erik lundegaard

Tuesday August 27, 2013

Netflix Gets It Wrong

More than five years ago (have I been doing this that long?), I wrote a post called “Netflix Gets It Right” in which I lauded the online DVD service for changing the default listing of its movies from alphabetical to chronological. I'm a chronology guy. It's how I see the world. You could say it's how I live through the world. You, too.

Now, five years later, Netflix has changed it up again. Go to the Woody Allen page or the Martin Scorsese page and their movies aren't listed chronologically or alphabetically; they're listed by user rating.

I get the idea. Why not let someone who doesn't know Scorsese or Allen see their best first rather than their most recent?

If it's their best. That's the problem. The highest-ranked Woody Allen movie, for example, is “Woody Allen: A Documentary” by Robert Weide, which is good, but I assume even Weide would be embarrassed by that ranking. Second is “Antz.” Third, “Radio Days.” “Annie Hall,” one of the great films, one of the great romantic comedies, turns up sixth.

Scorsese's aren't bad. “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “No Direction Home,” “Hugo.” Not bad. “Taxi Driver” is 16th but what are you going do? “Raging Bull” is 25th, behind “The Aviator” among others, but what are you going to do?

The bigger problem is the clutter. The seventh-best Scorsese movie is “Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends.” You think, “I didn't know Scorsese made a doc on Bennett,” and he didn't. Bruce Ricker did. It's from “American Masters.” PBS. Scorsese is a talking head. So Bruce Ricker directed the seventh-best Martin Scorsese movie.

Other movies in the Scorsese section?

  • The Song of the Little Road (a doc on Satyajit Ray)
  • Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (also ahead of “Raging Bull”)
  • Quiz Show
  • Shark Tale
  • Clockers
  • Hollywood Uncensored
  • Cannes: All Access

IMDb sorts by function: writer, director, actor. Would be nice if Netflix allowed this option. Or any option beyond its default option.

It's not bad for laughs, though. Bill Murray's best movie is “Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010,” then “Zombieland,” then “Space Jam.” Brad Pitt's best is “Legends of the Fall,” while his fourth-worst is “The Tree of Life.” Orson Welles' best movie is “The Muppet Movie.”

Netflix's users highest-ranked Orson Welles movie

Posted at 09:11 AM on Tuesday August 27, 2013 in category Movies - Lists  
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