Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting Your Netflix Fix

A lot of ballyhoo in the last week regarding Netflix raising their prices. I think I might be the only one not feeling the hate! I don't typically use the blog for commentary, but as a customer for 5+ years to the service I thought I would share the reasons why I feel like I am getting my money's worth. If you regularly check the blog you'll see my sidebar of two-word reviews and get an idea of how often I find myself in front of the TV. What can I say, I love movies. Always have, always will.

Full disclosure, I have also scaled down to 2 discs at a time plus streaming from 3 discs at a time after the price changes so that my monthly fee stays just about the same. However, we were considering a move regardless because of the amount we take advantage of the instant options and the frequency we have been able to turn 3 discs around. Like a gym membership, a Netflix account shows its value the more you use it. And I work out a lot. Although I don't know that my consumption can compete with the $1 price of a Redbox disc, I am still all about the convenience with how long I can keep them, the ability to stream and the choices that go beyond the new release.

I have to wonder if some of the folks who do not feel there are enough options out there are mainly looking for new releases and mainstream fare. If so, I have to agree. Partnerships with Starz and other big name players means that as soon as Iron Man 2 or Toy Story 3 show up on the roster they are probably immediately watched and then gone from the queue.

Looking deeper at the instant options, you can will documentaries and biographies of all shapes and sizes (Ken Burns' Baseball, Man on Wire and Basquiat), more BBC shows than you can shake a stick at (The IT Crowd, Doctor Who and Sherlock), beautiful foreign films (Cinema Paradiso, I Am Love) and some of the oddest sounding independent movies around (Hump Day: great reviews, crazy premise). A great opportunity to give something different a chance.

I think some of my favorite points of Netflix are the increasingly specific categories that one's queue and ratings have formed for them. As a comedy lover, color me surprised when I find most of my recommendations centering around, "Military 20th Century Period Pieces" "Gritty Movies Based on Real Life" and "Melodramas Starring a Strong Female Lead" Made me realize I do mostly watch dramas when it comes to my Netflix consumption!

If you have a Netflix subscription, I suggest going off the beaten path and looking up a specific director to focus on (like my efforts to watch every Pedro Almodovar movie available), utilizing the Critics Picks area to add some Oscar winners to your list or picking out a few first seasons of television shows to test out and see which you will want to go the distance with (Mad Men is coming to Instant next week so we can fill up on Season 4.)

A few recommendations:

Sports Night (available on Instant) - Sorkin's dialogue hits home in a 30 minute show that is just as much drama as it is comedy which has you thinking the whole time, "why do they have a laugh track?"
The Wire - had to see what all the "#1 show of all time" fuss was about. You know what, it is pretty great. About to start Season 3!
Arrested Development (available on Instant) - I own these on DVD and still find that Bob watches them through Netflix. It is just too good.

The Red Violin (available on Instant) - beautiful music takes you through five seperate story lines spanning the ages. And Samuel L. Jackson as the most annoying hotel guest you will ever see.
City of God - terrifying depiction of the Rio de Janeiro slums that stays with you long after the credits roll.
Children of Men - amazing soundtrack, Clive Owen is at the heart of a tale of a world not so far off where anarchy has taken over when we are suddenly unable to have babies.
Inside Man - Clive Owen again. A Spike Lee Joint. A thinking man's heist movie.

. . .okay, maybe I do watch too many depressing movies. . . .let's look at a lighter side.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story - starring my new favorite Steve Coogan. I watched this through and then immediately watched it again with commentary.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Robert Downey Jr. plays it cool. Val Kilmer with some killer one liners. Quickly became one of my top 3 favorite movies.
Two Brothers - a sort of ridiculous premise, but with two of the cutest tigers you will ever see.

For more movie recommendations check out my Pinterest board!

Thus endeth my commentary on how to use your Netflix subscription to its fullest potential. Happy viewing!


  1. I completely agree! We will probably downsize to streaming only (or 1 disc-at-a-time?) because we don't watch the discs that much. But if we did, I think it is still a fair price.

  2. I'm with Kara, I think we will downsize to streaming because our turn-around with watching and returning the discs is pretty slow and we end up watching way more movies through streaming anyway!

    I love the random genres Netflix comes up with--I can always tell who has been watching more movies lately, my husband or myself, based on those fun genres :)

  3. Yes, when Bob takes the reins we get a lot of recommendations for X Men animated episodes and family guy. Mine are always random foreign movies and British TV!