Unless you hail from an alien life form, it’s probably safe to say that everyone loves the movies and probably watches some television at the end of a long day. Like many kids of the 50s and 60s, coming of age in the 70s, I grew up on a steady diet of television and would watch everything from The Wonderful World of Disney to The Twilight Zone and Candid Camera, usually with my Mom who was an avid viewer herself. Watching TV was more of a family experience then, given that most households only had one or two sets. Mom insisted that I round out my TV education with the likes of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and National Geographic, although I do remember her letting me watch the Million Dollar Movie in the kitchen on her tiny black & white set with the rabbit ear antennas while she cooked dinner, and it was usually some epic romance with the likes of Bette Davis or a sinister film noir with Dirk Bogarde or Kevin McCarthy. She also understood when I practically catapulted into the house after school with hardly a greeting so as not to miss that eerie opening theme music to Dark Shadows. And who doesn’t have a shared experience of those really special nights when (at least in our house) you got to eat pizza on TV tables in the Den because it was the one night a year that the networks were airing The Wizard of Oz, or Peter Pan, or It’s A Wonderful Life? The anniversary-like experience of seeing those movies each year became one of the markers for growing up.
But that was in the Dark Ages before Cable, On Demand or Instant Streaming, when everything is literally available at the touch of a button, a mere click away. And it’s not just the Hollywood arsenal at our fingertips; we’ve got the whole world’s entertainment products to choose from. The problem is, we’re a nation of uber-busy, stressed out, sleep deprived people and we just don’t have time to sort through all the dreck to find the perfect instant streaming film or series….we want it INSTANTLY and it’d better be GREAT, damn it!
OK, you can always just follow the celebrity critics, but for the slightly older titles which are normally available through streaming, that means you have to wade through tons of trailers and then search for the reviews that came out when the titles were released. And how about those major critics? When I find myself re-reading the same dense tome three times, convinced that if only I had gotten that pesky film school graduate degree and acquired an expert understanding of hand-held camera techniques and ‘story-boarding,’ not to mention the hipster references to obscure schools of avant-garde cinema, I might just know what the hell that critic is talking about….. that’s when (to quote a friend) I feel like going to the bathroom and hang myself with toilet paper!
OK, maybe I can help. I happen to have a freakish capacity to pour over countless titles and trailers, ad nauseum. And actually watch the films and TV shows I feel will enrich the lives of other like-minded viewers hungry for decent entertainment, or something more sophisticated than the daily sludge.
So if you:
- don’t mind the occasional subtitle,
- are old enough to remember where you were when JFK was shot,
- are bored by superhero-action adventure-summer blockbuster-teenage sexcapade films,
- prefer character-driven, dialogue-heavy entertainment with frequent forays into silliness. . .
This may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! So stick around & welcome aboard!