Doodad Kind of Town

So Many Movies, So Little Time
February 8, 2008, 1:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Pardon me while I climb up on my Old Fart soapbox for this post.

I can clearly remember a time in my life when there were only two places I could see a movie: at a theatre or on network television.

When I was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s in northwestern Indiana, cable television was available, but it was a luxury that my family couldn’t afford. Not that it was all that wonderful anyway; all it brought you was clear reception of the Chicago stations with weaker broadcast signals. There was no TBS, no TNT, no American Movie Classics, none of that. Certainly no HBO.

I can remember getting really excited each fall when the networks announced what movies they were going to premiere on television that season. I have specific memories of seeing “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Graduate” for the first time on TV. Yes, they were edited. Yes they were punctuated with commercials every 20 minutes or so. But it was the only way I was going to see those films at the time.

I was out of college before VCRs became common in American households. I can still remember my excitement when I got my first VCR and signed up for a membership at a local video store.

All this grandmotherly reminiscing is to let you know how much I appreciate – and rarely take for granted – the technology that allows me to watch just about any movie I want, whenever I want. My DVD collection is growing all the time, my video IPod is charging up as we speak, and I have yet to get jaded about the magical convenience that is my DVR.

When I was a movie-loving kid, I never imagined I would grow up into a world where great movies would be so readily available. It’s a dream come true.

Why then do I feel so overwhelmed by it all?

After all, shouldn’t this be paradise? I mean, movies even come in the mail! (I had two red Netflix envelopes in my mailbox today – “Factory Girl” and “Kinky Boots.” )

And movies I’ve recorded are waiting for me on my DVR – eight to be exact! When will I find time to watch:

  • Ace in the Hole” – Billy Wilder’s uber-cynical classic. I taped it in December, watched half and never got back to it.
  • “Darling Lili” – taped off TCM. Depending on who you talk to, it’s either a total bomb, or an underappreciated classic. I’m thinking this is the director’s cut. And, hey, I loved Julie Andrews when I was a kid.
  • “Stardust Memories”- recorded just before I saw “Cassandra’s Dream.” Woody is on my shitlist now, but I would still like to get around to seeing this again.
  • “Network” – Oscar-winning performances by Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway, plus a great (also Oscar-winning) script by Paddy Chayefksky. This is where the phrase “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” originated. I haven’t seen it in close to 30 years, and I’m dying to see if the satire of an anything-for-ratings network holds up in the medi-saturated 21st century.
  • “Eulogy” – a dark indie comedy with Zooey Deschanel, Debra Winger, and Ray Romano. My former pastor recommended it, and it’s probably worth looking at just for that screwy cast.
  • “Killer of Sheep” – a movie from the 1960s that was out in theatres last year, and shown on TCM on Martin Luther King (part of a tribute night for African-American director Charles Burnett.) I don’t know much about it, but wanted to see it.
  • “The Fountainhead” with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. A forties classic, based on the Ayn Rand novel which I never got around to reading. Never got around to seeing the film version either, and the rate I’m going, I never will.
  • “The Dreamers” – Bertolucci’s 2003 film about three sexually precocious,movie-loving teenagers holed up in a Paris apartment during the student riots of 1968. It was in and out of theaters here before I got a chance to see it.

And if the snow ever subsides, I’m planning to get to an arthouse theater this weekend to see “Persepolis” at last.

Collectively, that adds up to at least 23 hours of movie-watching I’ve got to do in order to “catch up.” So many movies, so little time. (If only I didn’t have to go that danged job everyday…..)

Does anyone else every feel this way?

(Photo from


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I concur, and agree, and yep, I feel this way too. There are so many movies that I “need” to see, last time I checked 200+. I am trying to catch up by watching 6 movies per weekend. I hope I can catch up.And then there’s my site about movie music. I have an insane to-do list. 142 reviews and features I haven’t done yet.The thing is… I love it! I love everything about it, writing about movies and music, so I look at my huge list and smile. At least I won’t be out of material soon 😉

Comment by bleachjt

All the time. I have about 25 films in my DVR, some more than a year old. I give up the ghost every so often and purge the ones I’m sure never to see, but I can’t bear to let go of the silents, knowing that I’ll never find them again.When one has a blog like you and I do, Pat, the obligation is a little higher. But I still watch for fun and when I feel like it most of the time. Exception–film festivals. Talk about exhaustion!

Comment by Marilyn

Here’s a fun thing to recall as well: remember when movies first came out on VHS (a year after they were in theaters) and they were priced at $89.95 for about a year (until after the networks had had a chance to air them)? Contrast that to these days, when a movie is in theaters in January and priced at $19.99 or lower (in a better format) some 3-5 months later. And that’s not even counting the few movies that are simul-released (I think I just made up that word) to theaters, DVD, iTunes, etc.We’ve come a long way, baby.I also recall as a kid just knowing that there would be a day when I could turn on a device/TV and watch any movie I wanted to watch, with selections by title, actor, director, writer, genre, etc. We’re not quiiiite there yet, but we’re close.

Comment by Fletch

Kinky Boots was was one of the most unexpectedly sweet and fun movies I’ve seen in ages. Put that at the top of the list!

Comment by Jess

bleachjt – thanks for stopping by! Good to hear that I’m not the only person falling behind on ther movie viewing. (It isn’t fun, though, isn’t it?)Marilyn – Ok, I don’t feel so bad about having 8 movies in the DVR. I can’t help it – I just keep browsing the TCM movies and adding more and more to the queue.Fletch- I’d almost forgotten about $80 VHS tapes. There were so many movies I would have bought back then, but the cost was so prohibitive. Just as well that I waited, since they’re all on DVD now at a fraction of the price.Jess – Thanks for the suggestion. “Kinky Boots” is my moive of choice tonight.

Comment by Pat

Shoot, it is my slogan. I know for a fact that I will never catch up with all of the movies that I need or want to see. There was a point back when I was in high school that I was on the 8 out Netflix plan watching two or three movies a day. I can get a ton more with the 3 out unlimited returns deal at blockbuster and then using my DVR until it near explodes. Then I realized that my head was starting to spin. It is crazy how many great movies there are out there, but it is also great to know that I will never run out. Thanks for the post.

Comment by David

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