Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Year of the Movie

Happy New Year, tout le monde.

A week ago Friday a couple of my mates came by to hang out. At some point in the night we decided it was time to watch a movie. I had two DVDs from Netflix that I had yet to view, so I threw out the options. The (predictable) winner was Superbad. I say predictable because I know one of the guys had already seen it and raved about it. My other friend and I had not yet seen it - so in it went.

Two hours later (there were a few pauses for necessary 'pit stops'...) we were finished with it. Funny, funny movie. I rated it 4/5 stars on Netflix. I liked the Beck Jr. kid much better than the other one - but the movie, as a whole, was great.

The following Wednesday I finally got around to watching the other movie I had at home. I say 'finally' because, when I looked at my Netflix account, I realized that it had been shipped to me on ... get this - 2 July 2008!

That's right. I had had that DVD for just over SIX months...

No idea why it took me so long to watch it - but that's the beauty of Netflix. No late fees! Anyway, that question became even more poignant after I watched the movie. It was awesome. The movie is called Rabbit-Proof Fence. I won't get into the details of it; you can look it up. Hopefully, if you haven't already, you'll also watch it. And don't forget the 'making-of' featurette included on the DVD.

So at that point, it had been two movies in six days for me. Two great movies in six days, that is.

Okay, so fast-forward to this past Friday. I met up with a few more of my mates for some delicious Mexican food at Rancho Chico in lovely Plainville, MA (Come on down!) and we convened at my house afterward for a few beers and much lively discussion.

The talk eventually turned to movies. Rabbit-Proof Fence was one we discussed. Another which came up was The Professional. The 1994 action flick about an assassin (Jean Reno) who forms a relationship with 12-year old Mathilda (Natalie Portman) after a crazed DEA agent (Gary Oldman) kills her entire family.

Two of us had seen it; two of us had not. The perception of the movie, for those that hadn't seen it, was that it was a hokey/cheezy kind of movie. Reading some of the Netflix reviews, I think this may be a common theme. Anyway, the two of us that had seen it described the movie excitedly and promised that it was not at all a schlocky 'fish-out-of-water' kind of movie. My two mates who hadn't seen it vowed they'd give it a shot.

More movies came up. More discussion. More insight into movies we'd never seen, heard of, etc. During the discussion I declared that 2009 was going to be "The Year of the Movie" for me. I'm making a conscious effort to watch more movies.

It's not because of my six-month 'rental' and not getting my money's worth out of Netflix. I don't look at my membership that way. The way I see it is I'm paying for a service, not simply movie rentals. Going through my queue and re-arranging it, reviewing movies, perusing movies I've yet to see, and interacting with a few of my mates that also have memberships is well worth the monthly fee for me.

It's so much better than simply going to a video rental store, ordering movies On-Demand, or catching them on the various cable movie channels. Although, "The Year of the Movie" certainly doesn't exclude movies I may find on the cable channels... They're just an added bonus in between Netflix deliveries.

But regarding Netflix - It's an interactive experience that I enjoy - and the luxury of not having to worry about late fees is a bonus for me. Sometimes, I'm just not in the right mood to watch a certain movie. Sometimes, I'm not in the mood for six whole months. So be it.

However, that six-month thing is out the window now. This is 2009, "The Year of the Movie." I've already watched one today and I think I'm going to pop one in right now to finish the night.

Here's how TYotM has begun :

> 2 January - Superbad (4/5 stars)
> 7 January - Rabbit-Proof Fence (5/5 stars)
> 10 January - WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception (3/5 stars)
> 11 January - Maléna (4/5 stars)

Tonight is going to be Full Metal Jacket (a DVD I borrowed from my brother-in-law last Christmas). And the next two coming from Netflix are The Notorious Bettie Page and Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten.

There it is. It's officially begun. Enjoy a movie you've been waiting to see, tonight!

p.s. Today, 11 January, has also officially been declared "Pancake Zone Day." I had pancakes this morning, as did two of my friends - unbeknownst to me. If anyone else out there had pancakes today, I'd love to hear of it. And if you didn't today - make sure to next year.