Upsmack

Everything is so Stupid

Netflix Adds 25+ New Films in 2014

Early today, I posted a list of films that Netflix is removing or has already removed from their library in 2014. Sad, I know. While they have taken some real classics off the rolls, it’s important to look for that silver lining. There’s now room to add more films! Following is a list of some of the more notable titles Netflix is introducing in 2014:

  • American Psycho (2000)
    Excellent, even if you don’t have a dangerous fixation on business cards!
  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • Thelma And Louise (1991)
    Not really sure why this one makes the grade while Flashdance goes dark. Maybe it’s a feminist thing.
  • West Side Story (1961)
  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
  • Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
    There are more great one-lines in this movie than there are in 4 Thelma & Louise’s. Just saying.
  • Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
  • Bull Durham (1988)
  • Red Dawn (1984)
    It’s cool that they’re not keeping this one out just because there is a remake. I’m sure the remake is fine and all but last time I checked, nobody from the new one is awesome like Sheen, Swayze and Howell.
  • Mouse Hunt (1997)
  • Spaceballs (1987)
    This wasn’t already available from Netflix? Really?
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • The Chinese Connection (1972)
  • Amelie (2001)
  • Grapes Of Wrath (1940)
  • Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (1987)
  • Children Of A Lesser God (1986)
  • Scrooged (1988)
    Would have been smart to release this one, I don’t know, before Christmas.
  • Days Of Thunder (1990)
    I don’t really care about this movie but it’s nice to see Netflix showing Cruise some love after them hating on two of his biggest movies by removing them.
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
  • The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
  • Death Race 2000 (1975)
  • Ghost (1990)
    Another surprise that it wasn’t already available.
  • Good Burger (1997)
  • Play It Again, Sam (1972)

That’s kind of a depressing list but I’ll take it. Glad I’m just getting started with Netflix at least, I’ve got a million other things to watch as well.

2014 Netflix Expired Films List

Netflix Logo

I just signed up for Netflix less than one week ago. Naturally, this means they have to unload some films from their expansive streaming menu that I am going to miss if I haven’t already. The really sad part is that I had to find out from this Reddit thread. Anyway, following is the complete list of films set to be removed from Netflix in 2014 (so far). I’ve marked in italics the movies that I’ve seen, and bold-faced the one’s Netflix should keep available.

Netflix Movies Expiring in 2014

  • Transformers Dark of ┬áThe Moon (expired 12/29/2013)
  • Alice in Wonderland (1951, expires 1/4/2014)
  • Immortals (expires 1/4/2014)
  • Dynamite Warrior (expires 1/4/2014)

All of the following movies have expired as of 1/1/2014 at midnight:

