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The best guilty pleasure movies on Netflix

Oh, Netflix. The true embodiment of the phrase "One person's trash is another person's treasure." We all have different tastes, of course, but the streaming service that started it all is quite impressive for holding a film catalog so extensive that it holds Oscar winners and bargain bin dumpster fires all in the same collection. It's the great cinematic equalizer, and we have to be grateful for that at the end of the day.

With all that in mind, we're here to honor Netflix's guiltiest pleasures: the trash films we can't help but treasure, from the silliest action to the clumsiest horror and the comedies that only barely make us laugh. In a world of infinite content, there's always going to be something that misses the mark for most of us, but hits that sweet trashy spot in our hearts. They certainly can't all be winners, but we hope you treasure this list of truly — and enjoyably — trash cinema.

Angel Has Fallen

Can't get enough of the so-so action-packed adventures of one Gerard Butler? Then the aptly titled Fallen film series is just for you! Beginning with 2013's Olympus Has Fallen, Butler has spent this series gracing the silver screen as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, tasked with protecting the United States from all manner of deadly forces lurking in the shadows. Olympus was quickly followed up by 2016's London Has Fallen, during which Banning is called upon to stop a sinister plot and protect world leaders overseas.

2019's Angel Has Fallen ratchets up the action, placing our daring hero Agent Banning as the prime suspect in an assassination attempt against the President of the United States (played by, who else, Morgan Freeman). The Fallen series is neither helped nor hindered by Butler's central performance, although the admittedly spectacular set pieces are often undermined by overly complex plots and outright xenophobic and racist stereotyping. But if you're looking for a cheap action thrill ride starring some famous faces, you have worse options than Angel Has Fallen.

Bad Boys II

Whatever you may think about director Michael Bay (and there is much to be said about Michael Bay), the guy knows how to make a memorable cinematic experience, for better or worse. His films are vulgar, violent, sexist, racist, childish... and also fantastically profitable. Bay can film an action sequence like no other. There isn't a car, a female character, or an explosion he can't glamorize (often at the expense of plot or character development, but still). He has a brand, and he sticks to it like no other.

Perhaps the most Michael Bay movie of them all, Bad Boys II is a prime example of Bay at his most grandiose, exploitative, and all-out maniacal. It is pure Bay id on full display, reuniting Bad Boys stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as detective lieutenants out to bust another huge crime in the works. It's an absolutely chaotic mess of a movie (an epic one too, with a runtime of almost two and a half hours), and you almost have to respect the audacity at play. There's truly no one like Michael Bay, and Bad Boys II is all the proof you need.

Bird Box

Every once in a while, Netflix will release an original film that captures the cultural zeitgeist in a fantastically mysterious way. Is it so good that we can't stop talking about it, or is it so bad that it's a train wreck we can't take our eyes away from? With 2018's horror/thriller/meme factory Bird Box, it really depends on who you ask.

Based on the 2014 novel of the same name, the movie finds Sandra Bullock traversing down a dangerous river to protect two children from mysterious entities that will make a person go crazy if they see them. It's a strange enough premise that you're hooked by the sheer oddity of it all, and Bullock deserves credit for giving a committed performance in service of a truly ridiculous piece of filmmaking. Is it a classic? Well... probably not. But if you're looking for a compulsively watchable movie about people struggling to survive in the face of a mysterious global threat, you could do a heck of a lot worse than Bird Box.

Godzilla

Japan's favorite giant lizard/nuclear bomb allegory Godzilla has been roaring and demolishing on screens for almost half a century, but for decades, the green gargantuan's exploits lacked the sort of blockbuster big-budget heft they were given with Roland Emmerich's 1998 gargantuan smash-fest Godzilla. With a sleek new design that seemed poised to bring Godzilla into the next millennium, Hollywood was sure they had a new monster hit on their hands.

It didn't turn out that way.

Godzilla wasn't the smash hit everyone was hoping for. Hampered by everything from a leading performance from a miscast Matthew Broderick to a number of strange creative choices by Emmerich (the mayor's last name is Ebert, for example — a petty dig at film critic Roger Ebert, who was never a fan of Emmerich's films), the '98 Godzilla stumbled during its theatrical run, becoming a punchline for blockbuster excess and sending the franchise into more than 15 years in America. Given all that, it's still a goofy fun time with a giant rampaging lizard — which is sometimes all a Godzilla fan is really looking for.

Hitch

Will Smith rose to Hollywood prominence as a film star in blockbusters such as Bad Boys, Independence Day, and Men in Black, but after years of action movies and prestige dramas, Smith evidently felt it was time to show he had romantic comedy chops. Enter 2005's Hitch, in which Smith plays the title character — Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, a certified "date doctor" who helps men find the women of their dreams. But even though Hitch can help so many other men, can he find a way to help... himself?

Hitch is Smith as his most charming and romantic, even if the plot and some of the comedy falls into far too many familiar rom-com tropes. It's wild to think about the sequence of events that led a major studio to choose Will Smith, Eva Mendes, and Kevin Smith as the three leads of a romantic comedy, but sometimes the strangest combinations make for the guiltiest pleasures.

