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Netflix Iron Bowl: Trends in Auburn and Tuscaloosa Movie Rentals, Week 6

Check out Week 1 here, Week 2 here, Week 3 here, Week 4 here, and Week 5 here.

Ever to Rory, never to yield?

We’re at the midway point in the regular season slates of both the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Each week we’ve kept track of trends in Netflix rental habits in order to see if we could see any sort of pattern emerging that would give insight into the mind of each team’s fanbase or give us a title that could accurately describe the team heading into their matchup. Although some would argue that these viewing habits have no bearing on the games on the field, I would ask them to keep an open mind and remember the significant impact fan enthusiasm and momentum can have on college football games. To the viewing charts!

The number one local favorite in Auburn this past week was Post Grad. This movie follows a young woman (Gilmore Girls ingenue Alexis Bledel) as she struggles to figure out life after college. Auburn fans were probably attracted to this movie because they, too, are unsure as to what the future holds for their team. After struggling against Florida Atlantic a week before, their Tigers went on the road and defeated a Top 10 South Carolina team. The win sparked a cautious optimism in the Auburn Family. They’ve proven they can win a big game against a good opponent (like finishing college) but can they leverage that momentum into a winning season and top tier bowl game (high paying job).

The uncertainty over the rest of the season is reflected in other local favorites, including Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch. The tagline for the film was, “You will be unprepared”… which perfectly captures what this young Auburn team brings to the table. In weeks one and two they won with late game heroics. In week three they surrendered an early lead on the road only to find out there would be no late game heroics. After five games there’s still no clear consensus on these Auburn Tigers. Although some might think Post Grad would suggest a wavering by Auburn faithful, the No. 20 local favorite, Limitless, suggests that they still believes in the potential of their young team If Auburn has shown anything, it’s that they’re ready to fight for a victory, no matter the odds (just like the protagonists in Sucker Punch).

If Netflix Local Favorites are any indication, the mood in Tuscaloosa is not as cautiously optimistic as it is in Auburn. The local favorites list is littered with horror films. Of course, watching horror films (Paranormal Activity 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and Scream 4) is the only way Bama fans can experience fear. Two weeks in a row, their team has made quick work of opponents thought to be tough tests for Nick Saban’s young men. When they’re not trying to find out what the fear of their opponents feels like, Alabama fans are remembering that their team is loaded from top to bottom with top-tier talent by watching X-Men: First Class. You’d get little argument from fans around the nation that the Crimson Tide has a team full of great athletes, some might even call them freaks. Charles Xavier would call them “gifted youngsters”.

So how are Tide fans preparing for this weekend’s game against Vanderbilt? They’ve decided to look to Drew Barrymore for guidance. I know what everyone’s thinking, that I’m going to stoop low and mention that Bama fans are relating to the Barrymore classic, Never Been Kissed, but I’m not. They’re preparing for the game with the film whose title perfectly captures what Alabama does to Vanderbilt’s backside each time they face off, Whip It.

What They’re Watching:

As I did last week, I’ve decided to forgo looking at what fans are watching in preparation for the big game of the week not involving teams from the State of Alabama. This week the matchup being ignored is Oklahoma vs. Texas. Somehow, the matchup is between two Top 11 teams (Texas? Really?). Personal confusion over Texas’ ranking aside, I will once again look at Auburn and Alabama’s opponents this week.

Auburn travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas Saturday night to take on the Razorbacks. So what’s the mood in Fayetteville? I think fans are cautiously optimistic, just like fans in Auburn. Fans have been watching the action-comedy Red this week. My keen intellect tells me that Fayetteville is watching this movie in defiance of those who said its team was overrated after their dismantling at the hands of Alabama. Just as the “retired and extremely dangerous” secret agents in Red, the Razorbacks proved with last week’s win over Texas A&M that they’re no pushover, and the blueprint for the rest of the season seems to have been laid out in Razorback fans’ viewing patterns. It seems that Arkansas natives have decided the best way to proceed is to focus on the things they can control.

This plan is obvious in the fact that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban checks in as the No. 5 local favorite. This is the only Potter film to not prominently feature “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. The blueprint for success is further laid out in the No. 2 local favorite 16 Blocks. The movie follows a police officer as he tries to escort a witness across town to testify as “powerful forces intent on keeping them from reaching their destination” do their best to keep him from being successful. Arkansas must take a page from Officer Jack Mosley’s playbook and worry only about their remaining schedule, not the powerful forces (Auburn, LSU and South Carolina, among others) trying to keep them from Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game.

So how are the Commodores preparing for their game under the lights in Bryant-Denny? It seems they’re turning to Tom Cruise for guidance. No, they’re not looking for spiritual guidance from the king of couch jumping and his fellow Scientologists, they’re following his example from War of the Worlds. Whether you’re fighting aliens or folks armed with sticks donning detergent boxes and toilet paper your best chance for success involves surviving the initial onslaught. Being the smart guys and gals they are, the folks from Vanderbilt know that once you survive the initial onslaught you’ve got to finish the game. Phase Two of their plan takes it’s cue from Catfish, the cautionary tale that shows us how quickly things that seem to be going well can go from good to bad: mere seconds.

Does Vanderbilt have a chance? Perhaps. The No. 2 local favorite, Fantastic Mr. Fox, leads me to believe that the Commodores will “dance with the girl that brung em”— their smarts. Outsmarting the Tide goes beyond Xs and Os. It will take Vandy playing sound fundamental football and committing very few penalties for them to prevent the game from getting out of hand and becoming a complete clustercuss.

Thanks for reading! Until 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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