“The Outsider”: Why Can’t Netflix Release a Decent Original Movie?

Matthew Loffhagen
Netflix
(Photo: Netflix)

Poor Netflix. With competition from Disney on the horizon, the streaming platform is trying desperately to secure solid original content that can win over audiences, and give customers a reason to keep paying a monthly subscription for a rapidly shrinking pool of content.

While Netflix has managed to achieve a few solid runaway hits with their original episodic content, the platform just can’t catch a break with original movies. “Okja” is ultimately nothing memorable, and both “Bright” and “The Cloverfield Paradox” are utter garbage fires.

Netflix just can’t manage to release a good movie. It’s as if the content streaming service is cursed.

On what is surely a completely unrelated note, there’s a new trailer out for “The Outsider”, a Netflix original movie in which Jared Leto joins the Japanese mafia.

Well, this looks terrible, although it’s hard to tell whether this is because the movie itself looks like drab, grim, grumpy melodrama, or whether it’s because putting Jared Leto in a starring role in a movie is at this point like hiring Pennywise for a children’s birthday party.

It’s really difficult to understand why Hollywood casting directors seem so enamored of Jared Leto. The guy has burned all his bridges with moviegoing audiences, to the point where his name instantly makes a lot of people cringe.

Considering that Netflix also let David Ayer direct “Bright”, it’s clear that the higher ups of the company took the wrong lessons from “Suicide Squad”. Nobody actually likes that movie, regardless of the number of tickets it sold by misrepresenting its content in trailers.

Netflix doesn’t need crap that people will watch at this point, it needs movies that people will enjoy, and these are two very different things.

It doesn’t help that “The Outsider” as a premise is horrendously outdated, proving that Netflix also learned the wrong lessons from “Iron Fist”. Nobody wants to see a story about an East Asian action hero (or, indeed, antihero) who is also inexplicably white.

This isn’t the right time in our post-colonialist culture for stories about white men who travel to Asia to learn the wonders of foreign civilizations. These stories feel patronizing and borderline offensive in an era where multiculturalism is struggling amid the weight of racism and ignorance.

The Outsider
Source: Netflix

The fact that the titular Outsider is Jared Leto, a man who makes everyone uncomfortable, is even worse. Based on the premise of the movie and the trailer alone, it’s fairly safe to say that Netflix is going to strike out with this movie, just as they have done with every film they’ve debuted up to this point.

The moral of the story: don’t make movies about white guys learning the wonders of Asian culture, and don’t let Jared Leto anywhere near a movie set.

It’s not that hard, guys.