Netflix Instant Orphans

Howdy from the UFVA Conference in Chicago! I arrived yesterday, spent the night at my friend Savvas’s place, and checked in to the conference today.

I had the great pleasure of eating lunch with Savvas and an old friend, Polly, in Lincoln Square, which allowed me to see a new part of Chicago. After lunch, Savvas and I wandered around and discovered a delightful used bookstore, the Ravenswood. It felt like something out a different time – either that or out of a Harry Potter book. It was filled with delightful nooks into which one could barely fit. I ended up buying this:

It was Hepburn’s first book, and at only $6, was the perfect impulse buy. I can’t wait to read it!

Also in the store was a lovely Greyhound named Arjuna (you can see her photos on the store’s site), and she provided the perfect extra touch of love.

This evening, I walked around the city with my colleague G.T. We had diner at the Billy Goat, which was fun (and weird, given it’s location on lower Michigan, in what feels like a dark hole), although I confess to having no memory of the SNL skit that made it famous.

I am now about ready for bed, and looking forward to a great start of the conference tomorrow.

However … before I do, I wanted to write briefly about a curious phenomenon of our instant streaming, cloud storage age. With films and other media so easy to come by on services like Netflix, with no extra charges or penalties for how much or how little of them we watch, I find that I am much more prone to give up on works that fail to hold my interest after a certain period of time. While I am often glad that I can just move on – perhaps, one day, to return to the abandoned film – I also wonder about what is being lost. Art sometimes demands that we work through our boredom, or work through the  challenge of the piece, to discern the meaning within, and if we just give up because we’re not in the mood for the effort, well, I’m not always sure that that is such a good thing. Of course, much of what I list below is not necessarily “art” …

Here are some of my “Netflix Instant Orphans:”

Henry’s Crime (I watched 55 minutes out of 107) – this movie was just too low-key for it’s own good, although I enjoyed (sort of ) Keanu’s portrayal of a man adrift. But I kept stopping after 5 minutes as my own attention would “drift.” So, for now, I have given up.

Objectified (I watched 47 minutes out of 75) – I wanted this movie to be as engaging as director Hustwit’s Helvetica, and it just wasn’t. It lacks the intensity of focus and purpose of the earlier film. Whereas that movie used a seemingly narrow topic to make insightful comments about design, this movie tried to use the broad topic of design to make insightful comments about … design. It is just too diffuse to work as well.

Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & ‘To Kill a Mockingbird‘ (I watched 13 minutes out of 81) – not sure why I stopped. So far, this seemed like a good documentary. Perhaps I am just not that interested in the topic. I like the book and the movie that was adapted from it, but the mystery of Harper Lee seems not to intrigue.

Stander (I watched 32 minutes out  of 112) – also not sure why I stopped. I thought Thomas Jane was terrific, and I enjoyed the Robin Hood aspect of his character. Maybe it’s because he seemed too unfocused in his anger – perhaps I could keep on watching (one day), and see if he and the movie find greater purpose.

District 13: Ultimatum (I watched 22 minutes out of 101) – I loved the first film (this is a sequel), primarily because of the amazing feats of parkour captured on film. That, and the acting by people I had previously never seen was actually quite good, for an action pic. The camera did what it was supposed to, and I felt as I were watching something fresh. But as soon as I started watching this new film, I knew that that freshness was gone. The new director makes the camera, rather than the action stars, do all of the work, and that is a mistake.

30 Rock, Season 5, Episode 22, “Respawn” (I watched 13 minutes out of 21) – nothing much to say except that it was while watching this episode that I finally realized I had had enough of this series. Done. Too silly, too whimsical without any attempts at relevance to the known universe. Gone is the sharp satire of Seasons 1 & 2. Boo-hoo.    😦

Love Crime (“Crime d’amour”) (I watched 10 minutes out of 106) – who cares about these people? I don’t (and yet I love Kristin Scott Thomas, usually).

Point Blank (“A bout portant”) (I watched 12 minutes out of 84) – I like the French actor Gilles Lellouche, but the setup of this film left me bored and annoyed at how stupid everyone seemed. So I stopped watching.

What are the films that YOU, dear reader, have stopped watching in YOUR Netflix instant queue? And have you watched any of the films/shows mentioned above and enjoyed them more than I did? I’d love to know your thoughts.

And now, I’m off to bed. Long day and long week ahead!

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