strange-movies-netflix

By Robin Hardwick

The way we watch movies and television has undergone a major change in recent years, thanks to Netflix. Older films not appreciated in their time get a chance at becoming cult classics, indie films without wide theater release find their audience, and documentaries get the popularity they deserve. But for every great film or television show, there is a puzzling low-budget genre film, outdated rom-com, or someone’s indie pet project that never saw the light of day. Here are some of the strangest finds from the deep well of generated recommendations.

Sacred Flesh (2000)

This film is the most prominent example of the “nunsploitation” genre, which yes, does exist. Shot on a minimal background, these nuns wear heavy eye makeup and have graphic, holy communions (sorry for the pun) with each other, all in the name of defying religious conventions. The nontraditional narrative that switches back and forth between reality and fantasy may make it seem like there’s a deep metaphorical message about religion and the nature of female desire, but you could also just call it a senior film thesis from a women’s studies/film double major from Sarah Lawrence that somehow accidentally ended up on Netflix.

Be My Baby (2006)

You’d think that there are no original ways for characters to “meet cute” anymore, but the creators of Be My Baby weren’t discouraged. In this film, the protagonist is fed up with getting involved with married men who pretend to be single, so she cooks up the perfect revenge plan. She “borrows” a child from the daycare where she works and pays a visit to all her exes, scamming them into giving her money when she convinces them the child is theirs. Luckily, one guy doesn’t fall for this trick…but he certainly falls for her!

Crazy Enough (2012)

Saturday Night Live alums have gone on to create zeitgeist-defining films, become legendary comedians, and even win Academy Awards. Others, like, say, Chris Kattan, have gone on to star in a direct-to-video film, in which they play twin brothers with mistaken identities. No, this film is not one of the fake films featured in Funny People or Tropic Thunder, it’s an actual 90 minutes of Chris Kattan playing both a man stuck in a mental facility and his twin brother. I guess people take different paths.

The Sex Thief (1974)

SexThief_Bluray

A career cat burglar breaks into ladies’ apartments (but only pretty ladies who sleep naked). Lady wakes up, confronts the thief, threatens to call the police. Thief uses his power of seduction to convince her otherwise.  Oh, the ’70s and its ambiguous ideas about sexual consent (so kitschy)! The ladies report the theft, but leave out the part where they boned the thief, causing a major investigation by two plucky detectives who can’t seem to ever do their job correctly. “Cheeky British sex comedies” were a popular genre from the ’70s and, if this is any representation of the genre, they seem to be neither funny nor sexy. Fun fact: one of the police officers is a dead ringer for Dave Foley.

The Last Word (2008)

How could a film about suicide notes, starring Winona Ryder, Ray Romano, and Wes Bentley’s brow, not be a hit? This film is like a rehab center for falling superstars.

Brother White (2012)

Although they are not for me, I can support films targeted at Christian viewers, unless they’re absurd and offensive like this one. In Brother White, Pastor White (get it?) reluctantly takes on a black church in Atlanta. I’ll bet he feels like a fish out of water! I’ll bet there are plenty of sassy black women to sass him up! Perhaps there are several scenes showing how he can’t dance. At least the movie stars the dad from Family Matters and the mom from Sister Sister.

Hunk (1987)

“In this diverting comedy, computer geek Bradley Brinkman signs his soul over to the devil in exchange for being transformed into a strapping ladies’ man.” The ’80s had a slew of “homely girl becomes pretty” films, so it’s somewhat…progressive to see the tables turned. The gratuitous shots of a hunky muscled man in the shower during the opening credits turns out to just be lip service to the ladies of the ’80s; everything else about Hunk seems to read like a parody of ’80s films: red sports cars, feathered hair, Valley girls, materialism, a brainless script, and sexism.

Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

We no longer have to wait until Christmas to see what holiday fare ABC Family has spewed out for us because Netflix allows us to experience their Christmas movies on demand year-round. This family farce  has Melissa Joan Hart kidnapping Mario Lopez at gunpoint and forcing him to pose as her boyfriend in front of her family for the holidays. A film about Stockholm Syndrome is perfect for cozying up to the fire next to the tree! As one astute commenter pointed out, this is essentially a remake of Buffalo 66. I am sure Vincent Gallo will never find out.

…At First Sight (Two Guys Talkin’ About Girls) (1995)

Remember that brief period in the ’90s when the world was in love with MTV Sports’ Dan Cortese? Here’s a chance to bring back that feeling.

Delhi Safari (2012)

This animated film features the voices of Jason Alexander, Carey Elwes, Brad Garrett and Jane Lynch, and is NOT for children! From the comments: “everyone is mentioning the father tiger getting shot. that did shock me, but what made me ultimately cut this off was the half naked female character!!! She was in a scantily clad outfit almost showing her nipples. I don’t want me son exposed to that” Still, that reviewer gave it three stars…

Leave your weirdest Netflix finds in the comments!

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KQED Pop

KQED Pop is a daily blog edited by Emmanuel Hapsis that critically examines the social and cultural impact of music, movies, television, advertisements, fashion, the internet and all the other collective experiences that make us laugh, cringe and cry. We focus on local, national and international experiences with a Bay Area lens. We don’t do reviews.

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