Lately our nine-year-old son has been into watching musicals, where people sing and dance with the kind of joy that usually only comes after being over-medicated. Maybe these people are that happy. Or maybe they just got their dosages wrong. At some point we will have to explain to our child that people who spontaneously start singing and dancing in the middle of a store risk being tasered by security. Location is key. The choice of setting can mean the difference between a criminal record and a Tony Award.
Many websites have recommendation engines. These automate the difficult task of insulting everyone who visits. In the days of local stores this work had to be done in person by a clerk with severe anger management issues. “Helping you today will be Steve, who comes highly recommended by his parole officer.”
Now, thanks to the magic of technology, that can be done much more efficiently by a computer program. It has been perfected by movie streaming services, which regularly suggest some of the worst films ever made. “Based on your viewing history, our system has determined that you have no taste.” Building a website that can do this involves the work of people with advanced computer programming skills who regularly ingest banned substances. It is the only way to design a complex online interface that can scan your past activities with lightning speed and, drawing upon your screening of the classic “Casablanca”, suggest you might like a movie that just shows a guy in his backyard hitting things with a stick.
We have been subscribing to a service that lets you stream movies over the Internet to your TV. “Streaming” is a term that means “to constantly apologize for technical difficulties”. The service offers a wide variety of blockbuster films. At least four. The other 12,000 titles fall under the category “movies made for less than $30”. I believe the company’s slogan is “You no longer have to wait to see a bad movie”.
This weekend some celebrities will be given the coveted Academy Award statue, which I believe was originally a paper towel holder. It just kind of looks like they put gold plating on a kitchen accessory. In that respect, the winner for best actress could just as easily have ended up with a shiny pair of salad tongs. “And the can opener goes to...”
I’m not saying it doesn’t look nice. I would be proud to put it next to our kitchen sink. And imagine the sense of glamor and pageantry you would feel every time you tore off a sheet. Personally, I would have a whole new respect for products from Brawny.
I love when an advertisement for a movie uses a review from a source you've never heard of. "'A must see' says Steve's Positive Movie Review and Medical Waste Service!" I would be more impressed if they were just honest. "We couldn't find anyone who liked this film!" Or they could push things the other way. "'The movie of the year' says a fictitious person we created for this marketing campaign!"
Movie stars tend to be short, not just compared to the average adult, but compared to the average golden retriever. Inevitably I will think that some actor is amazingly tall. Then I will read that he is the height of a coffee table.