We missed this a few weeks ago when Newsweek initially published it, but Netflix put out its ten most rented movies of all time, and I think it’s worth a look. It’s an interesting list that says more about the people who subscribe to Netflix than anything else, really. I guess you might put these films in a high-brow populist category? They’re not bad movies (although, number one and number two are probably two of the five films I’ve railed against the most in the last five years); in fact, a few of them are quite good. Some are better than others, but they all seem to fit the same sort of socioeconomic profile, that of the middle-class white suburban family who thought Crash was profound. But it is heartening to see that there are no spectacularly dumb films on the list; there’s no Adam Sandler or Kevin James. There is no Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich. And hell, I own five of the movies myself, so I can’t quibble too much. Except with Crash. Jesus, that movie.
I also think that The Proposal has become the You’ve Got Mail of the last five years: That perfectly dopey charming romantic-comedy guilty pleasure with a lot of replay power (it has to say something about its replay power with this demographic that it’s in the top ten all time despite being out on DVD less time than any of the others). Give it another year, and I would bet The Blind Side would also be on this list, as it perfectly fits the profile of the rest of these films, as well as the apparent white liberal guilt of a large percentage of Netflix subscribers.
Here’s that list.
1. Crash (2005)
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
3. The Bucket List (2007)
4. The Departed (2006)
5. Iron Man (2008)
6. No Country for Old Men (2007)
7. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
8. The Proposal (2009)
9. Gran Torino (2008)
10. Casino Royale (2006)