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.

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Prince of Persia (Movie)

I waited a very, very long time to see this movie. I knew how I would feel about it pretty much right away. I love the Prince of Persia franchise. From the very first one that I used to play in elementary school on the school computers, right up until the Two Thrones. I am wildly, madly in love with these games. I remember being pretty excited when I heard that they were going to make a movie, trepedacious, but excited as well. I hoped beyond a hope that this would be the video game movie to break the bad streak of video game movies.

Then I saw the star.

Now, please, for the love of god, do not get me wrong here. I also very much adore Jake Gyllenhaal. I have seen pretty much everything that he has done in his career, and I have found very little to complain about. I think he’s an amazing actor, and has a great range. So it’s nothing at all personal to Jake.

It’s just that… well.

He’s not the Prince.

My excitement didn’t just waver, it sort of completely and utterly deflated and left me with absolutely no wanting to see this movie. That’s a pretty big drop, really. I see now that I should have expected it, given Jake’s appeal and stardom, who was producing the movie, and the fact that there are only a handful of video game movies out there worth their salt (and no, I cannot name them off the top of my head currently, so don’t ask. [but I can say none of them are by Uwe Boll.])

I waited for it to come up on Netflix Streaming until I would watch it. And I wasn’t even really waiting for it. I was just browsing one day, bored, and realized that it was there. I thought “hey, I have a few hours to kill and no desire to think about anything or put much effort into life, why not”.

While I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, it was bad. It disappointed me that they had to fuck with the story, they had to give everyone names. There wasn’t enough of the Prince jumping around like a supermonkey. It all sort of fell flat. Especially the ending. Flat. Predictable. Boring. About what I had come to anticipate.

I am glad that I watched it. It’s behind me now. I’ve seen it. I have an informed opinion. I wish Netflix had an added star for “meh”. Between “didn’t like it” and “liked it”. I didn’t turn it off. I didn’t loathe it to the core of it’s being. It was disappointing. I won’t ever watch it again, but I sat through it once. There’s no way to reflect that feeling on the Netflix rating system, and there really should be. I have felt that way about more than one movie.

I know it was exciting for Jake to have a role like this, who wouldn’t say yes to being the Prince? But maybe, just maybe, he should have taken a moment and really just thought it out. Asked himself if he was really right for the part, or if he was a fanboy getting his ultimate dream.

My vote? The latter.

Beautiful Katamari

When I first got this game, I really adored the concept. I loved the story that set up what you had to do. Everything about it suited me just fine. I was excited to play it, and popped it into my machine as soon as I got it home.

I enjoyed it for about 20 minutes. A couple of levels.

After that, it was just tedium for me. I stopped being intrigued by all the things that I could roll up into a ball with me. Then, on top of it, the music started to make me feel like I wanted to put a hole in my head. There were all these little annoyances that I might have been able to handle individually, but all together, were just too much.

I put the game down for three years. I didn’t touch it, and I didn’t look at it. I didn’t even think about it. I’m not against giving something another shot after I’ve had some time away from it to cool down and maybe get out of whatever mind set I might have been in at the time. Look at it freshly, you know? Under different mental circumstances.

So while I was going through all of my partially played games, I noticed that it was still there, and decided to add it to the end of that pile. I figured by the time I got through all the other games, I would be ready for it again. I could give it that second change. Let it show me that I had been wrong, or just in a bad place for it the last go around.

It’s time finally arrived. I popped it into my Xbox and sat down to play.

I discovered that I felt the exact same way.

I went ahead and did a couple more levels, just to be extra sure. But nothing changed for me. I wanted to like this game, I wanted to like it so very much. But I just didn’t. I couldn’t even get halfway through it. There was no way to force myself. I ended up giving it to a friend who I knew would appreciate it more than I would, and she did. She played through it pretty quickly, actually. I’m glad that somebody got joy and enjoyment out of it, because I couldn’t.

There haven’t been any sort of large number of games that I have started and were unable to finish because of my dislike. In fact, the only two I can really think of are this one and Watchmen: The End is Nigh. Oh, and don’t get me wrong. My apathy toward Katamari is nothing close to my loathing of Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. I am of a general indifference toward Beautiful Katamari. I hated Watchmen deep into the core of me. There was nothing redeeming about that game, and I think if anybody handed it to me, I’d light it on fire.

It does actually make me a little bit sad that I couldn’t get into Katamari. I know that a lot of people had fun with it. It makes me wonder why I couldn’t manage to have fun with it.

