Editor, White Cover Magazine
It’s kind of funny how it’s happened, but I guess the result was pretty obvious all along. By loving and by feeding us movies — almost every movie we want and all the time, like, whenever we NEED it — Netflix has destroyed the power of the medium. Sure, when you walk into theatres to see Argo or Lincoln, you’ll be moved by whatever appears on the big screen in front of you.
But, bring it back home and have it on your lap while you sit on the toilet and blow the fifth coffee of your day out the back of you?
Folks, that’s not The Magic of the Movies we hear so much about. All over Netflix are titles that would have done pretty well if given the chance, which shows 1) Just how shallow our tastes are, and 2) How poor the efforts of most writers, directors, and actors are.
Women in Trouble. Take that one for instance, and then think of all the now-not-good-enough work that went into this picture. Some feminist slaved away hours and days and probably years out of her life so she could finish her passion project and tell all her friends at the FroYo stand. The film could have gone through that development drag. People were signed on. Actors read the script and thought that it was good. (And, it is pretty good, actually. It’s like Tarantino, but without the violence.)
And, now, it’s on Netflix, the Internet’s $5 bin.
(I mean, that sounds harsh, but just think about what the $5 bin is. You see them at Target, or Wal Mart, K Mart, and you just automatically write off the importance or the integrity of every DVD case in there. They’re all tossed around and rejected by others (probably by people who look like the comic book guy from The Simpson’s). If The Godfather was in there, you couldn’t care. You wouldn’t suddenly start treating that bin like anything but the waste basket you already thought it was. You would just think, “Oh, wow, The Godfather is in the $5 bin now.” You wouldn’t dare pay the reasonable $5 to own Francis Ford Coppola’s epic forever, but if you saw it in a nicer case, priced at $25, and it said Collector’s Edition, you just might scoop that bad boy up. That’s the power of the $5 bin. It drags everything down. Citizen Kane becomes Tomcats. Mystic River is turned into I Love You, Beth Cooper. I watched Brokeback Mountain last week — an Academy Award-winning film I’d never seen until then — and now my Netflix feed is bombarded with man-on-man images normally reserved for the adult novel section at your “family’s” favourite Indigo. It’s the $5 bin, man. It’s the $5 bin.)
We know a movie’s notoriety comes down to the money it has behind it, but even that doesn’t matter much on Netflix. Last year, The Hunger Games was the biggest thing to hit the three ring circus (and, its sequels will be, too). Now, it’s just another streaming slacker on the world’s largest video distribution network.
Through nothing but an intention for the good and the great, Netflix has allowed people to become free, and freedom is something everyone wants but very few deserve. Most of us would live in squalor if given the choice. Most of us would waste our days watching tenth-rate films we’d automatically forget about afterward, if we could.
Think if how we digest TV shows on Netflix, or on any platform or from any Torrent service we use to satisfy our cravings. It’s no wonder Netflix came out with House of Cards, the most successful (to-date) original series on the website, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Mara. The show is good, but not terrific. It is, however, aided by the Internet, because every one of the first 13 episodes of House of Cards was uploaded on Netflix at once. You don’t need to wait a week. They’re all On Demand. Watch them whenever you want, and you’ll probably watch them all in a row.
Netflix knows this, and they know how we are. They know we have a tendency to overplay every song on the radio in the first four days of its release until we’re just sick of it and don’t hear the magic in it anymore. They know we like to find clothing stores that only we know and then we get mad when everyone else starts shopping there, but we still brag because “we were shopping there before it became cool.”
They know we’re a bunch of gluttonous pigs who would eat everything in front of us until we’re not full but overstuffed, and then we fart and burp and shit it out and say, “I just can’t take anymore turkey.”
Netflix has given us choice, and choice is the last thing we need. Democracy is great, but only in the womb.
Almost every title on Netflix just comes off feeling like each and every forgettable sitcom that still uses a laugh track or is castrated by the PG-bound censors of any major American network.
And, The Magic of Movies? That may have died a long time ago.
The Best Movies Still on (Canada’s) Netflix:
1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
2. Pulp Fiction
4. Lost in Translation
5. Dogtown and Z-Boys