This 19-year-old comedy just cracked the Netflix top 10 — but is it any good?

Netflix on TV with remote control in foreground
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The Netflix top 10 is a slightly odd place, where new releases battle with films which are — in streaming terms — prehistoric, thanks to the constant stream of content arriving on and leaving the service. 

Case in point: while millions tuned into Stranger Things season 4’s finale, others were taking a nostalgic trip back to 2003 and watching Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Old School. It arrived on Netflix on July 1 and is now the eighth most popular movie on the service.

There’s something quite appropriate about an almost 20-year-old movie making an unexpected splash on Netflix given its plot, which concerns Vaughn, Wilson and Ferrell setting up their own college fraternity while deep into middle age and trying to fit in with younger and harder partying contemporaries. 

As the delightfully dated trailer below (complete with the classic voice-over narration) shows, you can expect alcohol-fueled fun, with Ferrell managing to shoot himself in the neck with a tranquilizer gun, partaking in a fake robbery and, of course, streaking through a busy street (something which apparently cleared the treadmills at the window of a nearby gym by the third take (opens in new tab)).  

Directed by Todd Philips, who would later go on to create something very different in the form of Joker, the film gets a respectable 7/10 from IDMB’s crowdsourced critics. And while it certainly isn’t for everyone, it leans into its silliness quite hard — indeed, the tag line upon release was “Critics say ‘Old School’ is dumb and pointless.’ We say ‘WHO CARES?’”

If that doesn’t sound like your bag, Netflix actually brought back a fair few 90s and early 2000s classics at the same time. While it’s fair to say that Natural Born Killers, Se7en, Goodfellas and The Talented Mr. Ripley are all short on laughs, they are all certainly worth watching, with IMDB scores of 7.2, 8.6, 8.7 and 7.4 between them.

And if you want something a bit lighter, there are more retro arrivals. Boogie Nights (7.9), Catch Me If You Can (8.1), Big Daddy (6.4) and the really rather ‘fetch’ Mean Girls (7.1) also now available to stream. 

For more streaming news, check out how HBO canceled The Time Traveler’s Wife after just a single season and the one Netflix movie you should stream this weekend. Plus, Paramount Plus just confirmed this drama series has been canceled after two seasons. 

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.