Of time and the movies

Now there’s a portentous title!

The post, however, is more suitable for a hot, lazy holiday weekend. (I would say “3-day weekend,” but since I’m semi-retired, that’s sort of silly. Let’s just say “three days on which we try to stay away from highways and do without mail on Monday.”)

This little post is about a small decision, relating to the little essays I do about old movies in Mill Creek Entertainment packs (usually 50 movies, once 250 movies, sometimes smaller sets)–most of them either public domain or TV movies, but not necessarily all.

Here’s the decision:

Once in a while, I’m giving up

I know: Who cares? Fortunately, I also know that a few people enjoy the compilations in Cites & Insights (normally six discs or, for sets with fewer than six discs, the entire set), and maybe a few enjoy the single-disc summaries here as well.

And I usually enjoy watching the flicks and writing them up, even if they’re not all that good. Of course, sometimes the worst flicks (Apache Blood, to name an extreme case) are interesting to watch in an odd train-wreck-fascination way. The B “programmers,” roughly hour-long flicks, usually go by fast enough that watching them is no problem, and they’re fun to write up.


I started watching Guest in the House yesterday–a 1944 full-length picture (2 hours and one minute in theaters, one hour and 40 minutes on the disc and in TV rerelease) with Anne Baxter, Ralph Bellamy and a fairly strong cast. And after 15-20 minutes, I stopped.

There’s precedent: Back in 2004, watching a bunch of movies that came free with a magazine/DVD subscription, I decided not to finish Bucket of Blood and Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Those were just too horrific (and bad) for my taste, and that may be true for some of the ones on the “Legends of Horror” 50-pack (although not so far).

This time, though, it wasn’t blood and gore. It was just plain annoying, uninteresting, and unentertaining–for me. I just couldn’t see slogging through another hour and twenty minutes of this “noirish melodrama” (as one IMDB reviewer put it). That was time I could spend listening to music, reading a book, taking a nap, staring out the window–or working on some project, for that matter. In short, “life is too short” for some movies, even though (to my wife’s dismay–but I do use headphones!) I sit through some movies that might be considered relatively worthless. (OK, so I think the whole “mining the public domain” thing Mill Creek does is interesting and worthwhile…)

So I’ll include a dummy listing, with the title, date, director, stars, timing, and–instead of a writeup and dollar rating–a note on why I didn’t watch it.

How often will this happen? Who knows?

That’s it. Portentous title. Trivial post. Enjoy your weekend…

2 Responses to “Of time and the movies”

  1. laura says:

    This is a good explanation for why I almost never watch movies any more, of any sort. Actually, the real explanation is that full-time employment leaves my other time rather scarce, and there are far too many interesting things to do in my house, and it’s too easy to get distracted from something dancing in front of me on a screen. It’s sad, though, because I love movies.

  2. walt says:

    I do try to avoid too many distractions, as a certified unitasker (who also doesn’t have a full-time job any more). Of course, for the first 250 movies, I was watching them while on the treadmill–which eliminated distractions but also meant I was only seeing 20-25 minutes at a time. Now, that exercise comes from walking with the wife 6 times a week, hiking once a week–and when I’m watching a movie, that’s all I’m doing. I’m just as happy I don’t have, say, a netbook or iPad/iTouch sitting around to tempt me with distractions…