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Netflix Iron Bowl: Trends in Auburn and Tuscaloosa Movie Rentals, Week 8

Check out Week 1 here, Week 2 here, Week 3 here, Week 4 here, Week 5 here, Week 6 here, and Week 7 here.


It’s hard to believe, but we have arrived at week 8 of the college football season. Interestingly, both Auburn and Alabama are both around the same positions they began the year in the polls—Alabama at the top and Auburn looking up somewhere near the middle. Although the two teams are in roughly the same place, their fan bases have experienced a myriad of emotions. We’ve been tracking the mood of each fan base—at least the portion made up of people in their respective college towns—from week to week by looking at what movies each has been watching, hoping to find some insight into whether or not the highs and lows of football influences movie selection. So let’s again take a look at the Local Favorites of Auburn and Tuscaloosa.

Auburn’s season has been on filled with ups and downs. The Tigers started on a high note, winning games in dramatic fashion, even knocking off a Top 10 team before more or less hitting a wall on offense over the past few weeks. So what have Auburn fans been watching in preparation for their team’s visit to Baton Rouge to take on the number 1 team in the country? It appears that fans are looking for any help they can get, even if it comes in the form of magic. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” are two of the Top 5 movies being watched in Auburn, Alabama.

Why is Harry Potter so appealing? For one thing, he’s young. This Tigers team is short on veterans and you have to believe fans feel good knowing that experience isn’t always a prerequisite for success. A second point of inspiration comes from Mr. Potter being a survivor. Not only did he survive an early attack from He Who Must Not Be Named, but throughout his life he’s overcome impossible odds and horrible monsters. A key to the game for Auburn will be surviving the early onslaught that is sure to come from the home-standing LSU Tigers. This attack is not unlike the one The Dark Lord unleashed upon a baby Harry Potter. If Auburn can weather the storm they can work to overcome the “impostors” that show up throughout the game, just as Mr. Potter overcame obstacles year after year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

It appears the Auburn Family is also hoping to have a bit of magic up their sleeve as they head into Tiger Stadium with a first time starter at quarterback, Clint Moseley. Fans in Auburn have been watching “Hocus Pocus”, which for my money is the best movie about witches starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker ever. Maybe that’s just me.

All kidding aside, it appears Auburn fans are remaining optimistic about the new guy under center. “Scream 4” being a local favorite indicates that this is the case. Auburn made the change at quarterback coming out of halftime last week against Florida. Although Moseley didn’t put up amazing numbers, you could tell that his presence brought a much needed spark to the Auburn offense. This is exactly what the latest “Scream” movie did for a franchise whose 3rd installment was a bit outlandish. “Scream 4” marks a reboot of the franchise and gives fans hope that the franchise is heading in an upward direction after “Scream 3.” Auburn fans hope that Moseley’s installation as quarterback will be the “Scream 4” for the Auburn offense (he’ll serve as a solid reboot).

This season has gone about as well as could be expected in Tuscaloosa. Sure the Crimson Tide aren’t the top team in the land, but if they win all of their games, they’re sure to play for the BCS Championship (barring some sort of anti-SEC conspiracy). So what can we learn about how the Tide’s season from Tuscaloosa’s “Local Favorites”? A couple of things. One is that fans are looking forward to the next few games. This week Alabama plays host to their rival Tennessee in Tuscaloosa and two weeks from now they play the No. 1 LSU Tigers. For the most part, Alabama has steamrolled their opponents thus far. Fans know this and their viewing habits reflect it. “The Hangover” made the list of Local Favorites. “The Hangover” is a perfect example of how forgettable most of the Tide’s games have been this year. Sure there have been some memorable moments this season, but the way Alabama has made quick work of most opponents has to have fans clamoring for a marquee matchup with a top-tier team. They’ll get their wish in two weeks.

I don’t think many in Tuscaloosa would disagree with anyone saying that anything less than an SEC Championship season would be a disappointment for Nick Saban’s team. Early in the season I noted that fans in Tuscaloosa were preparing for the season by watching “The Hit List”, noting that the Tide had to be looking to avenge losses to LSU and Auburn last year. “The Hit List” has returned to the Local Favorites list after a brief hiatus. In Tuscaloosa they know the time for revenge is almost upon them. Remembering last season’s painful losses has to remind the Tide Faithful of another fact. Auburn and Cam Newton took what had rested in Tuscaloosa until the end of last season, a crystal football and statue of a football player giving a stiff-arm, and began displaying them in their own trophy case on The Plains. Tide fans haven’t forgotten it and plan on getting back their belongings. The fact that folks in Tuscaloosa are watching “Something Borrowed” says as much.

What They’re Watching:

Since Auburn and Alabama began conference play in earnest I’ve been focusing in on what each week’s opponent has been watching. It’s fun to see how opposing fans have been feeling heading into each Saturday. So what’s been inspiring fans in Baton Rouge? Well it seems that one thing fans haven’t been throwing out this week are “high fives” in light of the suspensions of three players, including star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, for Saturday afternoon’s game against Auburn. The news has obviously dampened enthusiasm in Baton Rouge as evidenced by the number three Local Favorite, “Tyler Perry’s Laugh to Keep from Crying.”

Although the mood seems to be a bit down, fans seem to be moving forward, just like Coach Les Miles says the team is. Fans are taking an “all in” approach. The fact that a movie entitled “All The King’s Men” is the top movie in Baton Rouge suggest that players and fans alike know that the only way to weather the storm is to have all hands on deck and have everyone step up their game.

How have Knoxville citizens been preparing for their team’s trip to rival Alabama? They seem to be looking to find some inspiration from the past and conjure up some of the greatness that once resided on Rocky Top. The Baz Luhrmann homage to old Hollywood epics, “Australia” appears to be one of the sources of inspiration. Fans are also hoping for a return to greatness by watching “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” Can the Volunteers recapture some of that magic and topple the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa? Perhaps, but it didn’t work out too well for this guy’s team last week.

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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