The Netflix Effect

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Re: The Netflix Effect

Postby FilmFan720 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:57 am

And Twin Peaks also stayed to a pretty close episodic structure, too...every episode was pretty much around an hour, each episode felt somewhat self-contained (in that there were stories that began and ended within each one...you could name almost any of them: the one in New Mexico, the one about Dougie at the workplace, etc.), almost every episode ended with a musical number. This felt like a TV show, week in and week out, with the most intricate sound design in TV history, gorgeous cinematography, and a story that added up to a complete journey by the end. But how is that any different than some of the other ground-breaking TV shows of the past: The Wire, or The Sopranos, or even an Arrested Development season?
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Re: The Netflix Effect

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:21 am

flipp525 wrote:Twin Peaks was billed as an 18-hour movie (which it very much felt like in the most complimentary of ways) so I’m not mad that it’s being considered one on year-end “best of” lists.


I know that’s how Lynch referred to it. And the creators of Stranger Things and Shots Fired both referred to their episodic series as an 8-hour and 10-hour movie, respectively. But this just strikes me as condescension toward an art form — television — that has historically been viewed as a lesser one than cinema. Because I just don’t see the gray area here — if you air on television in a series of episodes, over multiple seasons, you’re a tv show! And you can be a great tv show! But you are not a movie, no matter how great in quality you may be. The idea that the best tv shows can be so good that they can be seen as movies just doesn’t make sense to me.

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Re: The Netflix Effect

Postby flipp525 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:13 am

Twin Peaks was billed as an 18-hour movie (which it very much felt like in the most complimentary of ways) so I’m not mad that it’s being considered one on year-end “best of” lists.

Precious, I’ve heard a comment here and there comparing Theee Billboards to Fargo. I think the only two things those two films have in common are Frances McDormand in the lead role and black/dark humor. Very different sensibilities.

I think Fargo actually might have had a happier ending!
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Re: The Netflix Effect

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:57 am

The Original BJ wrote: (Then again, Twin Peaks just made the Sight & Sound Poll for best films of 2017, so who knows.)

So, we'll just have to see, though I do think this conversation will continue throughout the coming years as the lines between film and tv continue to blur.


Twin Peaks may have made it in because it's been such an underwhelming year for international cinema and bet most of the critics taking part in the S&S poll haven't seen most of the end of year films.

I received an email from Sense of Cinema to participate in their yearly top ten poll but I've only been able to come up with seven titles and most of them wouldn't come anywhere near my top tens. To make matters worse the top 2 are from last year but I only first saw this year.

I also completed a Film Comment survey recently as I've been a regular reader and subscriber since the 1970's. I was brutal with my displeasure of the directions that the magazine as gone this year and frankly if I hadn't already subscribed for 2018 (a took out a multiple year subscription) I wouldn't renew. I'll probably stop buying Sigh and Sound too, which has dropped it's standards though not to the degree of Film Comment.

The Netflix Effect is the least of our worries.

I really think cinema is fighting to survive up against various streaming services. I have never sat in so many empty cinemas as I have during 2017 and the local box office returns reflect that. A couple of high grossing Hollywood blockbusters taking the lions share of the box office with everything else struggling to find much of a audience.

It's also getting harder to see films. There are so many being made and those lucky enough to get a release only run for a few weeks with limited sessions. I find going on holidays, getting sick or dealing with other things that come up in life makes it impossible to keep up with what I want to see and less opportunities to see them later on physical media as that too is taking a big thumbing thanks to streaming.

The lines between film and tv are already happening in peoples minds. The other week I went out to dinner with friends. One commented she was really looking forward to the new TV series with Frances McDormand called Three Billboards or something like that. I naturally pointed out that it was a film and opening in cinemas on 1 January. Mind you, having seen the trailer once a couple of weekend ago, it did have a 'Fargo' vibe but without the snow, but I tend to find people talking more and more about TV series than 'movies'.

I think the future will be big Hollywood blockbusters, festivals and a few token releases in the next couple of years. The Academy is going to have to evolve with that and goodness knows how if the pickings become fewer.
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Re: The Netflix Effect

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:00 pm

The way I see it, it's more a hurdle than a blackball. Which is to say, I think Mudbound will likely get some Oscar nominations -- Adapted Screenplay, due to the weakness of the field, seems almost assured at this point, and I think it's solidly in the Cinematography conversation. But it seems like a bubble candidate for Best Picture, even in an expanded field, and if it doesn't make it, it's hard to not see "it was a Netflix film" as being a possible reason why. (Of course, if it ends up getting 7 Oscar nominations or something, this theory could all be moot.)

