Review: The no-nos of Netflix: What not to watch during quarantine

So here you find yourself, at a point in self-isolation or quarantine where you’ve already run through first-string entertainment. You’ve watched “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” you’ve swiped through social media for thumb-numbing hours and you’ve even hit the point where you think, “Gee, I could pick up a new hobby with all this new time.”

When knitting or baking inevitably falls through, you’ll find yourself at the feet of the media streaming gods once again, pleading for one more attention-holding film or episode—anything that will keep your mind in escapism mode.

However, dear quarantiners, I must remind you that no matter the desperation, some things are simply not worth watching. In an effort to sway you from wasting your time—even though you may have plenty of it to waste—the Chronicle dug into Reddit channels and Rotten Tomatoes to find which recent films have been nothing but utter disappointments.

‘CM Punk’ Brooks, Travis Stevens, Sarah Lind and Sarah Brooks attend the red carpet premiere of “Girl On The Third Floor” at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

“Girl on the Third Floor” (2019)

It’s almost commendable that the makers of this film were able to produce an hour and thirty-five minutes worth of footage which right off the bat was filled with eerie music, shadows cast around the house and walls that leaked ominous slime. It’s as if the filmmakers were hastily trying to cross off items on a long list of horror-movie clichés to cover up for the lack of plot and cohesion.

The film follows a man, who goes unidentified through a healthy portion of this movie, as he moves into his new home with his dog; all the while, perhaps a redeeming quality about the film is those same horror-classic clichés. A void-like basement with no light, an angry protagonist running from his misdeeds and a town with a murky past reminds us of happier times when we were watching horror movies that were not this one.

With dashes of misogynistic, homophobic, abusive and manipulative undertones—such as the protagonist flying off the handle and gaslighting his wife nearly any time she asks a question—it’s hard to imagine a group of people sitting down to watch this movie before its release and thinking it was fit for the public.

If we set the content aside—which is hard to do given how glaringly inconsistent and foul it is—the structure of the film and actors who made it possible were unimaginably weak. I’ve been more convinced by dialogue in middle school plays of my past than with this Netflix-approved film.

Furthermore, if I had a dollar for every time I said aloud, “Wait, what?” or loudly cackled from plot holes and feigned melodrama, I could buy Netflix and personally delete this film off of its database.

Jacob Elordi (back), Joey King (left) and Joel Courtney (right) attend a screening of ‘The Kissing Booth’ at NETFLIX on May 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Netflix)

“The Kissing Booth” (2018)

What I found astonishing about the rom-com “The Kissing Booth” is that drinking boiling water might have been less painful than this superficial and morally dubious movie. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 17% rating, which is fitting of a film devoid of sentiment or overall meaning.

The crux of this film, and the most unsettling thing about it, is the protagonist, Elle, a 14-year-old who has fallen in love with her best friend’s older brother, who is 18 years old. Let those numbers sink in, and then consider the relationship is rife with controlling tendencies, disapproval from family and friends and plenty of secrecy. And thank God, otherwise, how else are high schoolers to learn how to be taken advantage of at such a young age?

Some of the best, and by that I mean god awful, bits of this train wreck come from the internal point-of-view and outwardly actions of Elle—the innocent, comical young girl who wants to assert her independence. Where filmmakers shamefully missed the mark on this, however, is that her independence often comes at the expense of getting undressed in public.

Overall, not much can be constructively said of a cliché-rich film where one’s response to being groped in public is, “Dude touched my lady bump.”

Ryan Reynolds, Corey Hawkins, Melanie Laurent, Ben Hardy, Adria Arjona and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo attend Netflix’s “6 Underground” New York Premiere at The Shed on December 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

“6 Underground” (2019)

The fun thing about “6 Underground” is that you could skip through various 20-minute sections of this film and not miss a single beat of yet another monotonous action and adventure Michael Bay movie.

This movie is half unrealistic and unnecessary explosives and half advertisements—within even the first shot of the film, there is a blatant Red Bull sponsorship, only to be followed throughout the film by various brands, including Ryan Reynolds’ own brand of gin.

Reynolds’—who portrays the leader of a band of trigger-happy misfits—witty one-liners, self-deprecation in times of crisis and de-escalation through comedy are go-to’s of his. More so than any other character, Reynolds’ real-life personality felt as if it was hounding us throughout the film, begging for viewers to validate him.

At times, I knew I was supposed to laugh given the set-up in dialogue, but there was nothing to laugh at, or at the very least, I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. Not often do I find myself wanting the hero to die more than the foreign-dictator villain, but in this movie, I was hoping for it.

Seemingly, the knee jerk reaction to a lacking script is to add sex scenes or naked women as if to blind us from seeing the truth. Mere seconds of literal sex on the screen felt more like a distraction from the failings of the entire cast and crew.

Before production companies roll out another movie, be it specifically for Netflix or for theaters around the world—I beg that they give concepts like sex, shock-value and social issues a second thought before they slather it all over our screens and expect us to thank them.