Roger Ebert’s 5 Best & Worst Netflix Movies

RagingNetflix Slider <p>Roger Ebert’s 5 Best & Worst Netflix Movies</p>

For more than 45 years, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert led his loyal readership through the thicket of modern moviegoing. The sometimes harsh, often sardonic Ebert always paired his witty criticism with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of cinematic tropes. The recent film Life Itself, Steve James’ documentary about the late critic, caused quite a stir at the Sundance Film Festival, with some calling it the most special piece of the event. In honor of Ebert’s birthday on June 18th, DYR is handing over the reins of our regular Netflix Guide to the man of the hour. Here, a curated guide to the best and worst Netflix has to offer, with commentary provided by Ebert himself.

 SEE ALSO: Netflix Guide to Film Debuts

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

4.5/5 Stars

“The story it most reminds me of, indeed, is Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), about a party of young girls, not unlike the Lisbon sisters in appearance and sexual experience, who go for a school outing one day and disappear into the wilderness, never to be seen again. Were they captured? Killed in a fall? Trapped somehow? Bitten by snakes? Simply lost in the maze of nature? What happened to them is not the point. Their disappearance is the point. One moment they were smiling and bowing in their white dresses in the sun, and the next they were gone forever. The lack of any explanation is the whole point: For those left behind, they are preserved forever in the perfection they possessed when they were last seen.”

Click here to watch.

 

Tomcats (2001)

1 Thumb Down

“Read no further if through reckless wrong-headedness you plan to see this movie. What happens is that Kyle develops testicular cancer and has to have surgery to remove one of his testicles. During recovery he develops a nostalgia for the missing sphere and sends Michael on a mission to the hospital’s medical waste storage room to steal back the treasure.

Alas, through a series of mishaps, it bounces around the hospital like the quarry in a handball game, before ending up on the cafeteria plate of the surgeon who has just removed it, and now eats it, with relish. The surgeon is played by that accomplished actor David Ogden Stiers, my high school classmate, who also does Shakespeare, and probably finds it easier.”

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Raging Bull (1980)

5/5 Stars

“For Scorsese, the life of LaMotta was like an illustration of a theme always present in his work, the inability of his characters to trust and relate with women. The engine that drives the LaMotta character in the film is not boxing, but a jealous obsession with his wife, Vickie, and a fear of sexuality. From the time he first sees her, as a girl of 15, LaMotta is mesmerized by the cool, distant blond goddess, who seems so much older than her age, and in many shots seems taller and even stronger than the boxer.”

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Caligula (1979)

1 Thumb Down

Caligula is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty. Disgusted and unspeakably depressed, I walked out of the film after two hours of its 170-minute length. That was on Saturday night, as a line of hundreds of people stretched down Lincoln Avenue, waiting to pay $7.50 apiece to become eyewitnesses to shame.

I wanted to tell them…what did I want to tell them? What I’m telling you now. That this film is not only garbage on an artistic level, but that it is also garbage on the crude and base level where it no doubt hopes to find its audience. Caligula is not good art, it is not good cinema, and it is not good porn.”

Click here to watch.

 

Ghost Dad (1990)

1.5/5 Stars

Ghost Dad is a desperately unfunny film—a strained, contrived construction that left me shaking my head in amazement. Most movie ghosts are defined and restrained by certain ground rules. What kind of ghost is Cosby? The kind of ghost his children can see and hear sometimes, but not at other times, and who can sometimes pick up stuff although at other times his hands go right through things, and who is invisible in bright lights but visible in darkened rooms. In other words, a ghost created under such confusing rules that it can be anything at any time, which means that sometimes in the same scene or even the same series of shots Cosby appears or disappears according to no logical pattern.

Why do I describe silly details like this? Because they illustrate how half-baked and lame-brained the screenplay is. The movie doesn’t exhibit the slightest attempt to be consistent, logical or sensible in anything, and there are scenes so pointless and unmotivated that attentive audiences will ask what they’re doing in the movie.”

Click here to watch.

 

 

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