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Netflix Iron Bowl: Trends in Auburn and Tuscaloosa Movie Rentals, Week 2

Check out Week 1 here.

A documentary that “follows the 1994 exodus of refugees from Cuba to Miami.” Interesting choice, Auburn.

As we turn the page from week one of college football and look to week two we once again take a peek at what fans in Auburn and Tuscaloosa are watching, looking for any indications that their respective team’s fortunes influence their viewing habits. Auburn, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, won a close opener thanks to some late game heroics. Alabama, on the other hand, had no problems dismantling Kent State, looking strong in victory and ready to take on Penn State.

So did the close win for the Auburn Tigers produce any noticeable shifts in the Local Favorites for Auburn, Alabama? One could definitely make the argument. The top movie in Auburn as of this writing is Oscar-nominated documentary Balseros. Last week the list was populated with comedies and fantasy fare, but Saturday’s close call with a very game set of Utah State Aggies was undoubtedly a reality check for many Auburn fans. Last season on The Plains was the stuff of Hollywood legend— an unknown stranger rolls into town and joins forces with the locals to change the world. Things like that are probably too good to last. We’ll tell our children and grandchildren stories about Cameron Newton and the 2010 Auburn Tigers and they in turn will pass down the team’s legacy through the ages. It’s a wonderful story, but Coach Chizik and his team have moved on and according to Netflix, fans have to.

Balseros is an interesting selection for the top local favorite for another reason. The movie “follows the 1994 exodus of refugees from Cuba to Miami.” As you already know, late in the 4th quarter Utah State scored a touchdown to take a 10 point lead over the defending national champions. It appeared as if the Auburn raft had taken on a few extra passengers over the past year or so, with these newest passengers planning to escape before landing on the shores of what they seemed sure was defeat. Of course, the Auburn Faithful stuck by their young team and were treated to one of the most exciting finishes I’ve ever seen in person.

Over the next few years, the stories of 2010 will continue to grow into Auburn Legend and become an even greater part of our program’s storied history. It was fun while it lasted, but time marches on. There’s a new set of young Tigers roaming The Plains this year and their story has all the makings of a good one. Their close call brought fans back to reality and helped us realize that each team has it’s own unique story to tell. Rounding out the list of Auburn favorites is the Coen Brothers’ remake of the John Wayne classic, True Grit. Which seems fitting—this young team displayed true grit in fighting until the final seconds to secure the first victory of the season.

So how did fans in Tuscaloosa react to their workmanlike victory over Kent State? The confusion that seemed to be coming from Tuscaloosa before the first game seems to have lifted and given way to a more positive attitude. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family has moved up the list, becoming the 3rd most popular movie in Tuscaloosa, while Rubber, our local Tuscaloosa favorite of focus last week, has fallen off the map. It appears that the Tide faithful are in a good mood and have stopped dwelling on the theme of “no reason”.

Tuscaloosans seem to have experienced a significant shift in their cinematic sensibilities following the Tide’s convincing victory. Several movies have jumped onto the local favorites list, while others have dropped off completely. One of the more curious new choices is Faster. This Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson vehicle is centered on a man who leaves prison with the mission of seeking revenge on those responsible for putting him there. You have to wonder if fans in Tuscaloosa are fired up after dwelling on last season’s losses to LSU and Auburn all off season. Perhaps Crimson Tide fans are ginning up their emotions for revenge with Faster.

Game of the Week:

Last week we were fortunate to have two marquee games, Oregon vs. LSU and Boise State vs. Georgia. For lack of interesting games outside those involving Auburn and Alabama, I’ve decided to focus in on the most historically significant game of the week: Notre Dame’s visit to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines in the first night game ever played in The Big House.

So what are fans watching in South Bend? Well, you can definitely tell they’re longing for the good ol’ days when The Irish were consistently contending for national championships. Only one of the top five local favorites was released after the turn of the century, 2004’s Merchant of Venice (but that movie is based on a Shakespearean play). Old glory… old movies… obvious connection.

How are fans in Ann Arbor feeling coming off of their weather-secured victory? If what they’re watching is any indication, there seems to be some confusion among the maize and blue. Two local favorites, Catfish and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, seem to indicate two diverging opinions about new coach Brady Hoke. Those who have seen Catfish are the one’s likely taking a wait and see approach after the Rich Rodriguez debacle. Sure the relationship can start off really well, but then things can get weird… really weird. The excitement that comes with a new coach can be seen in politics with the honeymoon effect, when an incoming president experiences a high approval rating for a few months after being elected, because everyone is excited about their potential, but ultimately, success is measured over time.

The Forgetting Sarah Marshall crowd are the opposite. They’ve probably been hesitant to embrace another coaching change at U of M. I’m guessing, though, that they’ve seen things they like and will eventually realize things with Coach Rich Rodriguez weren’t going as well as they had hoped. As far as the final outcome for the Wolverines you have to imagine the number four local favorite, The Game, is most likely the best indicator of how things will shake out. There are going to be ups and downs, twists and turns and fans will end up having to wait until the end of the season to be sure exactly how they feel about their new coach.

Check back next week!

Stephen Savage writes at “Movies ‘n Munchiesand is considered by his mother to be the best blogger on all things movie and food related. Holding two degrees from Auburn University, Stephen is proud to call himself an Auburn Man. He currently spends his time working on his blog. He is available for freelance work and retirement parties.  Follow his blog on Twitter @moviesnmunchies.

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