A day on Netflix

This might sound really sad, but my introduction to Netflix was through the Netflix Prize. In my defence, I wasn’t all that much into movies back when the contest was announced. And heck, the NITK LAN when I was around could easily beat any Netflix in terms of average quality of content hosted.  And not that much into data mining either [the Netflix Prize was a contest where you had to devise a system which would predict ratings for movies you hadn’t seen yet based on what you had rated, and not just that, you had to perform 10% better than Netflix’s recommendation engine, and you would get a million dollars]. I didn’t know enough to compete back then. And now, there’s not going to be another Netflix contest [which essentially will mean a shot at a million dollars and/or bragging rights] thanks to some IITM-UTAustin-Stanford guy (Indian! Everyone, put your claws together for one of our very own!).

So anyway, now that I knew what Netflix was, I took amazingly long to visit the site. Yesterday I did. And the deal seemed rather OK – Trial run for two weeks, which I had to cancel before the two weeks were up, else I’d get billed for the month. And unlimited movies to watch online. Great, no?

Totally. I watched more movies yesterday than I normally watch in a week. It felt….. surreal. The max record I know of is Dha’s record of 9 movies in a day (Info gleaned from Smriti testimonials… is it an Urban Legend?). Anyway, these are the ones I watched yesterday.

  • Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi: I totally totally liked SRK in this one. He doesn’t talk in his usual manner in the movie at all… whoa. Movie isn’t great, obviously. But the ending credits more than made up for it – Surinder-ji presenting his and Taani-ji’s Japan snaps.
  • Welcome To Sajjanpur: Nice timepass movie. A little cliched in places, but overall, a good watch. Shreyas Talpade is totally lovable in this flick.
  • Luck, By Chance: Ok, I didn’t watch this off Netflix, but I watched it yesterday, so it makes it to this list. I liked the opening credits quite some. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked videos of people posing for photographs. I rather liked Rishi Kapoor and Juhi Chawla in it. Dimple Kapadia seemed too contrived to me, and I can’t stand Isha Sharvani’s giggle. I liked Farhan Akhtar’s understated manipulativeness, thankgod it was not the rubbing-hands-evil-glint routine.
  • Blackadder Goes Forth – I’ve watched this before, and I can rattle off each dialogue before it’s uttered, but it’s brilliance, just plain brilliance.
  • Hey, Arnold! (Season 3) – I used to watch this show long long ago, sporadically. It turns out that I appreciate this show better when I watch it right after coming back from school than now when I try watching the entire season at a stretch.
  • The Proposal – I had watched Did You Hear About The Morgans a few months back. Man, what’s it about Hollywood and getting New Yorkers to live in some rural area due to a set of unforseen circumstances? It’s not sweet, it’s not cute, the granny is not as adorable as other Hollywood grannies, nor is the family, certainly not as adorable as the family in While You Were Sleeping. Random chickflick. Unless you really have no choice, don’t watch this one.
  • Julie And Julia – Given that I’m going through a phase where I’m craving for short term goals and structure in life, AND that I blog, AND that I sort of like cooking, this one hit close to home. If you want to use your blog to set and fulfill short-term goals, and attempt to become a better person in the process, this movie’s for you. Also if you seek relief from the daily humdrum by making yourself a nice meal at the end of the day. Of course, I’ve ended up doing neither; I constantly waver between “Cooking is stress” and “Cooking is stress-relief”. Still, not a bad movie. It shows a blogger getting a book deal, so… well…
  • District 9 – Aliens! Racism! Xenophobia! One of Us becoming One of Them! Those things didn’t really make much of an impact on me. What did, however, was the possibility of a senti sequel where Wikus is old, there’s a plot to remove Wikus’s then-assistant who’s now a good bigshot, Christopher is dead, and Christopher’s son comes back….. And I’d really have liked to see something about the Alien culture and all that. It’s a good watch, I’d say, and Sharlto Copley does do a good job of the whole thing. It’s good to see aliens being portrayed in a way different from the established norm in film industries worldwide.
  • Monsoon Wedding – I’ve seen this often on TV and blogged about it too. Oh, it turns out that the girl who plays the 10-year-old is Naina Lal Kidwai’s daughter.

I should also state here that I began watching Shakespeare In Love, and Happenstance, and quit coz they weren’t riveting enough.

So did I beat Dha’s record? No, considering I didn’t really watch the entire season of Hey, Arnold. And even if I did, I’d probably be tied.

I’m not going to be doing this anytime in the future.  Having so many movies at your disposal and limited time to watch them isn’t my cup of tea. Of course, it’d be much better if I took it in smaller doses…. there are lessons you learn from watching Arunachalam. I’ll be going home for the summer, and as part of closing a lot of things down,  I’ve cancelled my Netflix account.

And I’m not really ruing that. There aren’t that many movies and TV shows you can watch online right now. Most of the ones I wanted to watch – the entire run of Whose Line and A Bit of Fry And Laurie and all the flicks from Studio Ghibli – are not available to watch online. Why, even the rather popular flick which I haven’t yet watched and whose name I will not reveal for fear of being crucified or lynched was not available to watch online. Rather a disappointment, that way.

