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
Chris P (www.4waystop.com) said…
Thanks for the heads up about the movies. Now I know not to cancel Netflix. I had considered doing the same thing, but dimissed it as impractical. Also, my husband, who’s been there since late January says cable isn’t too bad, he can always get Desperate Housewives and Lost (and likely some others) streamed to his laptop on cbs.com and finally, he’s begun to buy loads of pirate DVDs at a buck a pop on his trips to Venezuela. He says the quality is excellent and claims the occasional twinge of guilt over the piracy is mitigated by thinking of how much we used to pay for a Friday night movie for two at Sunset Place in S. Miami – plus parking, soda and popcorn. (Won’t Netflix get pretty pricey once you factor in shipping?)
I don’t know how well this will work for you – I haven’t tried it yet – but a friend told me today about TVnow.org I may just tell Tom (husband) about it. He’d love to watch every episode of Farscape uninterrupted.
I’ve got a realtor bringing her client tomorrow. The guy flips houses and she thinks ours is just what he’d like. I hope so. I can’t wait to get down there. Today our realtor there showed my husband a 3/2 with maid’s quarters, a garage and huge yard that backs up to some kind of country club in Escazu. I just want to get on with it!
Maureen from Key West (no blog… yet!) said…
Yes, I’m a movie freak too. Belonged to Netflix two years and saw everything they had that I wanted to see – 12/mo on average. Of Course, much of what they have I’d seen on the big screen and in video rentals before Netflix, the greatest invention since the washing machine, popped up.
Now I have DVR through Comcast and I R off IFC and INDIE. I schedule a week’s worth in advance (DVR’s the greatest invention since Netflix) and watch whenever I want.
I was surprised to see you let the kids see Dogma but not Pulp Fiction.
Casanova is rankly sexist, but what can you expect of the period.
Here are my lifetime favorites: (only about 20 in 55 years)
1. Brazil (Jonathan Pryce – Robert De Niro/Allegory)
2. The Third Man (Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten – based on a Graham Greene Novel-fabulous zither music and b/w photog.)
3. Zorba the Greek (bitter sweet)
4. Ship of Fools ( Vivien Leigh, novel by Katherine Ann Porter; flamenco by the Great One( evenmore bittersweet)
5. Blade Runner (Harrison Ford, based on novel, powerful score – most bittersweet of all)
6. Body Heat – William Hurt,Kathellen Turner, Ted Danson – Mickey Rourke – just like it sounds – hot! NOvel based on a city in FL
7. Nashville – the ultimate in satire, about the country music industry; Rob.t Altman at his directorial best though anything by Oliver Stone is always great too; a host of recognizable starts
8. Dr Strangelove; I watch every 5 yrs or so and enjoy it every time.
9. The Mission, DeNiro, Jeremy Irons, more of the bittersweet; incredible scenery and music; irony: in the credits look for Dan or Phil Berrigan who were big time Jesuit anti-war activits c. 1968, draft card burners et al, as consultants on the movie. I loved it – dissident jesuits consulting on a movie about dissident jesuits from 300 yrs earlier
10. The Name of the Rose; Sean Connery – my all-time favorite mystery movie
11. Full Metal Jacket – My favorite director of all time, Stanley Kubrick; the movie is a series of actions set against incredibly artistic backgrounds that together, more than anything I’ve ever seen, say that war is hell , life-changing, earth changing, not just for those fighting but for the world as it radiates out to all. After that you should rent Paths of Glory, a b/w from late 40’s or early 50’s; Kirk Douglas, anti – war movie directed by Kubrick during WWII
12. Becket – Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole; two great actors of their time in a great story true to history.
13. Unbearable Lightness of Being, heartbreaking. Juliet Binoche and Daniel Day Louis. This director, Philip Kaufman also did Henry Miller’s story , Henry and June including the affair with Anais Nin. He’s 70 now but his body of work spans a good 20 yrs and includes all the Indiana Jones stuff.
14. 2001 A Space Odyssey, like Strangelove, I never tire of it.
15. Dr. Zhivago – probably the only romantic love on my list – must be that Omar Shariff – would happily swim in the pools of his eyes.
16. Lawrence of Arabia – like Zhivago directed by David Lean – nothing if not incredible photography! But the stories are good and fact-based.
17. The Bad Lieutenant – this movie is not for everyone, but it has my vote for one of the best movies ever made; the director, Abel Ferrara is obviously tortured by his Catholic upbringing (weren’t we all) but Harvey Keitel, by the time he hit 50 was one of the greatest actors ever (did you see The Piano), and he delivers. Ferrara’s symbolism (the bad thief crucified alongside Christ asking for forgiveness) is a little obtuse and the message of redemption didn’t come across to everyone. NOT FOR THE KIDS. I bought the NC17 version because the R cut out an important scene that I’m sure Keitel got inserted because it is set to the same song he danced to in Mean Streets, an early Scorcese film with DeNiro.
18. Pulp Fiction – have scene it at least 4 times; a little hard to stomach BUT innovative, entertaining, and well-scored. Tarentino is a genius.
19. Montenegro – a black comedy; abba songs based on Shel Silverstein character; Susan Anspach; see it twice to appreciate it. For me it was a lot of laughs; and one scene in particular was a side-splitter.
I like comedy, saw you had Wedding Crashers on the list – that’s a great one.
Scott (www.doscolones.com) said…
Hi Saratica, I may have good news for you. I’ve linked to your post in one of mine titled “The next best thing to Netflix?” (http://www.doscolones.com/doscolones/2006/05/next_best_thing.html).