Movie Stores and NetFlix...Canada
Going to movie stores used to be sweet. Even saying 'movie stores' sounds old as hell. Am I 108? To anybody under 11, yes. I am. People under 11 think 17 is old. I used to. "You're 17? Wow. What was WW2 like?"
Now, I know people will say "Why rent stuff anymore? Why not just download it? Or Stream it?" The answer to this is, sometimes I like to leave my house and talk to actual, human people.
Movie Stores like Rogers used to have movies in them. Actual movies. Movies that you had heard of. I went to a Rogers recently to rent the movie "Desperate Measures", starring Michael Keaton and sir Andy Garcia. Andy has not been officially knighted, but for this movie, he's on my list.
Either way, I couldn't find it on the shelf, so I asked the woman working there. "Excuse me, do you have Desperate Measures starring Sir Andy Garcia and Michael Keaton?" "I didn't know he was knighted", "The Queens back up right now, but he'll get there. Do you guys have it?". Long pause, then...."No, I'm sorry, we don't have it." I was shocked! "You don't have it? Why not?" "Maybe it's too old for us to carry." "Are you serious? Too old? It came out in 1998! How long ago do you think that was? In Rogers mind was there no running water then? " Let's all give thanks everyone, thanks that we lived through the horrible year that was 1998. A year full of fire, death, dragons, dial up, dastardly kings, and polio. Let us never speak of this retched time again."
What's crazy, is that they don't have a movie that was shown in theatres, but they have movies that didn't even PASS a theatre to get to this store. Movies that were brought in in a dark van with tinted windows, that were only driven down side streets so as to avoid the eggs people would throw. They have a movie starring Kimbo Slice. Kimbo! A Kimbo Slice movie! Over a movie starring actors who have at least taken classes, not just fought in alleys?! This seems crazy. Has anyone ever been watching a movie, and thought "Man, this actor is okay, but how would a man who became famous by fighting as if he was a angry high school student deliver these lines?"
Look at their racks of movies. Movies you have never even heard of. It looks like they took one of those movie bins from Wal-Mart, and put it on their walls. These are movies that don't even have previews! No word of mouth, nobody you know has seen it. You can't pick it up and go "Oh, I heard of this. Steve has seen it. He said it was alright". It's "Wow, what the hell is this? Jesus. Well, I guess I'll just take a chance on 'Jurassic Park 5- Dinosaur School' starring a person who lost on Dancing with the Stars. Hope it's good."
There's only about 10 movies in there that you have heard of. Then, aisles of things like 'Snakes on a Train', 'Anaconda 3' starring David Hasselhoff (I know that sounds like a joke, but it's an actual movie!) and a bunch of movies starring 50 Cent. Nice. These places need to close if this is what they are doing. But, then comes the reason some are shutting down. NetFlix. Ye ol Netflix. Watch whatever you want to watch. Kind of....
Netflix came to Canada a few months ago, and it seemed as though it was gonna be great. There weren't a ton of movies at the time, but there were promises that a lot more were coming. They did have Predator 2, and that, I'm sure, held everyone over.
Best thing was, documentaries. There were a ton of great documentaries on Netflix, and with the menus, you could some across ones you hadn't heard of, check the description, and give it a try. And the docs were broken up into different categories! Social, Crime, Nature, Political, you click on one of those, and you were looking at about 20 documentaries on the subject.
And then, for gods knows why, without warning, they changed those menus! Got rid of them! Now, they just have 'Documentaries' category. That's it. And instead of allowing you to look at all the docs they have, they only show about 70. Beyond that, you better know the name of the doc you want to search, or you're going to be guessing all night as to what a good one could be called. Before you could come across docs that you wouldn't have known about, as I did with a great doc about Harlan Ellison called "Dreams with Sharp Teeth". Why take that away from people? It's the same as if you walked into a movie store, and they have most of their docs hidden under a blanket. "Can I see what's under there?" "Can you guess one of the names of the movies?" "Ummm, no." Then step the hell away sir. Step the hell away".
There menus now are terrible. For example, what is the difference between 'Tv', and 'Television'? Is there one? NetFlix seems to think there is. Maybe Tv is for young, hip people who text, and television is for people who remember that 'Cheers' was a show and not just something young, hip people who text end all of their sentences with. "I'm gonna watch some Tv"." Oh, do you mean television? I remember when television used to be black and white." "Whatever grandma. See you later. Cheers". "What channel?!"
What could have possibly been their reason for changing the menus? "Hey, we've made these menus great! You can find and see everything!" "Woa, woa. Tone it down bud. We're only charging 8 bucks a month." "8 bucks?! Jesus. For this? People who pay that little don't deserve this. 8 bucks. Wow, you should have told me sooner. You know there were some people who paid 8 bucks and got something good?"
And woa! All those movies that were promised before showed up. But did you want to watch something that is alright on NetFlix? What? You did! Well, you are out of luck sir! How about "The 40 year Old Virgin who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and felt Super Bad about it"? Watch it! NetFlix says watch it! Or, how about "The Gay Bed and Breakfast". It's there. Get it! Or, hold on! You've been wanting to watch all of the Leprechaun movies back to back right? All 6? From the first one with Jennifer Aniston, all the way to 'Back to the Hood'? Man, you're lucky. NetFlix has them! Two of those movies are rated 0. Absolute 0! And they have two movies about the hood. Two! One franchise! ! Imagine if Rocky had gone back to Russia? "Rocky Five -Drago gets it again" I'm sure some Frat house will film it soon, and NetFlix will be the first people to jump on it.
Or hey, maybe you wanted to watch 'Dirty Work'. Norm McDonald, Artie Lang. Good choice. Type it into the menu, and lo and behold, it's there! Then you go to watch it, and find out it's one of those terrible B movies, called 'Dirtier Work'. Menu says they have Dirty Work. Menu is wrong. But that's what you wanted right? To watch a movie that ALMOST has the same name as a movie you know? No! Of course not! If you wanted to see Dirtier work, or any number of the American Pies after 2, they would have been in a theatre.
All the movies on NetFlix should be broken up into two categories. "Movies that you like, or have at least heard of" and "Movies that are ironically funny in title alone, and you'll be a hero for just a minute when you say to a friend "Look at this horrible piece of trash!", then instantly a loser when they try to watch it and everyone realizes that you , and this movie, are not funny, or witty, just terrible, and everyone wants you out of their house."
Maybe I should just download or stream movies the way most do. I would save 8 bucks a month, and I wouldn't have to try to explain to something that we also had medicine in 98.