Humor by Chason Gordon. See below.
Cinema attendance is down this year, and it doesn’t matter what year I’m writing this, because it’s down every year. Who knew that terrible prints, low light projection, endless trailers, asinine commercials, and other people talking, would keep customers away? Audiences do like going to see movies, just as they like going to a restaurant, but if you tried to eat a burger, and had to sit through ads for other burgers, then burger attendance would be down as well.
So people have taken to renting and buying movies, because at home, they control the environment. You can determine who gets in, what quiet snacks to allow (soft cheeses and Jell-O), when to pause it, how much talking there is, and whether anyone is permitted to promote anything before the movie (“After the movie you guys have to do your homework”).
But the film industry has not given up in destroying the movie watching experience. They’ve decided that if you’re going to stay home, they’ll just have to bring the war to your family room. Hiding in the DVD is a range of pleasure stultifying weapons which tests your patience and wears down standards generation after generation.
Let’s say you put the disc in the DVD player, which is as fine a spot as any. Bam! There’s a commercial for the Toyota Prius. A little surprising you figure, considering you rented a movie and not a car (is someone being forced to watch a Hal Hartley film when they rent a Toyota?). So your finger naturally reaches for the “Skip” button, and that no symbol comes on screen, but hey, you’ve got other moves, so you press the “Menu” button. Denied again. I ask you dear readers, what is this other than forced advertising? You are being made to watch a commercial in the diminishing comfort of your home. Sure, you could turn away, and sure, you could mute, but in a way you want to feel the pain, and are so used to advertising that this assault feels normal. Some people actually like it.
Once you’ve decided the Toyota Prius is not for you, the corporate parade brings on 700 trailers, in case you’re feeling insecure about what you rented and want to see a different movie. As can be expected the movie trailers are catered to whatever type of movie you’re watching. If it’s The Hunt for Red October, they’ll remind you of other submarine movies, like Das Boot or Crimson Tide (not to mention the latest submarine movie, which actually takes place on a boat). If you rented a romantic comedy, they’ll show you trailers for other romantic comedies, and if it’s a romantic comedy in a submarine, the first of its kind, than they’ll just show you a trailer for a Ron Howard film. Everybody loves Ron Howard!
You sat through commercials and trailers, but you still love movies, which is why the production company prepared this little montage of classic films, just to remind you how wonderful the movie industry is, and that all the great memories of your life are actually scenes from Hollywood films. Remember that time you met an alien whose finger glowed? Remember that time you drove off a cliff with Susan Sarandon? Remember that time you went to a casino with an autistic guy? Classic. You think a montage of your actual life would be this exciting? That’s right, so shut up and watch this, and stop pressing the “Menu” button. No one can help you now.
Now that you know everything you could be doing while watching this movie, like driving a Prius or watching another movie, it’s time to show you what you can’t do: steal. Boo! Here’s where the government gets involved, and shows you a video of people stealing all sorts of things to suggest a parallel (who knew you could steal all those other things as well?). Listen up you punk kids, downloading illegally will get you hard time, massive fines, and absolutely no callbacks from any casting agents! So you better not duplicate, bootleg, download, or even tell your friend the plot of a movie (“it’s a romantic comedy in a submarine!”), otherwise this blue screen will haunt you the rest of your days.
You still there? Still want to watch the movie? That’s courageous of you, because I usually give up after trying to get the plastic off the DVD case. Ok, but before you see the movie, how about a quick scene from the movie? Just one scene, so you know you’re in the right place. Sure it’s nice to see a film in its proper order, with all the scenes linearly building towards a climax (like the Greeks taught us), but hey, sometimes it’s good to watch a pivotal scene before you see the movie. It’s like an awards show without any awards. This is the DVD reminding you why you’re there, so you can finally muster the strength to press “Play.” And isn’t it cool how the scene turns into the menu? Did you notice how they seamlessly blended? They have graphics people for that.
But there you are, you’ve figured out how to move the highlighter and placed it over “Play.” This is it. You’re about to depress the button on the remote and finally watch a movie when the Weinstein brothers break into your living room and start wrestling you (sadly the “Skip” button doesn’t work here either). Harvey grabs your legs and takes you down, while Bob comes at you with an Oscar. You throw Harvey through a sliding glass door (which was open, so he’s ok), and turn to Bob, who grabs DVDs from competing production companies and tosses them at you like throwing stars. You fight past the onslaught and knock him down with your laptop, which ironically had been illegally downloading several of his movies. After subduing them, you stuff the brothers into a massive Netflix envelope and send them on their way. Then, collapsing in exhaustion on the sofa, you reach for the remote and press “Play.”
The movie is absolute shit. Oh well.