Netflix and Three Movies

To celebrate my promotion at work, I took the family out last Friday evening for dinner, then had everyone go to Walmart (the equivalent of fine shopping here in our neck of the woods) to pick something out for themselves. DC got a bell rattle elephant toy thing, TRC got an erector set and a Transformer, and . . . DKC and I had no idea what to get for ourselves. DKC eventually ended up getting a canning pot the next day, and I decided to sign up for Netflix. I had originally wanted to get a blu-ray movie, but I couldn’t decide which one I wanted. The problem was that I could only get one, and there were lots that I wanted. That’s when I decided to look into Netflix. Three movies at a time, including blu-rays, for $18 a month. Sure, that seems steep, but I’m looking into downgrading our satellite to make up for the difference. If Netflix really works out for us, then I think it might not only save us money, but it’ll mean we watch less TV, which would be a good thing, too. (Right now, our television habit has ballooned from just Lost and Mythbusters to Lost, Mythbusters, Survivor, Amazing Race, Eli Stone, The Office, 30 Rock, Fringe, The Mentalist . . . see a problem there? I do.) I’ll tell you how my Netflix adventure goes.

I can fill you in on my first impression right now, though. There’s this nifty feature that lets you rate movies, and then based on those ratings, it makes a guess about how you’ll rate other movies. I. Love. This. So far I’ve rated 900 movies, and the feature is getting pretty good at predicting what I’ll think about a movie before I even watch it. I tested it out this weekend three times. (My Netflix movies aren’t here yet, but I would look a movie up on Netflix before I watched it in real life.) It was three for three. (None of these movies are obscure enough for me to want to play a round of Have You Seen It? with them. I’m still nursing my wounds from my first defeat. Score’s tied, 1-1.)

Network was a fantastic movie. It tells the story of a TV reporter who goes nuts after he’s fired. Totally nuts. And some cutthroat TV execs decide to try and profit off his insanity. Very disturbing, and freaky how closely it predicted the direction television would start to go. Great performances–nominated for a slew of Oscars, and won Oscars for three Best Acting categories. Three and a half stars.

Unleashed (Danny the Dog in other countries) is a Jet Li vehicle about a boy trained to be nothing but a fighter, and an old blind man (Morgan Freeman) who teaches him about humanity. Throw into this some cool fight scenes, and the movie’s not half bad. Only problem is, it’s not half good, either. Right in the middle. Written by Luc Besson, the same guy who brought us the much cooler Transporter, I enjoyed the scenes with Li and Freeman, but some of the fighting just was too over the top. When the big bad villain at the end is a random albino who walks around in a Karate outfit, then you’ve pretty much jumped the shark at that point. Still, I hung around for the ride, and I can give it two stars.

Pennies from Heaven is the 1936 Bing Crosby musical comedy about a traveling singer who ends up helping out a little girl and her grandfather, after he gets a letter to deliver to them from the man who murdered her father, who gave the letter to Bing in prison, where Bing was wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. (Why is this suddenly sounding like an episode of the A-Team?) I get a kick out of some old movies–they can be as contrived as you can get, but I just don’t mind for some reason. This one has too many stretches in it for me to really get into it, but it’s got some good music, and a great role and song by Louis Armstrong, so that’s forgivable. Plus, it’s pretty much always fun to listen to Bing sing. Two stars for those two things alone.

Anyway–Netflix was spot on for all three of these movies. Way cool. Of course, now that I’ve rated 900 movies, I’m really interested in seeing how many movies I can rate overall. What’s my limit? Where will that number end? How many movies have I seen, exactly? I know it’s well over 900–I got there with little effort. But maybe that’ll start to slow now that I’ve entered so many. It’ll be interesting to see . . .

Any of you Netflixers out there? How many movies have YOU rated?

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