Last Saturday, after spending eight bucks to rent two movies for five days from Hollywood Video, I decided to abandon the brick and mortar video emporiums (emporia?) in favor of internet-based Netflix.

One of the movies I rented, “Coffee and Cigarettes,” was so excruciatingly arty I could barely stay awake through the whole thing. I was obliged to apologize to Technogeek for choosing it. I must say, it takes a certain evil anti-genius to put Tom Waits and Iggy Pop on a screen together and make it boring.

The other movie, “Garden State,” was more entertaining, in spite of the appearance of Natalie “Wooden Star Wars Babe” Portman. And the sound track rocked.

It wasn’t the movies that turned me to the online world (as if I didn’t already spend most of my time there), it was the eight dollars.

Netflix works like this: you pay a flat monthly fee to rent all the movies you want. You can have up to three at a time. As soon as they get one back (and shipping is included in the fee) they send out the next movie in your queue.

So here’s my report:

The web site,, is easy to use and works smoothly. I had no trouble figuring out how to sign up or how to manage my queue. My only complaint is that the site is too selective in what it decides to show me when I’m browsing. For some reason it keeps recommending Johnny Depp movies. On second thought, that’s a good thing. But still, an alphabetical list of everything they’ve got would be useful sometimes.

The cost: so far, it doesn’t cost anything. There’s a two week free trial. After that, it’s 17 some bucks per month for unlimited three-at-a-time rentals. And you can keep the movies as long as you want with no late fees.

The service: I signed up late Saturday night and had my first three movies on Tuesday. On Wednesday I mailed back the one we’d watched (“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”). Thursday I received email from Netflix indicating they’d received the disk I sent back and shipped the next one. That’s pretty darn speedy.

There you have it. Transvestite Rabbit gives Netflix 5 carrots.

About “Sky Captain…” well, it wasn’t my choice. I foolishly told Technogeek my Netflix password, so he has access to the queue. If you are a big action/adventure film buff, you will enjoy watching “Sky Captain” and catching all the spots (about every three minutes) where another movie is referenced/ripped off/paid homage. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as “Coffee and Cigarettes.”


20 thoughts on “

  1. Yep, Netflix rocks.  Their turnaround is very quick and they have a depot 50 miles from our house, so we could easily watch 20 movies a month for $18.  Beats the heck out of crappy Comcast On-Demand.
    As for Sky Captain, it is neither great SciFi nor a great action flick, but it is a fun homage to the classics and does a fantastic job of melding modern production technology with WWII era styling.  I gave it three stars.

  2. In the old days (when there were tons of good movies to rent) I would have been excited about this post. Now it seems $17 is too much for the two movies a month worth renting. Besides, Blockbuster gives me a free ‘oldie’ with every new release, so I can catch up on the classics. But try finding a foreign film at Blockbuster… Ugh.

  3. My husband and I just cancelled out Blockbuster movie pass because whenever we went to the damn store, there were NO new releases except for, like, movies starring the Rock or something.
    I’m debating over Blockbuster vs. Netflix online service.

  4. We do Netflix too. I like it a lot, but there are a couple of things I don’t like: sometimes I’m in the mood for a cheesy stupid movie, and we never put cheesy stupid movies on our queue. It would be useless to put one on there, because it’s unlikely that I could accurately predict when, exactly, I might be in the mood for such a movie. There’s just not much sponteneity involved in Netflix. The other thing I miss from our Blockbuster days is rambling through the store, picking up boxes and looking at every choice in the store. I could still do that, of course, and then come home and put my choices on the queue, but it’s just not as satisfying as choosing a movie and renting it right that minute.This is also why I frequent both and my neighborhood Borders bookstore.

  5. Netflix sounds like they are well-organized and inexpensive. I rarely pay for rentals as I have a wonderful selection of oldies and new releases from my library. Plus, if they don’t have a movie I want to see, they order it for me. Can’t beat that!

  6. Blockbusters has really screwed themselves royally with customers. Netflix’s advantage is the network they have and speed. Just like Amazon you get what you want when you want. Now that is a good company…

  7. I’m with you on Garden State, a much-underappreciated movie. Barbara prefers live movie houses, and we wind up renting a flick from Blockbuster maybe three times a year. When we’re after a specific rental, we generally find it. Despite your positive review, I don’t think Netflix would be right for us.

  8. Hey there. I’ve heard good things about Netflix, thanks for the report. That’s funny how Blockbuster has started to offer online services also. I haven’t signed up for either yet, but I still enjoy going to the video store and looking at the selection. I hate getting inline and waiting to pay, that sucks. I enjoyed both Garden State and Sky Captain, both weren’t what I expected. Enjoy your movies!

  9. Do they have Barabarella?  It’s really the best movie ever made, don’t you think.  Imean the origin of Duran Duran alone is worth the vieage..  Go netflix!

  10. Jodi,  I was at Hollywood Video and Blockbuster today.  They both have new monthly plans where you pay a flat fee and get unlimited movies.  They are competing with Netflix.  We rented movies from Hollywood, but we don’t have the time for unlimited movies yet.  LaHitraot, Sho

  11. Netflix is a good company. I’ve had lots of positive experience with them. I was a bit surprised that Blockbuster is doing the same thing.I agree that it’s fun to go through the video store and read the synopsis and make a viewing decision that way.. I’ve found the most interesting movies.. movies I wouldn’t have watched otherwise.. and I also like to pick up a box of chocolate covered gummy bears when I’m out.I think there is a need for both.. online and brick-and-mortar.. for just the reasons mentioned here.

