I'm sure you've already heard the news that Netflix’s DVD plan is coming to a close. In fact, many of you probably thought, "Wait, Netflix was still sending out DVDs?" Yes, they were, and now that the service will be shipping out its last discs soon, we’ve recently gotten news that subscribers will be getting up to 10 DVDs as a sort of bon voyage to the program.
My colleague and brother in Criterion (Collection), Mike Reyes, already wrote an excellent piece about how he's a bit confused by how this is even going to work with their DVD-by-mail service (like, will everybody be getting 10 DVDs, or just SOME people?). But, honestly, as somebody who has had a Netflix DVD subscription for 20 years, I consider this news to be bittersweet. That said, these are the last 10 movies that I requested before the service ends, and I'm hoping to find them in my mailbox, dammit!
Directed by Jerry Schatzberg, and starring Al Pacino and Gene Hackman, Scarecrow is about two men who are pretty much just drifting through life. Pacino plays a former sailor, and Hackman an ex-convict. The film is considered a road movie and the two of them have interesting experiences together as they get to know each other, as well as the people they meet along the way.
Sounds enthralling, right? Okay, maybe not, but as a mega fan of both actors, I find it ludicrous that I’ve never seen a movie that stars two of my favorites. That said, I remember putting this movie in my queue maybe two years ago, but it’s been on my VERY long wait list ever since. I've since bumped it to the top of said list. Because, come on, Netflix. Don’t make me beg. Send me Scarecrow already!
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Leslie Banks, Edna Best, and Peter Lorre, the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is about a husband and wife (Banks and Best, respectively) who get to know a man during a vacation who gets killed. Before the man dies, however, he passes along information to the wife, which only ends up getting the couple pursued by some bad dudes who end up kidnapping their daughter. The couple needs to rescue her themselves. Obviously, I haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds like a 1934 version of Taken to me!
As a fan of old movies, I often go through periods where I’ll try to watch one director’s oeuvre. Filmmakers like the great Paul Thomas Anderson, or my favorite director, Stanley Kubrick, aren’t that difficult because they have a manageable number of films. With somebody like Hitchcock who made over 50 movies, though, it takes me a bit more time. The Man Who Knew Too Much is one of his more famous flicks, but, well…
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
…Not the 1934 version, which is why I really want to watch it. Hitchcock is one of the few directors who actually remade one of his older movies, which he did with this 1956 version starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. I’m told this version is “very” different from the 1934 version, but it sounds the same to me. It’s about another husband and wife who witness a man being murdered, only for him to reveal information to them. Bad dudes kidnap their son (rather than daughter), and they have to get him back.
I really just want to compare the two films, since it’s not often that you get to watch a remake from the same director. I love both The Grudge, and Ju-On, which were both directed by Takashi Shimizu, as well as both versions of Funny Games (well, maybe “love” is not the right word for Funny Games) by Michael Haneke, and I want to see if The Man Who Knew Too Much is a similar scenario of being a great movie, done twice.
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Directed by Hitchcock (Again!) and starring Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, George Sanders, and many more, Foreign Correspondent is about a crime reporter (McCrea) who’s been doing boring work, and is given a new assignment overseas that ends up being maybe more than he can handle. Drama ensues in this black-and-white spy thriller.
As a cultured dude who loves black and white films, I feel like I owe it to myself to watch the much-beloved Foreign Correspondent. Plus, it has George Sanders in it, who I adore, and it’s on my list of Hitchcock movies that I haven’t seen yet, so yeah. I want to watch it.
Hearts In Atlantis (2001)
Directed by Scott Hicks, and starring Anthony Hopkins and Anton Yelchin, Hearts in Atlantis is based off of a collection of stories by Stephen King. It’s about an old man who befriends a kid, and needs him to save his life.
CinemaBlend’s own Stephen King expert, Eric Eisenberg, made Hearts in Atlantis sound pretty terrible, and I bet it is terrible, but I put the movie in my queue after I read the book, so I do still want to see it. That said, the fact that it has virtually no connection to my beloved Dark Tower series doesn’t give me much hope for it.
Directed by Satyajit Ray, and starring Kanu Banerjee, and Karuna Banerjee, as well as two different actors to play the main character, Apu, Aparajito is the second movie in the Apu Trilogy. The story concerns a family that loses one of its members, and then the boy grows up and leaves, and the mother suffers because she misses him.
As I mentioned in my "What is Tollywood?" article, the Apu Trilogy is often considered one of the greatest trilogies in cinematic history. Unfortunately, I've had Aparajito in my queue even longer than Scarecrow, so any hope that I'll actually get to finish the trilogy is looking pretty slim, but I would still love to watch the middle portion of this acclaimed trilogy if possible, so I bumped it up in the list.
Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
Sergio Leone's last picture, Once Upon A Time In America, stars Robert De Niro and James Woods, and it concerns Jewish gangsters in the '20s and '30s.
I love gangster movies, and being a huge fan of Leone's westerns, I'm interested in seeing his take on the American gangster film. That runtime, though…
Ryan's Daughter (1970)
Directed by David Lean, and starring Robert Mitchum and Sarah Miles, Ryan's Daughter is a period piece during World War I about an Irish woman who falls into a scandalous relationship with a British officer.
Honestly, Ryan's Daughter sounds too much like The English Patient, or Out of Africa for my taste, but two things really intrigued me about this film: David Lean, and the fact that it's a retelling of Madame Bovary, which is a damn good novel. Otherwise, I'd probably pass this one over rather than bump it up in my queue. I'm not much of a romance dude, you see.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)
Directed by Dan Gilroy, and starring Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell, Roman J. Israel, Esq. is about a civil rights activist/defense attorney (Washington) who gets caught up in a sticky situation.
The most recent movie on this list, I remember seeing trailers for it but it somehow passed me by when it was still in theaters (probably because I was a fairly new parent at the time). Dan Gilroy also directed Nightcrawler, which was a banger, so I wanted to see this one, too. Thankfully, the chances of this landing on Netflix streaming probably aren't an impossibility like, say, Aparajito.
One of the super late Kurosawa pictures, Dreams is essentially some of his dreams put to the screen in eight separate vignettes.
As a huge fan of classic Japanese films (even those not directed by Kurosawa), I'm really interested in Japanese cinema in the '90s, because other than Studio Ghibli, I'm not really all that familiar with their movies in that period. The fact that this film is about dreams (one of my favorite topics), and by Kurosawa just sweetens the deal.
That's what I have in the top of my queue. Will I get all of them? None of them? Some of them? I'm not sure. But, what I do know is that it's been a wonderful ride. I'll miss you, Netflix DVDs.