Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's start at the very beginning

We have not had great success with movie rentals. Actually, I have had success; Sean, not so much. He has a hard time picking out good movies - he goes in with the best of intentions but inevitably leaves with a dud. I think the biggest problem is he believes the reviews on the movie jacket; big mistake.

Several times we’ve stopped his movies early and I remember completely sleeping through one. Then there was the time he rented Jack and the Beanstalk – sounds innocuous, especially since it was produced by Jim Henson and all his Muppet people. But this thing was a TV miniseries and lasted 4 hours, a little fact we didn’t know when we told the kids we’d watch a movie beginning at 7 on a Saturday night. By the time 10 o’clock rolled around we were convinced the thing would NEVER END but were too involved to turn it off and struggled through the last 60 minutes, only to realize Henson dramatically altered the story to make Jack the bad guy and the giant good. Try explaining that to an over-tired 8 year old at 11 pm.

So Sean’s Blockbuster card was revoked and the kids and I pick the movies now. But since we joined Netflix Sean occasionally offers suggestions. One he wanted Michael and Amy to see is Amadeus, so I ordered it last week. On Saturday, Sean, Michael, Amy and I settled in and started the movie. It was weird; there were no credits at the beginning and no title… I let it go for a bit, but the story seemed to jump in right in the middle of Mozart’s life with no back story. As a matter of fact, Sean had to stop the film a number of times to fill the kids in on a few crucial elements of the story, like why the scary guy in the painting haunted Mozart (it was his overbearing, disapproving father). I finally couldn’t take it anymore and said, “Honey, could you humor me and check the main menu? This just isn’t like I remember it.” Of course, the film came out 25 years ago. Goodness knows lots of vital information has slipped through the cracks of my brain in 25 years so I wasn’t surprised I didn’t remember the movie precisely. But something just seemed, well, off.

He went back, saw we’d started at Scene 1. So we resumed the movie.

Then 45 minutes in, Mozart’s dead, credits roll, the end. The movie was supposed to last 2 ½ hours.

I started looking around for the Netflix envelope – surely there had to be another disc in there. And then it dawned on me: “Sean, why don’t you turn over the disc that’s in the player. Is there anything on the other side?”

Needless to say we watched the first of the movie the next day. And sweet Amy summed it up: “It made a lot more sense watching the first part first.”

So now, not only have Sean’s movie rental privileges been suspended indefinitely, so has his privilege to run the DVD player. Good thing Michael and Amy are around; I’m not sure I’d have any more success than Sean with the electronic portion of our movie evenings.

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Next on our Netflix movie queue: Atonement. Any suggestions for other good movies? We could use some advice!