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What to Watch on Netflix Top 10 Movie Rankings on December 3

The Power of the Dog is top dog

Liam Mathews, Tim Surette
Benedict Cumberbatch, Power of the Dog

Benedict Cumberbatch, Power of the Dog

Kristy Griffin/Netflix

If you're looking for a good movie to watch on Netflix, then a great way to get started is to crowdsource who is watching what by looking at the Netflix Top 10 Movies list, which tracks the most-watched movies on the streaming service. The list for Friday, Dec. 3 is topped by The Power of the Dog, an Oscar-contending Western starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It's followed by the 1999 Eddie Murphy-Martin Lawrence team-up Life. Behind that, there's the latest Netflix Christmas movie Single All the Way, which features Jennifer Coolidge and Kathy Najimy, so you know it's good. A Castle for Christmas, a Scottish holiday adventure starring Brooke Shields, is at No. 4 Bruised, the grittily inspirational MMA drama from director and star Halle Berry, rounds out the top five. 

But which of the films in Netflix's Top 10 list of the most popular movies are actually good? We break down the entire Netflix Top 10 Movies list and guide you through what to binge and what to skip. We do the same for Netflix's Top 10 TV shows, as well as Netflix's overall Top 10 list. We also have a list of the 50 best shows and movies to watch on Netflix right now, as well as the best movies on Netflix and the best TV shows on Netflix

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Based on Netflix's Top 10 from Friday, Dec. 3

1. The Power of the Dog

For fans of: Tension, Benedict Cumberbatch being a big ol' meanie | Is it good?: It's fantastic

Jane Campion's first film since 2009 heads out on the range with one mean cowboy in Benedict Cumberbatch. The 1925-set Western quickly reaches a boil and holds it as a rancher (Jesse Plemons) gets a new wife (Kirsten Dunst) whom his brother (Cumberbatch) takes a strong disliking to. It's a masterclass of simmering tension and spellbinding acting, but if you're here for shoot 'em ups, this Western ain't it. (Yesterday's rank: 1)

2. Life

For fans of: When Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence puts on prosthetic makeup | Is it good?: It's pretty underrated

Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence provide laughs and pathos in this sad comedy from 1999. They play two men from New York City who are sentenced to life in Mississippi state prison for a murder they didn't commit. Rejecting the misery of prison life, they make numerous efforts to escape over the years. Murphy and Lawrence find humor in the darkest situations — this is a "laugh to keep from crying" comedy, and there's some heavy stuff in it that will make you think about the injustice Black people face in the justice system. Life wasn't a hit when it came out — though it earned an Oscar nomination for Best Makeup thanks to the old age makeup Murphy and Lawrence wear in the second half of the film — but it's a worthwhile rediscovery, even if some of the humor hasn't aged well. (Yesterday's rank: 2)

3. Single All the Way

For fans of: Christmas movies, gay icon Jennifer Coolidge | Is it good?: It's very sweet

Single All the Way is Netflix's first gay Christmas rom-com, and it's delightful. Michael Urie plays Peter, a perpetually single man whose family is always pressuring him to get into a relationship. In order to avoid those conversations this Christmas, he convinces his best friend, Nick (Philemon Chambers), to pretend to be his boyfriend. You can tell where this is going. It's nice that the characters' sexuality is not mined for conflict. It's a totally traditional Christmas rom-com, with the blessed addition of Jennifer Coolidge, taking a victory lap after The White Lotus, as Peter's Aunt Sandy. (Yesterday's rank: n/a)

4. A Castle for Christmas

For fans of: Hallmark vibes, real estate | Is it good?: What is "good" when it comes to this type of movie, really?

