Streaming

36 Netflix Movies That Are Pure Cheesy Throwbacks

From the Austin Powers trilogy to Pootie Tang, these films are fun, campy favorites.

Cheesy movies on Netflix for those nights you need a throwback film.
NEW LINE PICTURES
Updated: 
Originally Published: 

Oscar-bait won’t always satisfy a particular need. Sometimes, curling up in bed and watching a cheesy movie is just what the doctor ordered. The only problem? It can take a while to finally find that perfect corny movie to fill that eternal void of existential dread. While there’s no shortage of cheesy movies on Netflix, there's often so little time to peruse and find exactly what you want. Below is a list of 36 corny films on Netflix for when it’s time to comfort-watch your nostalgic favorites.

There should be an added disclaimer that some of the movies below aren't necessarily considered "good movies," yet there are a few that are both good and cheesy. Some are critically acclaimed, like The Big Lebowski, The Karate Kid, and Kicking and Screaming. However, most are just plain cheesy, like The Prince & Me, Fools Rush In, and Beverly Hills Ninja. It’s all subjective, of course, but whatever you’re looking for, these films will resonate with anyone who loves a solidly corny throwback film.

For those moments when life is overwhelming and you just want to stare at the screen, there is a movie on this list that’ll satisfy any mind-numbing need. So pop the popcorn and turn off your brain for these 36 cheesy, nostalgic favorites on Netflix.

1. What A Girl Wants (2002)

There is a special place in every Millennial’s heart for Amanda Bynes. She’s at her peak in What a Girl Wants, a film with a plot that’s as endearing as it is ridiculous. 17-year-old Daphne (Bynes) was raised by her single mother in New York City, having never met her father. Using what little she knows about him, Daphne travels to England to reconnect with her aristocratic father (Colin Firth), who is in the midst of running for a seat in Parliament. Complete with hijinks and slapstick moments, What a Girl Wants is everything we asked for.

Watch on Netflix

2. Twilight (2008)

Despite its extreme corniness and questionable plot lines, the Twilight cult has remained powerful since Stephenie Meyer published the first book of the series in 2005. The fandom has only gotten stronger with the film series starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. This neo-gothic vampire teen drama is filled with angst, love triangles, and paranormal activity. Luckily for fans, all five Twilight films are now streaming on Netflix.

Watch on Netflix

3. My Girl (1991)

My Girl may take the trophy for the saddest coming-of-age film of the ’90s. Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin star as two medically-prone pre-teens growing up in the ’70s. In the throes of young love, they form an innocent yet ethereal bond, and eventually share their first kiss before tragedy strikes. My Girl is one of those films that will have you saying “aww” and “WTF?!” simultaneously.

Watch on Netflix

4. The Girl Next Door (2004)

The trope of the sexy “girl next door” may have been relatable at one point, but the ways in which it’s been overplayed in the movies is, at times, overwhelmingly offensive. The Girl Next Door takes these problems and runs with it. Elisha Cuthbert stars as the eponymous fantasy figure for the film’s pubescent characters, which include Emile Hirsch and Paul Dano. Regardless, there are laughs and good times throughout, which makes The Girl Next Door worth watching.

Watch on Netflix

5. Valentine’s Day (2010)

Valentine’s Day is like Love, Actually’s less popular little sister, but it;s kind of fun nonetheless. With a cast including Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, and many, many other all-star actors, this Garry Marshall flick weaves multiple narratives from couples (or should-be couples) grappling with the romantic holiday. And did we mention that Taylor Swift also has a small role?

Watch on Netflix

6. Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

Corny movies are the basis for Not Another Teen Movie, a cumulative parody of many iconic teen films such as She’s All That, Cruel Intentions, Never Been Kissed, and many more. It’s way raunchier than the original movies they poke fun at, which becomes very apparent within the first five minutes. Not Another Teen Movie lives up to its name — it’s unlike any other teen movie out there.

