The Modern Man's Guide to Netflix

Robert Rich is a writer for FanSided partner For more great content, head on over to Bro Jackson and check out Robert’s work.

I was not an early player in the Netflix game. I don’t have nostalgic memories of the service from its infantile days, nor do I own stock in the company. But I’m a Netflix apologist.

Even though I now see the error in the decision, I defended the company’s attempts to split off their DVD service and rebrand it as a different company. I wasn’t one of the legions of users up in arms when they raised subscription fees. I still think Netflix is pretty cool, and I at least use it correctly.

Shockingly, that’s not always the case.

A dude at work asked me the other day why Netflix kept recommending he watch romantic comedies. I asked him if he’d watched any rom-coms on the service before, and he admitted that he had. I then asked him if he’d rated them, to which he said he had not. Naturally, I asked what he had rated, and he informed me that the answer was absolutely nothing. The guy hasn’t rated a single movie in his life, and yet he can’t figure out why the service doesn’t know what the hell to recommend he watch.

Let’s put a little effort in, gents. Netflix is still the go-to service for your movie and TV fix, but only if you know how to use it. Follow this, the modern man’s guide to Netflix, and you’ll be fine.

Get rid of the DVD portion, like now

I know, I know. I just said I defended the company when they tried to split off their DVD service, but that doesn’t mean you need to be getting discs still. Netflix’s library of streamable content is still working toward making sure you can watch anything you want, but the hassle of getting discs in the mail is not worth it. If you can’t wait to see a new film, either get off your ass and watch in a theater, or Redbox that bad boy. Don’t be the guy still giddily carrying handfuls of Netflix envelopes into your house every day—we off that.

Create, update, and prune an instant queue

This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s shocking how many people still don’t take advantage of the instant queue. It’s nothing more than a wishlist, but when you run across an unknown film that looks tailor made for you, and then you get plastered and forget about it, you’ll go crazy trying to find it again. Put it in your queue and move on. But don’t forget to maintain that beast. If you throw things on it with reckless abandon, it’ll do you no good and the sentimental dramas you keep on there for easy picking when you bring a girl over will stay at the top. Put ‘em at the bottom, so at least you know they’re there, and then move “Drive” to the top spot. Think of the queue as the magazines laid out on your coffee table. People will see it, and I’d rather have interesting copy and not Maxim.

Stay away from the porn

Don’t lie. You’ve looked for porn on Netflix. It’s okay, we’ve all been there. But don’t do it again. Not only is the selection all but non-existent, you really don’t want to pay eight bucks a month to use the service looking for something you can get for free. We spend so much intimate time with shared technologies these days and it’s more important than ever to compartmentalize.

Don’t complain about the lack of selection

Sure, Netflix’s streaming selection isn’t comprehensive. There are a lot of big budget blockbusters and indie darlings that aren’t available, but there’s still plenty to keep you busy for years. If you’ve got a burning desire to watch something and it isn’t available, take it as a lesson for not always being able to get what you want, and watch some “Parks & Recreation” episodes instead.

Watch a documentary about The Rock

Netflix is starting to build its collection of wrestling docs, the People’s Champion is front and center. If you watched wrestling as a youngster, this is a no-brainer, enjoy the nostalgia. If you didn’t, hit play and find out why so many kids found themselves interested in watching “The Tooth Fairy” when they found out the Brahma Bull was going to be the leading man.

Trust the Netflix original series

Whether or not creating series specifically in a format where viewers can binge on them all at once is a good idea is a different topic, but “House of Cards” proved Netflix knows how to make good picks. Power fetish aficionados the world over are boning to Kevin Spacey’s super talents, and horror fans are licking their lips at the gory goodness of Eli Roth’s werewolf series “Hemlock Grove.” It’s not an original, but Netflix also landed the reunion season of “Arrested Development,” and they’re making a damn strong case for not needing to ever watch cable again. Netflix could be HBO in five years in terms of original drama, you want to be there for the branding.

Rate stuff

Come on, you know this. Don’t be the guy from above who doesn’t mess with ratings and then complains about not getting worthwhile suggestions. Help the Flix help you.

Trust Netflix’s recommendations

Much like Amazon, the Netflix recommendation engine is a work of brilliance. If you’ve rated the things you’ve watched honestly, whatever Netflix tells you you’ll like, you will. No matter how much fun you think it would be to watch “Zombies vs. Strippers” ironically, it will not be as entertaining as you think. That predicted one star rating isn’t just for grins.

Watch “Troll Hunter”

In fact, if you take away only one item from this guide, let it be this one. You’re welcome.

Tags: Movies Netflix

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