  12. I had a Netflix subscription a couple of years ago and loved the fact that they have almost every movie ever released on DVD (or claim to). I watched a ton of old classics. But I let my membership lapse until a couple of weeks ago, got a free two week trial and decided to sign up again… watched a few movies, but decided to cancel. I realized that summer would be here soon and I didn’t want to spend my evenings at home being a recluse in front of the TV!! Maybe I’ll join again later on.

  13. Netflix wouldn’t even deliver to us where we live. I guess they didn’t like our address b/c it’s a rural one and kept saying it was NOT a valid one. Finally I heard about Blockbuster having almost the EXACT same program only it’s only $14.99 a month-and you get two coupons each month, also, they send you to print out-so you get even extras, there! Blockbuster sounds exactly like Netflix online. Easy to naviagate and you can pick from a list of movies either in alphabetical style, by what ever category they fall into and also do a search on one you want…and they explain each movie to you-what it’s about, who’s in it, how long it is…all the details about it. So far the turn around has been incredible. We think going by the zip code, they are coming from a Blockbuster in either far north Dallas or either in Plano (burb of Dallas) and we live in E. Texas and they get our dvd’s back the next day and we normally get a notice from them the following day or sometimes that same day late in the day-that they’ve received it…and then they also tell you by email as soon as they ship out any more to you and when to expect it, but we always get it the NEXT DAY-awesome!! In the first 4 weeks, we watched something like 18 movies!! Of course you have to remember, I have all the time in the world to watch. I can watch any time-so that helps. If they keep up the service this good, I don’t think you can beat it with a stick! So far we haven’t even redeemed any of our coupons, though, as Blockbuster is a good 25 mi round trip to go get them and return them in the nearest small town….so we might could see even more if we didn’t want to haul our sorry selves into town and get them and return them!! I’ve had a blast watching soo many movies we’ve missed living out here in the country just because it WAS too darn far to go get them and return them!! I love it!! Oh-they do have a little thing I’m not sure if Netflix has this same thing or not, but prolly. They tell you if the movie you want is *available*, *short wait* or *long wait* and you can arrange them in your queue in what ever order you want. I sent them an email and asked them to PLEASE don’t BOTHER to wait on any-send me anything in my queue that is available when they receive my dvd’s back in the store. They sent me an email and said okay!! I don’t care what order they come in-as long as they keep them coming! Going to see them all eventually, right? So what matter does it make if they come in order or not? I could care les about that! We only have had HBO out here-living so far out-and not wanting to drive to get or return a movie-and wow-we are wayyyyyy behind on movies-and we are having a blast watching them alllll the time now! Streaming dvd’s alll the time..can’t get any better than that! Only have picked a few stinkers, to far!! lol But you can expect that, right??

  14. Dear Jodi,
    I just perused my subscription list to see if you were listed and couldn’t find you, so I will suppose that the comment you left on my blog, WhenWordsCollide is the first you have left. (Forgive me if I’ve been to visit you before, your “handle” sounds familiar but a lot of times I’ll see sites listed in comments sections, and remember the name from there.
    In any case, I decided to post here, because I’ve been a Netflix subscriber from the beginning, and the only “TV” I watch is either rented films from Netflix or Hollywood Video, or films I’ve recorded from Turner Classic Movies or Fox Movie Network on the Tivo. I recommend the Netflix service highly. The great thing about Netflix is that they “carry” everything, even the old television series on DVD, so you can go through whole TV series on your own time without having to pay late fees. I have three series listed in my “queue” along with about 50 films, and I can just move whatever I want to see next to the top of the queue. I’m a major film buff, and I would see at least three movies a month in the theater before the matinee prices got jacked up to eight bucks a showing. With Netflix, I can keep new and older films, directors series, genre series, whatever I want to see lined up online for viewing, and since I live in California, where the service is located, I usually get a shipment with a day or two. For me, that’s almost like “movies on demand”. (I used to collect movies on CED, then beta, then VHS, then laserdisc. Some titles would cost up to $250.00 including the directors commentaries and other features on laserdisc back in the 80s. With DVD, and with services like Netflix, anyone can be a movie buff.
    Now, RYC on my blog. You mentioned I should “reconsider” the wording on one of my many synonyms for a body part I am using on a series of essays. I don’t know why you are objecting. I have used about six different “synonyms” in the first three chapters, and nobody else has even mentioned it. My “influence” comes from the Erica Jong book, “Fear of Flying” which was written in the late 70s if I remember. She describes a body part with probably every slang expression one has ever thought about. I am attempting (for now, at least) to write a series of essays on sexuality without being too explicit or pornographic. I would be interested in further criticism on why you might have found a particular term offensive or incorrectly placed in the essay. You can email me at
    Thank you for visiting WhenWordsCollide and I hope you find it interesting enough for multiple return visits. Again, accept my apologies if I have been here on your blog before and can’t remember. It doesn’t “look” familiar , but I know people change the “look and feel” of their Xanga blogs all the time.
    Yours Truly,
    Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool
    (P.S. I hope you read comments posted to older entries!)

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