  • The Rundown
  • Brick
  • Being John Malkovich
    Seriously? This is one of the most creative and out-of-the-box movies I’ve ever seen. It saddens me to think that a whole generation of Americans isn’t going to have instant access to this gem. Of course, a whole generation of Americans probably doesn’t know who John Malkovich even is anymore. But that’s not the point.
  • Back To School
  • Battle of Britain
  • Born on the Fourth of July
    This is one of those epic films starring a crazy Scientologist before he said all that seriously crazy stuff.
  • Braveheart
    I get that Mel Gibson is a big racist asshole now but there was a time when he made good movies that weren’t overshadowed by how much of a big racist asshole he is. This is one of them. You’ll have to go to the video store or something to watch this one, but if it’s out, look for The Patriot which is basically the same thing but with less face paint.
  • Body of Evidence
  • Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • Man on the Moon
    One of Jim Carrey’s first serious roles and Courtney Love managed to keep her shit together long enough to be a good actress! He does an excellent job of being Andy Kaufman, not that anyone remembers him anymore either.
  • Lionheart
  • 1492 Conquest of Paradise
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space
    Okay, so this movie isn’t “good” by definition, but it’s a cult classic and probably the reason for half the cases of Coulrophobia out there.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Another really creative and strange film starring Jim Carrey and Titanic Kate (or Contagion Kate for your darker side).
  • FX
  • Do the Right Thing
    This was a big movie back in the day when Spike Jones was known for more than going to basketball games and getting older.
  • Desperado
  • Up in Smoke
  • Can’t Hardly Wait
    I am SHOCKED and DISMAYED that Can’t Hardly Wait is leaving Netflix. People need to know who Peter Facinelli was before Dr. Carlisle Cullen!
  • Capote
  • Biloxi Blues
    Matthew Broderick does his best Woody Allen impression.
  • Seed of Chucky
  • Jarhead
  • As Good as it Gets
  • In the Name of the Father
    This is another one of those truly epic films that you have to see at some point in your life. I’m surprised they’re expiring this one since it stars Daniel Day-Lewis who has been in some pretty big movies in recent years.
  • Inside Deep Throat (documentary)
  • I’m Gonna Get You Sucka
  • In Like Flint
  • Hard Target
  • Foxy Brown
  • Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
  • Gallipoli
  • Half Baked
    There is no better movie from my generation about stoners doing stupid shit. Except maybe Dude Where’s my Car but that is disqualified for obvious reasons.
  • Flashdance
  • 50 First Dates
  • For the Love of the Game
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  • The Bad News Bears
  • The Russia House
  • The Secret of Nimh
  • Revenge of the Ninja
  • Roman Holiday
  • Rob Roy
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Remo Williams
  • Requiem for a Dream
    Starring Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly, this is one of the most disturbing movies about drug addiction that I’ve ever seen. You’ll absolutely “love” the end.
  • Quigley Down Under
  • Pumpkinhead
  • Platoon
    Check out Charlie Sheen before he got crazy! Also, it’s a really great Vietnam-era flick.
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico
  • October Sky
  • Mystery Men
  • The Skulls
  • Titanic
    I don’t know why they would ever remove Titanic since most of the world can’t help but love it. After all, it is scientifically engineered to make you cry. So if you do, it’s not really your fault. Blame the government.
  • Ronin
  • Romeo and Juliet (1968)
  • Tales From the Crypt: Bordello of Blood
  • Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knighgt
  • The Woman in Red
  • Top Gun
    WHAT! This is the second awesome movie removed that Tom Cruise stars in. Did he say some crazy scientologist stuff recently or something? Why all the shade from Netflix?
  • Street Fighter
  • TNT Jackson
  • Serpico
  • Seed of Chucky
  • Scary Movie
  • Running Scared
  • Troll II
  • True Grit (1969)
  • War and Peace
  • Talk Radio
  • War Games
  • We Were Soldiers
  • What Dreams May Come
  • Windtalkers
  • World Trade Center
  • The Private Live of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Odd Couple (1968)
  • The Mask of Zorro
  • The Grain Train Robbery
  • The Faculty
  • The Dream Team
  • Best of Times
  • Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
    Sylvester Stallone should have removed himself from Hollywood for a couple years as a penalty for making this movie. Like when college teams cheat and then get banned from bowl games.
  • Species

Wow, so that’s 88 total titles. While there are certainly a few lemons in this selection, I’m really struggling to understand why some of these films are being removed. On the bright side, this list expires Seed of Chucky TWICE which I totally agree with since it never should have been added in the first place. Killer dolls, not for me. Killer Klowns on the other hand…

The list looks bad but let’s be honest, there’s quite a lot to choose from on Netflix even without these selections. Especially for someone like me who has only had it a week. The good news is that there’s also a 2014 Netflix Added Films List!

 

Year-End Content Overload

Year-End posts make me want to scream

 

It’s the end of the year and we get to suffer through all of the “Year in Review” nonsense that starts every December and drags on through January. For what it’s worth, I don’t need a blog post or an article summarizing what your company has been up to over the past year. I was there. If I was interested, I would have paid attention instead of deleting all of your lame newsletters after your unsubscribe fail.

That said, there is some value in all this garbage year-end content. A very small percentage of this kind of content is actually going to be good, and a very large portion is going to be really terrible. Lazy, hurried and quickly forgotten about. It’s the end of the year, right? The Lost Week between Christmas and New Years Day. Nobody’s really reading anyway, right?

Do me a favor comment if you’ve come across any particularly good end-year articles or blog posts, or more importantly if you’ve found any exceptionally bad examples to show.

