Saturday, May 06, 2006

I Heart Netflix

Although Apple deserves much credit for bringing us the ipod, the greatest recent development in entertainment is Netflix. I feel the way about Netflix that I used to feel about the ice cream machine at Ryan's Steakhouse - it's limitless abundance is almost magical, if also sometimes a little nauseating. I thought I would share some gems I've recently come across:

The Onion Field (1979):

There are a lot of Hollywood stars who seem to be famous just for being famous. A lot of times if you look far enough back, you find the early, electrifying performance that allowed the actor to spend the next 20 or 30 years making garbage. Warren Beatty has Bonnie and Clyde, for example. James Woods has The Onion Field. Based on the book by Joseph Waumbaugh, this is the true story of a cop and his partner who are kidnapped by two incompetent crooks, played by Woods and the guy who played Dexter on "Silver Spoons." Woods, with a high-and-tight haircut and bad teeth, creates one of the most repulsive lunatics on film. Woods murders the cop's partner, played by a young Ted Danson, sending himself and Dexter to jail and turning the story into a bizarre, decade-long courtroom drama. The opening and closing sequences were clearly tacked on by a future Lifetime Channel executive, but that is more than made up for by the scene where the now-incarcerated Woods makes Dexter blow him for "legal advice."

Breaker Morant (1980):

The best thing about The Atlantic Monthly magazine is its oppressively erudite book reviews. One time, in reviewing a biography of Wilhelm von So-and-So, a German diplomat, the magazine referred to the subject of the book as "undeniably one of the three most important individuals in German diplomatic history." If you need them to name the other two, you clearly attended a state school. In the spirit of The Atlantic Monthly, I offer you Breaker Morant - easily one of the three most important films about the Boer War.

Three Australian soldiers in the British army are ordered to "take no prisoners." When their summary execution of enemy hostages, including a German national, threatens to bring Germany into the war on the Boers' side, Britian court martials the soldiers for violating the laws of war. This is a true story, and the movie won best picture at the Australian Oscars. Although a movie about soldiers getting railroaded after being ordered to violate international law has no apparent relevance to our own time, it is still a very compelling story. You will have to watch it to find out how it ends.


Blogger Pineapple Colonoscopy said...

Also a big fan, the only drawback to netflix is that it eliminates or reduces wondering around Vision Video, which is fun on it's own. Netflix is also great for the rapid viewing a TV series you missed out on--we've watched all of Deadwood, Sopranos and Lost in the last six months.

5/07/2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger GP said...

Breaker Morant is a great movie. The best part is when the protagonist says "shoot straight, you bloody bastards." at the end.

Also, the BBC mini-series- A Town Like Alice has the same guy and is also worth watching.

5/07/2006 10:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home