“That’s a Netflix rental…”



I tend to watch most movies at home, either from the comfort of my Dish HD satellite DVR or as a Netflix rental (and sometimes, using their Watch Instantly streaming method, when applicable).

Yesterday, the wife and I ventured out with my father & stepmother to see the new Bond flick, QUANTUM OF SOLACE. Watching the coming attractions unspool before the flick, my wife whispered that she wanted to see a couple of them, to which I gave my customary reply: “That’s a Netflix rental.”

So the question is, what justifies a movie not being theatre-worthy?

For me, it’s got to be something big & loud, or something which could potentially stir my emotions like movies did when I was a kid. Even at the $6.50 per head matinee price in my area, paying for the wife & I, we could damn near own a DVD of the movie by the time we’re done (and don’t even get me started on the popcorn & drinks!).

This year, we got out to see more flicks at the theatre than normal… IRON MAN, INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, MAMMA MIA!, THE DARK KNIGHT and now QUANTUM OF SOLACE. (And we’re both eagerly awaiting TRANSPORTER 3 in two weeks — I missed the first two in theatres.) I realize for many people, that’s a fraction of what they watch at theatres in a year… but I have a pretty good home theatre setup and to me, stuff looks & sounds better there without going out of the house (and for a whole lot cheaper, considering we might watch a movie a night sometimes!).

So what upcoming movies did I consider a Netflix rental? Frankly, most of the trailers were so forgettable, I can’t even remember. The new STAR TREK trailer looks cool, but I’m not a huge Trekkie so that one will probably wait for Blu-ray. I know everyone is stoked about WATCHMEN, but I wasn’t that into the graphic novel, so that’s a Netflix rental for me. The new Will Smith Christmas tearjearker SEVEN POUNDS… Netflix rental. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL remake… Netflix rental. THE PINK PANTHER 2… maybe not even a Netflix rental, since I haven’t even seen the first one with Steve Martin.

Of course, the economics of the entertainment business currently dictate that we have to see new movies in the theatre for them to be able to afford their high-priced stars and lavish parties. There’s just not enough money in home video to be the core of the business, although that’s certainly changing as studios depend more and more on DVD sales & rentals to survive their box office failures.

I’ll watch just about anything via Netflix… most movies have some kind of redeeming value when they’re just one of maybe 20 movies a month you’re getting for your $18 (er, $19… Netflix just started charging $1 per month more for Blu-ray). Rarely is something so bad that I won’t even watch it all. (The last one was Uwe Bolle’s POSTAL, which the wife started begging me to turn off after 10 minutes. I stuck it out for another half hour before I threw in the towel. Strangely, the next week we watched his IN THE NAME OF THE KING, which the wife enjoyed. I thought it was kind of all over the place, but an amazingly well-made movie for somebody branded as so incompetent. But I digress…)

So Netflix is clearly a great value for somebody who watches as much stuff as I do, even though I’ve entertained dropping my subscription (which I’ve had since May, 2000). There are very few other “all you can eat” services, and even though I have a home theatre PC jacked into my HDTV, I just won’t pay per-rental fees for iTunes, Amazon Video on Demand or other such services.

I’d venture a guess that most folks go to the theatre more than we do, and use services like Netflix to catch lesser-known movies, like the stuff that Tempe releases. Perhaps I’m an anomaly, using Netflix to primarily watch Hollywood’s major theatrical output (and to a lesser degree, some TV shows and direct-to-video stuff that probably no one else wants to see).

So, how about you? What do you consider a “Netflix rental…”?



This entry was posted on Sunday, November 16th, 2008 at 1:16 pm and is filed under Movies, Random Thoughts, Seen & Heard, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to ““That’s a Netflix rental…””

  1. kgb1138 Says:

    Just saw the new Bond film and certainly enjoyed it. As to what I save for DVD viewing they are usually films that don’t make it to the regular cinema or are limited in release. I only view films in theaters for the spectacles usually. Batman, I am Legend, Ironman and others for example. But I miss a lot due to expense of theater going, and being a parent to two boys. I have seen several films in the theater with my oldest, and that is a fun and exciting experience. Hopefully I’ll do that more with both my boys. Of course then it gets expensive. Drinks, popcorn, etc. But such is life.

  2. pipedreams Says:

    I guess for me a Netflix rental is something without all the bells and whistles…or something that didn’t come to my local theater or TV shows I missed. I don’t have a great sound set up and my TV is just average, so I go to the theater and see the ones I know I would like to see on the big screen with lots of effects and loud sounds. Though, having said that, I go see a lot of movies I wouldn’t normally see in the theater because of my son. I’m not a trekkie either, but I will probably see that in the theater, maybe even The Day the Earth Stood Still, but everything else I saw before the Bond flick will be Netflix. By the way, liked the Bond movie, only too many 5 second like Michael Bay quick cuts, especially the car chase in the beginning, but I dug the movie overall.

  3. tonyfr Says:

    Almost everything is a rental for me unless the movie is visually stunning (I own a normal sized TV), an auditory experience (my daughters talk constantly at home) or something the family wants to go see. I got the feeling I will be going to see the next Harry Potter film at the theatre because my wife and youngest daughter will want to see it. Beyond that…who knows.

  4. tomten3000 Says:

    Roger Ebert has an interesting take on what “It’s a rental (Netflix or otherwise)” means — basically, he says that if someone tells you it’s “worth renting” it really means “it’s not worth seeing.” I mostly agree, as the films I decide I can wait to rent I don’t particularly want to see. There’s just an aspect of them that’s somewhat appealing — maybe Bruce Campbell has a cameo, right? (Because if Campbell starred, it would be worth seeing). Or maybe it fits a genre I like (superheroes?), but is probably crap (“Ghostrider,” anyone?).

    The caveat is that, as a parent and a corporate slave and a guy trying to be an entrepreneur, I don’t have TIME to invest in the theatre — let alone money. So while Ebert is right on the outset, he misses the nuance, which is: “I want to see it but I can’t a) afford to spend $50 at the theater or b) don’t have the time, babysitter or energy to go to the theater.”

    But even that lends itself back to the original thesis, as the films I might rent now are WORTH seeing on the big screen. I just can’t get there.

  5. jonkillough Says:

    I would say… Read a book instead!

  6. J.R. Bookwalter Says:

    What is this “book” thing you speak of? 😉