Sunday, June 19, 2011
I watched my first movie on my new ipod touch this past week.
It was No Strings Attached, the Ivan Reitman-directed romantic comedy from earlier this year starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. (I've used the French poster here, because for some reason I've got this funny rule not to use the same poster twice as the sole art for one of my posts. I already used the standard poster for my post on the movie back in January, and there's no alternate English-language poster for it, apparently.)
I did not like it. I consider this strange, because almost every bit of feedback I'd heard about it was that it was better than you'd expect it to be. In fact, I thought it was far worse than I expected. I almost titled this post "How I hate 'the friend,'" and made it a rant about how sick I am of all the secondary characters who exist in romantic comedies only as friends to the romantic leads, their primary purpose being to make the romantic leads seem both popular and ethnically diverse in their choice of social acquaintances. But then I decided to adopt the ipod angle instead.
On the one hand, it was sort of fun to watch a crisp image of a movie playing on the smallest device on which I'd ever watched a movie. So small that it rested in the palm of my hand.
Ah, but that was also one of the problems. I'll name them here, starting with that one:
1) I didn't know what to do with ipod. Holding it worked for short stretches of time, but then my hand got tired, trying to position it so I'd have the best possible viewing angle. I tried to lean it against things, but since I was watching it on the plane, my choices were limited. It would always slide down and end up lying flat. I understand this is why other devices, such as the ipad, come with a "kickstand," for want of a better term.
2) The rental period was too strict. When I rented the movie from itunes, I learned that I had 30 days to watch it. That sounded fine. But then I also learned that once I started watching it, I had to finish within 24 hours. This was a problem, especially since, in the fatherhood era, it sometimes takes watching a movie in spurts over several days to finally finish it. It was especially a problem on vacation, which is where I thought it would be most handy to have a movie available to watch on my ipod. (When I'm not on vacation I have plenty of other options that make an ipod viewing less necessary.) I didn't dare start watching it on the plane ride to Maryland, because that was occurring during the day, and my son was not sleepy. If I started and had to stop 15 minutes later, who knew when I'd get to watch the other 90 minutes? I finally dared to watch it on the ride home, when he was sleeping and when it looked like I'd certainly be able to get in at least an hour of watching. That's about what I got in, but since I forgot to bring the ipod to work with me the next day, meaning I couldn't watch some more during lunch, it was somewhat of a race to finish it by 8:15 that night before the rental expired.
3) The rental was too expensive. I don't know about you, but I never spend $4.99 on a movie rental these days. I either get them from Redbox for $1, or they come as part of my Netflix subscription, where the cost is nebulous. In fact, the only time in recent memory I can recall spending around that amount of money on a rental was when I was desperate to find a BluRay copy of Disney's A Christmas Carol in time to watch it on Christmas Eve. I found one at Blockbuster, but I'd canceled my online subscription, so I couldn't trade an online rental for it -- I had to pay the regular new release price. I didn't care, though, because this was going to be a special Christmas Eve event and I knew it was going to look great on our TV, since I'd already seen it. On the other hand, I knew it was not going to be a particularly dynamic viewing experience to watch the movie on an ipod, so that ruled out movies with cool visuals and left an undemanding romantic comedy like No Strings Attached as the only viewing experience I was willing to have with these tiny dimensions. So I spent $4.99 on a movie I thought I might like, but never expected to like a huge amount, on a really small screen. In the end, I ended up liking it a lot less than that.
So even though I now have the capability, it doesn't look like I'll be watching movies on my ipod all that often.
Oh well, there's always music.