I am not anti-Netflix. I love Netflix. In fact, if you look back at a lot of my past blog posts, I glowingly recommend the subscription service that sends you rented DVDs in the mail and provides a plethora of instant viewing options over the internet. But I do have a recent complaint.
At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to watch all of the AFI's top 100 films of all time, based on their 10th anniversary list that came out in 2007. This is something that won't be finished this year. Four months into 2011, I've only reached number 84 counting down.
The first problem comes with AFI's 100th movie, Ben-Hur. When I added all of these movies to my Netflix queue, I was informed that Ben-Hur required a "very long wait." I wasn't thrilled with that news, but it wasn't the end of the world. After a few weeks passed and I started getting other movies from the list, I decided I'd just skip #100 and come back to it later, once they got around to sending it to me. About a week ago I went to look at my queue and saw that Ben-Hur had been removed. Well, no, it wasn't removed. It had automatically been moved to the bottom of the list with the label "unavailable." Suddenly it's not on DVD anymore? Did they only have one copy of it? Did the last person to rent it destroy it?
Next comes the movie that should be #83: Titanic. I've seen this movie a couple times. I'm sure I remember enough of it to review it without watching it all over again. But it's been a decade or more since I last watched it all the way through. And I didn't care much for it back then. My tastes may have changed. What if I have a new appreciation for the film? I'm not holding my breath on that one, but it could happen. I've received and watched numbers 82 and 82 (Sunrise and Spartacus, respectively) and have number 81 waiting for me in my mailbox. So the question now is, do I skip Titanic the way I did Ben-Hur, hoping that it will eventually be available? What if Netflix suddently decides to remove Titanic from my list altogether, as they did with Ben-Hur?
Again, I'm not anti-Netflix. I still love Netflix. Being without cable, Netflix is just about my sole home entertainment venue. But it bothers me that two movies that have been deemed by the American Film Institute to be a couple of the greatest films of all time are completely unavailable. Meanwhile, you can watch Zapped! starring Scott Baio any time you want. Makes perfect sense to me.