Saturday, January 28, 2006

Taking the Netflix Plunge

We're finally doing it. I'm sick of Blockbuster's disingenuous "no late fee" program (where they charge you for purchasing the movie if you keep it too long, then charge a "service fee" if you return it -- just a late fee with a new name). I'm also tired of the limited selection in video stores because I have eclectic interests (most of the mainstream movies I've reviewed here were procured by my wife). Which brings me to another reason -- my wife is always the one who goes to the video store, so I don't even get to see what they have.

I signed up for Netflix early on Wednesday, and we got our first DVDs Thursday afternoon. My first three selections, just based on what popped into my head to order:
  1. Be More Cynical, a Bill Maher stand-up routine - Not that I need any help being cynical, but I just finished reading his hilarious New Rules book. The video was good, but I liked the book better.
  2. Black on Broadway, a Lewis Black stand-up routine - You can see a pattern here. I love stand-up comedy, I don't have cable TV, and video stores never have much stand-up (though thank goodness my wife was able to find a DVD of the late, great Bill Hicks last year), so I will be ordering a lot of stand-up from Netflix. This was about what I expected, and I really enjoy everything I've heard from Black.
  3. La Dolce Vita, the legendary Federico Fellini film - My wife never found this in a video store, but I have a hunch she was looking in the wrong place (it's probably in the foreign section). Anyway, I have wanted to see this since I heard the Bob Dylan song "Motorpsycho Nightmare," which I think is one of my mom's favorites:
    Then in comes his daughter
    Whose name was Rita.
    She looked like she stepped out
    of La Dolce Vita.
    Then my wife bought (yes, bought, mainly because she couldn't find any Rat Pack videos for rent) 4 For Texas, a lame, predictable movie notable for the buxom Anita Ekberg, who also stars in, yep, La Dolce Vita. By now you're waiting to hear my verdict... but we haven't watched it yet.

Anyone who knows me knows that I intend to get my money's worth out of this, so it should come as no surprise that I already returned two DVDs so I can get more early next week. I spent hours putting together a queue of about 65 DVDs, mostly classic movies, stand-up comedy, and Saturday Night Live compilations. Maybe someday I'll let my wife pick a movie or two as well. I told her she can't go to Blockbuster anymore.

UPDATE 03/08/2006 - I never mentioned that we finally watched La Dolce Vita a few days later. It's very, uh, foreign. When people talk about foreign films being strange, this is what they mean. Cinematically it was good, and I can see why directors are impressed with Fellini, but I couldn't follow the story; I just didn't get it. Neither did my wife. In that sense it was disappointing, but on the other hand, at least now I think I know what Bob Dylan was talking about.

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