I’m a movie buff so was I ever excited when Netflix announced in early September that it had rolled out service to Mexico. I’d seen Netflix at the homes of friends and relatives in the States and couldn’t believe the ease of the streaming movie service.
When I first checked their website right after the rollout I thought there must have been some early glitches.
All the familiar categories were there: Indie Movies, Musicals, Romantic Movies, Docs, Foreign Movies, Action, Horror, etc. But it seemed that there must have been only 150 movies available on the site, many of them several decades old.
Well, I just checked it again. No mistake. Talk about disappointment.
Let me give you an example of what Netflix offers under Drama: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), The Color of Money (1986), Amistad (1997), and Home Room (2003). Gosh, is this the Ancient Movie Channel?
Why thanks, Netflix! I always wanted to see those for a third time!
Under Documentaries, there is The Thin Blue Line (1988) and Michael Moore’s The Big One (1998).
Under Recently Added movies, Netflix digs deep into its dusty bins and comes up with The Italian Job (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Matt Damon in Rounders (1998) and the Australian movie Rabbit Proof Fence (2002).
What’s absurd is that many of these older movies are listed in several categories, diminishing further the choice. Granted, some are good movies but don’t bother to look for an obscure documentary you’ve wanted to see. Under TV, you won’t find The Wire or Mad Men.
A broader issue underlies the Netflix matter for travellers: Don’t always carry preconceptions abroad when you see familiar brand names. Go to KFC in China and you will have a different (and probably better) experience than in the States. Same goes for Subway in Tokyo, where you can get an espresso made in an Italian machine. Pizza Hut in Central America is a cut above its cousins in the States. Starbucks is pretty consistently the same wherever I go. Then, there are the occasional duds – U.S. companies that can execute at home, but seem to coast abroad, offering a service that is a shadow of what it is on their home turf.