Plus, a good number of the films I want to watch are Tamil or Kannada or Hindi. I sadly couldn’t find Manithanin Marupakkam, which I vaguely remember watching many years ago on Sun TV and being very intrigued by it. A lot of the movies I want to watch are like that – I’d’ve watched fifteen  minutes of it before changing the channel many years ago, after which the clips keep coming back to me, and I decide I just have to watch this… often, those fifteen minutes have nothing to do with the general tone of the movie and I’m often disappointed, but not for lack of trying.

Still, a sort-of magical day when I could totally drown in a world of make-believe.

Oh, and how could I forget…. the ratings. I rated just around 60 movies, and already, the predictions for the ratings I’d give other movies were BANG ON!! Really, amazingly accurate. Down to the decimal point. Except when it predicted I’d give two-and-a-half stars for Avvai Shanmughi.
The one thing that strikes me about this is that the movies I’d give five stars to aren’t the ones I’d really prefer to watch at any given time. I like my mindless, useless chickflicks for a one-time watch. I find some Awesome movies totally depressing.
Maybe an alternative small task would be to predict which movies are a one-time watch, and which ones I’d like to rewatch?

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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14 Responses to A day on Netflix

  1. sg says:

    netflix is not just about movies, there are loads of documentaries specially off discovery and national geo,
    i m trying to refrain frm commenting on ur reviews, but wth,
    u liked rab ne..crappiest movie ever, don’t like the others too..except..monsoon wedding..all time fav!
    anyways, get netflix back when u r back in US, is usually worth it 🙂

    • wanderlust says:

      yeah, thought of documentaries, but wasn’t motivated enough to watch them. i’m not saying Rab Ne is a good movie… i skipped over a lot of it, especially the songs. just that it has a few good things about it.

      get back netflix, i shall, when i have some disposable income.

  2. Logik says:

    Nopes, It isn’t an urban legend. This was so much of a coveted title, that many jobless final years try to best him, but failed miserably.
    I believe he still packs about 4-5 movies on weekends, however the language is primarily non-english these days.

  3. Tuna Fish says:

    How many hours did it take you to watch all of this?

  4. Vikram Subramanya says:

    If you haven’t, you should definitely watch Outsourced. Wonderful movie it is.

  5. Shiny says:

    Interesting. I also enjoyed Julie and Julia and have a similar opinion on cooking (stress or stressbuster) 😉 How did you pick the movies you were going to watch? (were they fairly random or did you already have some of them on mind)

    Predicting movies as 1-time watch, rewatch and don’t watch might be an interesting line of thought. I hardly ever rewatch movies, especially online. But if they are on TV, I don’t mind so much. The movies that I have really liked watching again are the ones with extremely good/witty dialogues and scenes. But I have kind of also enjoyed watching Rajni starrers, Mani Ratnam movies and some anime`s (Kung Fu Panda, Ratatouille) over and over, sometimes for the laughs, sometimes for some specific scenes.

    ~9 movies a day is quiet some achivement (not to mention heights of boredom/joblessness 😀 ). There have been phases during my vacations where i have averaged about 4-5 movies a day (may be for a week). But I’ve never really managed more than 6 on a single day i think. So, congrats!

    • wanderlust says:

      the movies I picked were either by browsing the list of all movies in a particular genre, or by searching for some movie that I was reminded of. the searching wasn’t very useful… most of those i wanted to watch were available only in DVD form, not in streaming.

      yeah, my pattern of re-watching seems to be the same.

      9 movies is just a whole day of unproductivity. thank god my quarter’s over. it provided me with entertainment when i was packing.

  6. Arjun says:

    My record is a modest 5. I don’t think I’ll ever go up to 9.

    Eighteen hours? Fuck, that’s a day you’re never getting back. And you spent vast bits of it on Rab ne… and The proposal. Tut tut.

    But you made up for it by watching Blackadder goes forth. I’ve watched it several times and I still can’t get enough of it.

    And, as they say, LOL at lessons learned from Arunachalam.

    ‘Avatar’ nodilva innu?

    • wanderlust says:

      eighteen hours sounds like a colossal waste of time, i know. but i didn’t spend it all in front of my laptop… while the movies were playing, i made lunch, i packed my bags, tried fixing someone’s laptop…
      rab ne wasn’t as bad as The Proposal. really. no kidding.

      Avatar theatre-alli 3D nodidini. Dark Knight aadre nodilla.
      alright, crucify me, go on.

  7. Arjun says:

    Nevarrrr!!! Naansans, bullshit bullet!! Come on aafisar, arreestim!! Totttal family damaej!!!

    18 hours you spent on movies. Adralli….wait, let me wipe my bifocals and adjust them on my face…haan, adralli ee great movie mele ondu 3 hours spend maaDakkaglilvenamma?

    The proposal, I’m not going to watch it anymore, after your downputting of it. Risk venDaam.

  8. Arjun says:

    Hogli, noDtini anta maatgaadru andyalla, ashte saaku nange.

    Flight-alli invariably Dark Knight idde iratte. In the ‘Classics’ section. British ayarways-aa?

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