11 Points

11 Great Moments In Netflix Recommendations
written by Sam Greenspan

Last week, my friend Kristen posted this screenshot from Netflix...

Netflix was officially judging her.

And I was very happy to see it. Not because I support Netflix's recommendations engine casting hurtful aspersions on her personality (and love life)... but because I could finally run with this list. I've been gathering screenshots of funny/bad/incongruous/offensive Netflix recommendations for a while, but I had to see one in real life before I was willing to publish the list. That was my (admittedly mediocre) burden of proof that they're not ALL Photoshopped. And it came just in the nick of time, as the "Netflix made this totally wacky recommendation!" cliche is days -- if not hours -- away from being fully played out. I'm squeaking in just before the buzzer.

Here are 11 screenshots of ridiculous Netflix recommendations and suggestions...
  1. "Who Was Jesus?"

    I believe they ARE making a Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (without John Cusack, whose presence in the first one is among the most befuddling movie choices by an actor in the past 25 years). It would be quite a twist on the franchise if they traveled back to Biblical times to meet Jesus. Or, based on the very, very, very loose time traveling rules that movie adhered to, perhaps they can figure out a way to plop Jesus into 1993 or something. Imagine Jesus wearing his clothes backwards and listening to Jesus Jones. Buzzfeed might explode.

  2. "TV Comedies Featuring a Strong Female Lead."

    I know it's just a case of a slower Internet connection delaying the images from loading... but what a spot-on meta indictment of TV today, right? (There's Parks and Recreation and... um... hey! Look over there! A new reality singing competition show!)

  3. "African-American Fight-the-System Movies.

    Obviously this looks absurd on the surface -- the only thing Eddie Murphy was fighting with Dr. Dolittle 2 was good taste -- but I dug a little deeper. Confession: I have never seen Dr. Dolittle 2. I know, I know.

    According to The Internet, it's about Eddie's Dr. Dolittle and his animal friends/patients teaming up to protect their forest from some evil logging companies. So, yes, they are fighting the system. Granted, CGI animals and late-career Eddie Murphy cartoonishly fighting an evil corporation isn't quite like, say, the story of Jane Pittman rising from slave to Civil Rights pioneer -- but at least Netflix didn't jam something like Soul Plane into this subgenre.

  4. "Serial Killer TV Shows."

    Serial killing is very much not Raven.

  5. "TV Shows Where Defiantly Crossed Arms Mean Business!"

    This isn't an official subgenre on Netflix; they put this up for April Fools' Day. But it's monumental because... it's the one out of 10,000 websites that actually managed to do something legitimately funny on April Fools' Day! Until I saw this I thought it was zero of 10,000. Who says Netflix is rudderless? Any corporation with enough vision to pull together a decent April Fools' Day joke is going to make it in the long haul.

  6. "Based On Your Search for 'Feel Good.'"

    Wait, you mean to tell me THAT'S what Netflix considers a "feel good" movie? A 235-minute BBC miniseries about a young woman from southern England who has to make a tumultuous and arduous move to the north after her father leaves the church? Hardly makes me feel good.

  7. "Results for Mulan."

    Even the Netflix recommendation engine can't resist the "Asians switch 'Ls' for 'Rs'" bit. Now here's the question: Is that bit more objectionable because it's racist... or because it's super hacky? And what does your answer to that question say about you?

  8. "Because You Enjoyed: The Last of the Mohicans."

    I guess if all you ever watch is The Last of the Mohicans, maybe Netflix has figured you out by only recommending The Last of the Mohicans. Although this feels like a situation where you're better off spending $10 for the DVD.

  9. "Because You Enjoyed Chinatown."

    So, you liked Chinatown, one of the best movies of all time, a well-written, well-acted, and exile-directed film noir mystery? Well, then you'll CERTAINLY like a 1962 Bollywood movie about a lounge singer who looks like a gangster infiltrating a crime syndicate. I mean... they've got the same name, right? It's why I started watching Dexter after I watched Anthony Michael Hall in Breakfast Club again.

  10. A selection of children's movies.

    Well, all of these movies are technically about children. And frankly, the cult of Elmo is just as frightening.

  11. "Gay & Lesbian Comedies."

    Eddie Murphy's Raw only counts as a gay and lesbian comedy if you count his material that's so jarringly homophobic (especially now, in a modern context) it really casts a pall over the entire performance.
    "I did a lot of jokes about homosexuals a couple years ago and the f-----s were mad... there's nothing like having a nation of f--s looking for you... I can't go to San Francisco. They got 24-hour homo watch waiting for me in the airport... and the [police] cars would come rushing across town. And it won't be no siren, it'll be a real f-- sitting on the roof going, 'Pull over, pull over... turn around, I'm gonna frisk you.'"
    Great. Now I'm all pissed off at Eddie Murphy and find myself siding with those evil logging corporations.

This post was originally published on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Movies.

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