18 April 2012


I've subscribed to Netflix DVD rentals via mail since 05 September 2006 ~ 2,052 days ago.  Last night I watched movie rental number 1000.  Here's the breakdown ~

  • 2006 ~ 28 films
  • 2007 ~ 95 films
  • 2008 ~ 139 films
  • 2009 ~ 224 films
  • 2010 ~ 215 films
  • 2011 ~ 216 films
  • 2012 ~ 83 films (so far)
Seems like a lot.  I should have trained as a film critic.  Numbers took a leap upward in 2009, after I was forced by work injuries to retire.  My choices are diverse ~ drama, foreign films, art films, documentaries, action, and not a few chick flicks.  Slasher movies, period costume melodramas, and most comedies don't make the cut.  If there is a unifying thread among my choices, it is Quality.  I appreciate a movie that provides me a window into another place or time, with outstanding directing, acting, script, cinematography.  The story concept or its execution should be original, compelling, non-predictable.  To illustrate, here are random selections from my Netflix rentals, starting with the first and including intervals of 100 thereafter ~
The list of riveting, illuminating, and deeply enjoyable films goes on and on.  There are always a few disappointments, which is where Netflix's rating system (1-5 stars) comes in handy.  Based on your ratings, their algorithm eliminates certain films to recommend, and includes others.  But I generally don't choose blindly, anyway ~ I rely on trusted film critics, as well as my own informed instincts.

For most of my adult life, whether I was in a relationship or living alone, my weekend ritual included a movie and dinner out.  It's a nice way to pass the time, and a wonderful chance to sample the imaginations and worldviews of creative writers and directors.  I definitely pay attention to film credits, and have my favorite directors, actors, and screenplay writers.  Alas, during the past decade or so, theater movies have catered more and more to the lowest common denominator among audiences.  Fewer movie makers are willing to take risks, falling back on formulaic plots and self-referential franchise films.  By and large, there is more daring and originality among cable TV film makers, who have stepped into the creativity void.  Witness series like The Wire, The L Word, Firefly, Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica, Weeds, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, Band of Brothers, Generation Kill, Justified, Burn Notice, In Treatment, The United States of Tara, and even the slightly goofy True Blood.

Still, certain films demand viewing on a big theater screen ~ films with sweep and epic drama, films with visual detail, films which invite the viewer into an alternate reality.  There will always be a fond place for theater movies, even as I progress toward Netflix rental number 2000.

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