Meaning of Netflix movie and drama tags

Recently subscribed to Netflix and came across some movie genre tags that I had never seen before. Here, I am recording them for future reference. This list only includes words that I am personally unfamiliar with, and is based on my own research and understanding (which may not be accurate). It does not include words that I consider to have obvious meanings, such as Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Anime, Thriller, Violent, Dark, etc. If I come across new words in the future, I will continue to add them.

  • raunchy: dirty, explicit, containing vulgar language; usually indicates movies with a lot of foul language and lack of restraint. Movies like "Game Over, Man!", "We're the Millers", and "Ted" have this tag.

  • irreverent: showing a lack of respect for solemn, formal, official, or sacred things; sacrilegious. Movies like "Game Over, Man!" and "The Interview" have this tag.

  • offbeat: different from the ordinary, usual, or expected in an appealing way; doing something unusually unconventional or unexpected. The TV show "The Umbrella Academy" has this tag.

  • period piece: according to my research, a period piece usually refers to a well-produced historical drama. According to Wikipedia, synonyms for period piece include historical drama, period drama, and costume drama.

  • ensemble: refers to a play or movie in which teamwork plays a significant role, usually involving multiple lead actors; an ensemble cast. Examples include "Squid Game", the "Avengers" series, and "SPY×FAMILY".

  • goofy: silly, foolish, slapstick comedy; characters in these movies often engage in silly and foolish behavior, which usually has little consequence. Examples include "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Dumb and Dumber".

  • sitcom: a compound word for situation comedy; a comedy series that revolves around a fixed cast of characters and one or more storylines, often set in a specific location such as a family or an office. To expand a bit, sketch comedy may use new characters in each segment, while stand-up comedy involves a comedian directly telling stories or jokes to the audience.

  • gritty: literally means rough, sharp, unpolished. What kind of movies fall into this category? I found that I'm not the only one confused about this term, and there is some debate online about the specific definition of these movies, such as in this Reddit discussion, this Quora question, and this article. Generally, gritty movies do not shy away from portraying the dark side of society and human nature, often featuring violent scenes, and the main characters are often lone wolves and sometimes quite disillusioned. Examples include "American Gangster", Jake Gyllenhaal's "Nightcrawler", and the crime film "The Irishman". I also feel that "Water Margin" falls into this category.

  • rousing: inspiring. Inspirational movies that show characters striving forward in the face of adversity. These movies often also have the tag "inspiring". These two words are synonyms, and the subtle differences between them do not need to be strictly distinguished.

  • riveting: extremely interesting. These movies or shows are usually attention-grabbing and have a lot of appeal, many of which are documentaries. Examples include documentaries like "Drug Lords", "UFO Files: Declassified", and "Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King".

  • provocative: movies or shows that provoke or stimulate people, such as making people angry, disgusted, want to curse, feel lustful, or have unconventional thoughts. Examples include documentaries like "Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On" and "Christiane Amanpour: Sex & Love Around the World", and the satirical sci-fi film "Don't Look Up".

  • feel-good: According to the Collins Dictionary, a feel-good film presents people and life in a way that makes the viewers feel happy and optimistic. These are often romantic films, slice-of-life stories, or workplace dramas that bring a sense of warmth and positivity. Examples include "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "He's Just Not That Into You".

  • cerebral: related to the brain and intellect. These movies often provoke deep thoughts and leave a lasting impression. However, this tag usually focuses on emotionally and intellectually thought-provoking films, rather than purely logical ones (see the next entry, mind-bending). For example, some movies may make people contemplate the meaning of life, humanity's place in the universe, the value of religion, the meaning of love, the nature of loneliness, etc. Examples include sci-fi films like "Arrival" and "Don't Look Up", and spy thrillers like "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy".

  • mind-bending: movies that are difficult to understand, often involving mystery, sci-fi, or exploring the human mind. Examples include "Shutter Island", "Inception", "Interstellar", and "Blade Runner".

