Thursday, January 9, 2014

A poor use of resources

As my wife lay on the couch, not dying nearly as much as she had been the day before, trying not to laugh because it would hurt her Caesarian stitches, but surprising me by continuing to want to watch just one more 30-minute program, I wondered when I was finally going to get to watch As I Lay Dying.

But I wouldn't have been in this position if I had managed my resources better.

I have been interested for some time in seeing what James Franco would do with William Faulkner's classic (and classically unfilmmable) novel, to the extent that it would have been my next rental if I had decided to continue the daisy chain of rental nights on the Hoyts kiosk. Instead I waited a day and rented it on cheap new rental Tuesdays at the video store -- which meant I needed to have it back by 9 o'clock the next night.

As a result of this, I ended up starting my viewing when my wife finally went to bed -- 10:45, as many as two hours after I thought she'd retire -- and finishing after 1 a.m., the result of pausing for a half-dozen three-minute naps.

Not smart planning when you are the father of an infant, which means not only are things required of you during the night, but you have to get through a whole nother day before you get another chance at proper rest.

It was even worse planning because I didn't need to do it.

The day after I stayed up late to watch Dying, I noticed over my wife's shoulder an email on her computer from Netflix, announcing the streaming availability of Franco's movie. I later discovered that it had been streaming for several days, meaning I could have started it and finished it whenever I wanted, and wouldn't have had to pay $2 for it either.

I may have still stayed up to 1 a.m. that night, but at least it would have been watching The East or Some Girl(s) or The Hunt -- all movies I am trying to squeeze in before my ranking deadline, all movies available for rental for $2 from Video Ezy on Tuesdays only (otherwise they are $4.95), and all movies that are not available for streaming on Netflix.

As I Lay Dying represents a rare failure of my system for checking Netflix new releases. For a while now I have been periodically checking the availability of indie titles that seemed just like the things that should stream on Netflix, knowing that eventually I would snare them in my net. This is how I finally got to see Post Tenebras Lux and Berberian Sound Studio, movies I've been stalking for several months, and have started (but not yet finished) The History of Future Folk. The new arrivals section should be good enough, you would think, but Netflix only advertises certain films/shows there, not everything you might want to see.

But apparently, checking every couple days didn't do it for Dying. I missed it, and therefore may have missed my good opportunities to include The East, Some Girl(s) and The Hunt in this year's rankings.

It's been a delicate balance all fall, you might say. My theatrical screenings and my rentals have only been really feasible on Mondays and Tuesdays. I can see movies in the theater for under $12.50 (sometimes half that) on Mondays and Tuesdays -- all other times it's around $19. The cheap video rentals are on Tuesdays also. So when I've been trying to save money (because, you know, I'm still not working), I've been hitting Mondays and Tuesdays pretty hard, and using the rest of the week to watch things on Netflix.

So a failure like this one really has consequences.

The good news, at least, was that I quite liked As I Lay Dying. It's an ambitious film that makes heavy use of split screen, as well as multiple narrators. (I also am in love with the poster above.) The fact that Franco probably just tossed it off between other projects makes it all the more impressive.

Unfortunately, I could have liked it even more if I weren't getting lost in the drawl (the Southern accents can be pretty heavy) and weren't seriously on the verge of sleep the entire time I watched it.

Well, one more week and then my exhaustion will end. My rankings are finally going to be released next Thursday your time, at which point I can finally rest.

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