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What to Watch on Netflix Top 10 Movie Rankings on September 17

A Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds thriller debuts high

Tim Surette
Krysten Ritter, Nightbooks

Krysten Ritter, Nightbooks

Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

If you want to know what movies people are watching the most on Netflix, you can stop everyone you pass on the street and ask, or you can just look up Netflix's Top 10 movies list. Netflix's Top 10 list of movies on Friday, Sept. 17 proves that everyone loves Denzel Washington, as his 2012 film Safe House leaps all the way into the No. 1 spot. Also new to the list is 2017's Birth of the Dragon, a dramatization of Bruce Lee's life. Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Kate drops to No. 2, while Krysten Ritter's kids horror movie Nightbooks moves up to No. 3. 

Netflix's Top 10 list of the most popular movies will tell you which movies everyone is watching, but which ones are actually good? We break down the entire Netflix Top 10 movie 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

Based on Netflix's Top 10 from Friday, September 17

1. Safe House

For fans of: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, the Central Intelligence Agency | Is it good?: It's just fine

Ryan Reynolds plays a CIA officer tasked with looking after an international fugitive (Denzel Washington), but after the two are attacked by mercenaries they're forced to -- did you see this coming? -- work together in order to stay alive. (Yesterday's rank: n/a)

2. Kate

For fans of: Assassins, death sentences, Woody Harrelson | Is it good?: It should be, but it's kinda boring

You'd think a movie where Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays an assassin who's been given 24 hours left to live, which she decides to spend exacting revenge on her enemies, would be a tad more exciting. You'd be wrong: This one's a snoozer despite the violent action. (Yesterday's rank: 1)

3. Nightbooks

For fans of: Kids horror between Goosebumps and Fear Street, Krysten Ritter. hairless cats | Is it good?: It's pretty cool for kids and tweens who can handle scares

This adaptation of the 2018 children's fantasy-horror book by J.A. White is the perfect movie for the young horror fan in your life who is too old for things like Goosebumps but not quite ready for the teen-slasher gore of the Fear Street movies. It follows a young boy who is captured by a witch (a delectable Krysten Ritter) and bargains for his life by agreeing to tell her a new scary story that he writes each night. While there's no real blood and gore, there's definitely some creepy things -- Sam Raimi is a producer -- that will give some young ones nightmares for weeks, so make sure your kiddo is mentally prepared before they sit down to watch this. (Yesterday's rank: 4)

What to Watch from Netflix's Top 10 TV Shows

4. An Unfinished Life

For fans of: Drama on the ranch, J-Lo, R-Red, M-Free | Is it good?: It's middle of the road

Robert Redford plays a Wyoming rancher whose life gets thrown for a loop when his dead son's wife (Jennifer Lopez) shows up with her daughter asking to stay with him. With both father and daughter-in-law still reeling from the loss of his son/her husband, tensions are high and secrets are revealed. Plus, Morgan Freeman has beef with a bear! (Yesterday's rank: 3)

5. Prey

For fans of: Survival thrillers, bros in peril | Is it good?: It's forgettable

During a Bachelor Party weekend, five friends decide to rough it in the woods, only to find out they're being pursued by an unknown attacker with a gun. The dudes are in danger! (Yesterday's rank: 2)

6. Firedrake the Silver Dragon

For fans of: Kids dragon movies, things that don't feel original | Is it good?: It's totally fine for kids

This German-made English language film was delayed because of COVID, but makes its way to American audiences via Netflix. Firedrake is a silver dragon on an adventure to get out of hiding and find a new dragon haven, and along the way he meets an orphan and a forest spirit. You know the drill. (Yesterday's rank: 5)

7. Vivo

For fans of: The voice of Lin-Manuel Miranda, singing animals | Is it good?: It's cute!

Lin-Manuel Miranda lends his voice to this movie about Vivo (Miranda), a kinkajou who spends his days playing music in Cuba with his owner, Andres (Juan de Marcos González). When Andres' former partner announces her farewell concert in Miami, Vivo decides to travel there in order to help reunite the two. (Yesterday's rank: 6)

What to Watch from Netflix's Overall Top 10

8. Birth of the Dragon

For fans of: The ol' one inch punch, kicking and punching | Is it good?: No, it's kind of a disgrace to Bruce Lee's name

This incredibly fictionalized version of Bruce Lee's life before he was an international movie star is mostly a disaster, spending way too much of its screentime on a made-up white friend of Lee's and his Chinese crush, for some reason. Pass on this and watch Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story or HBO Max's Warrior instead. (Yesterday's rank: n/a)

9. Schumacher

For fans of: Biographies, F1 racing | Is it good?: It's too surface level

Michael Schumacher is a legend in the Formula 1 community, and he gets the kids' gloves docuseries that icons in their field often get. The complaints against the film are that it doesn't dig deep enough into Schumacher's life, nor does it update viewers on how he's doing since a skiing accident left him with a brain injury in 2013. But if you just want the highlights, Schumacher delivers. (Yesterday's rank: 8)

10. School of Rock

For fans of: Jack Black, RAWK | Is it good?: Yeah, it rocks

Written by The White Lotus' Mike White and directed by indie auteur Richard Linklater, School of Rock is an early 2000s comedy gem starring Jack Black as a struggling musician who cons his way into a substitute teaching gig where he teaches the kids how to play music. It's got plenty of heart and humor. (Yesterday's rank: 7)

The Best New Shows of 2021

Paula Pell, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jeremiah Craft, Sara Bareilles, and Busy Philipps, Girls5eva

Paula Pell, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jeremiah Craft, Sara Bareilles, and Busy Philipps, Girls5eva

Virginia Sherwood/Peacock