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?