An Open Letter To Netflix

Dearest Netflix,

What the fuck.

No, seriously. What the fuck is going on with you? Why is it that you don’t seem to fucking function anymore? Not even in the “I hate the way you tried to ‘streamline’ your shit” kind of way, either. But in the “I don’t think your employees are actually doing their jobs” kind of way.

I guess it started a while ago, maybe even before you decided to start charging more for shit. Splitting up the DVD and Instant services was just an asshole move. But things were rocky before then, weren’t they?

You started suggesting things that you thought I might like that were NOTHING like the movies and shows I had just watched or were in my history. Okay, I can see that I suppose. Maybe there’s something in this romance movie I might like even though 70% of what I watch is drama or horror, and 20% of it is comedy. Maybe somebody dies, I don’t know.

From there it went to what you were comparing with what. In your “More Like ___” sections, I started to find more and more things that were NOT alike at all. Not in any way. That got paired up with the fact that you started grouping things wrong. Care Bears in science fiction? That’s not how that works.

Then it was like a trainwreck happening, one that’s still happening. One that I just don’t even try to understand anymore.

– You say there are new episodes in a series when there aren’t any.

– You list things on the New Releases tab when they’ve been out for four or five years. If you just got it, and are just now able to let us see it on Instant, it should go under Just Added.

– There is no longer any way to search by actor if you’re not online doing it. It just tells you that shit doesn’t even exist. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure that Marilyn Monroe did a couple of movies and that you’ve got them all stashed somewhere. The fact that I have to search each one by title instead of being able to bring them up by her name? What the hell?

– Your copy is wrong. More often than I would like, I find myself watching something because of the description I read. And hating it. Or, on the flip side, not watching it because it sounds like something I would loathe, and then finding out later that I would have loved it.

– Your employees aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing. Did you know that for a really long time after you added Life to Instant that you had Charlie Crews’ name completely wrong? Hm? You did. Shouldn’t have happened.

– Episodes for shows are actually skipped over during regular play. When I watched Supernatural, it skipped over half of a season when I was hitting “play next episode”. When I watched Ugly Betty, the first few episodes of the first season had the wrong information tied to them, and weren’t in order. A couple might have even been missing, but since I don’t know the series, I couldn’t say. But it was all very confusing.

– Recently Watched randomly just doesn’t show up at all. Doesn’t seem to be any reason for it. I’ll just turn on my 360, fire up Netflix, wait to see my Recently Watched so I can easily pick up where I left off, and … it’s not there. The whole goddamned field is just gone.

Now let’s add into the things I’ve spoken of before, shall we? I’ll just copy and paste it to make things easier for both of us.

“To make it worse, Netflix also changed their dashboard to coincide with the Xbox change. And the Netflix dashboard is so goddamned useless sometimes that I want to throw things. They show you movies you might like to see during the last bits of movie you’re watching (some movies have stuff going on during or after the credits, so I’m not particularly happy that they reduce the screen) but they don’t give you a description of the movie, you have to seek it out after to see what it’s about. There’s no way to rate a movie without playing it. There’s no longer any way to mark that you’re not even interested in the movie anymore, so stuff you really don’t want to keep seeing pop up will, unless you go to the site. For tv shows, you can’t go in and pick an episode unless, again, you start playing the series. So if you haven’t watched in a while and want to see if the “new episodes” they’ve added are really and truly new, you have to start playing, then go to the episodes list. This is completely stupid.”

That’s just something I tacked onto a rant about the 360 dashboard. I think it’s good here, too. Since it’s about you. And the things you’re slacking on. Or forgetting. Or just don’t care about anymore.

The money I shell out to you for this service might not mean much to you. But it means a lot to me. I’m on a really strict budget. Netflix is one of the things that is completely unnecessary to life that I allow myself. A fun little thing that I enjoy having quite a bit.

It might not matter to you that all this shit is broken, but it matters to me, because of this money I hand to you every month. I know it matters to other people as well. Maybe they don’t use Instant as much as I do. Maybe that 10 bucks isn’t a really big deal to them. But it still matters. You know why?

BECAUSE WE PAY YOU FOR THIS SERVICE.

It’s not something that you give us for free. It’s not an add on to DVDs like it used to be. It’s a stand alone service that shouldn’t be as fucked up as it is. It should work. It should be functional. It should be valid. It should be fun, and not frustrating.

I’m not going to threaten to not use your service, because that’s unrealistic at this point. But I am going to ask you to fix your shit, because I’m tired of it, and there’s a good number of people I know who are also tired of it. It should be seen as a courtesy to us, your paying customers.

