One great value of having a Netflix or other on-demand internet streaming media account is the access they give subscribers to hundreds of independent films that never make it to theatres--and especially never to small market theatres like the ones in our area.
Independent films are just that: they are made and released without much corporate film support and usually debut in places like the Sundance Film Festival. If films do well in the festival environment they attract investors and are prepared for a broader release. The 2005 independent film Elizabethtown, starring Orlando Bloom, is one such example. If you get a chance, it is a film worth watching.
These low budget films are often the training ground for new filmmakers, technicians, and opportunities for actors who want to experiment with their craft. The 2010 film The Extra Man starring Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly, and Katie Holmes is exactly that kind of film.
The plot of The Extra Man is about a failed playwright played by Kevin Kline, who becomes a mentor to a much younger man who is a troubled, cross-dressing, aspiring writer to whom Kline sublets a room in his New York apartment. Summarily, Kline and his mentee (the always odd Paul Dano) are "extra men," who accompany and entertain wealthy older women in their social lives. Along the way, Dano encounters Mary Powell, played by Katie Holmes, and an eccentric neighbor, Gershon, played by John C.Reilly.
I enjoyed the film quite a lot, but it got terrible reviews including a 5.4 rating out of 10 from Rotten Tomatoes, a film industry rating organization. Kline and Dano develop interesting characters that are fun to watch, but the marvelous John C. Reilly delivers an excruciatingly incompetent performance that probably accounted for the film's mostly negative reviews. You have to see how bad Reilly is to believe it. Katie Holmes was...Katie Holmes.
There is no particular reason to watch The Extra Man but I review it solely for the purpose of saying that if you're a film buff, don't mind watching a sincere failure now and then, and can find delight in the odd diamond in the rough that the occasional independent film can be, take a look at what your on-demand provider has in the Independent Film category.