I know some people have issues with Netflix, but Hollywood Elsewhere is genuinely grateful for their constant delivery all kinds of complex feature-length movies for adults.
Okay, so their selective investment in four-walled theatrical bookings for certain high-end films prior to streaming isn’t what it could be in the eyes of theatrical purists. Do I wish Netflix was more like Amazon in this regard? Yes. A friend said the other day that Netflix has conveyed to the industry that they don’t “need” the traditional give-and-take relationship that has existed between films and paying, popcorn-munching audiences for the last century or so, and that there’s something about the Netflix label that seems a little inorganic or over-digitized in this respect.
I’m not indifferent to these concerns, and yet I still say “thank God that a Daddy Warbucks entity like Netflix is investing, developing and streaming the kind of films and occasional longforms that I want to see” — Roma, Carey Mulligan‘s Collateral, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, Triple Frontier, The Irishman, etc. Yes, I know that serious streaming competition from Disney, Apple and others is just around the corner, and no one knows, of course, how this will shake out in five or ten and what kind of tremors or upheavals will result, etc.
Earlier today I spoke to an old friend about all of this, and I have to admit that I laughed when he drew a vague analogy between what seems to happen to newish Netflix features and what happened to the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I don’t agree with the analogy because the above-mentioned upsides kind of balance everything out (or so it seems to me), but I guffawed all the same.