Moving On... / by Erin Wade

Last night I finally watched Looper.

I say "finally" not because this is a movie I've been waiting to see since its release. I say it not because I've had friends waiting for me to get to it so that we can talk about it. I say it because this movie has been sitting in its little Netflix sleeve on the top shelf of my entertainment center for months.

MLW and I had started to watch it back when it first arrived. I made it about halfway through the movie before consciousness betrayed me. This is no commentary on the movie, mind you. Rather, it's a simple artifact of early waking hours and long days - I have trouble staying awake even for movies and TV shows I dearly love.

So, even though I fell asleep during it, the movie seemed interesting. I held on to it, waiting for an opportunity to finish it. And besides, I've been waiting to finish listening to the episode of The Incomparable that discusses this movie along with 12 Monkeys and Primer[^1]. Unfortunately, the nature of the movie - it's an intricate time-travel story where details happening in different time lines affect what you are seeing on-screen - meant that I couldn't just play it in the background while doing other things. It had to be watched.

I finally had that opportunity last night. I was able to start the movie early enough that I would stay awake during it, and made it all the way through. And when I finished, it occurred to me to check and see how long I'd had it.

That was, perhaps, unwise.

According to Netflix, Looper first arrived at my home on July 31st, 2014. This means that it has been sitting on my shelf for over six months. The 1-DVD-at-a-time plan that we have through Netflix costs $8 per month.

So: the pleasure of holding on to Looper for all of that time effectively cost me over $48.

I did enjoy Looper. I did not, however, derive $48 worth of enjoyment from it. I could have purchased it for far less (it's $3.99 to rent, $12.99 to buy on iTunes).

And this led me to do some thinking. Probably a decade or so ago now we dropped cable in favor of a Netflix subscription. A young child and a busy schedule just made the DVD plan a much more sensible option for us. But now, as streaming video options have emerged and become pretty good, the DVD's have become less relevant. At one time we got five DVD's at a time, but had pulled that back to just one a month in favor of streaming; and, in fact, had considered just dropping the DVD plan in its entirety, but there were a handful of TV shows and movies (like Looper) that weren't available on Netflix Streaming. So we kept it for the short term, figuring on dropping it after working through that short list.

None of this is Netflix's fault, incidentally. Their service has performed just as designed. They sent me a movie, and allowed me to keep it for as long as I wanted. I could have watched it dozens - perhaps hundreds - of times in the time between delivery and return. It's my own darn fault that I've shelled out so much coin to see a movie once (with my eyes open at least).

Regardless, it is simply the case that the DVD plan doesn't make sense for us any longer. After double-checking to make sure that the handful of remaining items on my cue were available somewhere via streaming or download, I cancelled the DVD plan[^2]. It's time to move on.

[^1]: I can heartily and happily recommend both Twelve Monkeys and Looper (both of which happen to star Bruce Willis, incidentally). Primer can easily be skipped by all but the most die-hard time-travel movie buffs. On top of being a low-budget exercise with poor production values (to the degree that the actors are often difficult to hear), Primer has the additional charm of being paced slowly, with long periods of seemingly little to no action.

[^2]: An upside here for us is that we have managed to entirely skip the Blu-Ray generation of media.

[^2]: An upside here for us is that we have managed to entirely skip the Blu-Ray generation of media.