Saturday, April 17, 2010

March Netflix Report

February 2010 Netflix SummaryArrived at HomeReceived at NetflixDays at HomeMonthly Average Days at HomeCost Per Movie
Cutter's Way 03/03 03/11 8
Hurricane Season 03/05 03/11 6
The King of Marvin Gardens 03/08 03/10 2
Assassination Tango 03/11 03/26 15
Ballast 03/12 03/19 7
Cirque de Freak: The
Vampire's Assistant
03/12 03/16 4
Up in the Air 03/18 03/22 4
The Boondock Saints II:
All Saints Day
03/20 03/30 10
Brothers 03/23 03/31 8
The Men Who Stare at Goats 03/27 04/01 5
An Education 03/31 04/13 13
March 2010 7.5 $1.68

I kept up a good pace of movie-watching this month: 11 from Netflix, and it would have been more except for the Curse of the King of Marvin Gardens.

I'd love to know more about Netflix's internal statistics, like the how many movies per month the average viewer watches, how many days they keep it, BUT particularly I'd love to see their statistics on damaged discs and on how often the a damaged disc is replaced with another copy of the movie that turns out to ALSO be damaged.

This is a screen capture of part of my rental history this month:

I got three copies of that disc that were all damaged. And by "damaged" I don't mean just scratch - these discs was cracked like they all had been crushed by a heavy package during shipping. This happened to me once before and I swear I got the same damaged disc twice, but this time I noted the cracks and I swear it was three different damaged discs they sent me before I got one that was in playable condition. How many people are out there trying to watch The King of Marvin Gardens? Actually, probably a good number, given how great a lot of other Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern movies are, a lot of folks probably got suckered into putting this on their queue thinking it would also be a good flick. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Some interesting characterizations and, yes, Nicholson and Dern are playing against type and have their typical movie personas reversed here but, jeez, I don't mind movies where "nothing happens" - all those Eric Rohmer movies I saw back in college about French people on vacation come to mind - as long as the characters are people you care about or find intriguing. But that's not the case here.

Cutter's Way was another one that was built up in anticipation: I guess the New York Times weekly DVD new releases story has to fill up its column inches with something; it featured this movie when Jeff Bridges was riding the build-up to Oscar night for Crazy Heart, and so I put this at the top of my queue. Notable for John Heard's portrayal of a early, proto-typical "crazy" Viet Nam vet, but there's wasn't much else that stayed with me.

The two best recent movies this month were Up in the Air and An Education; my wife said An Education made her want to go to London, and I said it made me want to go to 1962. And I thought Up in the Air was probably the best of all the best picture-nominated movies I've seen so far, but I think Hollywood was really desperate to demonstrate their relevance and after a series of really lame Iraq/Afganistan war movies, they anointed a decent one made by a female director to be best picture of the year.

But the best surprise this month was Ballast; this was a Netflix recommendation based on other things I've watched and rated highly, and these recommendations don't always pan out but in this instance they got the algorithms right. This movie felt more real than anything I've seen in a long time and though slow-paced it is compelling and populated by characters that were real and made me hope they prevailed by the end. You don't really know whether they do, but that's part of the real-life feel of this movie.

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