  • swoonworthy: literally means "worthy of swooning". From my observation, it mostly refers to idol dramas and pure romance films. It's like saying, "The handsome and beautiful actors are so good-looking that they make people dizzy." An example is the TV show "Put Your Head on My Shoulder".

  • gory: bloody, brutal. Movies or shows with a lot of blood and violence, such as the TV show "Dexter" and the movie "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

  • gruesome: causing horror or disgust, making people feel extremely unpleasant. These movies often challenge universal ethical and moral standards, focusing on depicting horror, cruelty, violence, and creating a sense of terror, despair, or moral repulsion. Examples include "House of Wax", "Hereditary", and "The Blair Witch Project".

  • ominous: foreboding, indicating something bad or threatening. Usually used for horror or thriller movies involving ghosts, monsters, witchcraft, demons, etc., or crime movies focusing on the perspective of the victim. Examples include "The Devil All the Time", "The Woman in the Window", and "No One Gets Out Alive".

  • steamy: originally used to describe steam or humid air; when used to describe movies or shows, it means they contain erotic content. Examples include "Fifty Shades of Grey", "Love & Other Drugs", and the Korean movie "Architecture 101".

  • intimate: involving intimate relationships or sexual activities. This overlaps with the previous entry, but intimate focuses more on the presence of intimate relationships between characters, such as romantic or other similar emotions. Examples include "One Night Stand", "Friends with Benefits", and "My Best Friend's Wedding".

  • Magical Realism: a genre that combines magical elements with reality, such as "Game of Thrones" and "The Witcher".

  • quirky: peculiar, eccentric. However, this quirkiness is more about being cute and silly rather than dark and offbeat. It's like being adorably weird. Examples include many movies by Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Chow. Specific examples include comedy films like "Wedding Season" and "The Perfect Family Guide".

  • witty: cleverly humorous, full of wit. Usually used for movies or shows with sharp and witty dialogue and plot. When searching for "witty" on Netflix, the first result that appears is the 1993 Chinese TV drama "The Witty Advisor". Many movies starring Ryan Reynolds can also be tagged with this, such as "Deadpool", "The Proposal", and "Free Guy".

  • slick: flashy but insubstantial, smooth-talking. These works often feature characters who talk a lot, using empty words, nonsense, and asking irrelevant questions, etc. In other words, they are movies with excessive chatter. Examples include "Deadpool", "Spider-Man", and "Shut Up and Kiss Me".

  • slow burn: a movie that gradually builds up tension and suspense, leading to a climactic moment through extensive setup and steady plot progression. Examples include "No Country for Old Men", "Cube", and "1922" based on the Stephen King novel.

  • chilling: causing worry, fear, or a spine-chilling feeling. It appears in the title of the TV show "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina". Other examples include "The Eye", the Korean thriller "Phone".

  • slapstick: physical comedy, crude and farcical humor, such as "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", "Justice, My Foot!", "Mr. Bean's Holiday".

  • satanic: related to Satan. It literally means involving demons, such as having demonic characters or using the concept of demons. Many movies about demons and witchcraft fall into this category, such as "Constantine", "The Last Witch Hunter". The "Spider-Man: No Way Home" with elements of black magic can also have this tag.

  • deadpan: expressionless, devoid of emotion. Based on my research on Netflix's search results for this keyword, I believe this tag mainly marks shows and movies with deadpan characters, as well as stand-up comedy shows where comedians deliver deadpan jokes. Specific examples include "Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan", "The Second Half of My Life", "One-Punch Man", "Mob Psycho 100".

  • docuseries: a combination of documentary and series. A series of documentaries. No need for examples.

  • satire: satirical movies. Usually humorous and comedic works with satire, including many satirical talk shows. Examples include "The Interview", "Meet The Spartans", "Death at a Funeral".

  • adrenaline rush: movies that are exciting and action-packed, often with a lot of fight scenes and impressive cinematography, such as "Venom", "Public Enemies", and the "Fast & Furious" series.

  • tearjerker: emotional movies that make people cry, such as "The Notebook", "5 Centimeters Per Second", "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas", "Grave of the Fireflies".

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