Netflix Roulette, Where the Movies Never End

In “Perdida,” the female officer is haunted, once again, by the disappearance of her childhood friend 14 years before, a traumatic event that spurred her to join the force. The movie is earnest and twisty (as with “The Warning,” one plot element requires math calculations), but also a bit of a slog. It’s a little clichéd, too: One character puts on loud music, not knowing she’s about to drown out the sound of her own murder.

Netflix’s next recommendation, after “Perdida,” was the comedy starring Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer, “Like Father,” which made no sense. The system failed! I’d already seen that movie, which I moderately enjoyed. I cut off the thread at that point.

Wondering what would happen if I proceeded from a comedy, I began with “Carrie Pilby” on Aug. 8 — and in case you’re curious as to how I spent my birthday, there you go — then let Netflix cue up “Candy Jar,” which was certainly the most pleasant surprise of my Netflix Roulette experiment. It’s a young-adult movie, yes, so maybe I should be embarrassed, but I did get a kick out of this story about two high school debate aces who are the best of frenemies and of course destined for romance.

Directed by Ben Shelton from a script by Chad Klitzman, it honors young people of intellectual achievement while also making sharp points about class and educational standards. The two young leads, Jacob Latimore and Sami Gayle, are deft at playing brainy, and Helen Hunt, Christina Hendricks and Uzo Aduba offer solid adult support; Ms. Hunt is particularly effective as a sympathetic guidance counselor. The film is fleet, sweet and often genuinely funny.

After “Candy Jar,” I was prompted to look at “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which I’d seen and enjoyed, but not so much I thought I needed to sit through it again.

The weirdest suggestion I got in these experiments came about after the apocalyptic road trip movie “How It Ends,” which I watched on July 16: The platform then segued into “This Is Me Now,” a standup comedy special from Jim Jefferies. In the trailer, which runs as the end credits to “How It Ends” were rolling (and may I interject, as the spouse of an End Credits Person, how mildly vexing I find this sort of practice, which of course Netflix did not originate, but still …), the comedian Mr. Jefferies says: “This is why I believe there should be a wall. There should be a wall — on the Canadian border.”

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