Horns

Looking for a fantastical movie starring Daniel Radcliffe that's streaming on Netflix right now? Well, then Swiss Army Man is definitely going to be up your alley. But if you're looking for something a little more schlocky and a little less thematically resonant, then Horns might be the perfect film to answer that age-old question "what if Daniel Radcliffe had... horns? Like, devil horns? That's a movie, right?"

Based on the fantasy novel of the same name, Radcliffe stars as the quirkily named Ignatious "Ig" Perrish, a young man who wakes up to find he has grown two horns on his head — and that his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) has been found murdered, and that he's the prime suspect. What follows is a twisted fantasy revenge film that, if nothing else, contains a killer soundtrack and a devilishly committed performance from Radcliffe. Horns is far from Radcliffe's best film (again, Swiss Army Man is right there), but it shows a deranged side of his screen persona that is plenty of fun to watch for two hours.

Mortal Kombat

You could write several books on the failed attempts to try and bring the world of video games to the silver screen. From the frighteningly bleak adaption of Super Mario Bros. to the exhaustive output of director Uwe Boll, video game adaptations have rarely found a way to break into the movie biz. And 1995's Mortal Kombat, directed by future Resident Evil helmer Paul W.S. Anderson, with its corny dialogue, wooden acting, and subpar story structure, is an easy target to pin on the failure of this strange sub-genre to catch on in any meaningful way.

Though it was still something of a success at the box office (especially in comparison with other ill-fated video game movie adaptations), history has not been kind to Mortal Kombat. It's a prime example of how not to replicate the world of a video game to the world of cinema, but its action-packed, campy quality is enough to warrant a revisit. Ready... Fight!

Murder Mystery

Adam Sandler seems to be having the time of his life, if his recent Netflix output is any indication. From dressing up as a cowboy to dressing up as a talent manager to dressing up as an FBI agent, Sandler has transplanted his typically laid back approach to comedic filmmaking to the number one streaming service for the "Netflix and chill" crowd. It's clearly a match made in heaven.

Sandler's films for the platform have had their ups and downs, but 2019's Murder Mystery is as fantastic as it is fleeting. Here, the star reunites with Jennifer Aniston for (surprise!) a murder mystery that spans as many European hotspots as Sandler was able to fit onto his personal travel itinerary. With a plethora of goofy performances from a star-studded supporting cast and enough oddball one-liners to keep you laughing for most of its speedy runtime, Murder Mystery is certain to provide an entertaining watch. That's a mystery worth solving.

The King

It must have seemed like a no-brainer to everyone at Netflix: Timothee Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, and Robert Pattinson parading around in a melancholy quest for the medieval monarchy. What could possibly go wrong?

Quite a lot, it seems. The King ended up not really being anybody's idea of a rousing period adventure, with Pattinson's captivating performance coming in too late to really save a movie too trapped within its own limited imagination to capture the audience's. Still, the movie definitely has its charms, and although it would be easy to understand a certain amount of disappointment from anyone who might have purchased a ticket to watch The King in theaters, home viewing is frequently a different proposition. This is a perfect example of that principle in action, and it's right there waiting to be added to your queue the next time you're looking to be lost for a little over two hours in an odd fantasy land with a generation's finest young male actors united on an epic adventure.

Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell

All good things come in... sixes? That's how the saying goes if you're the Tremors franchise, apparently. This offering from this terrifying (or terrifyingly cheesy) series of films arrived in 2018. The horror comedy franchise just keeps growing and growing (why won't these Graboids just leave us alone?), and with no Kevin Bacon to hold down the fort, who will save us from these deadly sandworms this time?

In a clear no-brainer casting choice, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell is led by Jamie Kennedy in the strangest of turns, teaming up with series mainstay Michael Gross as Burt Gummer, who just can't stop getting into skirmishes with those darn Graboids. With a seventh addition to the franchise announced soon after A Cold Day in Hell's release (Gross gets to team up with Jon Heder this time), it seems like the Tremors franchise isn't going away any time soon. It also isn't necessarily the type of franchise that requires the viewer to really understand what's going on, so why not start with this wildly improbable sixth entry?

2012

Roland Emmerich just can't say no, can he? The big-budget director who's always in search of a monument to blow up has spent his career oscillating between big stories about fictional disasters (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) and big stories about real disasters (Anonymous, Stonewall). Emmerich loves to create chaos and destruction, even if that means leaving a few critically derided movies in his wake.

Emmerich tried to have his cake and eat it too with 2012, based on the Mesoamerican long count calendar theory that the world would end in the titular year. While that clearly did not come to pass, Emmerich's film is something of a disaster itself, with John Cusack leading a cast of paranoid government agents and ordinary citizens through a series of truly unbelievable apocalyptic scenarios. This ancient prophecy didn't come true, but it did bring us yet another Roland Emmerich feat of destruction — one whose unwavering commitment to spectacle at all costs is difficult not to appreciate on some level. Put it in your queue for the next time you're in the mood to watch the world end — safe in the knowledge that, for the moment at least, we're all still here.