It happens to all Netflix subscribers eventually. Your buddy the film buff drags you to a revival of Antonioni’s L’Avventura. To your surprise, you find yourself rapt. Upon returning home, you log in to your Netflix account and move La Notte, the second film in Antonioni’s ennui trilogy, to the top of your queue. It arrives a few days later, just as L’Avventura’s spell is starting to wear off. You watch Anchorman instead. You totally still want to see La Notte … but now you’ve mailed Anchorman back and here is Ghost Rider —starring Nic Cage! La Notte can wait. And it does. For weeks. You’re never quite in the mood to watch it, but you can’t quite bring yourself to return it, either.
Back in the days of the late fee, there was no shame in returning a movie unwatched. You had every intention of settling in for an evening with Jean Renoir, but then the dog ate a Lego, there was a great rerun of Frasier on, and next thing you knew the tape was due at the video store. Oh well. With Netflix, sending a disc back unviewed feels like an admission of failure. You thought you had the patience to sit through Interiors. Turns out you didn’t.
Slate readers: Which Netflix movie has sat the longest atop your media center? As we enter the slow movie weeks that come after the summer blockbuster season but before the big fall rollouts, it’s imperative to have your Netflix account firing on all cylinders. Tell us your tales of cinematic stalemate, and we’ll try to identify what kinds of movies are most likely to remain in their little sleeves, unwatched yet unreturned.
Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET. Then check this space next week: We’ll tell you what movies have hung up your fellow Slate readers and offer some strategies for avoiding the land of no return.