This has been a terrible year for myriad reasons. But among the various nightmares, I want to make sure nobody forgets that Netflix debuted multiple movies straight from hell, including one that obtained the rare achievement of earning a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Despite the fact we were all home for much of the year, Netflix released too many movies to keep up with in 2020. The streaming service provided subscribers with a deluge of mostly forgettable content as it averaged a rollout of multiple movies each week throughout the year.
But with so many movies, the chance of creating the hilariously bad became quite high. And now, in looking back at this year, you have a collection of cinematic curios of terribleness.
I’ve compiled the eight worst of the worst Netflix had to offer this year.
Each film is paired with a “critic burn” grabbed from the review aggregator Metacritic. These “burns” were either from the harshest or near-harshest reviews of the movies.
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Premise: In this drama directed by Ron Howard and based off the 2016 memoir of the same name, a Yale student returns to his home in Appalachia to find a community on the brink and reflects on his hard childhood.
Notable cast: Amy Adams and Glenn Close
Rotten Tomatoes score: 26%
Critic burn: Darren Franich for Entertainment Weekly:
Hillbilly Elegy is two movies, one laughably bad and one boringly bad.
Debut date (when the movie joined Netflix, not the limited run theatrical release Netflix did when it thought this movie might be a big Oscar contender): Nov. 24.
Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Premise: In this thriller written and directed by Tyler Perry, a public defender becomes engrossed in a small-town Virginia murder case and tries to uncover the dark truth underlying it.
Notable cast: Crystal Fox, Tyler Perry and Phylicia Rashad
Rotten Tomatoes score: 16%
Critic burn: Gary Goldstein for the Los Angeles Times:
It’s Jasmine’s inept and unprofessional behavior during the film’s climactic trial that really sends the film into absurdist territory. It’s outdone only by a final sequence of events with a horror-show twist that might best be described as bonkers.
Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Premise: In this vacation comedy co-produced by Adam Sandler, a man accidentally invites a bad date to a work retreat in Hawaii and comes to learn he must leave his comfort zone to find true happiness.
Notable cast: Lauren Lapkus, Roman Reigns and David Spade
Rotten Tomatoes score: 33%
Critic burn: Barry Hertz for The Globe and Mail:
Overriding everything is a profound sense of laziness. Jokes do not land here so much as they ooze forth, slow and noxious.
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes
“The Kissing Booth 2”
Premise: In this teen romantic comedy sequel, a high schooler keeps finding new crushes while organizing a fundraising kissing booth.
Notable cast: Joel Courtney, Joey King and Molly Ringwald
Rotten Tomatoes score: 29%
Critic burn: Monica Castillo for RogerEbert.com:
You can soak in the movie’s basic premise and overacting just as long as you know this pool’s shallow.
Runtime: 2 hours, 14 minutes
Premise: In this psychological thriller, a married woman has an affair with an old crush, only to realize the new partner is dangerous.
Notable cast: Omar Epps and Nia Long
Rotten Tomatoes score: 18%
Critic burn: Jeannette Catsoulis for The New York Times:
There is so much recycled material in “Fatal Affair” that its carbon footprint must have been zero.
Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes
“The Last Days of American Crime”
Premise: In this action thriller based on a 2009 graphic novel, a team of thieves attempts one last heist before the U.S. government deploys a new technology that will theoretically end crime.
Notable cast: Anna Brewster, Michael Pitt and Édgar Ramírez
Rotten Tomatoes score: 0%
Critic burn: Johnny Oleksinski for the New York Post:
“I need something bad and fast,” criminal Graham Bricke says to a weapons dealer early in “The Last Days of American Crime.” The Netflix action film definitely fulfills one of those criteria: It is so, so bad — but it is ever eye-gougingly slow.
Runtime: 2 hours, 28 minutes
“The Last Thing He Wanted”
Premise: In this political thriller directed and co-written by Dee Rees and based on a 1996 novel by Joan Didion, a respected reporter gets caught up on the wrong side of a scandal after taking a mysterious job from her dying father.
Notable cast: Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Anne Hathaway and Rosie Perez
Rotten Tomatoes score: 5%
Critic burn: Jordan Raup for The Film Stage:
The tell-all exposé on why exactly “The Last Thing He Wanted” is a failure on almost every level is likely many years away, but it’s been some time since such a promising concoction of talented ingredients has resulted in something so impossibly dull, gratingly lethargic, and utterly incoherent.
Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Premise: In this cop comedy, a kid named Kareem is mad that his mom has a new boyfriend, so he tries to have the boyfriend ― a cop named Coffee ― killed. The kid gets in over his head, and so the unlikely duo has to team up to keep Mom safe.
Notable cast: Ed Helms, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Little Gardenhigh
Rotten Tomatoes score: 20%
Critic burn: Peter Travers for Rolling Stone:
Helms, a master jester on “The Office,” seems to have forgotten everything he’s ever learned about comic timing to judge by [this] fiasco. Since “Coffee and Kareem” also credits Helms as a producer, he has only himself to blame.
Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes