Gone in an Instant: “Paycheck” and four other bad movies leaving Netflix in December


Normally, this monthly column runs down a few of the really good movies that Netflix is canning at the end of the month, so you catch them while you can. But I gave the list of movies departing Netflix at the end of November a look, and frankly? Good riddance.

I mean, there are a couple of good ones going, such as “Sling Blade” and the 1954 Robert Mitchum movie “River of No Return.” (Netflix is doing a terrible job hanging onto movies from the ’50s and ’60s.) But most of the rest just seem like a good housecleaning before the holidays. But some are so-bad-they’re-good, and maybe worth a watch while it’s still free to you.

Paycheck” — John Woo pretty much torpedoed his career in Hollywood with this very disappointing 2003 sci-fi action thriller starring Ben Affleck as an engineer who agrees to work on a top-secret project, and then have his mind erased afterwards. Of course, when he wakes up everyone’s trying to kill him. With Paul Giamatti in one of those thankless sidekick roles he’d get before “Sideways.”

The Best of Me” — My full review is here. For a while, this goopy Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation is just your basic sappy romance, with hunky James Marsden returning to his small hometown and reconnecting with old flame Michelle Monaghan. But the film can’t leave well enough alone, throwing in an absolutely RIDICULOUS twist at the end. It’s almost worth watching for that.

The Da Vinci Code” — The half of “Angels & Demons” I once saw on a plane looked diverting enough, but the first entry in the Ron Howard-Tom Hanks collaborations of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel is terrible, with awful pacing, a self-serious tone, and Hanks’ highly distracting hair.

Event Horizon” — There is a campy charm to this sci-fi/horror movie, in which the denizens of a spaceship find themselves getting offed in incredibly creative ways. But watch “Sunshine” instead for the same movie done better.

American Beauty” — I will admit that I gave Alan Ball’s suburban drama high marks when it first came out in 1999, but it has not aged well, hitting its themes of middle-class angst and repressed homophobia with a sledgehammer. Also, just really creepy in retrospect.


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