Old Man Problems Part III

January 31, 2020 at 11:40 am (The Easy Chair)

And then there’s the technology problem with video…

Once upon a time, I had a snazzy video/audio setup with DVD/VHS capabilities, patched together with big screen TV, wired through the stereo and huge homemade speakers. I learned how to copy films for later viewing, creating a hefty personal library, including many, many concert videos. I got to where I preferred sitting alone in my room, rocking the house while smoking and drinking to my quivering heart’s content. That ain’t happening no more.

My Blu-Ray setup is great for watching movies, even if you end up seeing stuff like Django’s pancake makeup, or The Dollarhyde cleft-palate that’s actually a wad of flesh-colored gum. But I hardly use it. I have all this other shit to watch on cable…

Except I don’t. I’d subscribed to a bunch of movie channels, because at one time I could always find something interesting. I sat down one night, went through all 3,409 choices, and found three I might want to watch again. Again. I’d already seen what I want.

So I called up cable, and culled about $70 off the bill. I kept HBO, only because of Bill Maher. (I have to get real news somewhere.) I had not watched any of the channels I’d removed. I should do this thinning of the herd thing more often.

But now what? Where will I find uncut, subversive R-Rated fare to watch at 2 AM?

Netflix, of course.

I’d wanted to see The Irishman, but missed the one Saturday showing at the Hollywood Theater. Just as well. I can barely sit through a ninety-minute film any more, thanks to the low attention spans set by smartphones and such. At four hours, I’d have given up at some point. Watching at home? I can pause, make a sandwich. And… I can burn as many joints as necessary to get through this cinematic ordeal.

Except it wasn’t an ordeal. It was like hanging out with friends you’ve known and loved for forty years. (It reminded me of road trips with my cousin.) Robert DeNiro wasn’t mugging for the camera. (I hate his screwball comedies. Please…) Al Pacino was so good I forgot I was watching Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci? They must have had him on Thorazine, because he was a gentleman through the whole movie. Albeit a very dangerous gentleman. Four hours flew by.

Netflix was good for a few other things, too. I saw The Highwaymen, with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as Texas Rangers hunting Bonnie and Clyde. I’d love to see this as a double feature with the late-’60s Arthur Penn film. I also saw the original Shaft, Superfly and a couple other movies from My Era. I had pretty good taste in cinema for a teenager.

But Netflix only had about a month’s worth of programming that excited me. I’d click through all the options three times, and end up watching Law and Order anyway. In fact, while watching Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans I couldn’t help noticing how Nic Cage looked and acted like a young Lennie Briscoe. (Before he got sober.) Fine. If I need variety, I can watch Law and Order: Panty Police.

So I cancelled Netflix, and immediately got half-price offers to rejoin. maybe in a month or so, when I can’t help but revisit my mobster buddies back east.

I’d better hurry. We’re all getting up in years…

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