This weekend, we watched The Old Guard, the latest Netflix original starring Charlize Theron. And it was fine. Not great. Not bad. Totally passable and yet utterly forgettable. I feel like this is a trend. A rather interesting one.
Now, I’ll caveat all of this by saying that obviously this is just my opinion. And it is, of course, subjective. And my broader thoughts are largely anecdotal. Still… it sure feels like a lot of the most popular Netflix movies (if not “shows” as well, which are harder to “rate”) are decidedly mediocre.
Look at the all-time top ten list. Admittedly, I’ve only seen five of them. Of those, Bird Box was interesting, but not great. 6 Underground was pretty bad. The Old Guard, again, mediocre. The Irishman was very good, but far too long. Triple Frontier was very watchable but not great. The others on the list all have lukewarm-to-poor reviews in aggregate so I’m guessing I would feel the same way.
Now certainly the “best” movies don’t correlate to the best performing at the traditional box office. But the reason why Hollywood has been up-in-arms about Rotten Tomatoes has been because it can sync mediocre-to-bad movies before they launch. The same clearly does not seem to be the case with Netflix.
Perhaps it’s the instant-watch capability. Their algorithm. Or perhaps it’s the “ah what the hell, I’m already paying for this service” aspect. Or maybe it’s just that critical “taste” matters far less in the home. Whatever it is, it’s fascinating that these movies seem to outperform on Netflix, at least for now.
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The California High-Speed Rail saga is kind of like the Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown gag, except that Charlie Brown and Lucy are now both about 85 years old and still doing the exact same gag over and over. 🚄
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It’s often said that tech companies “ship their org chart,” meaning that the products they create can be directly predicted by the structure of the organization. By looking at the people and incentives, an outside observer should be able to estimate the impact, quality and probability of success of a new product, and perhaps even future revenue. If Apple had hired a world-class team of chip engineers who had all taken a pay cut to work on a cutting edge project, we might expect its share price to rise on the news, though without a better valuation method, we can't yet say precisely by how much. 📈
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