The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



New To Your Queue

Kevin Noonan | Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Netflix Instant Watch,

I thought we had something special. I really did. Granted, it was a household account, so we weren’t exclusive, but I was fine with just being on the side.

But then you went and broke my heart. You raised your price, and my household realized it was in a loveless relationship and broke it off. They’ll survive; the rest of my family has “jobs” and “lives” and stuff like that to invest themselves in and get over this.

What about me though? How am I supposed to move on? Hulu? Don’t even.

Once upon a time, I tried to make it work with Hulu. It went okay for a while. But a handful of reruns of NBC shows could only get me so far.

And then I found you and I thought I was set, so I left Hulu out to dry. But since I left, they’ve gotten too cool for school just like you. And I’m not going to pay them the same and get less than I would from you.

So where do I turn? Amazon Instant? Not a real thing. Blockbuster? Good one.

And so I’ve been on withdrawal. It’s rough. I’m getting sleep at night. I have time to do my homework. I haven’t seen an episode of “Psych” in weeks. I’m going to start getting the shakes pretty soon.

But it’s given me time to think. It’s given me time to reflect on our relationship. I’ll admit, I wasn’t completely fair with you. I wasn’t technically the one “paying” for your service, but all relationships are based on irrationalities aren’t they?

Anyways though, I’ve been thinking back on our time together. And I’ve come to this conclusion — you kind of suck. Suck might not be the right word. But you definitely were not good enough to get all-cool on me and start upping your asking price.

Sure, we had some good times. There was “Psych,” the best show currently on television. And, of course, how could I forget “Arrested Development,” the greatest comedy show of all time? How about “Pineapple Express,” the movie for which James Franco should’ve won an Oscar? And then maybe my favorite of yours, “Memento.” Oh Chris Nolan and your mind games, you so silly. Plus who doesn’t love Guy Pearce? Why is that guy not more famous?

But then I kept thinking. I wanted to watch “Pineapple Express” again recently. It was a wonderful film, but not a movie you can just watch once if you want to pick up on all of the subtle and highbrow humor.

So I went to look it up. But it wasn’t there. I looked a little deeper. It simply wasn’t there anymore. No explanation, no excuse. Just pulled.

Maybe you have a perfectly good reason why you did it. Or maybe you just did it because it was getting popular and the people who made “Step Up 3” got jealous. I don’t know. I just wish we could have talked about it.

And I kept reflecting. Your attributes really weren’t that great. Yeah, you got lots of new stuff every few weeks. But the best part about your “Newly Added” section was that it gave my friends and I the chance to play everyone’s favorite game, “Japanese Anime Sit-Com or Japanese Anime Porn?” You thought you were going to keep me interested by tossing me “First Sunday” and “Titanic 2?” You were incorrect.

And if you thought that a lackluster facelift is going to make me want to stick around, think again. Now you’re going to call your DVD service Qwikster? Really? Who came up with that? My bet is on the same guys who came up with “Sudden Valley” for the name of the housing development in “Arrested Development.” I cannot believe somebody got paid for that.

Remember when you talked my ear off about that big Miramax deal, and how it was going to be so great? Yeah, it got me “Pulp Fiction,” but what about all the other ones I wanted to see? Where was “Rounders?” How can I act like an elitist snob around my friends if I haven’t seen “No Country for Old Men” or “There Will Be Blood?” And, heaven forbid I give praise to a Ben Affleck film but gosh darn it all, the guy can direct movies, where was “Gone Baby Gone?”

Look, I get it. You’re thinking, “What’s eight dollars a month for this kid? That’s half a 30 rack of bottled water.” That’s a reasonable thought I guess. But like I said, relationships are all about irrational behavior. All’s fair in love and war, but don’t ask me to pay more for your service without giving me anything in return. That’s not love, that’s borderline prostitution.

Let’s be honest with each other here for once, if you were really that important to me, if you were really that great, I could make it work. But you’re not. And you’re not. It’s not me Netflix, it’s you.

And why am I breaking up with you in a letter? Because I’m not in high school anymore, a text wouldn’t cut it.

Don’t let the front door hit you on the way out.



The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



New to your queue

Scene Staff Report | Tuesday, September 20, 2011



This 2005 thriller from Rian Johnson is a modern mystery about a high school girl’s unknown involvement in a drug ring and her former boyfriend’s efforts to save her. The twist? It’s written as an old film noir, circa 1940. Imagine Humphrey Bogart’s quick wit coming from the mouth of a high school student. Oh, and that high school student is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so it’s got that going for it, too.


“Dazed and Confused”

Taking its name not only from a Led Zeppelin song, but also from a way of life, this cult comedy classic is one of the great teen movies that is essential viewing for Netflix Instant. The film takes place over the course of one day, à la “American Graffiti,” in a small Texas town as school gets out for summer in 1976. The entering freshmen have to avoid hazing from the exiting seniors, and everyone is looking to party. Starring a who’s who of early 90s indie comedy including Ben Affleck, the real breakout star was Matthew McConaughey in a role he has yet to top.

“Father of the Bride”

Steve Martin portrays the most lovable father in the 1991 remake of a film about a young woman’s engagement and its effects on her dad’s mental state. Having never met the lucky man before the announcement, George Banks (Martin) is understandably shocked and even horrified. While the wedding planning continues to break the bank, Banks gets more distraught by the day. It all leads to one of the most touching phone calls that represents the father-daughter relationship in all its complexity and love. 

“Monty Python’s Flying Circus”

Most people know the hilarious British sextet for their classic comedy, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” But before John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam went on a hilariously low budget search through silly obstacles, they entertained the English masses on the BBC with their sketch comedy show, voted consistently in the top ten on TV Guide’s “Top Cult Shows Ever.” From silly walks to fish-slapping dances, lumberjacks to the Spanish Inquisition, everyone can find a skit that will pick them up after a long day of schoolwork.

