with 'netflix' tag

i don’t think that deal means what you think it means

so blockbuster and the weinstein co. have announced that blockbuster signed a deal to be the exclusive renter for weinstein co. films.

too bad there is no such thing as rental rights. i suggest some of the people involved may want to read up on the first-sale doctrine.

all i can see this meaning is that netflix will end up paying less favorable rates for the weinstein co. films that they choose to stock, and weinstein co.’s less successful films will have even poorer distribution. but if weinstein co. releases a successful film and ever sells it on dvd, there is no way that netflix is not going to carry it.

i always review the movies i get from netflix, but i haven’t usually done that for the television shows. yesterday i finished watching veronica mars — the complete first season. i had actually watched about half of the season when it was broadcast, but stopped watching for some reason. i think it became the third show in its time slot that i was recording.

anyway, while each episode pretty much stands on its own, the whole season also had a unifying mystery that veronica was trying to unravel. when i heard it was actually resolved at the end of the season, and satisfyingly so, i decided i had to catch what i had missed. i wasn’t disappointed.

it is amazing how much effort must go into a good television series. strung together, each season is like a seventeen hour movie.

and this bit of dialogue killed me: “If you haven't even tried Ubuntu how can you say you don't like it? It had the 2.6 kernel and Gnome 2 on the day Warty Warthog was released.”

spartan is a david mamet film starring val kilmer as a special ops officer trying to track down the daughter of a high-ranking government official. (it’s sort of implied it is the president.) it’s not at all flashy, but i think it also fails to spark. the dialogue is classic mamet, of course.

i stumbled in getting discs in the mail the last few days, so now my flow of movies to/from netflix is all screwed up, and i’ve got one movie to last through the weekend. (i only have one book from the library, too.)

prepaid plans and subscriptions as self-imposed consumption quotas

like i said, midas world is thought-provoking. and as i was juggling a few items in my long-neglected netflix queue, i started to wonder if you couldn’t think about monthly service plans as a sort of self-imposed consumption quota.

(downtown los angeles still badly needs a video rental store.)

holiday seeing wrap-up (2004 edition)

the aviator
going into the movie, i knew very little about the life of howard hughes, so most aspects of the story were a revelation. it’s a fantastic film, and it contains some amazing acting, particularly cate blanchett’s portrayal of katharine hepburn.
meet the fockers
i went in with pretty low expectations because i had seen some bad reviews, and i guess am still bitter from along came polly, but this was pretty good. i think some of the backlash came from people that adored meet the parents, but i remember thinking that was only just “pretty good,” too. and this one has alanna ubach.
comedian
this is a documentary that follows jerry seinfeld as he rebuilds his stand-up act after retiring all of his old material. the photography is great, and it’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a comic’s life. (although seinfeld is no ordinary comic, obviously. it also features orny adams, a lesser-known comic, and the little where’s-orny-now featurette on the dvd is as funny as some of the material in the movie itself.)

i did the math the other day, and over the span of my netflix membership (since june 2000!), it has cost me a little around $4.50 per rental. it’s the last year that has really driven up my per-rental cost, between the temporarily increased rates and my slowdown in watching movies.

doing this sort of monetary math can be entertaining. here’s another one: if i assume that the car i owned for about 11 years cost about $9000 new, that means it cost just about $2.25 per day. just to own it: that doesn’t include gas, maintenance, or insurance. that’s more than i would have expected for a car that was pretty modest, and i had for a relatively long time.

i really should take another pass at doing a breakdown of how i’m spending my money. it’s been a few years since i last did it. all i have right now is this vague knowledge that i have a positive cash flow. (the biggest expenses are pretty easy: taxes, rent, and charity. those three alone soak up 60% of my paycheck. actually less, since my withholding was too high for most of the year.)