‘Netflix Bum’: A new, less than reverent guide to what to watch online

The movies reviewed on Netflix Bum are like a Criterion Collection from hell. (Apologies to the odd good movie that turns up on the site.)

The movies reviewed on Netflix Bum are like a Criterion Collection… from hell! (Apologies to the odd good movie that turns up on the site.)

Regular visitors to this site are probably accustomed to this Movie Analyst′s earnest posts urging readers to catch up with critically acclaimed debuts by wunderkind auteurs from far-flung lands, or whatever obscure byway of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s career has most recently been exhumed on Blu-Ray.

But the latest worthy releases from indie-dom, no matter how laden with film festival awards they might be, may not be what the average movie buff wants to read about when he or she goes in search of recommendations for what to stream next. Thus as a public service, I want to alert readers to a recently launched site that covers somewhat different territory from this one — a site that works the dark side of Netflix, you might say.

Jesus! Apparently this is a whole genre on Netflix.

Netflix Bum offers admirably pithy reviews of movies streaming on Netflix. And if you’ve ever searched for legit fare on Netflix, you know that the search results and home-page recommendations feature a jaw-dropping amount of, well — let’s be honest — real crud. Big-budget Hollywood crud, straight-to-video indie crud; it’s a seemingly bottomless pit.

These days the final resting place of every cinematic stinker would seem to be Netflix streaming. Netflix Bum has taken on the task of being your guide through all the dreck — “We scrape the bottom so you don’t have to” is the site’s motto.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have had contact with the shadowy coterie of expat Eastern European intellectuals behind Netflix Bum. But rest assured, no money or promotional considerations prompted me to write this post.

Thank God we got a director’s cut of this.

Instead I was motivated by sheer astonishment at just how much pure schlock the brain trust of Netflix Bum manages to sit through on a regular basis, all in the interest of informing the public about which of the junkier offerings on Netflix fall into the category of “good” bad movies, or at least, the enjoyably risible, and what falls into the you’ll-hate-yourself-for-having-squandered-the-time category. (Though Netflix Bum’s handy “Speed-Watch” category alerts viewers as to which movies benefit from the click-and-drag capability of the Netflix player.)

The other categories on the site include How Did They Get Roped into This? (a.k.a. good actors in lousy movies); Crap Worth Your Time (“still crap, but possessing some redeeming qualities”); WTF?! (movies that are apparently so bad and/or strange they may defy critical analysis); and, lest anyone think the site is nothing but black-hearted cynicism, Hidden Gem (“either not crap, or crap so spectacular it elevates itself to the instant classic category”).

What I like about these categories is that in some ways they‘re a better reflection of how the average moviegoer, and even the average buff, thinks and talks about movies than the more high-minded analyses of year-end Top 10 lists and awards-season verdicts.

Also, I have it on good authority that, whereas Netflix customers in other countries seek out and actually watch films that have won major awards, Netflix members in the U.S. tend to put award-winning titles in their queues but rarely get around to watching them… because they’re too busy watching stuff like Hansel and Gretel, the Red Dawn remake or BloodRayne: The Third Reich. Hence the need for a site like Netflix Bum. It’s a valuable service these critics have selflessly taken it on themselves to provide.

Now streaming at your convenience, so you can be ready for the sequel.

Feel free to weigh in