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

It's Friday night, and Coach Dye's DVD of "Tequila Mockingbird" arrived just in time.

As a Political Scientist, I’m always curious to see trends in human behavior. Whether it’s voting trends or public opinion, I’m fascinated looking at the links between certain patterns and what people actually do. So it goes without saying I was excited to put these “skills” to the test as a contributor to The War Eagle Reader. The idea came from Jeremy’s wife Jennie, who suggested it’d be fun to see if wins or losses affected the rental patterns of Netflix users in college towns, specifically Auburn and Tuscaloosa. Does a week one loss cause folks to rally together and watch 300? Or does a week one loss lead fans to further their depression with a downer like Old Yeller?*

I think it’s only fitting that we begin with the home of the national champions.

The Top 25 Local Favorites for Auburn support the idea that The Auburn Family (TM) is comprised of many unique individuals with many unique tastes. ‘Cause the list for Auburn runs the gamut of genres. The top movie in Local Favorites? Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. The third most popular movie is Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. These choices are inexplicable… so inexplicable that I can only guess The Auburn Family (TM) is still trying to figure out what compelled Harvey Updyke to poison the Toomers Oaks and have therefore delved into the darkest depths of the human psyche: terrible sequels.

Looking across the state and up in the polls, we look at the Local Favorites of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The 2nd most popular movie on the list is Rubber. This strange film is about a tire named Robert that uses its “strange psychic powers to blow up birds, bunnies, human beings and more.” I’ve actually seen the movie; it’s not that bad. It’s not that good, either. My guess is Alabama fans were attracted to the movie because the movie centers around the idea of “no reason;” The movie explicitly states in its opening that “life itself is filled with no reason”.

Why are Bama fans watching this movie? I think it’s simple. They want to know why their in-state rival won a national championship a year after they did. They’re still wondering why the “Meltdown in T-Town” occurred last November. It’s only natural that they’d begin to question their beliefs, that they’d start to think that there is no reason in life. They’re wrong, of course—they lost because Auburn was better.

Week One’s Matchup of Note: Boise State vs. Georgia.

I kid you not— the top movie in Boise is Cabaret. Does that not perfectly describe the Boise State Broncos? For most of the people who have seen Cabaret multiple times it doesn’t get much better in terms of musicals. Those that have never seen it make jokes about the movie. In reality the movie is probably decent. Whether it is truly the classic its proponents believe can only be determined by comparing it with other good musicals. What the hell am I talking about? I’m simply saying those who have seen Boise on multiple occasions believe they can compete for a national title and those that haven’t believe teams from major conferences are better (like other good musicals).

One of the top 3 titles among Athens’ residents is Dawn of the Dead (2004)… which could be a fitting description of the Georgia Bulldogs. To say they underachieved last year would be putting it lightly. Can Coach Mark Richt reanimate his team after a dreadful year? Will the program come back to life and take revenge on those that doubted them? Beating Boise State would go a long way in proving that they are ready to compete for a conference championship. Bulldog fans should hope that their season doesn’t end up like the number 14 Athens’ Local Favorite, M. Night Shyamalan’s, The Village. We all know how those things are: all hype, no delivery, with a ridiculous plot twist.

Check back next week!

*Disclaimer: These are just general observations, mainly for humorous purposes. In actuality, these patterns would be influenced by any number of factors, chief among them: How many Netflix subscribers are in an area (and what constitutes a Netflix member). But it’s the first weekend of football—everything else has been discussed ad nauseum.

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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