Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December Expiration Watch: This Time It's Personal (2013)

Where to begin? There are so many good and great movies expiring from Netflix Instant this month, it's the cinematic equivalent of getting hot chunks of coal in your stocking (Merry Christmas to you, too, Netflix). I haven't seen this many notable titles getting the axe since May's so-called Streamageddon. And these are only the titles I can personally vouch for, not ones that are popular but off this blog's radar. So, in light of there being simply too many movies deserving individual attention, I'll simply group them by category and add brief notes as the mood strikes:


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - Dick van Dyke and his magic flying car (don't quote me on this, but this title may be getting a reprieve)
In Like Flint (1967) - James Coburn gets in on the James Bond spoof industry in this second of the Flint series
Roman Holiday (1953) - See review
The Odd Couple (1968) - Matthau and Lemmon--the original Oscar and Felix
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) - Billy Wilder's flawed, late-career classic--and an early attempt to scrape beneath the surface of the immortal detective
Shane (1953) - Come back, Shane?
A Shot in the Dark (1964) - Peter Sellers and Elke Sommer in one of the earlier, funnier Inspector Clouseau films (before "Pink Panther" was needlessly incorporated into every title)
True Grit (1969) - Kind of creaky (I prefer the remake), but still essential John Wayne
War and Peace (1956) - Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda in the classic Tolstoy tale
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) - Catherine Deneuve (and her sister) make music with Gene Kelly, in Jacques Demy's spiritual successor to his The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Modern Classics

As Good As It Gets (1997) - Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt spar their way to comedy (and Oscar) gold
Being John Malkovich (1999) - A personal favorite, from the great one-two combo of Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman. Sly, inventive, subversive.
Braveheart (1995) - More Oscars, this time for Mel Gibson
Brick (2005) - Neat, twisty modern noir set in high school, from the future director of Looper
Do the Right Thing (1989) - See review
Dressed to Kill (1980) - One of Brian DePalma's best--warped and poetic and far better than the lousy description on its Netflix page makes it sound
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Another personal fave, from that other great director-writer team, Michele Gondry and Charlie Kaufman
Far From Heaven (2002) - Both update and homage to the 1950's dramas of Douglas Sirk. Searing.
Gallipoli (1981) - Young Mel Gibson in a gripping, fact-based WWI court-martial drama
Man on the Moon (1999) - Andy Kaufman, meet Jim Carrey (boom)
Miller's Crossing (1990) - Can you say "What's the rumpus?" The Coen Bros. craft one of the most perfectly movies ever made (and one of my all-time faves).
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) - Haven't seen it, but I've heard only good things
Platoon (1986) - Vietnam, Oliver Stone, Oscars, etc.
Requiem for a Dream (2000) - Scary anti-drug fun from director Darren Aronofsky, with amazing performances by Jennifer Connelly and Ellen Burstyn
Ronin (1998) - Great cast, great car chases, solid action direction from veteran helmer John Frankenheimer
Titanic (1997) - Now, just like Kate, you can say goodbye to Leo
Top Gun (1986)  - Not one I'd normally mention, but loved by too many to ignore
WarGames (1983) - Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy are cute and young in this early computer-era cautionary tale

1970s Coolness

The Andromeda Strain (1971) - A virus-from-space thriller based on the Michael Crichton book, directed by Robert Wise (West Side Story, The Day the Earth Stood Still)
The Bad News Bears (1976) - The scruffy, slow-burn original still has real charm, especially in the interplay between Walter Matthau and the kids, including cute-as-a-button Tatum O'Neal
Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke (1978) - The grandaddy of all stoner comedies
The Gambler (1974) - Unnerving tale of obsessive gambling from a man who knows, screenwriter James Toback. Stars James Caan (and his chest hair), along with cute-as-a-button Lauren Hutton, Paul Sorvino, and pretty much every NY character actor from the mid-seventies.
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) - A rough and ready take on the Jesse James gang, with Robert Duvall and Cliff Robertson, directed by Phillip Kaufman, who later made The Right Stuff and The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Joe (1970) - Overheated melodrama but worth a look for its grimy NYC locations, Love Generation excesses, and a downright dewy Susan Sarandon in her first film role
The Long Goodbye (1973) - Yet another personal favorite--Robert Altman and Elliott Gould doing what they did best: subverting genre with enormous balls and charm
Serpico (1973) - Al Pacino gives one of his career-defining performances in this gritty true-life tale, directed by the late, great Sidney Lumet (Network, Dog Day Afternoon)
Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) - Great example of contemplative, early '70s sci-fi, before Star Wars kicked the door down and all the noisy spaceships took over. Based on Kurt Vonnegut's most popular novel, directed by George Roy Hill (The Sting, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid)