To sum up?
Get your shit together, Netflix.

-Mila.

Cowboys & Aliens (graphic novel)

Wow.

I … I really don’t know how to say this, guys. I’m really… I’m really sorry.

I know we all really liked the movie version of Cowboys & Aliens, Daniel Craig did a really fantastic job running around in chaps and hurting people a lot. Really, everyone did a rousing performance in that movie. We enjoyed the way they made the aliens look. We like that the shitty kid got hurt a lot. In general, we just really liked the film.

And in really liking something, we tend to want more of it. So we go around looking for things that can prolong our experiences. Things to make us happy. Things that will bring back that joy we felt while watching shit blow up on the big screen.

Which might lead some of us to the graphic novel. And those of us who find it might become very excited. We might order it on Amazon and wait anxiously for it to be delivered. Once we get it, we might sit for a while, just looking at the cover (a new cover, by the way, not the old one, this one is mighty pretty). We might, then, crack it open to the front page, ready to nestle into our favorite reading spot and relive our glee.

Then we might find ourselves very, very disappointed.

It’s kind of like when you see somebody do something really stupid, but they don’t end up hurting themselves. Or watching a car blow through a red light right in front of a cop, but the cop doesn’t do anything about it. It’s that kind of let down. Enormous. Soul crushing (Okay, that might be going a little too far, maybe).

Pretty much the entire thing is different from the flick, and I can really see why they’d choose to change everything right down to the character’s names, because really, other than the concept, the whole thing sucks. From the start, right to that very last page, you’re going to find yourself wondering what the fuck you just read. Then you’re going to wonder why the fuck you just read it. Believe me, you won’t find a good answer for that. All the reasons previously stated, all that wonderment brought about by the movie, and that need for more of it, it’s going to be gone. Right down the tubes.

Luckily, the movie is so completely different from this bound colorful wad of paper that you won’t even be able to bridge your disappointment of the one to the other. It’s like you’ve seen a Muppet movie and decided to read a how-to guide about frogs to further your fun. There really are only very vague similarities, and those you can ignore or wipe from your mind completely. Don’t fret too much over it. It can be forgotten. I’ve nearly already done so, and it’s only been a couple of days.

I suppose I’ll keep the thing around, because the cover is really very pretty, and I spent money on the thing, so I feel bad doing anything else aside from letting it have some shelf space. But I feel like I really need to spare you from the same fate.

Do not buy it. Do not even read it. If a friend has it and offers to loan it to you, they’re likely trying to pawn it off on you, don’t fall for it. Say ‘Thank you, my good friend, for your thoughts of me on this subject matter, but I must respectfully decline on the basis that you are a liar’. And then maybe quickly leave before your friend tries to sneak it into your car or backpack.

It does make me sad that I have to write words like this about something that should have been good. But I cannot bring myself to lie when things are bad. It’s unfair to the rest of the world. I suffer so that you do not have to. Don’t let my suffering be in vain.

Let Me In

I should learn that when I have an instinct about a movie when it’s first talked about, I should trust that instinct and not bend to the ways of the movie industry just because they show me some interesting promos.

I …

I knew going in that I would be upset about Eli. So many things were changed about her that are small, but not really small. They’re important to the character, and they just need to be there.

So my mood going in was curious and angry. It’s not really the best mix. It can lead to some unsettling thoughts while things are going on. But I really wanted to give it a chance, so I sat and watched. All I can say is that I’m really fucking glad a friend got me in to see it for free. If I’d paid for this movie, I’d be a lot more pissed off than I am now.

They kind of just smooshed things together. The girl we were with said she felt like everything dragged on. But to me, it all felt rushed. Like they were trying to just get everything in and didn’t give a shit how it turned out. And they didn’t even GET everything in. So much was just plain left out. There are entire characters that just…they’re gone. They aren’t there. Integral characters. IMPORTANT characters. Entire goddamned points of plot that are out the fucking window.

Let me tell you this, too, I hate – H.A.T.E. who they chose to be Eli. Excuse me, Abby. She did not fit. There’s no universe that she could have been the correct choice in. Then you have the fact that they changed her name from Eli to Abby. Right, okay, so you want to Americanize the names for the retarded Americans. Fine. But at least acknolwedge the importance of her name being Eli.

And how about the fact that she’s NOT REALLY A GIRL AT ALL? Where did that go? That’s kind of important, you stupid fuck director. You know, I liked Cloverfield, but now I’m just so pissed off at you that I want to kick you square in the nuts if I ever meet you. You said you LOVED the original movie. You said you LOVED the book. If that’s true, how could you do this? You ruined it all!

