Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'd like to identify a category of movies: Movies-I-Feel-Like-I-Ought-To-Watch-But-In-Reality-Somehow-Can't-Quite-Be-Bothered (MIFLIOTWBIRSCQBB).

It used to be, MIFLIOTWBIRSCQBBs were relatively harmless. You passed one on the shelf of the video store, felt vaguely shallow for not renting it, then grabbed the latest Rush Hour sequel.* (Jackie: so nimble! Chris: so wacky!)

But in this era of Netflix, they come to us, invited by us, tacked to the end of our queue in a long forgotten idealistic yesteryear: "Of course—at some indeterminate date in the future—I'll want to watch an incisive and savagely honest documentary about the ravages of the Vietnam war!"

So they arrive like red-enveloped stepchildren, silently beseeching us, "Watch me now," and we go on ignoring them, "I'm just not in the mood." Another month passes. Another twenty dollars is sacrificed to the Netflix gods.

"Rashomon" has been sitting by our DVD player for over a month. I'm sure it's excellent. I like Kurosawa a bunch—"Seven Samurai", "Ran", even the one about the old man dying of cancer. (And until I watch it, I can't, with full conviction, use the term "Rashomon-esque".) But somehow, there hasn't been a single night in the past few weeks when I've been in the mood to watch a feudal Japanese court procedural. (Though I'm completely current on "The Office" and "30 Rock". Hmm.)


* Insert your low-brow movie preference here.


  1. i also have a tashiro mifune/kurosawa combo sitting on the top of my tv (since december!), "stray dog." i really want to watch it but...

    to be honest, i haven't watched anything since last december as this semester is kicking my behind.

  2. Mandy of Maine6:40 AM

    One I had to force myself to watch was "Maxed Out"an older documentary on our nations credit depedency....sounds uplifting right?
    Seriously, it changed my life, but the personal stories still haunt me...the truth is that sometimes at the end of the day we just need to escape from the heaviness of life, thats why everyone loves Tina Feys wacky shanigans...so far removed from what our lives are like! So send that little red envelpoe back and rewatch "Arrested Development" instead. And face the world a better person for having laughed :)

  3. craic-head9:54 AM

    I can describe things if I wanna as Rashomon-esque.

    However, I have yet to be able to describe things as Battleship Potemkin-esque. (Two months, twelve days.)

    This MIFLIOTWBIRSCQBB sounds epidemic.

  4. You needn't be afraid of Rashomon, actually. I'm horrible about watching classic films, but that one was quite painless. It's not even long.

  5. Anonymous11:50 AM

    Languishing in my Netflix queue:

    Shotgun Stories
    The Romance of Astrea and Celedon
    Blame It On Fidel

    There should be a corresponding category of Films I Really Really Want To See But Stupid Netflix Doesn't Carry Them. Here are mine:

    The Class
    Sita Sings the Blues
    Madame Bovary (the '91 Chabrol version)

  6. I finally figured out how Netflix makes money!

    I don't really do this, myself. I unabashedly watch the worst trash imaginable on Netflix. Then I sneak off to the local third-run cheapy cheap art theater and watch the heavy stuff in the artificial darkness of a Friday afternoon.