Cable Providers are Dying on the Vine

Cable Companies are on the Run

So, for a while it seemed like cable companies had a good thing going. Although cable television has been around for over 80 years now, things really began to take off in the 1980′s as limitations relaxed and programming was allowed to expand to channels like MTV, USA and CNN. As modem technology started to come into its own, they began to also provide high-speed Internet which now accounts for a substantial portion of their revenue. Phone service wasn’t far behind that, and all of these services could be easily offered through their cable infrastructure. This has been a pretty profitable business model for a solid 15 years or so. Good stuff, right?

Well, that technology that paved the way for cable companies to be your everything hasn’t stopped. Blinding data transfer speeds and major advances in computing power have made it possible for desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices to easily process the gargantuan amounts of data required to download an application, view a web page or stream a video. I’m sure cable companies are at least pleased that they’re the one’s in control of access to the internet but they can’t be too happy about the fact that their 3-headed monster might be starting to go all cannibalistic. It’s hard to maintain a successful profit margin when one of your services helps to make the others completely pointles:

  • Why pay for home phone service when your mobile device has more features, can be used virtually anywhere and is with you at all times?
  • Why pay for cable programming when you can access almost the exact same content (and so much more) through your computer or mobile device? What’s more, you can stream it from these devices onto your television now.

Newer entities like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus are making a serious run at the entertainment programming market. Not only can you find pretty much anything you’ve ever wanted to watch online, but the costs are far below your cable provider.

Netflix offers a streaming subscription for just $7.99 per month and while you may not yet have access to the series finale of Breaking Bad, you can marathon all but the last 8 episodes which should be coming out soon enough. For another $7.99 per month you can add Hulu Plus which let’s you watch the most recent episodes of your favorite programs as quickly as the day after they air. Hell, lots of network websites provide free episodes on their own if all else fails.

So where does this leave cable providers? They can’t give away the phone service at this point, and so they roll it into combo’s designed to save you money. Break it down though. You can pay well over $100 per month for cable, internet and a phone you don’t use. Or, you can just pay for internet, then subscribe to a few streaming services to replace your dependency on cable provider programming. They’re trying to answer the call with new features such as home security (?), area-wide wifi and more, but the services are usually poorly-promoted and left to die on the vine.

One day soon we’ll watch as the last of these cable providers downsizes to the point that they are only offering internet service. I look forward to that day because my cable bill will be a hell of a lot cheaper! Of course, by that time I’m sure streaming providers will have doubled their prices. Even so, it’ll still cost less without sticking me with features I will never need. Good luck, cable providers. You’re going to need it.

Microsoft’s Long Road Ahead

Microsoft (MSFT) first gained an industry foothold in 1980 when IBM agreed to bundle Microsoft’s operating system with each computer sold. As personal computers became more and more commonplace in the 1990′s, Microsoft grew to supply over 90% of these systems with cutting-edge operating systems like Windows 3.1, Windows 98 and others. Times have been tougher for Microsoft in recent years, however, as the global company finds themselves facing stiff competition from virtually every direction, most notably in the mobile market with the mainstream use of smart phone technology as well as tablets. Microsoft has also been working hard to gain more share of the Paid Search market although Google AdWords continues to have a strong hold there.

Things have been better for Microsoft in the past than they are today. Windows Vista was a disaster and while Windows 7 did help to repair some of that, changing technologies have left Microsoft lagging in emerging markets, far behind that of the iPhone, iPad and Android-based mobile devices. Bing continues to lose money hand-over-fist, and just hasn’t seen the kind of positive results needed to unseat top Paid Search networks. Yes, things could be a lot better for Microsoft in 2012 than they are. Does that mean they’ll continue to get worse?

Windows 8 promises to be something unlike Microsoft has ever released. Set for release later this year, the operating system claims seamless integration between PC’s, smart phones and tablets. In reality, the desktop version is more difficult to get used to due to the lack of start menu and some other features, and this could discourage consumers from going all in. The O/S seems to work great on mobile devices, however, which is what Microsoft is targeting. Microsoft’s major competitor, Apple, routinely forces their base to learn new technologies, so why shouldn’t Microsoft?

Microsoft has a long road ahead of them if they want a market share in the mobile market of more than 10% by 2016, and an even longer road to make their search engine, Bing, a household name. Overhead is generally pretty low for a company of this size, however, and the business is structured to weather tough economic storms. It may not be a good idea to put all of your eggs in the Microsoft basket, but if successful, Windows 8 could help to bring them back from 2nd-tier tech obscurity.