I fully believe that this movie was made just to throw in the extra creepy shots of Abby that were not needed. It’s too bad you couldn’t take a hint from the original makers and learn that less is more in this case. That it’s not about the fact she’s a goddamned fucking vampire, but the personal relationships she builds and what happens to the people around her.

You fuck.

I kept thinking that they were trying to squeeze all this shit in as fast as possible because they were going to add something toward the end that hadn’t been int he original. But no. Nope. They were just… uncaring about the story. Clearly did not give a shit about the timeline. Did not give a damn about the people, which the book and the movie revolve around. Pissed all over Eli and her story. PISSED ON IT.

There were scenes that were remade right from the original movie. Line for line. Movement for movement. Yet you couldn’t be assed to give the characters a little more depth?

You even managed to fuck up the relationship between the bully and his older brother. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? It didn’t need to be that the bully was picked on, because he’s not. His older brother encourages him. They’re friends. They’re both bad seeds. You didn’t need to change that. Why would you change that?

Eli is not a pathetic mewling little priss. She doesn’t require people to like her. Yes, she does like Oskar, but she’s also using him to her own ends. She’s manipulative. She’s over 200 years old, for fuck sake, she’s not going to be sheeplike and make me want to puke all over myself like Abby did. You just ripped Eli apart and used the steamy entrails to create Abby, that’s what you did. All the good stuff is gone, and all that’s left is the shit stained refuse. And Oskar… Owen. Whatever. I felt nothing for him. I felt no triumph when he finally stood up to his bullies. I felt no elation when he finally chose A… wait. You left that out entirely, didn’t you? That gut wrenching choice he makes between Eli and the rest of his life – the way it used to be? You just… threw that right out. Because relationships aren’t important… noooo. Only gore is important.

And you couldn’t even do that right. I refuse to believe you even read the book. Damn it. It describes very clearly what Eli looks like, what she CAN look like, and you followed none of that. None of it! Just made up your own shit and skipped on your merry way down the road to fucking up every tiny detail of this story.

God.

I’m so angry right now.

DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. Even if you haven’t seen the original, even if you haven’t read the book. This movie is not worth your time, or your money. Stay away. Stay far, far away.

An American Haunting

Oh, how I tried to like you, movie. I tried so very hard. You had so many elements that I find enjoying. So very many of them. It started, but didn’t end, with Donald Sutherland. I know, not everything he’s been in is the best thing on the planet, but he’s done better at choosing his roles as he gets older. Knowing more what will have public appeal and what will just fail. So I had hopes for him, I did. You were also a movie about haunting, from everything that was written or said about you – EVER. I do like hauntings, movie. I like them quite a bit. It’s really not difficult to please me in this realm, movie. Even if I don’t think I’ll watch a movie again, I can usually derive something from some part of it and come away feeling as if I’ve not wasted two hours of my life.

But you, movie. You did not pass muster. You did not even attempt to meet up with Muster on the battlefield of cinema. I’m pretty sure, actually, that you couldn’t even see Muster from where you were standing – back there in the woods, over an embankment, hiding behind that tree.

What you turned out to be, movie, was a colossal waste of my time. I came away feeling cheated and sad. Used and put away wet. I feel like you didn’t even try to be a real movie after the first twenty minutes. If we’ve learned anything from Pinocchio, it’s that we must try when we want to be real, we must put effort into life, or it’s meaningless.

You, movie, are meaningless.

I was so disappointed as I watched you and you just kept getting worse. I didn’t think it was possible, but it kept happening. I should have known when my gut said “My, those slaps are awfully silly.” But I didn’t. I tried to reason that away with the excuse they tried to give in the script. I should have listened to my gut, really, I should have.

But that hope, it lingered. It lingered until the very end when I just had to finally give in and recommend that they take you out and shoot you, to put you out of your misery. Because you are a lame horse, movie, and you’ll do nobody any good. You’ll probably just suck on the fence and hurt yourself by trying to run when all of your legs are broken.

I do have a tip for you, movie. Hopefully if you ever get reincarnated, you can hold onto this – if you are putting entire scenes that are use IN THE MOVIE with your “alternate scenes” just to have more padding and content, you are failing. If most of your “alternate scenes” are just the same exact scene from a different camera angle, you are failing. And, should I watch your “alternate scenes” and not actually be able to tell the difference between what I just watched and what is supposed to be new, you have failed completely.

I have to give you an F, movie. In all subjects. Believe me, it makes me sad. But remember, I tried – oh so hard – to like you. I was rooting for you from the start. I was behind you, cheering you on, and you let me down.

