My brother, Night Stocker, called the other day, and for once we didn’t talk about Exwork. Instead we spent forty-five minutes discussing our watching habits of television and movies. Turns out we’re quite alike. We both speed watch—not to be confused with “speed reading,” which was a huge commercial scam in the eighties, and for a shorter time in the aughts. (But it wasn’t like Pet Rocks, exactly. Those were knickknacks, and I think there should have been cages for zoo rocks, and little houses for domesticated rocks with rock families. They could have made even more money with such things during that insanity.)
Speed watching is fast-forwarding. The older we get the less patience we have for delays, and that’s especially true for documentaries and documentary-like shows. “What on Earth” is the worst. I record everything so I don’t have to watch commercials, but that show wastes so much time with aliens and government conspiracies that I’ve learned to handle the remote like my grandkids work their game controllers. I want to know what it really is, and so I fast-forward until I see someone walking across the ground at the site of the satellite picture. (And by the way, Science Channel, putting two or three old episodes together does not make it new!)
My brother and I look forward to future conversations that will include such critical banter as:
“Hey, that movie’s finally out on DVD and Streaming.”
“Yeah, I just fast-forwarded through it the other day.”
“How was the ending?”
“Not bad. I could probably fast-forward through it again.” (That’s high praise.)
“How many arrows?”
“I give it a 3.5. I forwarded at three for the first half, and four for the rest.”
And that’s how we grade movies, now. We don’t use stars or thumbs up. We use arrows, and the higher the number the worse the movie. Arrows are the triangles you see on screen when you fast-forward (right arrows) and rewind (left arrows). I seldom use left arrows. My DVD player allows me five arrows, while Netflix and On Demand only have four, but we use five for judging, and five means I don’t need to watch it again, and I’m pissed I rented it.
I finally binged the Lost In Space remake. I consider it a nine-hour movie, and I give it a 3 arrow rating. I can accept the robot being alien, and Dr. Smith being a woman whose name isn’t really Smith, but please make some 3D-Printer guns, you morons! Makeshift spears won’t work! Even LISOS had laser weapons! And if you absolutely must be PC about it, make guns that only stun, and zap the creatures so they’ll go away and maybe not come back. And if there’s any intelligence in those alien skulls, perhaps they’ll tell the other monsters about it, and they’ll all stay away!
There’s only one movie I’ve seen recently that I really like, and I went out and bought the DVD after renting it On Demand. I’m not sure why I like it, except it’s kind of like James Bond, and a Jane Bond, in space: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I did not fast-forward, and probably won’t start forwarding to get to my favorite parts until I’ve seen it ten times. I give it zero arrows.