Netflix Rewinds to Pre-VCR Days as Films Disappear


What an enormous Netflix fail! The company is apparently rewinding all of society to the olden days,  pre-VCR, and as a result, many films will disappear from its offerings and become much more difficult to access. It’s just like being back in 1970, when movies could really only be seen on the big screen, or sometimes, on television during the holidays (remember The Wizard of Oz right around Thanksgiving and Godspell on Christmas?) If technology is so great, how come we will no longer be able to easily access films like Roman Holiday, Top Gun (yes, we’ve definitely lost that lovin’ feeling!), Titanic and a whole host of other titles, huh? Explain that one to us, Silicon Valley.

Netflix offers some mumbo-jumbo explanation about expiring catalogues and rights and blah blah blah. Whatever. In 1985 anyone in the United States could go to a video store and access all the recent and classic films more frequently than they can now.

What is the point of giving up the video store experience if we can’t even rent movies from the main online service that used to provide them? Society has decided that it hates contact with real people and has forced companies to go online, but what benefit has it brought? We can’t go to Blockbuster and leisurely peruse the aisles looking for that hidden gem of a film; we can’t gingerly touch glistening packages of popcorn and candy; shining, beckoning in the front of the store, promising a delicious evening of fun and frivolity. We can’t strike up conversations with other patrons, asking their advice on that funky-looking foreign film with Catherine Deneuve on the cover. We can’t spend an hour and a half making the movie selection process an integral part of the whole evening; and now, we can’t even rent Roman Holiday from Netflix?


This colossal Netflix fail as the company rewinds to pre-VCR days and films disappear from its offerings greatly degrades not only the whole point of film, but also destroys our collective intellect. Without Roman Holiday, Netflix patrons will turn to whatever banal popular new release is available, and their minds will be stuffed with the cotton candy of film; the selection of the masses (remember well what Alexander Hamilton said!); the vapid celluloid of today’s throwaway and distracted culture.

It’s great to share, and it’s fine to know what everyone else is watching. It’s not fine, though, to have the choice of something better removed from our purview. Sure, perhaps Roman Holiday and all the other disappearing titles could be found elsewhere, but how hard will someone look if they intend on renting Roman Holiday or another great classic on Netflix and instead are presented, like a child being presented with candy from a stranger, with the latest mindless drivel possessing none of the skillful artwork of William Wyler? Will they go hunting it down elsewhere? Will they stumble upon Ben Hur and Mrs. Miniver, which both won Wyler Academy Awards? Will they find Wuthering Heights and The Children’s Hour, both directed by Wyler and both adapted from award-winning literary masterpieces?

Unfortunately, no. When presented with the poison candy, they’ll be content to take the poison candy from the comfort of their own sofas, never having to lift a finger, make a phone call to a video store, or search for a better, more significant and more enriching title. They’ll happily press play, the movement of their finger the only movement they may get all day.

We’re being dumbed down and this latest Netflix fail, as the company rewinds to pre-VCR days and films disappear, is a not a symptom, but a direct cause of the increasing move away from art and toward utter mindlessness.

It’s sad. It’s really, really sad.

An Editorial By: Rebecca Savastio


Washington Post

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