Netflix's latest Hallmark-style Christmas movie has a premise genre fans should find as familiar and comfortable as a Scotsman's favorite kilt. After flopping and getting canceled, a famous author (Brooke Shields) decides to shake up her life and buy a castle in Scotland that has personal significance to her family. But there's a catch: The castle's current owner, the stuck-up Duke of Dunbar (Cary Elwes, doing his best burr), will continue to live in the castle alongside her until the escrow period ends on Christmas. He's planning to make her so miserable she leaves, after which point he'll keep her deposit and the castle. Of course, they develop real feelings for each other during their forced cohabitation, and there are complications before the inevitable happy ending. Because if there's one thing Cary Elwes knows about, it's true love! (Yes, that's a Princess Bride reference.) (Yesterday's rank: 4)

What to Watch from Netflix's Overall Top 10

5. Bruised

For fans of: Halle Berry, washed-up athletes | Is it good?: Berry's performance is better than the movie itself

Halle Berry's directorial debut comes in the form of this sports drama, which she also stars in. Berry plays Jackie Justice, a disgraced UFC fighter who returns to her roots for one last fight. In the middle of it all, the son she gave birth to and subsequently ignored shows up on her doorstep, forcing her to think about the direction her life has gone in. (Yesterday's rank: 3)

6. Red Notice

For fans of: The Rock, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot | Is it good?: It's good if you don't want to think about anything for two hours

If you need to turn off your brain, you could do worse than to watch Red Notice, a movie starring Dwayne JohnsonRyan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. Rocky and Ryan play a fed and an art thief, respectively, who team up to catch the world's most-wanted art thief (Gadot), and there are tons of fights, big action sequences with rocket launchers and helicopters, and one bit where the former Brahma Bull takes on a real bull in a bullfight. This would normally be a slam dunkarooni to watch, but the critics will tell you that it's a stinker that should be avoided. I'd counter that it runs on enough megawatts of Hollywood star power to mine two whole Bitcoins, rendering any criticism pointless. (Yesterday's rank: 5)

What to Watch from Netflix's Top 10 TV Shows

7. Fool's Gold

For fans of: Shirtless Matthew McConaughey | Is it good?: Even if you like this movie, you know it's not good

This goofy romantic comedy adventure film would have nothing without the chemistry between stars Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. But it does have that, and that's enough to make it watchable. They play a divorced couple who remember why they fell in love with each other in the first place while searching for buried treasure. (Yesterday's rank: 7)

8. A Boy Called Christmas

For fans of: Santa Claus, saying "is that Maggie Smith?" | Is it good?: It's cute and very much for kids

The Santa Claus origin story you've been looking for is right here! The Netflix original Christmas fantasy film adapts the 2015 book and tells the story of young Nikolas, who travels to the North Pole in search of his father and comes across a town of elves and other Christmas goodies. It's a family-friendly affair, as evidenced by the adorable CGI mouse that accompanies young Nik. Maggie Smith, Kristen Wiig, and Henry Lawfull star. (Yesterday's rank: 6)

9. The Whole Truth

For fans of: Scary grandparents | Is it good?: It's a little campy, but it's fun

Something like a Thai take on M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit, this psychological horror thriller is about two teenage siblings who go to live with a set of grandparents their mother never talked about after she's rendered comatose by a car accident. Things are very weird in the grandparents' house — almost like the house itself is evil and trying to get inside the kids' heads. The title is a pun. The truth is glimpsed by peering through a hole in the wall. The Hole Truth(Yesterday's rank: n/a)

10. 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

For fans of: Fearless guys doing crazy stuff | Is it good?: It's a fascinating character study of someone who's built different

This documentary follows Nepali mountain climber Nirmal "Nimsdai" Purja on his quest to summit all of the world's 14 mountains over 8000m tall in just seven months, an extraordinary, death-defying feat. "If this was done by some Western climber, the news would have been ten times bigger than this," he says in the trailer, and he's absolutely right. But this documentary is sending his incredible story all over the world. 14 Peaks is produced by the filmmakers who made Free Solo, a similarly themed, Oscar-winning doc about a climber doing the impossible. (Yesterday's rank: 8)

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Margaret Qualley, Maid

Margaret Qualley, Maid

Ricardo Hubbs/Netflix