30 12 2009

I don’t consider myself much of a movie person, but: I am totally groovin’ on Netflix.

Long ago, I watched movies. There were a couple of discount ($2 and $3) movies houses in Minneapolis that my (broke) friends and I would regularly attend, and my friend J. and I spent more than one Friday night wandering around. . . man, what was the name of that independent vid shop on Hennepin? Pandora? Pandemonium? something with a P . . . pulling VHS boxes off the shelves until we hit on something we were both in the mood for. And my friend and departmental director K. would often coax me to one of Montreal’s theatres.

But in Boston? No.

I could blame this on Boston, but, really, I just wasn’t in the mood. Not for years. Even when I lived with Paul in the unmentionable building in Bushwick—P. of the movie-hundreds—I didn’t watch many movies.

New movies, that is. I’d watch any old shit that flitted across cableland (how many times did I watch Independence Day and Peacemaker?), but actually investing myself in an unknown story was not something I cared to do.

But then I told my parents about Netflix, and they got on it and loved it and I thought, Shit, I’m tellin’ other people to do this, and I still can’t be bothered?

And I’m totally digging it.

It helps that I can watch it on my nifty external monitor (thanks for the Xmas $, mom and pop!), and I think that I have to go through this little ritual of maneuvering the monitor into place (I don’t use it for regular web surfing or writing), pulling my comfy chair forward, and dimming the lights, sets the mood.

I’ve also seen some good, really good, and even great, movies: A Christmas Tale. Blue. Let the Right One In. The Lives of Others (my favorite thus far). Rachel Getting Married. SerenityAway We Go.

I thought Syriana and Duplicity were only okay, but I don’t feel like I wasted my time in watching them.

And I watched a couple of old favorites—Hopscotch, Sneakers—as well as happily re-rotted my brain zipping through Armageddon and Notting Hill.

I think two things make Netflix work for me: One, the streaming. I was unwilling to pony up the dollars for cable, but had maintained that if I could get decent, limited cable or movie coverage for 10 bucks or so a month, I’d do it. Et voila: movies on demand and via mail, for under 10 bucks a month.

The second are the queues. I can find movies I want to watch at some point, and drag them into line. I don’t have to keep lists (as with books, which are on scattered bits of paper everywhere) on a movie I think I’d like, or might want to watch at some point when I’m in the mood for that sort of thing, but can plunk it into my queue and not worry about it.

It’d be nice if they had a search by-subject or keywords, but what search they do have is all right.

Anyway, this is an appreciation of Netflix, not a love song. (The usual demurral: brand-loyalty-is-for-suckers.)

And the appreciation is secondary, because, really, this is a love song to movies. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed dipping into another fully-formed reality, how much stories and characters and lives could affect me so much.

I think I stopped watching movies both because they could affect me so much, and so often, they didn’t affect me at all.

It’s nice, just to come back to that, that affect—affection. Yes.




2 responses

4 01 2010

The queue is a godsend. Gone from my life are randomly written lists, scribbled notes, and multiple computer files titled “movies to watch.” Now it’s all there on the list.

One of the things I also admire about Netflix is their business plan. They started only as DVDs-in-the-mail, but their business plan has proven flexible enough, and forward-thinking enough, to embrace new technologies and give the customer what they want. Whether it will last, no one can say, but for the moment, pretty impressive.

5 01 2010

Yeah, I won’t be surprised if at some point ‘unlimited streaming’ will be no more—so I’m watchin’ as many movies as I can before they clamp down!

And the queues are great. Any idea of how long they can get. . . ?

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