Why Netflix Might Be Ruining Everything, and What I Plan to Do About It

Denisa and I watched Make Mine Mink the other day (the third Terry-Thomas film I’d watched in a row. Thinking about writing a character like Terry-Thomas. He’s so agreeably oily in his movie roles. Very distinctively British. I think a lot of people do Terry-Thomas impersonations without even knowing that’s who they’re impersonating.)

The movie was a ton of fun–a tale about a group of roommates who decide to start robbing fur stores and giving their profits to charity. It’s light hearted and just plain enjoyable. A really strong three star film. It also got me thinking.

Not about the film itself–it isn’t That Sort of Film. Rather, I thought about my experiences at my family cabin growing up. My cousins and I would all get together and go up there multiple times a year, and while we were there, we’d eat a ton of unhealthy food, play a slew of games, and watch far more movies than we ought to have.

It was a blast.

The movies were supplied and collected by my grandmother, and they were very good films. To this day, I see some movies and immediately think, “That would be a great Cabin movie.” To qualify for this distinction, the film has to be rewatchable above all else. When you only have fifty or so movies to choose from, you better be sure all those movies are heavy hitters. (Examples? The Sting, Butch Cassidy, How to Succeed in Business, Sound of Music–to this day, I can still rattle off the movies that were in that collection, even though it burned down more than five years ago.)

Make Mine Mink would fit perfectly.

But you know what? I’m not sure if I’ll get to have that sort of experience again–or if my children ever will. Not just because the Cabin burned down (though we did build a new one in its place), but because of Netflix. Suddenly, anything I want to see, I can see. Very easily. And what that’s done to my movie watching habits is make me less inclined to rewatch a movie multiple times. Why see something I’ve already seen, when there’s something I could experience for the first time?

And at first, that made a lot of sense. But now that I’ve been doing that for a while, I’m beginning to rethink my approach. Pre-Netflix, my movie collection was based on what was cheapest. I’d buy a movies on sale, and have those on hand. Post-Netflix, I’ve just stopped buying films altogether.

But maybe I need a post-post Netflix. Because sometimes those Netflix on-demand movies get yanked. I think I want a small collection of personal Cabin movies. Movies I can watch at the drop of a hat, anytime, anyplace. I need physical copies of those movies. I can find them through Netflix, watch them the first time there, but then invest in owning a copy, even if I have to pay a bit more for that copy.

Because I want my kids to have a Cabin experience. To have movies they didn’t just enjoy, but loved–adored. Many times. And to do that, you sort of have to own something.


5 thoughts on “Why Netflix Might Be Ruining Everything, and What I Plan to Do About It”

  1. I don’t rewatch as often as I used to pre-Netflix, but sometimes I just want a background movie (Princess Bride, etc.) or even a Doctor Who episode (I rewatch those several times a year), one that I love but that doesn’t require my full attention to enjoy. I watch a lot more new things, but sometimes I’m not in the mood to read subtitles (Korean dramas) or to pay attention.

  2. I have a very small DVD collection, but it’s comprised of films I truly, truly love. The other week, though, I realized that I wasn’t ever watching those films any more, because of NetFlix. So instead of watching a new film, I rewatched Stranger Than Fiction and I’m glad I did. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to work the films I own into “rotation” more often.

  3. You’ll also need to buy the kids a mess o’ cousins to store in the attic and bring out for “cabin days.”

Leave a comment