So, I tried the Netflix instant-play thing last night. I watched David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. on the recommendation of a friend. I liked the first five minutes. But it felt pretty dense, and I am sort of ashamed to say, I fell asleep by minute twenty-nine. I can’t quite make up my mind though, was it the movie or the Netflix that put me to sleep?
I’ve fallen asleep at movies before, sure, but I’ve always felt guilty about it. I have a free subscription to Netflix right now, and really I can watch as many movies as I want. But somewhere in the midst of that plethora of choice, I have lost something of my movie bug.
The chase is gone. The browsing, the research, the minutes spent in a Hollywood Video or a Blockbuster are reduced to a couple of minutes on the computer. And I miss that experience! I love the idea that I would have to check out King Vidor’s The Crowd from Cinephile in West LA on VHS just so I could watch it on a friend’s scratchy set in San Gabriel. Or I like receiving movie advice from the clerk on roller skates at Old Bank downtown on a lost Depression-era classic that I just have to watch.
It’s almost the same thing with music. A friend in high school gave me The White Stripes’ Elephant on CD; it remains one of my most vivid memories of those years. I must have played that album three thousand times on my stereo at home, which drove my mom crazy. It’s just not the same downloading something from a website and playing it on iTunes. You can talk up and down about the benefits of the internet age, but part of the value of the product is lost in the absence of the physical object—at least for me.
Tell me if this is just me. What do you think about the disappearance of plastic? Are you happy, sad? Can you identify?
And what will this mean for the movies? Will people still pay a premium when most of the content is right there on the internet anyway?