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Nov 29 - Lauren's B-day Party
Nov 25 - Thanksgiving 2004
Nov 24 - The Sands of Time
Nov 23 - NetFlix
Nov 22 - Dinosaur Museum
Nov 21 - Joel Falls
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Oct 4 - Bringing the Van Home
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 NetFlix and DVD Roundup
We decided to give NetFlix a try. If you aren't familiar with NetFlix, it's a service where they mail you 3 movies which you can keep as long as you like, then after you've had them as long as you want, you mail them back and they send you other movies. You pay a monthly membership fee of $18. If you watch a lot of movies and you return them quickly, it ends up being much cheaper than a local store. Read on for our review of the NetFlix service and a few of the movies that we have seen recently.

The first discs we got were the 3-disc set for the first season of Fox's new comedy, "Arrested Development". It came highly recommended from different friends, so we decided to give it a go. Better to get into a show when only one season has gone by so that there isn't too much catch-up to do. With our high expectation, the only disappointment was that the show was a bit too dirty for our tastes. It's similair in content to the edgier Seinfeld episodes. As far as the quality of the show, I think it's the best comedy since the Simpsons. There were several times that I had to pause the show for a laughter break because I couldn't hear it over my own voice, not to mention the difficulty breathing it caused. A- for too many off-color jokes.

Next up: Miracle. This is the story of the 1980 US Men's Olympic hockey team's unlikely gold medal run. It follows the inspirational sports genre formula to the letter. Rudy, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, The Mighty Ducks, etc. etc. It's still a good show and worth seeing if only to see the only hockey we Americans can ever take pride in. How to you make a non-formulaic movie when the story it is based upon already follows the formula? Well, I don't have all the answers, I just wish that directors did. B

Big Fish. Whoa, what a weird movie. Kind of an abstract movie, but in a more fun than artsy way. This is the story of a man's father. As the man grew up, his father told him exaggerated stories from his life. The son resents the stories and is angry at his father for refusing to tell the true stories. The as his father grows ill, the son begins to discover more about his father and the stories he told. It's a pretty good film with some funny and some tender moments. We enjoyed it despite the strangeness. B+

Paycheck. We wanted to check this film out because it is based on a story by the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, who also wrote the stories that were adapted to the films Minority Report, Blade Runner and Total Recall, among others. We liked Minority Report pretty well, freakish eye-replacement scenes aside and hoped for another engrossing sci-fi experience in Paycheck. We got it. This one got low ratings from critics and viewers, and I can see what they might complain about. However, we really enjoyed the movie. The plot is based on this premise: limited clairvoyance is enough to control the future even if your memories of the future are erased. It really makes for a fun movie and is easier to wrap your mind around than the stuff in Minority Report. There was some hokey action-violence that was humorous when it should have been serious, and Ben Affleck seems like a poor choice for the part of a super-geek. That's all I can say without spoiling. So again, if you like sci-fi and don't mind some action violence, this is a fun movie and worth renting. B+

That concluded our NetFlix free trial so we cancelled the service. We're too busy to watch enough movies for it to be worth it. We have plenty of movies on the TiVo for now. We really did like the service, though. It was very convenient to just make a list of movies we wanted to see, then have them mailed right to us when they became available. Perfect for the lazy movie-watcher that I am. So perhaps we'll give it another go after we've watched all the movies on DirecTV that we can stand.

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