On a Netflix hiatus until fall

Netflix totally rocks but I’ve just cancelled my subscription.
Huh?, you wonder. Well, it’s Spring, and now that the
days are officially and noticably longer than the nights, I’m
going to be spending any discretionary time I can outside.
Yeah, I know I can just hold onto the three movies forever,
but the temptation would be too great, and I would get even
less sleep than I’m receiving now. I’ll restart the subscription
again in September.

Last year when I did this, Netflix preserved my ratings, but wiped out
my my queue. Before cancelling, I saved a copy of my queue, currently
north of 100+ movies. I also looked at the list of 72 movies I rented
during the previous six months.

Of those movies, the absolute worst was Adaptation, a movie about a writer who has to adapt a plotless book to a screenplay. Oh, it’s self-referential! And it’s got Nicholas Cage! And some guy at NPR gushed at its self-referential cleverness with Nicholas Cage. My wife wisely gave up on it after 20 minutes but I was sucked into the cinematic death spiral. Every time I thought there was going to be a point, it proved me wrong… then as I reached for the eject button, there was a furtive suggestion of humor. Look, just because I wasted 90 minutes of my life on this turkey doesn’t mean you have to.

Adaptation narrowly edged out Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat. I should have remembered Debbie fell asleep, but I didn’t. Ugh.

Among the disappointments:

  • Holes – I dunno, I thought this one was going to be funnier (Henry Winkler, shoe deodorizer, … come on, work with me here) or creepier (obsessively digging in the desert) or both. It just kind of went on and on and on and on. This was another NPR review gusher, which should tell me something about NPR movie reviewers…
  • Lost in Translation — Maybe it’s because I haven’t traveled to Japan, but with Bill Murray, I was expecting 80% more wisecracks.
  • American Movie — When I was working on the Holiday A-List, I saw Michael Stipe listed this as one of his favorite/wishlist movies. It’s certainly got humor value, but I wasn’t in the mood to sit through Blair Witch meets Real World meets The Producers.
  • The Secret of Roan Inish — This was too strange.
  • Movies that I expected to suck, but weren’t that bad:

  • Star Trek: Nemesis — Given the way this thing Titanicked in the box office, I had extremely low expectations, with my hand poised on the eject button. It wasn’t that horrible, but it’s clear that I’ve outgrown Star Trek movies.
  • Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle — This was eye-candy with its non-stop action, lightweight plot, gratuitous Crispin Glover, and gadgets. You can see how much The Matrix has influenced cinema.
  • The Crocodile Hunter: Collision CourseCrikey! Lots of (animal) poop humor, and Steve Irwin’s raw enthusiam is a big plus. The subplot with the US government agents trying to recover the satellite was worth skipping through. Indeed, all of the deleted scenes on the DVD were for this arc, the most bizarre was the “embassy” clip reminiscent of the 1980s Val Kilmer box office smash (cough) Top Secret!.
  • Movies I enjoyed:

  • Bend it Like Beckham — a very cute coming-of-age movie that made soccer seem exciting. Its subplot might be titled My (Sister’s) Big Fat Indian Wedding.
  • Ocean’s Eleven — Ocean’s Eleven was a fun, date movie, with the playfulness of The Sting. Brad Pitt has some fun roles, too. I especially liked him in Twelve Monkeys and (there is no) Fight Club. I’m concerned that they’re planning a sequel, Ocean’s Twelve.
  • Apocalypse Now Redux — I hadn’t seen the original, but do appreciate its masterpiece. The added scenes didn’t contribute much to the overall movie, and seemed surprising that so much time was spent shooting them.
  • Hudsucker Proxy — This is an older film about a chairman who wants to drive the business in the ground so he can acquire all the stock cheaply. He puts the dingiest mailroom clerk in charge. The imagery reminds me a bit of Brazil. There is some influence for Office Space.
  • 5 thoughts on “On a Netflix hiatus until fall”

    1. Wow, I just started my Netflix and you couldn’t take it away unless you pried my dead hands off the keyboard.

      Appears we have the same taste in movies. Some comments:

      Adaptation – Yeah, I didn’t like this at all, although my hate level seems less than yours. I agree it was a waste of time, although you can have fun conversations with that cute, artsy secretary in accounting about whether the “twin” was real or not.

      Lost in Translation – I really think that you can’t appreciate this movie unless you have been to Japan a few times, so I liked it (but thought it slow at times) and recommended my wife not see it. People who like the movie (i.e. who have been to Japan) agree with me, so I can’t figure why all the critics loved it (they have been to Japan a lot?).

      Nemesis – Woah. Ditto vibes here, dude. I JUST finished watching it, thinking it would stink big time, and…sort of liked it in a guilty pleasure sort of way. Not great for a movie, but really good for a 2 parter episode of TNG.

      Ocean’s 11 – Loved it. Own it. Notice how Brad Pitt is eating at the beginning of every scene he is in? Looking forward to 12.

      Hudsucker – Great movie. Like you, liked the “stylized” feel of it. The best part is watching the accounting, marketing, operations, etc. departments all go through the effort of launching the product. It hit sooo close to home.

    2. I hated Adaptation too. It was surprisingly bad when you consider how entertaining Being John Malkovitch was. It’s also the reason I’m somewhat reluctant to go see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    3. Adaptation – While I can’t say it’s up there on my top ten, I actually liked it, and I don’t even like Nicholas Cage that much. I could relate to the familial competition aspect of it, and thought that as a film about inner dialogues in the face of impending deadlines it was pretty, it was at least an interestng take.

      Lost in Translation – Another one I really liked, although I have not been to Japan, (I did make an attempt at learning nihongo). I thought Bill Murray played the perfect part of a weary middleaged man who while not having a midlife crisis is definately re-evaluting where his life has gone. It didn’t give me the instant gag reaction to most may-december relationships portrayed on film.

      Nemesis – No, sorry it was just bad. I thought it would be bad, and yeah it was that and another 20% more. And not just from the point of view of watching an aging cast squeeze into those star fleet uniforms one more time (that’s for you william frakes) but stuff like Troi’s mental rape scenes just made it even more evident that the next gen’s voyage is finished.

      My disappointments

      21 grams and Momento – Both fall under the category of films as editing tricks. Not that I am against trying new ways to express a narrative, but I want some meat on them bones.

      League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – I am an ardent fan of the comic it was based on, so I had very low expectations going in, but wow, this was really bad. Where’s the switch to turn Sean Connery off?

      Morvern Callar – A critics choice, that just seemed long and with all the scottish accents, a bit indecipherable.

      The Secret Lives of Dentists – Dennis Leary as your inner voice, interesting idea, not enough for a whole movie.

      Comic Book the Movie – I like Mark Hamill and I really really really wanted to like this movie, but it had none of the genius of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries.

    4. Memento was a good one-shot movie. Clever gimmick in the editing, but once you saw the ending, there’s not much to merit seeing it again.

    5. Lost in Translation and Adaptation (both via Netflix) are at the top of my “Worst of” list for rentals this year.

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