I hope I never see you again, movie. Because I feel that if I do, I may have to find some matches.

Gabriel

Alright.

See, I went into this with the idea that it wasn’t going to be very good. I mean, I don’t recall it ever even being in theaters. I hadn’t even heard of it until I saw it in Netflix.

I’ve been putting it off for a really long time, though, because I have a thing for angels, and I knew it was going to be bad, and I didn’t want to be frustrated. But I finally watched tonight. The problem is, it’s not a bad movie, per se. Just the dialog is complete crap. I’m pretty convinced that whoever wrote the dialog is bordering on retarded. Like, actually mentally deficient.

Despite the epically bad writing, the actors still managed somehow to not come off as complete assholes. I’m not sure how they managed it, but they did. It doesn’t make anything better, really. It’s just nice to know that some actors CAN try to overcome the utter shit that some people spew. The only actor that didn’t really manage that was the guy who played Ahriman. He really felt forced.

So the movie itself, it’s about angels, I already said. Specifically, it’s about the archangel Gabriel. And Michael, and Uriel, and Raphael, etc. Seven of them vs seven fallen. In a battle of good and evil for the souls of this very strange city that I’m not sure about. In the start of the movie, it seems as if they want you to think it’s Purgatory, but everybody is still alive there, so it doesn’t quite work.

The whole thing had a very Crow-esque feel to it. Like The Crow with angels instead of avenging spirits and criminals. Very dark, very gloomy, very gothy. I can see what they were trying to go for. I mean, it’s obvious that somebody was a big fan of The Crow franchise, I would say this is a clear homage. Right down to the big battle scene at the end on a rooftop in the rain. (oops, spoiler. Like you were going to watch it anyway)

The fight scenes were actually pretty well done, and there were some special effects that I’m fairly impressed with. But I still can’t call it a good movie. I certainly wouldn’t tell anyone to watch it, or put it on if I had people over. But let me be completely honest, if I found this movie on the cheap – I’d buy it. And I’d watch it while locked in my room so nobody could see what I was doing.

Ballast

And sometimes judging by the cover of something just doesn’t work out for you.

Between the half assed description from Netflix and the cover of this movie, I think I didn’t really stand a chance here. It was all stacked up against me from the get go. I, for one, would really like to know who is responsible for these movie descriptions, because they’re not accurate, they’re not telling. They’re not helpful at all.

The IMDB synopsis is: A drama set in the Mississippi delta, where one man’s suicide affects three people’s lives.

The Netflix synopsis is: In a small Mississippi Delta township, one of the poorest places in the rich nation of America, a single mother struggles to provide for herself and her son. Their fragile lives are tragically ripped apart when an extreme act of violence occurs.

In much fewer words, the IMDB description more fully illustrates what is going on in this film. In reading that, I wouldn’t have picked this movie to watch. It’s not something that would have interested me so much. I mean, it sounds fine, but I really wasn’t in the mood for any sort of family drama type movie.

The words that got me into this were “Extreme act of violence”. When you tell me that there’s going to be an extreme act of violence, I damn well expect there to be a motherfucking extreme act of violence. Oh, there was violence, don’t get me wrong. But a kid getting hit some, a guy shooting himself in the chest, and a very brief and ineffectual attack on mother and son where all they do is chase them out of the car into a field…

Not extreme violence.

I sort of expected this at the very least to be hard hitting and poignant. A very… stark sort of reality piece. That is not what I got. I can’t even really say that the catalyst for this entire movie – the suicide – was all that turbulent. I just didn’t feel any emotion from the actors. I knew what they were supposed to be going through, what they were supposed to be feeling, but I just… it didn’t come through. It sort of felt like they were all incredibly bored with the whole thing.

Almost the entire first portion of the movie is people driving around. Not to really interesting places, either. Just sort of … back and forth. Going home. La di da. There’s no reason for it at all. Every single driving-to-a-place scene could have been completely left out of the movie and I STILL would have gotten the idea that they went to some other place. You know why? Scenery. Yes. I am attentive. I don’t need it to be pointed out to me that the little boy went to a crack den. Because the crack den does not look like his mother’s house. At all.

The last thing that really bugged me about this movie is just the general way that it was cut together. The editor did a really shitty job of making the story flow well. It’s choppy. It’s dragging. It’s just not… not good.

Okay, one more thing: The ending. What the fuck is with that? Just dropping off out of nowhere? You give me this really long ass story about this kid and all of a sudden right when something mildly interesting happens, you’re just going to stop?

Yeah. I might be a little pissed off at this movie.