Monday, December 08, 2008

Netflix Says I Should Watch Better Movies

I have long thought that the worst job ever (even worse than elephant washer or P. Diddy’s personal waxer!) would be "film summary writer" for DVDs. You know, the guy who writes that blurb on the back of the box that says, “Come join the adventure as these two kooky garbagemen/repo men/space aliens do stuff no one cares about, and learn valuable life lessons as a result!”

I believed this, until I took the time to read the blurbs from Netflix. These guys are having the time of their lives. They’re also performing a public service by steering you clear of the truly dreadful.

Just check out these samples, taken from my actual Netflix queue (shut up).

Red Dawn:
A group of high schoolers witnesses Soviet and Cuban paratroopers descending on their small Colorado town, setting off World War III. The teens -- led by Jed Eckert-- take food and whatever weapons they can find and hightail it into the hills to wait things out. But with the communist invaders on their trail, Jed and his young compatriots decide to launch a guerilla campaign and strike back.

There’s the factual aspect of it, the mention of “Jed Eckert” (one of my favorite character names ever), AND the political statement of refusing to capitalize the word, “Communist.” Lovely.

And, now, Xanadu:
Concerned about angst-ridden artist Sonny Malone, Zeus dispatches winsome muse Kira to Earth to inspire the painter. Kira hooks Sonny up with wealthy Danny McGuire -- a musician Kira buoyed decades earlier -- and the trio revamps a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. Blending nostalgia and 1970s glitz, Xanadu includes tunes by Newton-John and the Electric Light Orchestra.

Do you not want to run out, right now, and rent Xanadu? You don’t? That’s because the brilliant minds at Netflix created a mashup of all the worst things about this film, and about film in general: “world’s coolest disco roller rink,” “winsome muse,” and “includes tunes by Newton-John and the Electric Light Orchestra.”

But, really, the genius reaches its pinnacle here:

Programmer Kevin Flynn's video games are stolen, and with help from his friends, he tries to hack the Master Control Program to prove CEO Ed Dillinger ripped him off. But the MCP pulls Flynn into its world, where enslaved programs fight on the "game grid." An amazing mix of Alice in Wonderland, Star Wars, Ben-Hur and German expessionism.

Amazing? Mix of Alice in Wonderland, Star Wars, Ben-Hur and German expressionism? Throw in a Mr. Belvedere reference, and I’m sold. Also, I had always thought of Tron as more of, “That really inadvertently funny computer movie with a distinctive visual style approximating that of the world’s most boring rave club.”

So I have a new career goal: blurb writer for Netflix! I mean, after all, I have a knack for this sort of thing. Just yesterday, I told a supermarket cashier that Wall-E was a, "post-apocalyptic robot love story where even the cockroach is cute.”


Lemmonex said...

I had no idea there was an actual plot to Xanadu. I mean it makes sense, but I have always just thought of it as "that roller skating movie".

Tina said...

You still need some work - you neglected to mention the anit feminist and religious subtexts obviously connected with E-Va

Shannon said...

Lem - There really isn't all that much roller-skating. The animated sequence, however, is EPIC.

Tina - E-Va? Well, maybe if they'd named her Lil-ITH.

zipcode said...

I own Xanadu ha

FoggyDew said...

Wow! Three of my favs growing up, especially Red Dawn. We were all just waiting in Western PA for the commies to come dropping out of the sky so we could take the godless hoards.

I still remember my friend Eric getting up to leave a showing of Xanadu about 40 minutes in muttering "The movie won. The movie won..."

Hammer said...

I strongly suspect the Netflix blurb writers and WaPo Express Bloglog blurb writers went to the same school. Oh, and did somebody say Tron?

Oh, I almost forgot...


Shannon said...

Zip - I want Xanadu! I really du. If only for the part where she and her eight Muse sisters rock out in cowgirl outfits.

Foggy - Red Dawn...the only violent movie I can sit through. Because if it's C Thomas Howell, it's just not scary.

Hammer - Same philosophy, at least: We don't need no stinkin' context. said...

Great entry. I love reading those Netflix summaries lol

LiLu said...

Actually, their blurb about Xanadu totally DID make me want to run out and rent it.

Yeah, I have terrible taste. I can admit it.

Shannon said...

Leon - Thanks! I really think they target people like me with lousy taste.

LiLu - We can watch Xanadu together - it will be our dirty secret.

bh said...

Damnit. Now I have to put Tron in the que. I loved that shit when I was 10.

Doug said...

Don't be dissin on Tron. Just don't. Coolest movie ever. And just so you know, the sequel is coming out sometime next year I believe.

Shannon said...

BH, Doug - Man, I LOVE Tron! It's so bland, yet sparkly and hilarious. Plus, it's fun to watch Jeff Bridges run around in a leotard.