“Sports Night”

Aaron Sorkin’s “Sports Night” was a highly underappreciated drama-comedy in the same vein as his later created “West Wing,” one of the most highly acclaimed shows in the history of television. The show follows the behind-the-scenes lives of sportscasters and producers of a “SportsCenter”-like show. “Sports Night” never developed a large audience, and thus only lasted two seasons. However, in Sorkin’s typical style, it is tightly written and contains enthralling storylines with the biting wit that has made Sorkin famous.


The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



New to Your Queue

Scene Staff Report | Wednesday, September 14, 2011

“Robin Hood”

Robin Hood is a timeless tale, inspiring movie, theatrical and television recreations throughout the years. In 2006, the BBC put their own spin on the classic legend, integrating modern humor with Middle Aged costumes to create “Robin Hood,” a hilariously great show. Taken at face value, the theatrics of the characters and the dramatic plot twists seem silly, but given the show’s nature, it entertains. Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong) and his faithful best friend Much (Sam Troughton) return from the Holy Land to find Locksley different from when they left it. And so they set out, bows, arrows, Merry Men and all, to restore the England they love.

“Parks and Recreation

“Parks and Recreation” will certainly rise to the top of NBC’s Thursday night lineup in light of Michael Scott’s absence from “The Office.” True comedians have praised the series for its oddball characters and who doesn’t love Leslie Knope? Catch up on previous seasons and prepare for the season four premiere by watching as many episodes as possible on Instant Netflix. Look out for one episode in particular that features a mini horse with an honorary degree from none other than Notre Dame.

“Toy Story 3”

Buzz, Woody and Andy return to the screen in the most heart wrenching film of the “Toy Story” series. As Andy prepares to head off to college, he struggles to decide what to do with the toys that brought him so much joy as a child. They mistakenly are taken to Sunnyside Daycare, a center where the toys are played with in the most unruly manner. The animated flashbacks to old “Toy Story” scenes are enough to melt even the hardest of hearts, but the best parts of the movie come in more hilarious moments like when Barbie meets Ken.

“Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion”

Though he is still best known to people as “that guy from ‘The Hangover,'” Zach Galifianakis is a truly versatile and hilarious entertainer. This stand up special is a glimpse at the signature wit and alternative style that make Galifiankais such a cool guy. Filmed at San Francisco’s famed Purple Onion theatre, titled in homage to a classic Smothers Brothers comedy album (“Live at the Purple Onion”), this performance is perhaps among the best stand up of the last decade. If you aren’t sure whether you’d like this type of humor, see if you laugh at this: At what age should you tell a highway that it was adopted? I think… around seven. Because that’s when they’re going to start thinking to themselves, “I don’t look much like the Kiwanis Club.”

“Party Down”

This hilarious Paul Rudd created show only ran for two seasons on the Starz network and, luckily, they’re both on Instant Netflix. Following a group of wannabe actors, writers and burnouts in Hollywood working at a catering company while they pursue their dreams, the show is one of the many cancelled-too-soon comedies that deserved a better shot. The show stars Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”) and Lizzy Caplan (“Mean Girls”) and has an absolutely excellent supporting cast featuring faces you’ll recognize from their previous work in comedy. The dialogue is witty and fast-paced, and the stories, which pit the caterers against stereotypical Hollywood types, are always entertaining.


The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



New to Your Queue

Scene Staff Report | Wednesday, September 7, 2011

“Hey Arnold!”

Nickelodeon may be playing all of its old ‘90s Nicktoons at midnight these days, but if the mood strikes you for some nostalgic animation at another time of day, look no further than your Netflix account. There you will find all five seasons of your favorite football-headed fourth grader. Watch as Helga tortures-but-secretly-pines-for Arnold, wait for Gerald’s hair to cease defying gravity and see if Stoop Kid will ever leave his stoop. For more on the return of your favorite ‘90s shows to Nickelodeon, turn to last Wednesdays edition of The Observer for all of the most important coverage.


If you’re looking for a reliable favorite on Netflix Instant, “Airplane!” is always a good choice. This comedy classic is a spoof of the cheesy disaster action movies of the ‘70s and has classic quotes spilling from actors’ mouths every second. Made by the Zucker brothers, of “Police Squad” fame and later the “Naked Gun” series (also on available to watch instantly), “Airplane!” stars Leslie Nielsen in one of his first, and perhaps his most definitive, dead-pan comedic roles. With gags involving everything from disco to drinking, “Airplane!” is one of those goofy movies that you can watch anytime.


This delightful film has the best parts of your favorite Disney movies all rolled into one. Not only is Rapunzel inhumanly beautiful, she’s also a strong heroine with the purest of hearts. Plus her chameleon sidekick, Pascal, is beyond adorable. It’s the perfect way to inspire optimism after a brutal study session.

“The League” Season One

This comedy follows the exploits of middle-aged men in a fantasy football league, but you don’t have to know a thing about football to find this show absolutely hilarious. Asking bold and penetrating questions like, “What would happen if toilet seats were made out of narcotics?” and “Is it sex addiction, or is he just a dude?” this show rises far above the usual clichés of shows about immature grown men, while managing to still be a show about immature grown men.

“Hobo With A Shotgun”

Guess what it’s about. This film was developed after Jason Eisner made a fake trailer for Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse” trailer contest. The trailer won the contest, and was included in selected screenings of “Grindhouse” in the U.S. and Canada. The film follows Rutger Hauer, most famous for his villain in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” as a homeless man who delivers justice with a 20 gauge shotgun in the dystopian Hope City. It’s B movie gold.