Horrible News About Netflix (and Criterion)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jun-Dai Bates, Aug 28, 2001.

  1. Jun-Dai Bates

    Jun-Dai Bates Stunt Coordinator

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    A friend told me that he had received an email from Netflix (in response to a query) that they weren't planning on getting any more Criterion titles, because they tend to "break" more frequently than other titles. Having gone through their site, I compiled a list of recent Criterion titles that they have and don't have, and the results are appalling, particularly coming from a site that claims to have nearly everything DVD.
    Criterion titles that Netflix has (beginning spine #93):93 93 Black Narcissus
    94 I Know Where I'm Going (wrong cover)
    95 All that Heaven Allows
    96 Written on the Wind
    98 L'Avventura (disc one is marked 'unavailable')
    99 Gimme Shelter
    100 Beastie Boys Anthology
    102 Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
    ?104 Double Suicide (wrong cover. Don't know if it's Criterion)
    113 Big Deal on Madonna Street
    115 Rififi
    119 Withnail & I
    120 How to Get Ahead in Advertising
    Criterion titles that Netflix doesn't have:
    101 Cries & Whispers
    106 Coup de Torchon
    107 Mona Lisa
    109 The Scarlet Empress
    110 Monsieur Hulot's Holiday
    111 Mon Oncle
    112 Playtime
    116 Hidden Fortress
    117 Diary of a Chambermaid
    118 Sullivan's Travels
    121 Billy Liar
    123 Grey Gardens
    124-128 Any of Dreyer's films
    Crit. titles that Netflix has, but in a non-Crit. edition:
    97 Do the Right Thing
    105 Spartacus
    108 The Rock (you have to search by Michael Bay)
    114 My Man Godfrey
    In addition to this, I would like to add that their search engine sucks. Netflix is a wonderful service, but I'm beginning to think that I should just rent from my local video store, which has pretty much all the Criterion titles (and many other dvd's besides). What really sucks, is that Netflix is the only company to provide the service that it does. It gives me the ability to rent films that I haven't seen and that are hard to find, and to hold on to them for a long time. If they just carry mainstream titles, then they aren't really providing a unique service, except to people that don't like video stores, or don't live near a decent one.
    Please people, email Netflix. Bother them. This is totally unacceptable.
     
  2. Dmitry

    Dmitry Supporting Actor

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    While I certainly share your disappointment, I have to point out that you can't expect them to continue with a business practice that costs them money. They are trying hard enough to make ends meet and having expensive titles "lost" all the time certainly doesn't help. Unfortunately some people probably felt it was an easy way to obtain an out of print title like Criterion "Killer" and Netflix is finally making a decision to pull the plug.
    I agree with you on the second point -- their search (engine or database or both) does indeed suck. On the other hand, when they just started out it was next to unusable and the disc information was incorrect for 90% of the titles I rented within the first few months. If that's any indication, there's hope for further improvement there.
    [I'm not affiliated with Netflix.]
     
  3. Jun-Dai Bates

    Jun-Dai Bates Stunt Coordinator

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    I think that not carrying Criterion titles is incredibly short-sighted. I'm sure there are enough people that rent from Netflix that will cease to do so as their variety dwindles. In the short run, it might cost them money to rent titles that experience more frequent breakage than others, but in the long run, I think it would be worth it to provide customers with access to almost every title available. For the most part, people rent new releases, but I it's likely that many of Netflix's customers do care about the availability of hard-to-find titles. I'm sure that one of the main reasons people use Netflix is because they carry films on DVD that their local Blockbuster doesn't.
     
  4. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

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    Well, I left Netflix many moons ago when they did away with the "I've mailed it" button. I swore I'd never return. However, I was being sorely tempted by (guess what).....their large stock of Criterions [​IMG] Guess I dont have to back out on my solemn pledge never to come back [​IMG]. Personally, there are alot of Criterions that I'd rather rent than buy (Black Narcissus comes to mind, however, I said the same about the Red Shoes until I was enchanted by it and HAD to buy it [​IMG] ). Variety is the spice of life.
    Are they suggesting that Criterion has poor manufacturing facilities? It might have more to do with the flimsy envelopes they're mailed in (at least they were flimsy when I was renting there). I had WB's Bonnie and Clyde sent to me broken 2 or 3 times. Maybe they should dump WB too? [​IMG].
    Cheers.
    ------------------
    I didnt play Dungeons and Dragons all those years and not learn something about courage.
    --Bernie Faulkner
     
  5. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I bailed on NetFlix a few months ago because everything I wanted was "out of stock."
    I went with RentMyDvd.com and had great experience with everything being in stock...until the last couple of months. Now I'm getting the old "out of stock" message again.
    Still, both services have a far better selection than any convenient b&m locally, and I live in L.A. where Movies Are King.
    ------------------
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    Jan Strnad
    author of Risen and
    "The AtomBrain Guide to Letterboxing"
     
  6. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Netflix has Salo (just got done watching it....ugghhh)
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  7. TysonN

    TysonN Agent

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    Netflix still has a version of the "I mailed it back", it is just buried. Go to your shipping status page, click on "delayed" next to the movie. It will take you to a screen that says "If you mailed it back more than 4 days ago, and we still have not received it, please click on "delayed" below". I usually use this button the day I mail it back so they start processing my next movie to ship immediately. Works like a charm.
     