Watch on Netflix

7. Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)

Fans of the Jimmy Neutron TV series all know where it all started — the 2001 film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, in which the titular 11-year-old genius saves the adults of Retroville from the Yolkians. Alongside Jimmy are Carl and Sheen, his dim-witted best friends who are arguably the funniest part of the franchise. Plus, Jimmy’s mom totally looks like Lana Del Rey.

Watch on Netflix

8. Little Monsters (1989)

Who knew the monsters that lived under our childhood beds could be such good friends? Starring Happy Days’ Fred Savage, Little Monsters follows Brian, a young boy who has just moved to the Boston suburbs with his family. He’s bullied both at school and at home, and he has no one to positively interact with. That is, until he meets Maurice, the monster living under his bed. Little Monsters turns the urban legend on its head and into a corny children’s movie.

Watch on Netflix

9. Charlie’s Angels (2000)

When referring to the Holy Trinity, it’s assumed you’re talking about Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu as Charlie's Angels. This is a total throwback, and there's so much cheese you might need nachos to scoop it up. Yet there is still something sexy about how it all comes together — three very different women who use their charm, wit, and sick moves to solve crimes.

Watch on Netflix

10. The Sweetest Thing (2002)

The Sweetest Thing lives at the corner of corny and vulgar. This film about three single friends in San Francisco is all about sex, as well as embarrassingly raunchy scenarios that probably would never happen to anyone. If that isn’t enough to convince you, The Sweetest Thing stars romcom royalty, including Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair. Enough said.

Watch on Netflix

11. The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski is what happens when a mistaken identity proves to be the least of your worries. This early Coen Brothers film from the late-’90s stars Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey Lebowski, a California deadbeat who is conned into a ransom scheme intended for another Jeffrey Lebowski, aka “The Big” Lebowski. This film has aged like a fine wine and has developed cult status since its premiere.

Watch on Netflix

12. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Yeah, baby! Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is the one that started it all. When groovy (yet dimwitted) spy Austin Powers is unfrozen after 30 years, he wakes up in a completely different time period — the ’90s. It may not have aged as well as other films on this list, as some jokes are outright offensive, but the pure camp that is Austin Powers is unlike any other movie in recent years. All three films in the Austin Powers trilogy are now streaming on Netflix.

Watch on Netflix

13. Legally Blonde (2001)

This one speaks for itself. Legally Blonde is more empowering than it is cheesy, though there are a few schmaltzy moments sprinkled here and there. Beyond that, this early-aughts film has remained relevant since its debut, and it features one of the most iconic protagonists in film history: Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon). If it’s been a minute since you’ve seen Legally Blonde, a re-watch is highly recommended, especially with another sequel on the way.

Watch on Netflix

14. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Who doesn’t love a late-aughts Michael Cera flick? Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is both action-packed and filled with corny romance. When bassist Scott (Cera) falls for Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he must defeat her six ex-boyfriends in order to date her. With stunning animated visuals and cringe-comedy sprinkled throughout, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is another cult classic that still has an audience today.

Watch on Netflix

15. Mystic Pizza (1988)

Set in a Connecticut pizzeria, Julia Roberts stars alongside Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor as three waitresses looking for love while working at the eponymous Mystic Pizza. The film is a cult classic, at once corny, heartwarming, and funny, and it proves that good pizza doesn’t solely exist in New York City. Also, did you know Mystic Pizza was Roberts’ first starring role? Plus, this film includes Matt Damon’s feature film debut!

Watch on Netflix

16. Love, Actually (2003)

Love, Actually started a wave of anthology films that moonlight as seasonal romcoms. Featuring interconnected stories set during the Christmas season, the all-star cast includes (*takes a deep breath*): Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightly, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, and many more (*exhales*). Even if it’s not winter, Love, Actually will actually get you into the Christmas spirit.

Watch on Netflix

17. Fools Rush In (1997)

Sometimes “love at first sight” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Fools Rush In stars Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek as the titular “fools” who, when Isabel (Hayek) becomes pregnant after a one-night-stand, hurry their way into a committed relationship despite their totally opposite personalities. Complete with corny hijinks and ridiculous moments, Fools Rush In is, at the end of the day, a sweet romantic comedy.

