Optimus Prime

That's Just Prime

Today I want to talk about a first world problem that has been plaguing my life lately. Forget world hunger, or the fact that the only thing keeping us from WWIII is Trump’s angst filled bromance with Kim Jong-un. My first world problem is as serious as it gets. I am woefully behind on movies, and I don’t like any of my options for catching up. I am a victim of streaming services and their arbitrary licensing deals.

This is serious shit, and the streaming universe needs to fix this so they can get more money from me.

Like millions of Americans, I came to my senses and dropped my Netflix disc plan several months back. I was getting emotionally manipulated in the relationship. I would get a disc in, and then not be in the mood to watch it. So it would sit on top of my Blu-ray player. First for days. Then for weeks. Then for a fucking month. Essentially I was paying to have this disc sent to my house, eat all of my food and stare at me with its judgy little disc eyes while I watched other shows.

And I didn’t want to send it back for something else because that would be a waste of money. That would be admitting defeat. The defeat that comes from being in a different mood when the disc gets in than I was when I delicately placed it at the top of the queue. Or when Netflix flexes its bi-polar power and took a movie from Very Long Wait to It’s in the Fucking Mail. It just isn’t fair to toy with my emotions like that. So I ended the relationship.

And don’t talk to me about Redbox, if I wanted to drive to rent a movie I would just go to Blockbuster. Oh, wait……

I have Hulu Live, Amazon Prime and Netflix. What more could a man possibly want? Movies. A man could want movies. New releases if he so desires. Or old favorites. Or the bin of “holy fuck how did I miss that” movies. A man could want access to this at the touch of a button.

But  I would prefer to have these things without being treated like the streaming world’s prison bitch.

Six fucking dollars to watch a movie? That’s more than half of a monthly Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription. For one God damn movie. And nearly as much as going to the movie theater. At that point I should just buy the fucking movie at $15. But that’s like committing to watch it three times to get value, and commitment like that really isn’t my thing.

At those prices, Amazon, who I love and use daily, is never, ever gonna get my money. As much as I want to catch up on movies. There are endless possibilities on the services I have now. And since I have the HBO add-on with my Hulu Live, most movies will eventually find me.

But I have a better solution. One that would benefit not only myself, but allow a streaming service (most likely Amazon) to make some coin from me and other like-minded people who have no intention of paying $6 per movie but would be willing to fork something over.

I think Amazon should start a bonus streaming service concept to fill the void being left by people walking away from discs. And I really think they should call it Optimus Prime, because I am a dork and apologize for nothing.

Netflix offers a tiered system, you’re allowed to have one, two or three discs at a time based on your subscription. Amazon could now do the same thing, only by streaming movies rather than waiting for discs in the mail. A subscriber would be given a certain number of credits per month that they could spend however, and whenever, they chose, but after the credits are used up they would have to wait for the next billing cycle in order for them to reset, or start forking over $6 per movie. They could even make the offer exclusive to Prime members, much like they do their Amazon Pantry service. As a Prime member, I’m good with that.

Need God in your life and want to rent Dogma? One credit.

Ashamed of yourself for not seeing Shape of Water yet? One credit.

Want to stare at Jennifer Connelly for two hours? Career Opportunities. One credit.

I was on the single disc plan when I cancelled, which means if I really hustled and watched the movies the same day I got them I could watch maybe ten movies in a month. This almost never happened. That plan cost me $11. I think eight movies at that price, that I could stream whenever it was convenient for me, would be a fair. And Amazon could offer higher options for people who wanted to consume more.

As a corporate citizen this is the right thing for Amazon to do for America.

Crisis averted. First world problem solved.

Medium Matters

Art is Freedom

I’m going to spend a lot of time talking about creative content, and I wanted to take an opportunity to tell you what I love about each creative medium. They each have a unique way of storytelling. I’m sure there are mediums I am missing or haven’t been exposed to yet, but for now I am going to stick to those I am exposed to on a frequent basis.

Books

Books were my first love, and still my favorite. I can read a book from start to finish in a day, real world be damned. The experience of an author’s unique voice, and the fact that no matter how descriptive he or she gets, the images of the world and characters they create come from my head, making me feel like I am part of the experience.

Audiobooks

A good narrator can bring a book to life (a shitty narrator can also kill one) while still allowing the listener to get absorbed in the world the writer creates. Audiobooks fill the nooks and crannies of life that don’t require your full attention, allowing for the enjoyment of even more content.

Podcasts

I’m relatively new to the podcast world compared to other forms of creative content. Like half the country, I was drawn in by the first season of Serial (which was amazing in case you missed it) and wanted more. One of the taglines from the podcasting community is “It’s television for your ears.” And that’s the best way to describe it. There’s something for everyone, from journalism to docudramas. From the darker corners of life to reliving your favorite television series.

Television

If books were my first love, television was my second. My first TV memories are re-runs of Lost in Space and the original Star Trek on summer mornings. I came of age at the start of the Golden Age of television, with Friends, X-Files, 90210 (the original, not that shitty remake) and my love has continued to grow as TV evolves. Like books, binging gives the opportunity to spend a day getting immersed in a different world. And a TV season allows for story and character arcs to develop over time, allowing writers to play a long game (ratings permitting).

Movies

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t get out to the movies as much. I don’t really feel like paying $10+ for just the ticket to the cinematic experience. That puts me in a lot of danger when it comes to spoilers and buzz. That being said, who doesn’t love a great movie? Everyone loves Star Wars and has an opinion on Ewoks. Quentin Tarentino changed the rules on how movies were made with Pulp Fiction. And you can get a full story, complete with a sweeping character arc in about 2 hours. And the dramatic effects bring their stories to life, I mean who doesn’t like special effects?

Comics

Much like podcasts, I am a relative newcomer. The cinematic and television universes have done a tremendous job of opening up the world of comics. I also started listening to Jay & Miles Xplain the X-Men and that got me going. Once that door was open, I quickly learned that comics aren’t just for kids (Walking Dead, Sandman, Watchmen) and that their stories have all the complexity and depth of any other medium. They blend the narrative benefits of books with the dramatic effects of art and play a long game that can span years if not decades. And they can retcon (retroactive continuity) whatever they want to suit the present narrative, which is part of the fun.

Performing Arts

Although there are significant differences between the three main types of performances I frequent (Play, Musical and Opera), for the purposes of this post I am grouping them together. The performing arts provide a uniquely intimate experience. Being part of a live audience is to share the same space as the performers. You are surrounded by the experience. A shared experience between you and the performer, and no other medium can replicate that.

This list is incomplete, and so are the descriptions. For the moment they are meant to be. I wanted to get the overview out of my system and out of the way. I will definitely be expanding on each of these, and exploring more over time. Exploring content is a constant and never ending journey.