Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The TIVO and Netflix Picks We Get and Don’t Watch

posted by Nell Minow

By coincidence, two publications ran similar articles this week about the difference between what we think we want to see and what we actually sit down to watch.
Entertainment Weekly’s Mark Harris asks readers to fess up about the television shows they record and never get around to seeing. We all do it. Some critically acclaimed show comes on television and at some level we feel that we should get at least partial credit for having it on our DVR. But then, somehow, even when we’re at home with time to spare, we end up watching some dumb reality show instead of “eat your spinach” fare like “Generation Kill”
The snob theory is that the Internet, reality television, minisodes, and the general dumbing down of everything have so completely turned our brains into mush that we’re now incapable of sitting down and concentrating on anything that actually requires our sustained, undivided attention. The slob theory is that we the people have a sixth sense that allows us to stay away instinctively whenever a piece of pop culture is boring or overpraised or ”pretentious” (the all-purpose label of abuse that too many people now apply to anything that seems smart and difficult).
I think Harris is closer to the truth when he says we have
a kind of sullen resistance to movies that either tediously tell us what we already know or dangerously tell us what we don’t want to know about a topic we desperately want to be rid of. All that is reinforced by a sort of smug, why-bother tone to much of contemporary pop culture commentary that is more comfortable applying the word genius to I Want to Work for Diddy than to something that involves, say, a level of actual creative brilliance. And yes, a TV show like Generation Kill that requires your sustained, undivided attention is, on some level, work. And work is the opposite of what entertainment is supposed to be all about, right?
That is probably what’s behind Netflix syndrome — either you watch it within 24 hours after it arrives or it sits around for a couple of months. On Slate, John Swansberg invited readers to share their shame over the red envelopes gathering dust.
It happens to all Netflix subscribers eventually. Your buddy the film buff drags you to a revival of Antonioni’s L’Avventura. To your surprise, you find yourself rapt. Upon returning home, you log in to your Netflix account and move La Notte, the second film in Antonioni’s ennui trilogy, to the top of your queue. It arrives a few days later, just as L’Avventura’s spell is starting to wear off. You watch Anchorman instead. You totally still want to see La Notte … but now you’ve mailed Anchorman back and here is Ghost Rider–starring Nic Cage! La Notte can wait. And it does. For weeks. You’re never quite in the mood to watch it, but you can’t quite bring yourself to return it, either.
Ready to confess? Send in your tales of long-held, never-watched Netflix rentals to dvdextras@gmail.com.
And for some thoughts on what those never-watched DVDs at the bottom of your Neflix queue say about you, see this great piece from Slate by Sam Anderson.

  • Alicia

    Alas, I currently don’t have Netflix ’cause I don’t have a DVD player, but I’m getting one at the end of the year when it is time to switch to Digital televisions.
    However, this is similar to the “serious literature” I think I should read. Currently, I am supposed to be reading Karen Armstrong’s “A History of God,” for a book group, but it is like taking my vitamins. Instead, I decided I would prefer to skip the book group this month, and read “Brideshead Revisited” or “David Copperfield” or “New England White.”
    BTW, I just finished reading Joe Ezterhas’s memoir, “Hollywood Animal,” which was a fascinating and surprisingly well-written book. Who knew the author of “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls” had it in him to write such a good memoir? Well, he was a well-respected novelist before he was a successful screenwriter.

Previous Posts

Worst Accents in Movies
Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin ...

posted 2:13:18pm Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Grandma
Lily Tomlin is cranky, feisty, tough, and utterly irresistible in this story of a grandmother who has to visit past decisions about her own life in order ...

posted 5:50:55pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

We Are Your Friends
Director Max Joseph brings some of the "Catfish" sensibility to "We Are Your Friends," with an intimate, documentary feel and a storyline ...

posted 5:35:22pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Z for Zachariah
In 1959, a movie called The World, The Flesh And The Devil imagined a post-apocalyptic world with three surviving humans. In the words of the 1960's television series, "The Mod Squad," they could be described as "one black, one white, one ...

posted 5:31:48pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Being Evel
Evel Knievel was an international celebrity in the 1960's-70's, known for three things: showmanship, stunts that succeeded, and stunts that failed. He was recognized for jumping over 19 cars in his motorcycle, for crash-landing after trying to ...

posted 5:13:51pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.