Watch on Netflix

18. Fun with Dick & Jane (2005)

Fun with Dick & Jane could be described as Bonnie & Clyde... if the eponymous duo were an absolute mess. Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni star as Dick and Jane, an upper-middle-class couple who lose all their assets during a recession-like economic downfall. At risk of losing their home, the duo decides to turn to a life of crime and begin multiple robbery schemes. It’s just as chaotic as it sounds.

Watch on Netflix

19. Nacho Libre (2006)

Nacho Libre is one of those films that is surprisingly based on a true story. Jack Black stars as Ignacio, a Catholic monk who secretly moonlights as a luchador in order to raise money for the orphanage he works for. As his wrestling career begins to take off, he finds his life at the monastery is at odds with his dreams to be a professional ring fighter. Fun fact: the real-life “Nacho Libre,” named “Fray Tormenta” or (Friar Storm), is still alive today.

Watch on Netflix

20. Joseph: King of Dreams (2000)

This Biblical animated film may not have been as popular as other cartoons of its day, but Joseph: King of Dreams is a prequel to another Old Testament adaptation, The Prince of Egypt. Voiced by Ben Affleck in the title role, the story of Joseph gets a slight Y2K update to make it appropriate for children — which inevitably means some corny dialogue.

Watch on Netflix

21. Good Burger (1997)

Good Burger is a real throwback for ’90s kids. Based on the iconic All That sketch, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell star as two slacker fast-food workers at the titular burger chain. When Dexter (Thompson) needs to come up with money after crashing into his teacher’s car (without a driver’s license or insurance), he’s forced to take a summer job at Good Burger to pay for the damages. However, a sinister new burger chain threatens the small business, and inevitably, it’s up to Dexter and Ed (Mitchell) to save Good Burger.

Watch on Netflix

22. Yours, Mine & Ours (2005)

If you thought the Cheaper by the Dozen parents had their hands full, just wait for Yours, Mine & Ours. This remake of the 1968 film stars Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo as former high school sweethearts who reconnect at their 30th reunion. They decide to pick up where their young relationship left off, with one notable change. Actually, make that 18 notable changes. Combining both families to make a 20-person household, this ridiculous plot is as cheesy as it gets.

Watch on Netflix

23. The Karate Kid (1984)

The Karate Kid is one of those rare teen movies that garners universal critical acclaim, particularly for Pat Morita’s iconic performance as Mr. Miyagi. This film about an American teen who learns more about himself while learning karate has remained relevant since its 1984 release, and it even spawned a recent TV series reboot called Cobra Kai (starring the original “karate kid” himself, Ralph Maccio). The film is also noted for popularizing karate for kids in the United States.

Watch on Netflix

24. Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

Unlike The Karate Kid, this Chris Farley film that also focuses on martial arts was not a critics favorite. Beverly Hills Ninja is more of a slapstick comedy that appropriates Japanese customs, yet somehow this corny flick is a comfort-favorite for a lot of Gen-Xers. If you haven’t seen Beverly Hills Ninja yet, it’s definitely worth watching, regardless of its cringiest moments.

Watch on Netflix

25. The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)

The Wild Thornberrys was among the few animated TV shows from the early-aughts to get the meme treatment, particularly the family patriarch Nigel Thornberry. The movie inspired from the series is just as chaotic and untamed as the original, but ultimately The Wild Thornberrys is a coming-of-age story about finding and feeling at home, even when you’re thousands of miles away.

Watch on Netflix

26. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

No matter what year we’re in, Ferris Bueller Day Off will always be the quintessential playing-hooky film. High schooler Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a popular (yet slacker) student who feigns illness to spend a day of fun with his best friend and girlfriend. The film is full of hijinks and memorable scenes (like that parade montage), though director-slash-writer John Hughes manages to weave in poignant moments that are relatable to all generations.

