Movies as Homework

February 11, 2008

As I’ve mentioned in this space many times before, we live pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  It’s not that there’s nothing around, but ours is a small college town in the midst of rural Tennessee.  It’s at least a 25 mile round trip to a decent grocery store.  If we want organic foods, the round trip is closer to 100 miles.  A big bookstore?  Also 100 miles, particularly if we want an independent.  Same with music stores, and Thai food, and any edible sushi that doesn’t involve a Pepperidge Farm Goldfish.  There’s a small movie theater here in town, but it’s at least a forty-five minute drive to the nearest first-fun movie theater that offers enough movie choices for a family of four.

Not surprisingly, we do a lot of shopping on the net.  And, also not surprising, we figured that NetFlix was made for people like us.  Any DVD we want is just a click away.  Free postage, a flat fee for as many movies as we can watch.  What could be better, right?   

I should pause here to say that I have no complaints about how NetFlix works, or about their customer service.  Anytime I’ve called, the people I’ve talked to have been polite and helpful.  The movies arrive just when they’re supposed to.  We send back a movie, and before we know it, there’s another one in our mailbox.  Another movie.  Just sitting there, waiting to be watched.  It’s probably a good one.  I mean, we put it in our queue, right?  It ought to be good.  It’s probably one we’ve been talking about seeing.  We know that we really ought to watch it.

Have you ever been caught in traffic while riding in a taxi?  Your eyes keeping flicking to the meter, and every few seconds the fare increases, even though you haven’t moved at all.  You know the feeling, right?  Well, that’s how my wife and I are starting to feel about NetFlix.  Between work and stuff for the kids and just the general demands of keeping the household running, we barely have time to sit and talk to each other, much less watch a movie.  But the movies are just sitting there.  You can almost hear them ticking like that freakin’ taxi meter — that flat rate doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.  If we watch a movie every weekend and maybe even a second on a Wednesday night, it’s a great deal.  But after a couple of weeks, that movie gathering dust next to the telephone is getting pretty darn expensive.

I was up until 11:30 last night watching “The Good Shepherd.”  It was a decent movie.  At one point I know that I really wanted to see it.  But that was before it had been sitting in my house for three weeks.  That was before I realized it was two hours and forty-eight minutes long.  I used to like movies.  Now they feel like homework.  Another one arrives and immediately I start trying to figure out when I’m going to get done with it, when I’m going to turn it in.

I sent “The Good Shepherd” back this morning.  I don’t know what the next title in my queue is, but I know it should be here by Friday or so.  I just hope it’s short.

Today’s music:  Branford Marsalis (Renaissance)


7 Responses to “Movies as Homework”

  1. Brian said

    My wife and I have almost the opposite problem. We too get movies (actually TV shows) in the mail, but usually we watch them too quickly, and have to wait a week to get another disk. Your post made me think there are some things we could be doing other than watching videos, but I am generally wiped out at the end of the day, and once I settle in at home I need to unwind. I have stages of unwinding: first is some video I watch in the living room, next is a book in bed with a little book light, and then I fall asleep.
    Of course I save all the household chores for later, but thats another problem.

  2. davidbcoe said

    Sounds like you’re getting more out of your NetFlix experience than we are. Then again, our garbage is out and the dishes are done….:)

  3. No movies and rarely tv for me. I can’t afford to rent movies, not right now anyway. TV is paid for, but that’s only because it makes my internet cheaper. There’s my real problem, internet. I spend so much time in the morning, sipping my tea, and surfing the web that I forget I need to go get ready for work. Then I complain because there’s not enough time, so I get up an extra half hour earlier the next day, and “Darn it all ennaway” (As my granny used to say), the same thing happens. Go figure?

    Of course, this morning I rewashed all the glasses because my dishwasher sucks, so I can’t be *all* bad.

  4. davidbcoe said

    Yeah, as I get more into this blogging, “increasing-my-presense-on-the-web” thing, I find that the internet takes up more and more of my day. Not sure what to do about it, although I suppose I could spend less time going to photo equipment sites to ogle new cameras…..

  5. Yeah. My boyfriends favorite site is …Anywhere he can get a watch/bluetooth cell phone combo… oi. I’d have no money left.

  6. Frank said

    Living in the same podunk town (or at least the one next door) I have had the exact experience yo just described. “Patton” has been sitting gathering dust for almost a month it seems. We finally watched “Training Day” after a long while, but there was a mood of, “let’s just get this thing over with” as we slid it into the player.

    Each day you don’t watch a particular movie seems to add to it’s aura of unworthiness, until you consider just sending the thing back unwatched just to get the stink of it out of your house! Of course you can’t not watch it, that would be somehow even more of a waste of your flat fee.

    Yep. Been there, dude. Been there.

  7. davidbcoe said

    We’ve had that exact conversation: “Maybe we should just send it back.” “We can’t do that! That would be like throwing money away.” “But it’s just sitting there….”

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