  8. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    Jun-Dai,
    I'll second Jan's recommendation of rentmydvd.com. Being here in the Bay Area, turnaround time is two days (which is the minimum when you think about it).
    Their selection isn't perfect (Criterion's included), but it's not bad.
    Although if I had a local B&M rental place with Criterion's and the selection you claim, I'd spend a lot of time there.
    Rob
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    "That suits me down to the ground."
     
  9. Anders Englund

    Anders Englund Second Unit

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    Not that I live in the US, and can actually use NetFlix... or having rented anything at all in last three years... But I've always felt like Criterions was more of a collector's thing, than something you rent.
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    Ob me Deus cavet
    My movie collection
     
  10. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  11. John_Lee

    John_Lee Supporting Actor

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  12. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I also got an email about "breakable" discs from Netflix some time ago - stuff like Tenderness of the Wolves, Even Dwarfs Started Small, etc.
    But I have plenty of Criterions and Anchor Bays in my collection, and I don't see a damn bit of difference between those discs and the ones put out by Kino, Warner, New Yorker, Fox, etc. Of course, I don't test the "breakability" of my discs by bending, folding or otherwise attempting to mutilate them....
    Still, this strikes me as nothing less than bullshit. Does Anchor Bay and Criterion know that Netflix is sending emails to its entire customer base that call their products substandard?
    I think they might have a problem with that.
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    "Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere."
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    Al's DVD Collection
    Al's Criterion Collection
     
  13. Eric Wickitt

    Eric Wickitt Agent

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    First Anchor Bay.....now Criterion huh? wonderful.... [​IMG]
     
  14. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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  15. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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    I'm guessing that "break" means "not returned".
    -Dave
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    DVD List
     
  16. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

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    Actually, RentMyDVD.com just announced in the DVD Talk Store Forum that they are going to stop carrying DVDs by certain brands that have very high breakage rates. They are talking about breakage, not lost.
    For example, ironically enough, "Unbreakable" [​IMG] was one DVD where they had over 50% break in the first shipping cycle.
    Also, Netflix had not added any new titles in a certain ethnic genre in over a year. I emailed them asking for some of the bigger recent titles in the genre, and other people must have also made them same request, as they added a bunch of new titles in the genre (one was just shipped out to me today).
    They are the only source that carries movies of that genre and Hollywood movies - plus many other genres. In contrast, RentMyDVD has very few obscure films or niche genre DVDs.
    In my area, I only have mom-and-pop video stores that have recently expanded their DVD collections to 200 titles! [​IMG]
     
  17. Norm

    Norm Cinematographer

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    I'm starting to notice they are being very selective of what titles they are stocking. I can't even get the Dunwich Horror. I wish there was another option.
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  18. Norm

    Norm Cinematographer

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    How is the turn around time with RentMyDvd.com? It takes about a week for Netflix,to get to FL.
    ------------------
    Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
    http://apacure.org/
     
  19. John M Miller

    John M Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Jun-Dai-
    What rental store are you talking about??? I'd love to know where I can find a copy of Rififi on DVD. The Film Yard on Divis carries a lot of foreign films, but very few on DVD.
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  20. Jun-Dai Bates

    Jun-Dai Bates Stunt Coordinator

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    The video store (relatively) near my house is Le Video. Their dvd section is not well organized, but fairly large (and getting larger). The biggest problem is that they rarely carry more than one copy of a title. I really wish they had a separate section for Criterion, but last time I was there (a few months back), it seemed like they had almost all the Criterion titles. In any case, if they fully commit to DVD at some point, I'm sure the selection will blow Netflix away. Last I recall, they had something like over 80,000 VHS titles (compared to 5,000 of a normal-sized Blockbuster). They have a good amount of hard-to-find and out-of-print VHS, and it is very well organized (by country, by director). They are also the only video store that I've ever heard of with a special section for notable cinematographers (Gordon Willis section, John Alonzo section, Almendros, Khondji, et al). If they apply this to dvd, I'll swear off Netflix.
    The main reason I joined Netflix actually, was for college (Bard College, upstate New York). Now that I've graduated, I suppose I'm not as dependent on them as before. Like I said before, I think they provide a fantastic service, but their search engine sucks, and hearing that they won't carry Criterion makes me want to go down to San Jose and torch the place. Grrrrrr.
     

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