Watch on Netflix

27. The Rugrats Movie (1998)

Everyone's favorite animated TV babies made a splash in their film debut The Rugrats Movie. When an adventure takes Tommy Pickles and the gang too far, they have to navigate their way home, despite the many obstacles in their way. This is a great film to watch before starting the anticipated Rugrats revival. And also, who doesn’t love Reptar?

Watch on Netflix

28. Stuart Little (1999)

Based on E.B. White’s beloved book series of the same name, Stuart Little is a mouse with some very human-like qualities — so human that he’s adopted by a human family. The film adaptation starring Michael J. Fox as the titular rodent, alongside respected actors like Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie, proves that cheesy children’s films can sometimes be a little high-brow.

Watch on Netflix

29. Kicking and Screaming (1995)

Long before A Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach directed his first film Kicking and Screaming. This mid-’90s film starring Josh Hamilton, Chris Eigeman, Parker Posey, and Olivia d’Abo is all about the quarter-life crisis, something that’s very relatable to today’s 20-somethings. When a group of college graduates are at a crossroads between childhood and adulthood, they all proceed in very unorthodox ways. Kicking and Screaming isn’t so much cheesy as it is fiercely relatable, which will make you cringe at how similar it was (or still is) to your post-grad life.

Watch on Netflix

30. The Prince & Me (2004)

Though some tread the line between corny and romantic, The Prince & Me is not one of those films. This 2004 flick is as cheesy as it gets. When pre-med student Paige (Julia Stiles) begins to fall for her “bad boy” classmate Eddie, she soon learns that he’s actually a Denmark prince who is next in line for the throne. Sound familiar?

Watch on Netflix

31. Dennis the Menace (1993)

There is no escaping Dennis, the eponymous menace, a five-year-old boy prone to hijinks and tomfoolery in his quaint neighborhood. Based on the comic strip and late-’80s TV series, Dennis the Menace dives into more of his good-natured antics against his neighbor, George Wilson. Those who were fans of this film as children are in for an epic throwback with this classic revival.

Watch on Netflix

32. Superbad (2007)

Before Booksmart, there was Superbad. Despite its title, this film launched the careers of a new generation of comedic actors, including Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. As Seth (Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) near their high school graduation, they seek to have the most memorable night of their secondary school careers by attempting to seduce their respective longtime crushes. Prepare to laugh at the ridiculous shenanigans Seth and Evan encounter trying to make their dreams come true.

Watch on Netflix

33. Hey Arnold: The Movie (2002)

Everyone’s favorite “football head” gets the silver-screen treatment. Based on the beloved Nickelodeon series of the same name about a level-headed (albeit oblong-headed) fourth grader who seems to be the voice of reason among his classmates, and even some of the adults. If you love the TV series but have yet to watch the film, you’re in for a real treat.

Watch on Netflix

34. Surf’s Up (2007)

The mid-aughts were a big year for talking penguins. Surf’s Up falls into this category, an animated mockumentary film that parodies those deep-dive documentary features. Featuring the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, and more, the film follows Cody (LaBeouf), a penguin who has dreams beyond Antarctica as a pro-surfer. Though Surf’s Up has its fair share of corny moments, it’s ultimately a sweet and uplifting tale about pursuing one’s dreams.

Watch on Netflix

35. Pootie Tang (2001)

Written and directed by Louis C.K., Pootie Tang is loads of ridiculous and stupid fun. Poking fun at blaxploitation films of the ‘70s, this film has been called “the dumbest movie … in an entire generation” and “also funny as hell” in the same sentence. Though initially panned by critics,Pootie Tang has become a cult classic since its debut.

Watch on Netflix

36. Beethoven (1992)

No, not the prolific Romantic composer — though his music does make it into the film. This Beethoven, however, is a heroic St. Bernard who is loved dearly by his owners. When a deceitful veterinarian keen on running unethical experiments gets his hands on Beethoven, it’s up to the family (and the dog) to free him. Spoiler: it all works out in the end.

Watch on Netflix

This list was originally published on June 22, 2016. It was updated on Aug. 17, 2021.

This article was originally published on