On the 1st of January, there were 224 items on my Netflix queue, including movies and TV shows. This is the first-world equivalent of owning a 3 TB hard drive, copying a bunch of movies from friends’ disks and feeling smug about it. “Have you watched that movie?” “No, but I have it on my drive.” Or on my Netflix list. Well, fuck that, I thought. I would empty that list, or at least put a sizable dent into it.
So over the last few days, I have been picking random movies from the list and watching them. If I like them enough, they stay in the list, so that I can watch them again later. If I don’t, they get deleted.
- Le Chef A fluffy feel-good movie about an almost-has-been chef who is about to lose his Michelin star because of his traditional cooking, and a wannabe chef who can’t seem to get a break. Jean Reno and Michaël Youn play the two protagonists, and even though at points you can feel the script going through its buddy-comedy paces, it was a fun watch. Much fun is poked at molecular gastronomy, live cookery shows and celebrity chefs. There is a cringe-inducing Japanese sequence that I would rather forget. Final status: kicked off the list.
- Le Weekend Just keeping the French theme going. But this was a British movie, with Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum. An aged couple goes to Paris to relive their honeymoon; the burden of a relationship that has gone on for decades weighs on their vacation. Dark at times, light-hearted at others, this is a perfect movie for your inner cynic. I found out that the screenplay was by author Hanif Kureishi, and that made me want to watch more of his works. I love the ending, and that makes me want to keep it on the list, but let’s see.
- In A World… From Paris, we move to Los Angeles. This is a movie set in the voice-acting industry, the title of the film referring to the words that a voice actor named Don LaFontaine made famous in numerous trailers. Directed by and starring Lake Bell, it is about what happens when a female vocal coach – daughter of an acclaimed voice actor – is shortlisted to take over the legacy of LaFontaine’s famous delivery. Stars a bunch of comedy superstars, including Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro and Ken Marino in supporting roles. Quite a blast, but good for a single viewing only. Kicked off the list.
- Beginners Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent star in this lovely movie about relationships and commitment. I had seen the trailer for the movie three (or was it four?) years ago, but never went around to watching it. It deals with Oliver (McGregor) dealing with the aftermath of his father’s death. His father, you see, was gay, and came out of the closet after his mother died. Heart-wrenching at times, particularly because the characters are so well-written, this movie also has some of the best dog-dialogues you will ever see on screen. I would actually love to watch this movie again some time, so it stays on the list. (I watched this movie just after finding out that Ewan McGregor is also quite the traveler. With his friend Charlie Boorman, he rode his motorcyle around the world. Twice, in 2004 and 2007. There is even a book and TV show called Long Way Around, based on their exploits.)
Only 220 more to go.