Reviews Various and Sundry

One Last Ride into the Sunset: Red Envelope Reviews

Not quite three months ago, I, along with a couple million other people, got the sad news that Netflix was finally shuttering its films-by-mail service aka, the DVD rental business with “no late fees” that started it all.

Now, there’s also over 200 million other Netflix subscribers who likely didn’t realize you could still get DVDs and Blu-Rays by mail. That doesn’t change the fact that this Postal method was and is a great way to get those films you can’t find streaming… all the more so if you don’t want to re-create the cable pricing experience by subscribing to all the streaming services.

In my April post, you’ll note that I mused about how much I can whittle down my insanely long Netflix DVD queue (over 300 films). I decided it was time to start removing all the films that I can easily get streaming on services I subscribe to (including streaming Netflix), though of course this is somewhat perilous given streamers’ penchant for pulling titles off their services including originals made specifically for said service.

So, I’ve been force to make some educated gambles about what titles are going to remain streaming for the next few months and adjusted my list accordingly.

Most of the series I’ve had in the queue are gone. My logic there is that I simply won’t be able to binge as fast with only one disc out at a time. I’ve also removed some selections I’ve found to be streaming. The list now stands at 206 films and mini-series. I won’t get to them all by September.

The eclectic mix of films remains a constant

I’ve prioritized the ones Netflix defines as a “Very Long Wait,” because however that availability algorithm works, somehow those selections go from “Never to be seen” to “Headed to your mailbox” at a moment’s notice. I recently saw Catch-22 that way, one of that slew of “Very Long Wait” discs, right before the passing of Alan Arkin. It felt fitting, and, in true Catch-22 fashion, a tad absurd.

I realized while I can’t delay the inevitable demise of this wonderful way to catch movies and TV shows, I can celebrate it, and so I’m writing capsule reviews of the films, why they’re in my queue, and what I think about them. For those of you who’ve read my reviews of every Star Trek episode from every Star Trek series, the style will be familiar. One difference will be that I will be rating each and every one.

Whether any gets to be five stars will remain to be seen…

I grew up rating movies on the four-star system as used expertly by Leonard Maltin in his movie and video guides, but the world has moved online and wholly embraced the five-star system, including Netflix, so I’m going to gird my cinematic loins and rate the films accordingly.

Since it must be so, Netflix: may I find one last set of hidden gems and unseen classics on this final ride.

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