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The Netflix stream is full of surprises. It contains either classic movies to catch up on or random movies that didn’t exactly get a lot of box office limelight. Sometimes this means they are awful. We’ve seen many of those. But that is not always the case. For example this weekend we saw “The Jone$es.”

I had never heard of this movie. But it had a decent cast, so we decided to watch it.

It was a weird movie, but it sucked me in instantly. The movie is a satire of our very commercial and consumer driven culture. The Joneses work for a company and are not a real family, but they move to a neighborhood pretending to be the perfect family and own every top of the line consumer product. Their job is to completely integrate themselves into the new community, and use their perfect lifestyle to influence others to buy the same products. Their sales are tracked monthly to meet sales quotas. They are selling a “lifestyle” and not necessarily just one type of product.

This movie reminded me a bit of American Beauty, but it was obviously not made well enough to get that kind of attention. But the point was clear.

Without giving too much away their influence on the community was both positive and negative, and it showed the effects of focusing too much on materialistic goods versus true meaning of family. Cue some cheesiness.

In general, the movie might get 3 stars in my book (or on my Netflix queue), but I really liked the message in the movie. I thought the movie was refreshingly different from all the other movies we usually watch.

Of course it was exaggerated in the movie, but it made me realize how influenced we are by what others have. Friends (and blogs) are really the best form of advertising and we don’t even always realize it.

I may see something on a blog and not think about wanting it. But then I’m at Target or Trader Joe’s and I see that product and I grab it because I’ve seen someone else wear it/eat it/use it and it catches my attention more than something I haven’t seen before. Of course there’s the other occasions, when I see something on a friend and instantly know I can’t live another day until I get my own version… luckily that doesn’t happen as much, as maybe in the 7th grade, but it definitely still does!

I can think of a bunch of items I have gotten that were influenced by blogs… like this dress, and this product, the Birchbox, oh and I would have never even noticed this dress if I hadn’t seen it on someone first. I swear, A.K, I don’t have a shopping problem.

I think it’s a great form of finding out about fun products before you buy, as long as the shopping doesn’t get out of hand, of course 😉

Have you seen this movie? How influenced are you by products you see others use? Has blogging made you buy more than usual?