An Inconvenient Truth (2006) - Al Gore preaches, hopefully not to just the choir
Capote (2005) - Philip Seymour Hoffman was this film's big award winner
High Art (1998) - Ally Sheedy shows her acting chops opposite Radha Mitchell (in her first starring role) in this gritty tale of lesbians, love, and art
In the Name of the Father (1993) - Daniel Day-Lewis in an early, vital performance in this powerful, multi-Oscar-nominated film
Of Mice and Men (1992) - Gary Sinise and John Malkovich in a solid adaptation of the classic Steinbeck novel
Personal Velocity (2002) - Rebecca Miller (daughter of Arthur, wife of Day-Lewis) writes and directs three vignettes starring Parker Posey, Kyra Sedgwick, and Fairuza Balk

Guilty Pleasures

Desperado (1995) - The best of Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi trilogy, with a smokin' Salma Hayek
Elizabethtown (2005) - Okay, it has its cheesy moments, but this charming romantic comedy from writer/director Cameron Crowe is highly entertaining and hardly deserving of the critical ire it received
Flashdance (1982) - What a feeling! I mean...right?
Heaven's Gate (1980) - I've been meaning to finally watch this one for years, but it's
Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) - Kevin Smith does his thing, only bigger and with more money and stars
The Mask of Zorro (1998) - Antonio Banderas cracks a whip and buckles a swash with the best of 'em. Too long by 20 minutes, but still lots of fun.
Masquerade (1988) - Review
Mystery Men (1999) - Review
Summer School (1987) - I did say these were guilty pleasures, right?

Yet more expiring titles can be found on the Expiring Soon list at the top of the page. Let's hope many of these are renewed, and that many more make their way onto streaming in the new year. Otherwise, these are dark times indeed...

12/29/13 NOTE:
For some reason there's a rumor floating around the web that the show Frasier is about to expire. As far as I can tell, that's not the case. If it were, I suspect a lot more affiliated shows (e.g., Cheers) would also be getting cut. As always, the first I hear of this, I'll let you all know.

1/1/14: Looks like over half the Frasier episodes temporarily disappeared this morning, but are now back. So that's that!

December 14

Black Books (2000-2004)

December 17

Spaced (1999-2001) - Review

December 31

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
As Good As It Gets (1997)
The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Back to School (1986)
The Bad News Bears (1976)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
The Border (1982)
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Braveheart (1995)
Brick (2005)
Capote (2005)
Car Wash (1976)
Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke (1978)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - seems to have been renewed, but I'll leave it here for now
Crimes of the Heart (1986)
Desperado (1995)
Do the Right Thing (1989) - Review
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Elizabethtown (2005)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Far From Heaven (2002)
Flashdance (1982)
Gallipoli (1981)
The Gambler (1974)
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972)
The Great Train Robbery (1978)
Heartburn (1986)
Heaven's Gate (1980)
High Art (1998)
In Like Flint (1967)
In the Name of the Father (1993)
Jarhead (2005)
Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Joe (1970)
Land of the Dead (2005)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Man on the Moon (1999)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
Masquerade (1988) - Review
Miller's Crossing (1990)
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Mystery Men (1999) - Review
The Odd Couple (1968)
Of Mice and Men (1992)
Personal Velocity (2002)
Platoon (1986)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
Quadrophenia (1979)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Roman Holiday (1953) - Review
Romeo & Juliet (1968)
Ronin (1998)
Serpico (1973)
Shane (1953)
A Shot in the Dark (1964)
Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)
Summer School (1987)
Titanic (1997)
True Grit (1969)
War and Peace (1956)
WarGames (1983)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)


Anonymous said...

