Oh, Netflix!

Silly, silly Netflix! I want to love you, but sometimes you make it so difficult. First there was the price-hike. I wasn’t happy about it, but it also wasn’t difficult to simply cancel the DVD portion of my family’s membership. We mostly stream stuff anyway, and DVDs would sit here for weeks and months without being watched. But then you started enforcing your policy (which was news to me, but that’s another rant) of only allowing accounts to stream on one device at a time. Come on! You know that some nights my husband watches something on the TV downstairs, and I want to watch something else on my iPad or PC. What’s wrong with that? I pay you! But no, you gotta make things all complicated.

Then you say you’re going to split off the DVD stuff into Qwikster (seriously – WORST. COMPANY. NAME. EVER.). Then — oh no, wait! You’re not going to do that after all. I went from thinking “oh well, here comes the greedy part as they get ready to sell off the DVD side of the business” to just plain thinking you’re off your meds. Crikey!

But mostly I’m just getting kind of annoyed at you because the streaming selection seems like it’s getting WORSE, not better. You keep touting all these deals for new content, so how come nothing that I want to watch is ever available? Here’s just a sample of the things I’ve searched for, and been disappointed by the lack of, on Netflix Streaming in the past few months:

– The Harvey Girls
– Singin’ in the Rain
– The Black Cat
– Poltergeist
– Night of the Living Dead (1990)
– Alien or Aliens or Alien 3 or Alien: Resurrection
– The Muppet Show
– Vertigo or Rope or North by Northwest or The Birds or The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) or The Trouble with Harry
– Scooby-Doo movies and tv shows (You have ONE currently. My daughter loves these. What happened to the others you used to offer?)
– Fargo
– Return to Oz
– Stephen King’s IT
– The Shawshank Redemption
– The Shining (original OR mini-series remake)
–  The Seventh Seal
– Rashomon
– Kung Fu Hustle
– The Royal Tenenbaums
– Rushmore
– The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
– Any opera or classical music performances or ballet
– The Man Who Laughs

Don’t get me wrong, I do like some of the stuff you’ve made available recently (I love being able to re-watch all those old seasons of “Dark Shadows,” for example), but more and more I can’t find what I want when I want it. And I often end up using Amazon VOD instead. Sometimes even when I have to pay per title! Yes, THANK YOU for making The Big Lebowski continuously available so that I can watch it once a month without digging for my DVD. But come on – no Wes Anderson available at all? And thank you for having Jackie Brown, which I love, but what about Pulp Fiction? Inglorious Basterds? Kill Bill?

 

To Creep You Out Even Further…

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining: scary movie, or scariest movie? I’ve watched it many times, and that shot of Jack in the maze at the end ALWAYS gets me. *shudder* But last night I watched something that creeped me out in an even more disturbing way, and actually gave me some trouble falling asleep!

A lot of folks have been linking to Rob Ager‘s very detailed analysis of films, including The Shining. I’ve read several, and watched a few of his video analyses, and they ARE fascinating. If you’re a film buff with a few hours to kill, his page will keep you interested and entertained for sure. But last night I was reading his long and detailed essay on The Shining, and this section in particular really got to me: “CHAPTER TWENTY: TWO LITTLE GIRLS, ABOUT EIGHT AND TEN.” Many of Rob’s essays feature revelations that have only been possible with the advent of HD video; some things are simply not noticeable or even visible in lower-quality (i.e., VHS) versions of these films. This chapter, in particular, explores something in one of the film’s most iconic scenes (the blood coming out of the elevator) that I’d never noticed before. And now that I’ve seen it, I wish I could un-see it, it just creeped me out that badly! This video analysis in particular is really disturbing (and it doesn’t help that Rob has edited it with purposely scary music cues).

People, I am warning you: if you don’t want to be utterly creeped out, do NOT click on the link to that video I just posted above. If it’s too late, and you’ve already clicked it, STOP WATCHING. Especially if you’re sitting alone in your home office in a dark house late at night after everyone else has gone to sleep. 😉

For those of you who went ahead and watched it anyway: WTF!! WHAT WAS THAT!?! HOLD ME!!!!

Hulu Plus: It’s a Minus

Prepare to receive my unsolicited opinion on Hulu Plus, Hulu’s $7.99 a month streaming service that is supposed to compete with Netflix:

IT SUCKS.

My husband signed up for the one-week free trial, so we tried Hulu Plus out on our Roku. I was NOT impressed. The interface, compared to Netflix and even Amazon VOD, is clunky. But most annoying were the commercials. TONS OF COMMERCIALS. I tried to watch an episode of Parks and Recreation (Season 3, Episode 1), and before the damn episode even started, I had to watch FOUR commercials. Two straight minutes of irritation right there (at least when I’m watching something with commercials on my computer, I can do other things and ignore them until they’re over). Then there were another two commercials at every normal commercial break in the program.

I guess I’ve gotten spoiled by Netflix, where there are NO commercials at all, but watching an episode on Hulu Plus was so annoying, before it was over I’d decided I would never do it again. $7.99 a month to watch commercials? NO THANKS. For $7.99 a month I can stream shows and movies from Netflix with no commercials, and for $2 more I can have one DVD out at a time too. Yeah, I get that Hulu Plus can offer more recent seasons, but so what? I’m pretty sure Season 3 of P&R will be on Netflix Streaming by this fall when it comes out on DVD. If not, I’ll just get the DVDs as part of my 1 DVD at a time plan. Or I’ll pay $38.99 and stream Season 3 in HD right now from Amazon VOD. It is worth it to me to watch without annoying commercials.

So my summary of Hulu Plus is: TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY.

(By the way, if you have no idea what a Roku is, you really need check it out. IT ROCKS.)

Obscure Facts

Here’s some stuff about me that you probably didn’t know…

– I once saw David Copperfield live. It was corny but entertaining.

– I am obsessed with 30s-40s-50s swing music. This is probably a big reason why I have played so many hours of Fallout 3 – I can’t stop listening to Three-Dog on Galaxy News Radio.

– I am also obsessed with Cleveland-style polka music, which I grew up dancing to at every prom and wedding, and watching on “Polka Varieties” on Sunday mornings. I am a FABULOUS polka-er.

– I used to be addicted to perms. Even though now I am a confirmed pixie cut addict (aka the lesbian soccer mom look), I still sometimes think longingly of having a perfect spiral perm a la Jennifer Grey in “Dirty Dancing.”

– Speaking of the lesbian soccer mom look, I love Jamie Lee Curtis and I feel embarrassed for her whenever one of those Activia commercials comes on. I don’t know why; I suppose she’s just paying the bills. And also, I don’t know if it really helps your digestive system, but I tried the yogurt and didn’t like it – too runny.

– I’m starting to think that “Howards End” is my favorite movie, ever. Maybe I should buy the new Criterion Collection DVD, so I can watch it whenever I want.

– My favorite movie, by far, used to be “Army of Darkness,” and I used to watch it EVERY NIGHT, on VHS. Yes, I had a thing for Bruce Campbell, what can I say?

(Please note, the following trailer for Howards End gives away pretty much the whole movie.)

Did I Ever Tell You About…

..the first time I ever saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show?” It was some time in the late 80s. A friend took me to a midnight screening (of course) on the East side of Cleveland, in a glorious, run-down old theater that actually had a balcony. It was fabulous from start to finish, but specifically, I won a fabulous prize. Before the movie started, one of the “hosts” went into the audience and held a number of silly contests. I won a can huggy (long since gone, sadly) by guessing exactly what vegetable he had in his pants.

It was a squash. And that is why, to this day, watching RHPS makes me think of squash.