By Ann Silverthorn
DVD Netflix compiled a list of the top rented discs of 2018 by category, which you can see here. It’s notable that the nature of these five offerings range all the way from faith-based to “mature.” This suggests that the members of DVD Netflix are either a widely varied bunch or they comprise a segment of the population with widely varied tastes. Let’s take a look at which independent genre discs DVD Netflix members rented most in 2018.
At three hours and fifteen minutes long, this DVD is packed with the nominees in the 2007 Academy Awards short film category. It contains five live-action and three animated shorts. The Mozart of Pickpockets, which won in the live-action category, is a light-hearted look at pickpockets in Paris who pose as policemen. During a raid, they acquire a street urchin who wants to learn the business, too. It’s a story of friendship, as is the winner in the animated category, Peter and the Wolf. This computer animation loosely follows the fairy tale and features the music of Sergei Prokofiev’s symphony, sharing the story of friendships lost and friendships gained. Other shorts on this disc feature a fed-up businessman posing as a substitute teacher, a tattooed woman who spent time as an Apache-tribe captive, and a dark, devastating tale of three teenaged cancer patients.
True Stories embodies what most people think about when they try to define an independent film. A quirky story line, characters acting strangely, and extras that are probably everyday residents of the filming locations. David Byrne, front-man of the 1980s new-age band, Talking Heads, wrote the script, composed the score, directed the film, and then starred in it. Set in the fictional town of Virgil, Texas, Byrne leads the audience through the town’s preparations for its sesquicentennial, which will include a concert and a parade. A very-young John Goodman plays a wanna-be singer looking for love. A woman who never gets out of bed is played by Swoosie Kurtz. Although Virgil is a fictional place it is thought to represent many small towns in Texas in the 1980s.
When a movie has no rating, it’s possibly one that you wouldn’t want to watch with your parents, and Destricted is one of them. It is a compilation of seven erotic short films designed to illustrate what happens when art meets sexuality. For a wide representation of mature films, this is the disc to rent. One film offers a look behind the scenes of porn casting, one makes the viewer wonder just what is going on with a deforesting machine, a couple of them are throw-backs to early adult films, and one takes art to a whole new level, such as when we stand in front of a museum painting and utter “hmm,” because we don’t know what else to say.
A year after a patriarch’s death, a quirky man (Owen Wilson), convinces his two brothers to take a cross-India train trip aboard the steam engine Darjeeling Limited. The siblings have grown apart and carry resentments and rivalry against each other. This is a classic journey film in which the audience doesn’t know the destination either in location or relationships. Darjeeling Limited is a Wes Anderson indie dramedy that also stars Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman as the two other brothers, with appearances by Natalie Portman and Anjelica Huston.
With an ensemble cast, Do You Believe? weaves together the stories of 12 strangers, all experiencing different types of life challenges, from homelessness to crime. By the end of the movie, their paths will cross in a surprising and profound way. This is technically a Christian film, but it is so cleverly done that you don’t need to be a “believer” to appreciate it and perhaps even feel a little better about your own circumstances at the end. It’s also nice to see classic actors working, such as Cybill Shepherd and Lee Majors, who lend their superior acting talent to the project. Mira Sorvino and Sean Astin also star.
So, there you have it. The most rented independent genre discs during 2018. It’s interesting that only one these was released in recent years.
This is what sets DVD Netflix apart from streaming services (which I also love). The DVD Netflix vast library makes it easy to access movies from even the most obscure subjects and from a century of filmmaking. Be sure to follow the DVD Netflix blog this year because every month, it will feature a different decade of filmmaking.