Oh well. We can’t win them all, can we?

But considering my point of view compared to all the others out there, I can’t honestly say that anybody should or should not pick this one up. I feel as if I’m in the minority here, thus making me an unreliable source.

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.

The Fourth Kind

I really thought that I was going to enjoy this movie. I really did. This was one that I really wanted to see in the theater, and I was disappointed when it didn’t happen. I was excited for it to move to first place on my Netflix list, and excited when it came in the mail. I excitedly opened it up and excitedly put it into my DVD player.

And now? Now that I’ve seen it how do I feel?
Well, I’m glad that I didn’t waste my money seeing it in the theater. I’m kind of sad that I invested any time into it, and wondering how it happened that I was so excited and I am left so… not. So quickly.

It’s not that the story wasn’t intriguing, because it was. I love a good alien true story. Fire In The Sky. I also love fake aliens. Such as those found on X-Files. It’s not even like the acting was bad, because it wasn’t. It was really good, honestly. In fact, this really had all the elements of being a very good movie. But it just wasn’t.

How does that happen? you might ask. How can all the elements, all the ingredients, be right, and yet it’s all so bad once put together?

They used real footage and real audio of things that happened in Nome, Alaska. I believe that what they were going for was to validate the dramatized scenes, making everything creepier because you’re seeing what actually happened. I can see the thought process behind it, and I could even see myself having the same idea if I’d been behind the making of this movie. It didn’t quite work out the way that they’d hoped. At least not for me. Instead, it worked against the film, hugely. Monumentally.

Firstly, putting in the footage and the other stuff felt like an interruption. It broke me away from the story and took me out of the moment. This resulted in me not caring about the characters or what was happening to them. I was so roughly jolted out of the movie that I didn’t have a chance to connect to any of it. I also found myself having to rewind and watch scenes again, not because they were incredible or interesting, but because I felt like I’d missed something. This is a bad thing to have happen in a movie, you don’t want your viewers to think that they blinked during an important part, or might have dozed off. And it happened more than once.

The second thing is; instead of validating the movie with reality, I found myself doubting the reality. Those scenes in which they cut away from Milla Jovovich and her costars and go to the real footage feel fake. They feel like they were made for the movie, and they feel forced. The woman, the doctor, comes off as a drugged up loser. I find no passion behind her words and no conviction. She tells her story but it doesn’t convince me. I felt as if all of it couldn’t be trusted. That the “actual footage” was just more actors. Putting these scenes in, using the real audio, made it so it was those scenes, not the dramatized ones, became fake in my mind.

I feel like they should have either just made a documentary using the real footage – there was more than enough of it – or, they should have dramatized the whole thing and put the real items in with the bonus features. There, people could see the real accounts of what happened in the movie, and in this removed situation would probably be more liked to be seen for what it is. Evidence. Proof. People would be awed by what they are seeing. I felt no awe, no wonder, no anything seeing these clips in the film.

I just don’t think combining them works. I am not finding myself intrigued by the happenings of this movie, thus dulling any want to investigate it further. In fact, I have a rather empty and disappointed feeling. The movie was lackluster.

Boring, even.

Which kind of makes me sad. This could have, and should have, been brilliant. The facts are enough on their own to be really fucking creepy. Dramatizing all of it would have taken away absolutely nothing from that. I think it would have made everything come together better, actually.

I can’t even recommend watching this. There’s nothing to be gained from it.

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.

S, Darko

This movie is just as bad as I thought it was going to be when I first found out about it.

At least I got to watch Ed Westwick prance around dressed as a greaser. Sadly, this is the only redeeming part.

To clear up misunderstandings I had previously: Frank is not the same Frank. Yet for some reason, the image of Donnie’s Frank in his Halloween costume, the freaky rabbit, is Sam’s “Dream face”. This brings me right back to the idea that Frank was Donnie’s catalyst and shouldn’t make an appearance in this film at all. I still stand by that.

The guy actually named Frank in this movie is a mechanic and has nothing to do with anything.

Not that any part of this movie made any actual sense. It sort of felt like the writer and/or director of S. Darko didn’t actually understand Donnie Darko, and just took imagery that seemed cool and shoved it into this movie. The entire concept is off.

I hated it. I hated it the whole time. Don’t watch this movie. Run from it. Run screaming. If somebody says you should watch it, punch them in the face and then run. Or set their copy on fire. Either one is fine with me.