The Great Netflix Harvest of 2006


I recently mentioned a fun phenomenon in my growth as a movie-watcher. I had started to ramp up my interest in cinema from 2003 to 2005 by going to the theater a lot more, creating a Hollywood Stock Exchange account, and watching a lot of the AFI Top 100. Much of that is thanks to my friend who was once babysat by the sister of the guy who played Nuclear Man in Superman IV. But in 2006, my movie-watching habits exploded. The difference was that I had gotten a Netflix account. And I took full advantage.

At that point in time, if you were interested in learning more about cinema, Netflix was a treasure trove. They could accommodate seemingly any possible interest that their customers might have. Foreign, indie, obscure, cult, art house, mainstream, and every genre conceivable was represented. It was truly a sight to behold. And for members like me, it was akin to being the proverbial kid in a candy store.

What ultimately transpired over my first handful of months was some of the best film education I’ve ever received. Here’s a list of the films that Netflix sent me in my first six months of membership, henceforth referred to as The Great Netflix Harvest of 2006. Note that this isn’t the complete list. It’s simply an effort to show the high notes.

GreatNetflixHarvestLook at the amazing quality on that list. It includes some of the best horror ever made; Jim Jarmusch; Martin Scorsese; indie classics; Louis Malle; Werner Herzog; introductions to Fellini, Renoir, and Truffaut; a cult classic in Cannibal Holocaust; Woody Allen; and more Bergman and Buñuel than you can shake a stick at. I was introduced to the French New Wave, New German Cinema, film noir, and Italian Neo-realism. I also deepened my love of recent American independent cinema (recent = last 20 years). I became aware of all three of my current favorite directors, by name, in those six months. Those films made up the foundation of everything I’ve become, ever since, in my film education. A person would be hard-pressed to find a better introduction to the world of cinema in six months than they would with that list.


This amazing film was an eventual result of the Great Netflix Harvest

A lot has changed in the last seven years, up to and including Netflix itself, which has shot themselves in the foot countless times since then. But I digress. Beginning in 2006, I started with the Great Netflix Harvest. I continued on through art house, discovering the amazing world of Akira Kurosawa. I found and loved Alfred Hitchcock. Eventually, I expanded into experimental film. I took a dive into b-movies. I started paying more attention to new releases and Oscar contenders. Eventually, I chased American classics for awhile. All the while, horror of all shapes and sizes found its way onto my plate. Those first few months on Netflix had been the ultimate gateway drug.

Now I’ve ended up right back where I started, watching more and more art house films in the past few months. It has reminded me of that magical harvest of a few years back, a time that I hope I’m fortunate enough to revisit soon. It will no doubt be tough to top.


Filed under Movies

16 responses to “The Great Netflix Harvest of 2006

  1. NetFlix here in the UK is so far behind the US. Of that list you posted, I think the only title we have is Seventh Seal.

  2. Phil

    I started Netflix back in 2002, but didn’t start watching the all-time great films until I began listening to the Filmspotting podcast back in late 2005. I’m going through a bit of a rut right now. I realized that I hadn’t watched a single Netflix rental in all of March. I need to get motivated again.

  3. The guy was babysat by the sister of the guy who played Nuclear Man in Superman IV

    This must be when the Bergman enthusiasm was born. Also, Ice Storm was one of those great films that feel indie but have a lot of really accomplished actors in it. I’m a big fan of it. What happened to 1970s car key swinger parties anyway?

    • Have you seen the jager ad recently that sort of tips its cap to those parties? I’m not sure it’s on purpose. Actually, I highly doubt it is. But the first time I saw it, it was the first thing I thought of.

  4. Aleksalynm

    I’ve had a Netflix subscription for probably seven or eight years. I’ve found very, very few films which aren’t in their library. My only complaint is that there are so few quality films on Instant.

    • Yep. And that bugs me. They’ve made this huge push to get people on Instant. And Instant has a few highlights, but it’s nowhere near enough to justify ditching the DVDs.

  5. This selection looks like my film history classes in college! Definitely watched at least 8 1/2, Aguirre, Persona, The Seventh Seal and others like the ones on your list. You have a more impressive collection than I have in all the years I’ve used Netflix. I’m terrible at getting my money’s worth out of it.

    • You should see what my annual October list looks like. It’s riddled with hilariously crappy horror. Fun and loveable horror, to be sure, but mostly crappy.

  6. Wow, what a great selection.

  7. Vladdy

    Everyone is always so down on Netflix. All the stupid stuff the company announced would happen DIDN’T HAPPEN. Currently, I get three dvds and unlimited streaming for $17.99 a month. They have the vast majority of movies released on dvd in the United States. I wish I had bought stock in it when it was down, because it’s only gone up, up, up. Also, everyone I know is raving about House of Cards, their new series. Ifit weren’t for Turner Classics, I’d give up television before I’d give up Netflix.

    • My biggest gripe with Netflix was killing the lists and friends features. Those informed so much of my movie-watching habits the first 2-3 years I was a member, and then they said it was useless and ditched it all. Even though there was clearly a healthy portion of site member using it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s