First of all, it's obviously worth pointing out that the Academy has been reviewing its rules for Netflix qualifications, with some grumbling that a film that streams on Netflix should not be considered a movie. So it seems like there are some people drawing a firm line in the sand, who just won't vote for the movie for film awards. Probably not a ton -- I bet a lot of people just don't care -- but in a competitive year, perhaps it might be enough to make some kind of a difference.

But secondly -- and perhaps maybe more importantly -- I think there's an almost under-the-radar way being a Netflix film can shape a movie's awards hopes, and that's just simply the fact that it's not accounted for as a box-office winner or loser. That doesn't seem like a tiny thing to me -- would Get Out have generated Best Picture buzz as early as March if it hadn't turned into a blockbuster? Would Blade Runner 2049, which got some pretty strong reviews, have held onto its pre-release buzz if it weren't seen as a financial disappointment? Ditto Detroit, to an even greater degree. And most of us didn't have Wonder on the radar at all, but as soon as it became a surprise hit, people started considering it at least as a possibility for some attention. Mudbound is completely absent from this conversation, and so is The Meyerowitz Stories, which seems to have all but disappeared from contention despite a well-reviewed script from a past nominee. It's not that I think voters consciously reward films based on box office potential, but I do think they like to reward success stories, and it seems like these films on Netflix just exist as some other type of thing that is separate from what so many think of as theatrical films, and their success narratives are just different.

As for the documentary thing, I think it's fair to say that documentaries are widely considered to be a different beast altogether, with eligibility requirements that are vastly different. Because it's not just Netflix that has created a gray area between television and filmmaking -- Citizenfour won both the Oscar and the Emmy for Best Documentary, but I doubt HBO would have been able to convince Oscar voters that The Normal Heart was a theatrical film even if they'd dropped it into LA theaters for a week. This is one reason why the O.J. situation was probably allowed to slide -- I don't think Netflix would have been able to convince folks that a season of Stranger Things was actually a film in the same way, even if they screened all episodes back to back. (Then again, Twin Peaks just made the Sight & Sound Poll for best films of 2017, so who knows.)

I think Mudbound might well be a test case this year -- if it does score major nominations, it could lead many to think Netflix is just as viable a distribution arm for awards consideration as anyone else, which might lead to stronger films opting to go the way of Netflix, to continued awards success. Of course, there's also a scenario where it does very well, and the clamoring to make stronger rules delineating what counts as film and what counts as tv grows louder. Or, it could just bomb with Oscar and cause even fewer films with awards aspirations to go with Netflix. So, we'll just have to see, though I do think this conversation will continue throughout the coming years as the lines between film and tv continue to blur.

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The Netflix Effect

Postby FilmFan720 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:15 pm

A question that I have been mulling. There has been a lot of talk about "The Netflix Effect" and how it is going to get in the way of Mudbound ratcheting up nominations. But, are we sure the effect is really that strong?

Most of this seems to stem from Beasts of No Nation not getting any nominations two years ago. But, looking back, is that really as gross a misstep as we all have made it out to be? It had a SAG Ensemble nomination (granted in a year where only two nominees went on to Best Picture nominations) and Idris Elba had a couple of televised nominations and a win, but that was it. It's not like this film picked up a whole lot of other precursors that got in the way...in that year, you could say that Carol, Sicario, Inside Out, Straight Outta Compton, and Trumbo all had equally impressive precursor halls going into nominations.

Since then, we have taken that as a sign that the Academy has a thing against Netflix (although this discounts the impressive haul of Documentary nods it has picked up, and even its win for The White Helmets last year), but couldn't it just be that they didn't like that film? Or that Idris Elba just missed out in a way that many others who have gotten the trifecta of nominations (GG, SAG, BAFTA) have also missed out? Daniel Bruhl had that happen just two years earlier, and Hugh Grant the next year!

So far, Mudbound has done alright in the critics voting, with a cinematography win and a couple of runner-ups. I'm not sure how big of a push it can get, or if Netflix has figured out the campaigning in the way its competitors have, but why discount it from any consideration merely because of that platform. Why can't we consider it a strong option in the weak Adapted Screenplay category, or in the cinematography category it has been awarded in already, or as a dark horse in a couple acting categories? Those around the industry more than me: Is Netflix really that hated by the film community?
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