Sharknado, and you’re almost in the realm of John Dies at the End.
If you figure out if he dies, please let me know.
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