Monday, 6 March 2017

Oldboy Murray

Things have changed since I was a lad.

Way back when it was all about VHS. I fondly remember trying to program a VCR to record many a film only to find the last twenty minutes hadn't made it, or I had totally the wrong programme set up. I'm not going to pretend I had a Betamax player, I didn't and wouldn't have appreciated the quality difference either way as I was far too young to know any better. Having said that, my mate Gav's dad had one and I think the only film we watched on it was the Ralph Bakshi version of The Lord of The Rings.

Later on DVD's came along and that was that, or so we were told. Best format ever. Indestructible. All lies! There was Blu-Ray, laser discs and a few other formats that I didn't bother with which pretty much brings me to the current age.

"Fine grain", check out the quality.
Stream on.

In the digital age I now have access to a stupidly large amount of movies. So many in fact, that I am spoilt by the sheer range of choice. And as a result I find my viewing habits have changed. I used to take pride in the fact that I'd never walked out of a film at the cinema, and watched even bad DVD's till the end, and that the whole thing was worth watching no matter how ropey it may be. After all, I'd paid my money and there was a certain satisfaction about how seeing a bad movie will play out. Nowadays, if the film's not entertaining me I can happily stop watching it and flick to something else, all without moving from my couch. I've become a really lazy viewer.

And I think it's down to a couple of things.

The (lack of) English Patience.

I love Netflix, but one of the issues is that with so much to watch there is always the feeling that with time at a premium it should be spent watching things are really worth it. And this is one of the reasons that has made me an impatient viewer. Why bother watching a film that is only just holding my interest when I could watch something really good instead? There are many times when both Rachel and myself have just stopped watching. And this has even happened part way through a TV series. We were 6 episodes into Designated Survivor and looked at each other and agreed that we just couldn't be bothered watching the rest of it (after a 6 hour commitment).

Asda's bargain basement DVD shelf.

Sometimes the issue is the wealth of choice on hand. I frequently catch myself in browse mode. This is the part of the evening when I decide I'm going to watch something but fail to make a choice as I keep looking for something slightly better. And before I know it, I've disappeared down a rabbit hole of random movies, like some breadcrumb trail leading me into a forest of films (apologies for the mixed metaphors here).

Before I know it half an hour has passed by and I decide to watch a Jason Statham movie because at this point anything is better than nothing. And this must have occurred a lot because now, when I see a Jason Statham film advertised on Netflix, I seem to know that I have watched it without actually recalling when that happened (although to be fair that could have something to do with him continually playing the same character in every film, and with the same plot).

But maybe none of this is an issue. Today there is greater choice. There is no reason to feel obliged to sit through something that you're not engaged with. It goes back to the stories of record television ratings, the people talk of the good old days when the whole nation would watch the same thing: when you only have a limited choice you tend to put up with it. Once your horizons are broadened there is a tendency to be more choosy about what you watch.

And with that, I'm off to watch Citizen Kane (or the Transporter 3).

This could be interesting...