Movies R us. Like most Americans, we are BIG on movies. We watched a movie practically every night on pay-per-view. We cried when cancelling our Netflix subscription. The boys have seen Memento, West Side Story, The Magnificent Seven, To Wong Foo (an all-time favorite), Grease, The Godfather, Dogma, The King & I, Almost Famous, Gone With The Wind, Mr. Magoo’s A Christmas Carol, Matrix… everything. Except Pulp Fiction. And they can see that now.
So upon arrival in Costa Rica, checking out the movie situation was priority one. We feared all would be in Spanish… but they are almost ALL in English with Spanish subtitles! Entertainment PLUS a Spanish lesson! And there are a thousand movie theatres – everybody in the world loves movies.
We are not picky, we’ll see anything. When left with choosing between bad and worse, bad will do. Having lived in Key West since time began, a limited choice of good movies doesn’t phase us. We are happy to choose the least offensive action adventure sci-fi flick just to sit in the dark and eat popcorn. Damn good thing.
The 1000 movie theatres all show the same movie. And the movies are usually so old you can rent them in the video store. Flight Plan was just here. Hotel Rwanda. The choice is renting a movie for $1, or going to the theatre for $3. Wednesday is 1/2 price movie day in all of Costa Rica. I think it’s a law… So the choice is slightly more difficult on Wednesdays. Er, was…
Renting videos in Costa Rica is quite the adventure. It’s starts out like in America: you go in the store and browse the aisles. You pick out six and wait patiently, watching Era de Hiello (Ice Age which is dubbed) while the clerk gets the actual disc… After a few minutes, the clerk gives you back 5 of the cases and tells you "These are rented, would you please put the cases back on the display shelf? And take your time, pick out some more movies…"
He says all this in rapid-fire Spanish, of course, and I hope I misunderstand him… I say, "Repite, por favor?" Turns out I understood him just fine. So, shaking my head in wonderment, I put empty cases for movies that are NOT available for rent back on the shelves, mixed in with (hopefully) some movies that ARE available.
I go back to browsing the shelves. The clerk and I repeat this dance THREE MORE TIMES before I finally have 5 movies to take home for a week for $5. "Can’t beat the price," I mumble to myself in consolation.
Back at the ranch, we are so ready to do the movie thing! Pop the corn, plug the movie into the player, watch the first half of movie #1 at which point it stops working. It gets that pixel thing going on, distorted sound to match the picture… the works. We are bummed but hopeful. We watch this spastic movement for about 15 minutes, leaning forward in our seats, urging it on, wishing it on, praying even… but God is busy and the movie will not play. OK, we can live with this, it wasn’t that great a movie and the popcorn is gone. There’s tomorrow night.
Unfortunately, this exact scenario played out on 3 of the 5 movies we had. No wonder it only costs $1.
Bummer. We tried the other video store. Same price, same scenario. And when I took back the 3 movies I had rented, they charged me $10 in late fees. That’s practically the most expensive thing I’ve purchased in all of Costa Rica. Late fees are why we stopped renting movies in the states. The O’Boyles are permanently on tico time.
Renting is out. Yesterday, half-price day, we went to the movies. Our choices were Ice Age 2 (seen it), Mission Impossible 3 (seen it), Scary Movie 4 (seen it – we were desperate), Vida Salvaje (Disneylatino: kid’s animation in Spanish – couldn’t do it), Casanova (has anyone seen this?), The Upside of Anger (seen it on pay-per-view), Guardianes de la Noche (horror and in Spanish, nah) and UltraViolet. UltraViolet won. We lost. It was barely good enough to justify sitting in the dark eating popcorn. It was not good enough to warrant the 30 minute drive there and back.
OHMYGOD, WHADREWEGONNADO? We don’t have TV. In desperation, we’ve come close to signing up a few times. But we like not having TV. We spend more time online but, hey, you get more online and at least it’s READING! So getting TV to get pay-per-view is the last resort. It may come to that.
Today the solution hit me… as solutions are wont to do when DESPERATE: join Netflix again! They don’t mail to Costa Rica but they mail to our Miami box who will mail to us. It may take a couple extra days to get here, but that’s ok. Brilliant – oooooh, yes!
I go to Netflix, sign up and start adding to my queue. I wonder around Netflix, clicking on practically everything when I come to The New World. It looks interesting because my grandmother, Granny Boo, who is alive and lucid at 96, claims we are direct descendants of Pocohontas. Don’t laugh… you can see
the resemblance here:
If you look really really really hard. Enlarge them both to about 1000%. There. See it now? I told you so.
Anyway, I can’t decide about The New World, so I scroll down to the reviews. This is a fabulously intellectual movie, apparently as the reviews are fabulously intellectual musings and blather… until this one, writTen by zombieflicker:
"If I would have had a gun lying around while watching this hunk of poorly edited and writen garbage, I would have blew my brains out. Visually, this movie is stunning which is why I kept watching this film. What torture!! I would have rather spent my time watching a snail cross my driveway. I finally pushed the fast forward button about 90 minutes into it so I could end the madness! Don’t let the big-name actors lure you into watching this mess!"
Ooooohkay. I decide not to rent it. Let’s just stick to comedy for now: The Producers, Dr. Strangelove, Wedding Crashers, The Family Stone, Stage Beauty, Mrs. Henderson Presents… If you have great movie suggestions, please make them: either email me or click on the "comments" link below. We’ll watch them all!!! Ooooh, life is good!
Almost Famous • Casanova • Dogma • Dr. Strangelove • The Family Stone • Flight Plan • The Godfather • Gone With The Wind • Grease • Hotel Rwanda • Ice Age • The King & I • The Magnificent Seven • Matrix • Memento • Mr. Magoo’s A Christmas Carol • Mrs. Henderson Presents • The New World • The Producers • Pulp Fiction • Stage Beauty • To Wong Foo • UltraViolet • The Upside of Anger • Wedding Crashers • West Side Story