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How good is Netflix as a replacement for LoveFilm?

So LoveFilm is over. DVDs and (later) Blu-Rays in the post, bought then later culled by Amazon on the altar of streaming services.

I’ve been using the service for years. When it came out it was like having a rental service which has loads of art-house, international and indie movies available. When Amazon bought it, I knew it was the start of the end.

The way my wife and I used it was to watch film review shows or get a recommendation from a friend or colleague and stick it on the list, or add things from a genre like the time I added all of the Mandarin Chinese speaking movies on LoveFilm. At some point in the future, we’d get a random disc in the post. Sometimes, the films would be terrible and I’d wonder why we put it on the list, sometimes it would be great.

The best thing was that if the film wasn’t out on DVD yet, or LoveFilm didn’t carry it, you could add it for later.

Amazon Prime and Netflix seem to be focussed on “I want to watch something now, what can I watch?”, rather than “I want to watch this thing at some point in the future.”. Also, if you search for something, you’re likely to get “no search results” or they’ll try to charge you £50 for a series of 80’s kids TV show Inspector Gadget (Amazon, I’m looking at you).

I’ve tried Netflix and Amazon Prime a few times, but can never find anything to watch. (I get access to NowTV every time a new season of Silicon Valley starts, then I cancel it when it’s over.) People can’t believe me when I say this, so I thought I’d do a quick bit of analysis.

Amazon LoveFilm provides a list of the last 200 films you rented on Amazon, and [0] is kind enough to provide an API so I squished them together and hacked together a script to extract the names of the films from the Amazon web page and a Node.js script to run against the API. It’s not going to be 100% accurate, of course.

const fetch = require('node-fetch');


for(var i = 0; i < images.length; i ++) { var alt = images[i].getAttribute('alt'); if(alt && alt !== 'Learn more') { console.log(alt); } }


const films = [
    'Jack Reacher',
    'The Croods',
    'The Place Beyond the Pines',
    'The Walking Dead - Season 1',
    '2001 Nights',
    'Wild At Heart',
    'Wreck-It Ralph',
    'Side Effects',
    'Garfield: As Himself',
    'How to Train Your Dragon',
    'A Serious Man',
    'The Neverending Story',
    'Nisemonogatari - Part 1',
    'Muppets from Space',
    'This Is 40',
    'Sarah Silverman - Jesus Is Magic',
    'Bill And Ted\'s Excellent Adventure',
    'How I Live Now',
    'Under the Skin',
    'The Story of Yonosuke',
    'The Machine',
    'Northern Exposure - Series 1',
    'The Man Who Fell to Earth',
    'The Bling Ring',
    'The Guilt Trip',
    'I, Frankenstein',
    'Sound Of My Voice',
    'The Double',
    'I Give It a Year',
    'SpongeBob SquarePants - SpongeBob Triton\'s Revenge',
    'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug',
    'Ip Man 2 - Legend Of The Grandmaster - Subtitled',
    'Karas - The Revelation',
    '22 Jump Street',
    'Full Time Killer',
    'Sukiyaki Western Django',
    'Zero Dark Thirty',
    'The World\'s End',
    'Rurouni Kenshin',
    'Kick-Ass 2 - Balls to the Wall',
    'The Zero Theorem',
    'Harry Potter and the Philosopher\'s Stone',
    'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Classics',
    'Ashes of Time Redux',
    'Fight Club',
    'Beast Stalker',
    'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Original Movie',
    'Only Lovers Left Alive',
    'Der Golem',
    'Examined Life',
    'The Signal',
    'Spirited Away',
    'LEGO Batman - The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite',
    'No Signal - Series 1 - Complete',
    'Alien vs. Ninja',
    'We Are the Best!',
    'Upstream Colour',
    'Benda Bilili',
    'The Punk Singer',
    'Earth to Echo',
    'Jackass Presents - Bad Grandpa',
    'Taken 2',
    'Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends - Series 1',
    'August: Osage County',
    'Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow',
    'Justin and the Knights of Valour',
    'Pulp: A Film About Life, Death, and Supermarkets',
    'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies',
    'Room 237',
    'Muppets Most Wanted',
    'True Blood - Series 6',
    'The Act of Killing',
    'This Is the End',
    'Monsters - Dark Continent',
    'The Darjeeling Limited',
    'True Blood - Series 7',
    'Maps to the Stars',
    'Kingsman - The Secret Service',
    'Blue Ruin',
    'Before I Go to Sleep',
    'Comic-Con: Episode IV - A Fan\'s Hope',
    'Mad Max - Fury Road',
    'The SpongeBob Movie - Sponge Out of Water',
    'Far from the Madding Crowd',
    '24 Hour Party People',
    'Hard to Be a God - Subtitled',
    'The Imitation Game',
    'Big Hero 6',
    'Inside Out',
    'Hotel Transylvania',
    'Song of the Sea',
    'Terminator - Genisys',
    'Tomorrowland - A World Beyond',
    'Beat Girl',
    'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck',
    'The Martian',
    'Mr. Holmes',
    'Bridge of Spies',
    'The Homesman',
    'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes',
    'Exodus - Gods and Kings',
    'The Hateful Eight',
    'The Emperor\'s New Clothes',
    'Portlandia - Season 1 and 2',
    'The Book of Life',
    'Ex Machina',
    'Portlandia - Season 3',
    'The Future',
    'Prince Avalanche',
    'Simon Amstell Live at the BBC',
    'Zoolander 2',
    'The Revenant',
    'Hardcore Henry',
    'Rams - Subtitled',
    'The Jungle Book',
    'Up The Yangtze',
    'Apollo 18',
    'The Angels\' Share',
    'Yakuza Apocalypse - Subtitled',
    'Why We Fight',
    'Children Of Men',
    'The Seven Per Cent Solution',
    'The Guillotines',
    'Bad Moms',
    'Pete\'s Dragon',
    'IP Man 3 - Subtitled',
    'The Angry Birds Movie',
    'Diary of a Wimpy Kid',
    'The Trip to Italy',
    'The Battery',
    'Finding Dory',
    'The Ploughman\'s Lunch',
    'The Lobster',
    'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban',
    'Louder Than Bombs',
    'Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 - Rodrick Rules',
    'Tiny Furniture',
    'Picnic at Hanging Rock',
    'Tron - Legacy',
    'The Man Who Knew Infinity',
    'Ghost in the Shell Arise: Borders Parts 1 and 2',
    'Miss Peregrine\'s Home for Peculiar Children',
    'Ghost in the Shell Arise: Borders Parts 3 and 4',
    'The Girl With All the Gifts',
    'Guardians of the Galaxy',
    'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie',
    'The Secret Life of Pets',

for (let i = 0; i < films.length; i += 1) {
    fetch('http://netflixroulette.net/api/api.php?title=' + escape(films[i]))
    .then(v => v.json())
    .then(v => {
        let onNetflix = true;
        if(v.errorcode) {
            onNetflix = false;

Don’t judge my family’s terrible taste, but the end results were that only 21% of the last 200 films we’ve watched are on Netflix, all the Hollywood, all the kids stuff etc. The best stuff just isn’t available on Netflix.

I’d better start looking for somewhere else to get good movies. Is Bittorrent still a thing?