Netflix/quick movie reviews

19Jun10

So I’ve been working on a bunch of posts about trans issues, and it was making me angry. And when I’m angry it makes me a) miserable and b) prone to commit dumbs. I am given to understand that, for many transfeminist bloggers, this is the proper state of things. You’re supposed to be miserable because you’re oppressed in 903,000 ways and can’t get a job and intersectionality Foucault vaginas privilege Lady Gaga. And you’re supposed to be angry because it’s a sign you recognize how fucked up everything is, that ostentatious recognition being much more important than actually being able to explain to people, using words arranged in logical patterns, in what ways things are fucked up and how come we need to do something about it. But the theory behind this blog was that, by being a way for me to connect with the world in my chosen identity despite being in a shitty {geographical location/place in my transition} for such connection, it was supposed to make me happier. So until such time as I can calm the fuck down I’m going to post about something else: movies.

I never watched many movies growing up, primarily because my attention span is pretty inconsistent. Going to the theater and taking in one piece of media in one place for two hours, or watching a movie with my family and doing the same thing but with more obnoxious people talking over it, never seemed like the most appealing thing. Especially since I could just pick up a book, put it down whenever I was bored with it and move on to the next one. Even when I started renting movies, I was annoyed by the restrictions — I could only get a couple at once and had to return them within a few days. Even academic libraries placed more onerous restrictions on films than books. Granted, it does take me about six times longer to read a typical book than a typical movie, so so 6 weeks for a book vs. 1 week for a film before they start fining you doesn’t sound crazy –except that I’m more likely to take 12 weeks and 2 weeks, respectively, to nibble them up in 15-30 minute chunks. So I often had to renew both; but the fines on those desirable, desirable movies were $1 a day, ten times worse than for books, and the grace period was non-existent — if I got an e-mail reminder, it meant I was already $1 in the hole. More than once I returned a DVD to the campus library unwatched because I knew I couldn’t finish it that week and it just wasn’t worth the hassle.

When a friend hooked me up with one of those free-month invites from Netflix, I wasn’t sure I would even use it — all that mailing shit in and out, what a hassle, right? — but, hey, free, so I decided to go for it. Turns out, the service is tailor-made for me. You can stream some (not enough!) movies online, save your spot and move on to some other one, then go back to the first one, and Netflix keeps track of all the movies you’re watching, want to watch, have watched and should watch. It doesn’t judge you if you take two weeks to finish. And if you want to see something that isn’t online you can do the snail-mail thing, and you can keep that DVD in the computer as long as you want too, no worries. It works so well that I’m probably going to start paying for it once my free month is up — it’s like having the whole fucking small-school DVD collection in my bedroom, after all, with far less in fines.

For the sake of actual helpful content, here are capsule reviews of (most of) the movies I’ve finished watching so far:

Moon (2009): Difficult to review without giving away the plot, but I can say that Sam Rockwell is fantastic as the protag — I literally didn’t realize he is also the very different Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2 until I just looked him up on IMDb, which earns him extra fantastic-points — and that the Hal 9000 analogue seriously fucked with my head in (ultimately very good) ways that the original didn’t. 4/5

The End of America (2008): Will probably tell even seasoned progressives at least one thing they didn’t know before — for me, it was how the Nazis also called torture ‘enhanced interrogation’ — but there isn’t anything really groundbreaking about the docu. 3/5

The Animatrix (2003): Yeah, I’m probably the last person to see this. By far my favorite segment was the first part of Second Renaissance, about the politics of machines and the fraught relationship between 01, the machine city, and the rest of the world. Am I the only one who thinks the entire Matrix trilogy should have been about the buildup to the Machine War? 4/5

Cashback (2006): All of the characters are equally unlikable, the plot is absurd and continually grows absurder, and for a “comedy” it isn’t that funny. But it’s a film that has attention to detail down, it can be seen as fairly successful social commentary — the power a sexist male boss bizarrely wields over his lower-class underlings interacts with the power nonelite women have, sometimes and depending, over their male peers — and the final scene, at least, made me grudgingly okay with the somewhat slipshod journey the film took to get there. 4/5

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