Saturday, June 7, 2008


Mostly I don't know what I did before Netflix. Well, actually that's not true: I spent $20 a week on movie rentals from a place where heavily pierced teenage boys scowled at me all through my Woody Allen phase. (Augusta. What can I say.) Now, I am a total convert and happily pay my Visa bill because I see my Netflix subscription on it. I become giddy with anticipation whenever I see one of those red envelopes peeking back out of me. I rent three at a time, and I rotate them in such a way that I usually have two at home and one on the way. I am thinking of upping it to four, but this seems greedy even if I don't subscribe to cable.

Since joining Netflix, though, I have invented a new sport (I use the term loosely): Knitflix, which involves piling onto a couch or into bed with my knitting and whatever movie that turned up in my mailbox that day. Sometimes I'm happier about the knitting and the movie is just background noise, but sometimes I get so into a movie that I can't even knit. To the uninitiated, knitting actually requires math. Usually this is simple counting, and they actually make little tiny plastic round thingies to help you keep track of the counting but mine are all at the bottom of something (couch, knitting bag, purse). Sometimes the math can get a bit more complex, and demands that I focus on the knitting in a way that requires blocking out all dialog and gratuitous car crashes. If the movie is really good, I set the knitting aside unless the knitting is mindless (like plain sock knitting, or an afghan with simple repeats). (On a different note, I often stop to wonder if they had taught me algebra via knitting (and geometry via quilting) I would have been a much better math student. It all makes so much more sense now.)

Equally as puzzling as high school math, Netflix has this tool where it will make recommendations to you based on your ratings of other movies. For example, take "Because you liked the British version of "The Office Vol 1", you'll love this documentary "Boys of Baraka" about inner city boys from Maryland shipped off to boarding school in Kenya". Um, what??? Or, "Because you loved Annie Hall, you'll love this Bob Dylan compilation" (I hate Bob Dylan. I suspect it is the real reason T. and I are not married). Or the obvious: "Because you loved Star Trek The Next Generation Volume One, you'll enjoy Star Trek The Next Generation Volume Two". Really. That took a computer logarithm to figure out?

Once a month or so I scroll through the recommendations for me, and add a few willy-nilly to my queue. And I rarely update my queue. The result of this is that I go through phases where the little red envelopes in my mailbox contain things I have utterl
y no memory of ordering, and occasionally no real interest in watching. This is exactly what happened this week, when the movies "Junebug" and "Greenfingers" turned up. They have compelled me to create a new rating system, based on how long it takes me to put my knitting down.

I'm not entirely sure how I came to get "Junebug", particularly because it has one of the annoying O.C. kids in it (Ben McKenzie) AND Embeth Davidtz, who played Mark Darcy's pinched girlfriend Natasha in the first Bridget Jones movie. There are serious problems with this movie (an autistic artist who hates Jews, a prodigal son who disappears for half the movie, cinematography that aspires to artsy but comes off as just dumb) but it's worth watching because Amy Adams is just insanely great. I put my knitting down halfway I'll give it 3 Knitting Needles since 2 seems weak and 4 seems too strong.

"Greenfingers", though...seriously, now one of my favorite movies ever. This was recommended because I highly rated "Harold and Maude", "Auntie Mame", and "Real Women Have Curves". I really don't see the connections, but "Greenfingers" was soooo good. It's the British version of "Shawshank Redemption", as far as I'm concerned. It isn't as deep and thought-provoking as Shawshank, but it's funnier and the scenery is much better, plus there's Clive Owen to look at. I never even picked up my knitting, so this gets 4 Knitting Needles all the way around.

Tonight, I have a date with "Monarch of the Glen Season 3" and my current socks. I just might need to get out more.

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