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Opposite Sexes, Opposite Netflix Interests = Schism

Updated on February 5, 2013

Biting the Bullet

If you are married or in a long-term relationship -- plus if you use Netflix -- this will seem all too familiar. You finally finish with Saturday chores, have dinner, and decide to relax by watching a DVD you rented. You open the sealed red-and-white envelopes and re-familiarize yourself with the movies you selected.

Your spouse/significant other joins you on the couch and reads the descriptions on the sleeves to each DVD. One by one she tosses them carelessly, with disgust, onto the coffee table. Then she says it, "Why can't you ever rent something that I can watch?"

If you selected a sci fi film, a horror movie, or a war flick, you can see her point. But, you feel pinched by her remark and attitude because you actually spent an hour or more scanning the Netflix library to find films that (supposedly you would both enjoy.

Thus, instead of that relaxing video viewing you were looking forward to, you've got a steamed-up spouse, and, probably no films you can watch together. This is discouraging on several levels. First of all it looks like the evening will be ruined. Secondly, the interchange demonstrates that you have less in common with your beloved than you imagined.

Home Entertainment?

The Convenience and Pitfalls of Netflix
The Convenience and Pitfalls of Netflix

The Motion Picture Rift

"I Thought You'd Enjoy "Prometheus."  It Forces You to Think for a Change."
"I Thought You'd Enjoy "Prometheus." It Forces You to Think for a Change."

The Wife Enjoys...

What does my wife enjoy? Cartoons -- whether by Pixar or Disney. If the show doesn't have talking animals, you are walking on thin ice. I have rented a lot of cartoon material (including both Tinker Bell flicks). I enjoy "finely made" cartoons for their artistry and often for the accompanying music. This is okay with me, and I don't complain. But, I wouldn't care for a steady diet of "Shrek."


My wife is a fan of comedy, but I find very little good material in this genre, and even here we have divergent ideas about what is funny. I enjoy most of Woody Allen's efforts, but my wife hates him -- especially when he has a role in the film. Coming from Russia, I think she has retained a national disdain for Jews, so we have to steer toward less intellectual material.

So, I've tried renting films with big-name stars who I think are good in other genres. This is more of a miss a hit and miss approach.

Woody Allen - More Hits Than Misses

Woody on the Beach -- Apparently Not Worried About Spiders
Woody on the Beach -- Apparently Not Worried About Spiders

Pillow Talk (1959)

I got lucky this last weekend with a 1959 film starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day, called "Pillow Talk." I had seen this numerous times in my childhood, but after a 50-year hiatus, I found the film to be a good older movie.

Doris Day and Rock Hudson in "Pillow Talk"
Doris Day and Rock Hudson in "Pillow Talk"

Russian Production

A Russian Production of a Lady With a Dog (adapted from a story by Anton Chekov)
A Russian Production of a Lady With a Dog (adapted from a story by Anton Chekov)

Phantom of the Opera (movie)

Documentaries are out of the question, unless they are about animals and DO NOT depict any tragic scenes.

In short, my wife has a narrow range of acceptable viewing material. I always bear this in mind when I place an order, but right now I'm batting below 50%.

My wife grew up in Moscow without a TV until she was in her twenties (imagine that). Her preference is to read light Russian mystery novels on her Kindle.

She has walked out of the living room on several occasions after viewing five to ten minutes of a Netflix-selected DVD.

Other than movie watching (when the planets are aligned), we don't have much in common and don't do anything together. She has her world, I have mine. We've been married over ten years, so I try to tell myself this is normal behavior for a "seasoned" couple.


We both enjoy the old Sherlock Holmes' films, and we've watched quite a few.

In conclusion, I am running out of ideas. I'm tempted to rent what I think I will like and let my wife read her books. As you can see this movie watching experience is probably the last shared experience time for us (unless you count grocery shopping).

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Homes
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Homes


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