Richard’s Year of Movies — What the Hell Happened?

As those of you who follow this blog may remember, I was somewhat regularly commenting on the movies I watched during the year.  Then I was somewhat sporadically commenting on the movies I watched during the year.  Then I wasn’t doing anything of the kind at all.  And as I’m sure the disappointed masses are clamoring for an explanation, here’s what happened.

For one, my Netflix subscription turned into Richard Catches Up on All the TV He Should Have Been Watching.  Netflix is great for being able to devour series in huge chunks without those pesky waits between seasons.  So I worked my way through the first two seasons of Mad Men so I could watch the third season as it aired.  Then I started in on Breaking Bad.  And there were a few discs of Connections scattered in there as well.  So there weren’t a lot of movies coming my way.

Second, my Xbox 360 finally and irrevocably died on me, taking away the ease of Instant Watch.  Sure, I could have watched on my PC, but I’m so ADD that I would have kept minimizing to check email or something or other.  Plus, I just like the Netflix interface on the Xbox much better than the online one.  It’s easier for browsing and stumbling across those “Why the hell not?” films you wouldn’t consider otherwise.  It’s how we ended up watching Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus at my friends’ Christmas party.  Well, that and perhaps something in the egg nog.

As for movies in the theater, I don’t know, sometimes I just don’t feel like bothering.  I’ll hear something is really good, I’ll look up times it’s playing … and then I just don’t go.  I don’t want to deal with the parking.  I don’t want to deal with the ludicrous idea that the afternoon — along with matinee pricing — somehow ends at 3:00pm.  I don’t want to deal with people who seem to think the movie playing on the giant screen in front of them is somehow secondary to whatever else it is they’re doing in the theater.  And maybe I’m just turning into a grump old man who just wants to come home from work and vanish into his cave.

But I’m going to change that.  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get out to the theater more often, annoyances be damned.  I’ve missed too much good stuff this year; I still haven’t see The Social Network, for instance, and that’s just inexcusable.  Besides, annoyances are too often just excuses.

As for the past year in film, my favorite still has to be How to Train Your Dragon.  I’m sure it’s not as weighty as some of the Oscar contenders playing now, but the damn thing puts a goofy smile on my face from the moment the opening notes of the score play over the DreamWorks logo, and it stays there until the credits end.  I know Toy Story 3 is the animated film getting all the praise, but I’m not even sure I like it more than Tangled, which I recently saw, let alone Dragon.  To me, Toy Story 3 seems to bank on your sentiment for the first two films, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but which sort of lets it get away with a lot because you like the characters so much.  I love the dark turn it takes in the junkyard, and yes, the ending got me teary-eyed, but again, it was more because of the weight of three films than what this particular one did.  And it does nag me a little that, despite their assurances otherwise, the ending left things open for another sequel.

Now the plan is to try to catch the big year-end films getting the Oscar buzz.  I saw True Grit last week, which has been growing on me the further I get away from seeing it (par for the course for Coen Brothers films, it seems), and I’ve got Black Swan on the radar for this weekend.  And I just found out The King’s Speech is playing on a few screens in town, so I need to check that out too.

So the Xbox has been replaced, the TV series polished off, and the annoyances brushed aside. Here’s to more regular movie viewing in 2011.  If not necessarily more regular posting about them.  One thing at a time.


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