As far as Netflix goes, I was late to the mail-order party. I live a few blocks from a Blockbuster, and I have always been able to just walk and get a movie any time I wanted. But now that store is vying with Charlie Sheen and the giant panda in a contest to see who wants it the least, and my hand has been forced. So far the experience has been great, as Netflix has a better selection and the price is more reasonable, and I don't have to deal with those things they have in all video stores--what do they call them again? Oh, yeah! People.
Now, however, I have to deal with the smug little self-satisfied algorithm that tells me what it thinks I will like based on my choices and ratings in the past. Here's the problem: I share the account with my wife and children. Thus, Netflix Instant is faced with the dilemna of what to recommend to an entity that gives five stars to Chan-wook Park's Oldboy, Sissy Spacek's Coal Miner's Daughter, and The Backyardigans' Super Secret Super Spy.
I am not a movie snob. I will go see the next Transformers installment simply because I enjoy seeing robots whomping on other robots. I will leave the theatre cursing everyone involved with the production, but I will have enjoyed it on the same robot-whomping level as my four year-old. That being said, I also enjoy foreign films, indie darlings, and the occasional romantic comedy. The one thing I can't stand about movies, however, is predictability, and this is what leads me to watch foreign films and some of the more obscure things floating around out there. As I have said before, the difference between an Asian film and an American film is that in an American film, a baby may be tied to the railroad tracks, and the hero will swoop in at the last second and save the baby. In an Asian film, the baby is sitll tied to the railroad tracks and the hero still swoops in and saves it, but then he sharpens it and uses it to stab another baby. You never see that coming.
This need to be surprised combined with the preferences of my wife and kids leads to a bit of a conundrum for the movie suggesting computer at Netflix. I assume this is why all it ever tells me to watch is season four of Monk.