Monday, January 23, 2012

Musings On Movie Plots

In a year when Netflix has faced one low blow after another, it seems unreasonable to kick the company while it's already down-though, here it comes.

It may not be as serious as cost hikes and tales of breaking the company into two separate entities, and yet, a ridiculous foul play repeatedly made by the company must finally be called out.

Something, that while hilarious, can't be taken anymore: Netflix has a major problem with blundering the plots of movies.

Envelopes are the safe haven for our beloved DVD's as they travel through the tumultuous mail, and inside of each distinctive red envelope is a sleeve, where cascading along the front is typed print resembling words "about" the film you are about to receive; however, read at your own risk.

From ruining the end of movies (The Last Picture Show), to lying about cast members (for all of those who were wondering: Nia Vardalos does not "co-star" in Larry Crowne), to referencing events that never actually take place in the film, one may wonder; what kind of person is writing these?

Are they drunk? Has anyone actually seen the movies in which they are writing about?

In my imagination, there is a place called the "plot description writers department" where folks sit around daily (possibly waving cigarettes and drink tumblers) jotting down their thoughts on movies.

They chuckle to themselves (often), as they try to recall the events of films that they saw thirty years ago, put it down on paper, and then turn to writing terrible interpretations of new releases. It's all a very free form space, where editing or fact checking is for losers.

It's one thing to have the guts to attempt to sum up The Tree Of Life in a paragraph, but a "1950s adventure about a confused man named Jack"?

Probably one of the most difficult movies to try and describe to someone or simply encapsulate the plot, but, really, that's the best you could do? Their description could mislead many a film viewer, no wonder some have demanded their money back.

All of this came to a dramatic halt this weekend as the worst foul-up of them all landed in my mailbox in the form of a blast from the past; the 1964 Hailey Mills classic, The Moonspinners.

I'll let the Netflix approved blurb speak for itself (bold denotes that which is especially questionable):

-  When Nikki Ferris and her aunt planned a trip to a small Greek island, they never expected to suddenly find themselves accused of being international jewel thieves. Now, they must uncover the identity of the real crook. If they don't, they face spending several years in a Greek prison. A reluctant innkeeper, a handsome Englishman, a missing boy and a mysterious yacht all play a part in this Disney mystery-romance based on a Mary Stewart novel.  -

What an exciting sounding movie! Too bad, none of this actually happens.

There is definitely stolen jewels and crooks involved, and the film does take place on a small Greek island, however, Hailey Mills is never accused of being a thief nor is there EVER fear of her ending up in a Grecian prison- that's just made up. Mills does get locked in a windmill, but there is no mention of that exciting tidbit.

Mostly these gaffs give me a thrill, eagerly wondering about how Netflix will mess up next. As silly as it may be, there ultimately is no excuse for these descriptions to be so EPICALLY wrong. Netflix is in the movie business after all. This is what they should do best.

If you need someone to accurately write about movies, give me a call, I'm always available.

What's your favorite Netflix blunder? This should be a new party game.

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