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Ridley Scott Thinks Netflix Could Use Some Quality Control

We live in a spoiled era, where anyone with a phone and Netflix password can walk around with hundreds of thousands of hours' worth of TV and movies in their pocket. But the embarrassment of riches, massive as it is, is not without its drawbacks, and with the DVD-mailer-turned-streaming-service pressing forward into the realm of original programming at a breakneck speed, some commentators are wondering if the company is beginning to value quantity over quality. 

One person commenting on Netflix's strategy with some concern is none other than Ridley Scott, a prolific director who knows a thing or two about content production, considering the two dozen or so movies he's been involved with just as a director over the course of his career. 

According to Scott, Netflix's production model right now has less of the trappings of the Hollywood gatekeeper of yesteryear and a lot more in common with "a catapult", and the filmmaker's advice to the company is that "they keep their eye on that."

Scott made the comments to Vulture while making the rounds on his "can you believe I pulled that off" post-reshoots All the Money in the World press tour, where the 80-year-old spent most of the time talking about how easy it is for him to run laps around other filmmakers when it comes to productivity while, presumably, spinning a basketball around on his finger. 

But Scott also got into discussing the perils of development hell, and gave his seal of approval to Netflix for avoiding the trap of producing a movie to death—with a caveat.

"The great thing about Netflix right now is that it's like a catapult, because they just want content and lots of it," Scott said. "Do they care so much about the quality? Less about it, and they should keep their eye on that. But they've got $8 billion to spend next year, just on content."

"I see a movie a night, so it's perfect," he added.

The network previously made clear its plans to release 80 original movies in 2018, or roughly one new movie every four-and-a-half days—and that's not even touching the streaming service's original television slate, which will also see new seasons and new series next year. 

In other words, Netflix's rush to populate its library with capital-C Content, while awesome for creators, also runs the risk of producing serious wastes of everyone's time. There's also the not-quite-quantifiable phenomenon of viewers being overwhelmed with the glut of options they've never heard of and short-circuiting, giving up on finding something new to fall into something familiar instead.

Either way, what Netflix is doing right now is working, for the moment. With such lofty ambitions made explicit, however, it's just easy to see all the ways the company's big plan might fall apart.

Scott's All the Money in the World is, against all odds, in theaters now. If you don't feel like trekking out to your local cinema—well, there's probably something new on Netflix.