Sunday, October 28, 2012

A not so great side effect of instant streaming (a personal account)


Whether or not this is good for my own rep, I have to start by admitting that the idea for this post came to me when I recently realized that I haven’t been to a movie in a pretty long time—a long time for me anyway. The last thing I caught in the theater was The Master, and before that was The Dark Knight Rises. Between the craziness of my classes, my jobs, and my attempts at keeping up a decent social life, movies seem to have taken a bit of a backseat lately. It’s too bad too, because I’ve missed a couple that I really wanted to check out: Looper, Samsura, Killer Joe, Premium Rush, Dredd, Seven Psychopaths, Argo. I realized this recently and thought to myself, I suppose I can still catch some of them while they are still in theaters for the next couple of weeks, and the others I can get on Netflix in a couple of months. No problem… and that’s when this post was conceived.

I realized that at this point, regardless of the fact that I haven’t seen any of these movies, I know which ones were supposedly good, which were supposedly bad, and in a lot of cases, I know why. I’ve had access to reviews and a complex social network of people reporting back to their friends on what they saw and what they thought. I haven’t seen any movies lately, but at the same time, I still sort of kept up. Some people would probably find some comfort in that, see the positive side of it, and there is a positive side to it, but I think it can be a problem.

It’s a problem that I didn’t see any of these in the theater, and telling myself that I can just catch them on Netflix later on is a problem as well. I love movies, and I love seeing movies in the theater. I really enjoy having a communal experience with friends and strangers alike. Instant streaming services and channels can be great, but at the same time, they can be a real drawback for film and T.V. lovers. It seems so easy to fall into the habit of just catching something later on, but that definitely affects the experience of the viewer, and sometimes it can affect the actual work that we’re catching later.

Based on sales and ratings, films do or do not get sequels, television shows get cancelled, DVDs and Blurays don’t come with awesome extras that we all want, directors, producers and actors get discouraged, and in the end, we all get less good stuff. On top of that, we miss out on the collective experience that comes with film and television—which is a pretty key component to the entire thing. So, I’m going to try to right some wrongs, and catch whatever I can that’s still showing over the next few weeks, and get back into the game. More than that, I hope this post works as food for thought for a handful of people that may come across it.

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