Who is the patron saint of the internet? I don’t know either but whoever he is, I give him a standing rogation. Through what other medium can a highschooler be a master hacker, or a serial killer masquerade as a horny cheerleader or yours truly be a published movie critic? That’s right. Thanks to the wonderful people at Netflix, my reactions to cinematic blockbusters and time wasters are posted right up there with the likes of Roger Ebert and Eleanor Ringel. Netflix, for those not in the know, is a paid service whereby subscribers go online and select movies they want to watch. The movies are then mailed out with a postage-paid envelope so the DVDs can easily be returned once viewed. My wife and I have subscribed to this service for a few years now and can’t say enough wonderful things about it.
Most recently I’ve been exploring the write-your-own-review feature. This is where I get to express my thoughts about what I’ve seen and it gets broadcast via the innerweb to anyone on the planet who values my cinematic opinion (and really, who wouldn’t?). There are a few guidelines Netflix asks me to keep in mind, i.e. no profanity, no spoilers and no misspellings, the latter of which is probably the most abated rule. They also ask that I refrain from submitting one-word commentaries. In their estimation “Sucks” or “Excellent” does not a movie review make. Submissions should also be greater than 80 characters and less than 2000, so the review “Not since Ishtar have I seen such a pathetic excuse for a movie as this” with only 71 characters should be amended to “Not since Ishtar have I seen such a pathetic excuse for a movie as this dog squeeze” (82 characters).
So far I’ve reviewed twelve movies, some of which are foreign, some not, some funny, some not, some dog squeeze, some not. All movies get a star rating between one and five stars, five being the best. Whenever I click on the number of stars that corresponds with my vote, I picture Ed McMahon shouting out rankings on StarSearch. Wedding Crashers gets . . . [insert dramatic pause] . . . three stars! And Broken Flowers gets . . . [insert dramatic pause] . . . FOUR STARS!!! I have awarded five stars to a number of movies, only one of which I’ve reviewed, and sadly a number of movies have merited one star in my book. Admittedly, some of these one-star movies I haven’t actually seen, but I’m sure if I did, I’d give them one star. This is the case for anything with either Hellraiser or VeggieTales in the title. I have absolutely no interest in watching people killed by Pinhead or accepting a talking legume as my lord and savior. Magnificent acting and budding sexuality in a film however as in the case of both Fat Girl and Me and You and Everyone We Know, if satiating enough will get five stars. My average rating is between three and four stars.
The reviews people write on this site are sometimes more interesting to see than the movies themselves. Like anything else you find on the internet, the material is only as good as the person providing it. One subscriber who identifies himself only as RupertPupkin writes the following aboutVeggie Tales: Bible Heroes:
Vegitables rock. i like vegitabels. I like to eat vegtbles.. vegie movies are; fun becase they have carrots. I want more vegtbles 9 s i can eat more arsparugus have to seethis computrw movie its like watching real vegitlbes movie
Doesn’t that just beautifully capture the whole essence of the Apostle Paul’s letters to the Corinthians?
About Breakfast Club, a movie I rated five stars, a reviewer Def American writes “Judd Nelson. He is soooo cool.” Why the superfluous O’s? Is Def American stretching to meet the 80 character minimum? He also claims to have “cried like a girl” when the closing credits came on. Gene Siskel must be rolling over in his grave.
Expressing thoughts on a movie comes easily when the film is one I’m not overly crazy about, but I struggle with reviewing my favorite flicks. How many different ways can one say a movie rocked? Well, there is that old extra O’s on the word “so” trick, but frankly I think that’s played. Self consciousness kicks in, and I worry that I overuse certain words or expressions. “Cinematic masterpiece“ is fine for one review, but after that I feel like I should employ another turn of phrase. “Awesome film” would work for Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure but not for Schindler’s List.
My hope is that I convey my thoughts well enough in a review so as to give the reader adequate information. This way they can decide whether they want to rent the film. Visitors to the Netflix site do have the option of clicking on an icon to acknowldge my review was helpful (hint hint), but because I’m fairly new to the whole thing not a lot of people have reviewed my reviews. Most of my blurbs have the endnote that one person found the review helpful. Some show no response at all. I’m very proud of my review forChumscrubber however. A whopping five people found that review helpful. Five! Ok, I may have clicked on the icon a few times, but that’s still two people who found it helpful.
One not counting family.