Back in the days of yore you could go to the cinema for sixpence and twenty, and still have change for a bottle of pop and an ice cream sundae to share with your “favourite” girl….
Nowadays its £400 for a ticket, and an extra 60 quid for the thimble of genetically modified fizzy brown sludge, which you feel you have to share with your “semi favourite, they might be okay, but they did say that really stupid thing once” girl.
The rising expense of a cinema trip makes the decision of which film you see an unusually important one.
It is no longer something that you’d idly commit to. It means we all have to undergo a process of elaborate deliberation, pulling our best concentration faces, before going with the critically acclaimed one, or the over indulgent, Technicolor sugar rush escapist option.
This is where the okay mid-level thriller or comedy misses out.
It’s a shame, because I love those films. They are the gems that surprise you, or make you feel as apathetic as when you first came in and these are two very important states of being for a healthy existence. The “it was okay” movies are just as important as the huge blockbusters and the films with the awkward but poignant messages.
In recent times, I have had to find ways to cheapen my cinematic habit, particularly my love of seeing these terribly average films.
I tried to solve my economical quandary with a cinema loyalty card for a specific chain. I paid a set amount a month and could see all the three star films I wanted. It was good for a while, but I had to cancel it when I moved to a new town without the specific cinema chain.
I then tried the popular “I love film” subscription, which delivers DVD’s straight to your door, but kept putting intelligent black and white Swedish films about the Bauhaus movement on my list and then sending them back for unintelligent Technicolor films about girls who liked guys who listen to Bauhaus.
I have now moved onto Netflix.
What a joke. The UK version is nothing but a collection of straight-to-DVD and wet Wednesday films that scroll endlessly to the left, lubricated by the oily tears of B list actors.
There are about ten good films on there, a billion bad ones, and a distinctive lack of average mid level thrillers and comedies that came out after 1990.
The “taste profile”, it so inaccurately garnered for me, is a mix and match of films I have already watched to death and films that seem like ones I have already watched to death.
Do I want to watch Kevin and Perry Go Large or Pandorum? No, Mr. or Mrs. Netflix, I don’t.
I understand that the film industry must keep itself alive through other methods with the death of the video store and the rise in pirating, but why can’t us British folk get the same amount of good stuff that you Americans get without resorting to changing our computers VPN address and pretending our laptops live in America?
I now use Netflix as a tool for long distance hangouts.
I watch a film in tandem with someone else who also has Netflix and the internet, and via the use of the popular Whatsapp app, we pass commentary on the terrible, terrible film we have picked. That’s all its good for: Bridging distances between friends and lovers in times of bad film watching need. Thus, my modern day equivalent of taking that favourite girl to a drive in has become the budgeted high speed world of cinematic experience. It’s a process that’s as detached and cold as Dennis Quaid’s acting in Pandorum.
It’s probably a lot cheaper too.
I therefore have stumbled upon the point of Netflix and unearthed its sole positive reason to exist. It is the perfect dating method for the socially awkward, poor cineophile, who spends too much time on the Internet.
Sure you can do the “watching bad film and making funny banter” date at home, but witty retorts are so much better via the screen of a phone, and Netflix is more vast then anyone’s DVD cabinet for tosh! Also, if the other person is present then that’s dealing with social awkwardness, rather then embracing it. Embrace it I say!
So lets all watch Kevin and Perry Go Large with our phones and our laptops, our store bought Diet Coke in the fridge, and a blanket around our legs. Lets all sit in the dark and usher in the future with comments as profound as “wasn’t that bit five minutes ago with the dog funny?”