Avid Movie watcher Here Just informing you of more movies leaving (just from my list :/ )
Drop Dead Fred (1991) 1/1/14
Just 4 Kicks (2003) 1/1/14
Mr. Fix It (2006) 12/31/13
Cant Hardly Wait (1998) 1/1/14
Street Fighter (1994) 1/1/14
Land of the Dead (2005) 1/1/14
Post Impact (2004) 12/31/13
Naked Gun 2 1/2 (1991) 1/1/14
Naked Gun 33 1/3 (1994) 1/1/14
Back to School (1986) 1/1/14
Session 9 (2001) 1/1/14
Dragonheart: A new Beginning (2000) 1/1/14
The Dream Team (1989) 1/1/14
The Life Before Her Eyes (2007) 1/5/14
The Musketeer (2001) 1/1/14
Against the Dark (2009) 1/1/14
Running Scared (1986) 1/1/14
Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008) 1/1/14
Pumpkin (1988) 1/1/14
Levithan (1989) 1/1/14
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) 1/1/14
Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981) 1/1/14
Thick as Thieves (1999) 1/1/14
Plunkett & Macleane (1999) 1/1/14
Weirdsville (2007) 1/15/14
Promedio Rojo 2004) 1/1/14
Dharm (2007) 1/5/14
The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977) 1/1/14
Hollywood Boulevard (1976) 1/1/14
Death Sport (1978) 1/1/14

Anonymous said...

Pumpkinhead (1988) ***

David Speranza said...

Thanks again, Anonymous. I guess the Naked Gun movies would make my "Guilty Pleasures" list. ;-) That's quite a big queue you've got!

wtfgamer said...

If you haven't seen Running Scared, put it on your list. This is the Paul Walker film, not the Gregory Hines, Billie Crystal thing. Fitting to check out one of his greatest works before the end of the year.

David Speranza said...

Good to know. It's not currently on Netflix, but I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Any MUST SEES on the list? Trying to watch before they disappear, but not sure which ones to spend my time with! Recommendations?

David Speranza said...

It really depends on your taste and mood. What kind of stuff do you like?

David Speranza said...

Okay, for the record: my personal must-sees would be Miller's Crossing, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Ronin, The Long Goodbye, Slaughterhouse-Five, Serpico, Do the Right Thing, and--if you're looking for romance--As Good as It Gets, Roman Holiday, Elizabethtown, and Titanic. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

my netflix USED to say Frasier was available until January 1st, but now that little warning is gone. maybe they were able to pull some strings?? i watch frasier every day so i hope its not going away!

David Speranza said...

Well, considering Netflix signed a 2-year agreement for the show earlier this year (along with many other Paramount titles, like Star Trek), it wouldn't make sense for Frasier to suddenly expire now. Probably just a system glitch. We hope.

King Arthas said...

The Avid Movie watcher here from Dec 26th Logged into my google account this time
Opposite Day (2009) 1/15/14
Seed of Chucky (2004) 1/1/14
Bride of Chucky (1994) 1/1/14
Dante's Inferno (2010) 1/15/14
Primer (2004) 1/15/14
Goobers! (1997) 1/15/14
Unspeakable: Special Edition (2000) 1/15/14

David Speranza said...

Thanks. I'll keep an eye out for Primer. It would be a shame to lose that one. The rest--not so much. ;-)

Cynthia Geis said...

Not all Frasier is gone but more than 1/2, now each season is very limited to a few episodes only. anyone know why? Thank heavens for Amazon prime where all episodes still exist. Will be Netflix is now officially on my chopping block.

David Speranza said...

I just saw that myself. Very strange--and disturbing. If I find out anything, I'll let everyone know. For now, though, let's hope they're only gone temporarily.

David Speranza said...

Okay, all the episodes are back now. I had a feeling that would happen. :-)