Simon FitzKit...In The Field!

The Red-Envelope Diaries: Parts 2 & 1 | February 4, 2008

Before I start, I’d like to plug the newest parodies I’ve written over at Trouble In Parodies:
Parody of Blümchen’s “Heut’ Ist Mein Tag”
Parody of Gren Day’s “Minority”

And now…

The Red-Envelope Diaries – WEEK 20:

As with most diaries I’ve owned in my life, The Red-Envelope Diaries (my disc-by-disc coverage of my NetFlix subscription) has fallen by the wayside. I felt the latest movie in my queue deserved a moment’s reflection, and so I’ll quickly catch up the list:
Children of Men: Good lord, this movie was amazing. It had the tone you’d assume the “Y: The Last Man” movie will have to have, and Clive Owen, as always, equals awesome.

Ocean’s Eleven: Didn’t watch it. I got it in the mail, opened the envelope, shrugged it off, and returned it the next morning. It just wasn’t the right moment, I guess. It’s discs like this that make me kind of wish I had a two-or-more disc plan. Enh.

Cane Toads: An Unnatural History: Got this to show friends who hadn’t take high-school Biology locally. Had a rousing good time. Oh, Australians. Oh, pseudo-documentaries. Oh, psychedelic amphibian nodules. Also came with a short about a boring 70-year-old radio DJ who almost gets in a 60-year-old female listener’s pants, but she falls asleep before he can play her record…oh, and he manages to blow up the lower floors of the radio station and fall in the sewer, but those are just asides.

Film Crew: Giant of Marathon: MST3K’s cast mocks more movies. Not much to say on this, actually. I really don’t understand why Mike Nelson isn’t president or somesuch.

Blacula: A blaxploitation classic. For some reason, Blacula tried to save his love by putting her in the coffin where the attackers were sure to stake her instead of him. Way to be chivalrous, Dick-ula.

The Departed: Supposedly great. I wouldn’t know because the disc sat on my shelf for 2 weeks before the Special Edition went on sale at Best Buy, and I just bought it outright and returned the NetFlix one unseen.

The Fountain: The Fountain of Youth + Hugh Jackman + Rachel Weisz = Awesome, right? I managed to get five minutes into it before deciding the music had set the most depressing tone I’d ever heard…and I turned it off. Then the disc sat on the shelf for a good month before I finally said, “I’m never going to watch this,” and returned it.

Time Changer: Time travel + The Bible = a hilarious first-season MadTV sketch…or this movie: the most irritatingly hypocritical flip-flopping Christian tripe I’ve ever seen. And I watched “If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?” I did have fun mocking it at every turn though, especially when it talked about how all movies are the Devil’s handiwork. Good to know, movie. Good to…heeeeeey,waibamimmip!

And that brings us to this week’s acquisition: “Oldboy.” The NetFlix description, for your benefit:
“With no clue how he came to be imprisoned, drugged and tortured for 15 years — and no one to hold accountable for his suffering — a desperate businessman seeks revenge on his captors, relying on assistance from a friendly waitress. Korean director Chan Wook Park — a former philosophy student and Hitchcock devotee — uses his influences to create a mesmerizing psychological drama with a resolution that will leave you speechless.”

It sure did. It’s the kind of movie where you read the summary and say, “Hmph. Seems like everybody and his uncle is a ‘Hitchcock devotee’ these days. We’ll see if he actually uses any Hitchcock at all.” And then you watch the movie, and you sit there and say, “The director of this movie must have 1) been a Psychology student and 2) really, really liked Hitchcock.” So…uh… expectations met, I guess.

Or exceeded. Because the movie, as it turns out, is about
revenge-cest, which is –as you might or might not guess– getting revenge via incest. I was not expecting that going into a movie about a man being kidnapped for 15 years, but then it’s Korean, so how was I to even know if it would deliver on anything but the ‘leaving me speechless’ part?


The following is a reposting of Part 1 of The Red-Envelope Diaries, from another journal, another time, another corner of the interblag. If you’ve already read it, it’s still the same as it was the first time.


Having signed up for a 1-disc-at-a-time NETFLIX subscription (to get a free laptop, cross-fingers-cross-fingers), I believe it is time we knew exactly what horrors and wonders lurk in the depths of the world’s foremost rent-by-mail service (well, except for WeeklyRussianBridalPost, but they’re a niche market)

Having entered all of my preferences and created a relatively short 40-disc list last Monday, I received Zardoz in the mail last Tuesday.

ZARDOZ (1974): In this cult favorite from John Boorman (Beyond Rangoon), 23rd century society is split into two castes — the overly civilized Eternals and the barely civilized Brutals — one of which is constantly controlling the other. The Brutals worship a huge stone figure known as Zardoz. When Zed (Sean Connery) begins to question the authenticity of this god, the film is able to offer some pointed commentary on class structure and religion.

I have heard (from reliable sources) that Zardoz is one of the Worst sci-fi movies ever made. Thus, I must watch it. (Actually, it probably means I must buy it, but for some reason, I’ve gone all thrifty in this instance.)

Regardless, it’s a must-see, if only because Sean Connery apparently rushes at a Burt-Reynolds-lookalike frat some time during the movie.

Oh, hazing. Is there anything you can’t demean?

Back to NETFLIX however. The disc arrived on Tuesday alright, but it didn’t arrive “all right.” In fact, the DVD wasn’t just scratched or grimy, it was broken. There was an enormous crack that went all the way through the disc. I immediately filled out the online Damaged Disc form and mailed it back Wednesday afternoon. Thursday, they let me know they’d received it and that the Raleigh NETFLIX hub didn’t have a second copy to send me for Friday (I’d actually have been more disappointed in them if they did own two copies of Zardoz locally).

My new disc arrived from Cleveland today. It is in good condition and at least the Main Menu plays well. I await other souls than myself to join in the fun.

Doesn’t it sound like a sleep aid?


1 Comment »

  1. re: The Fountain

    I watched the entire thing and had the hardest time leaving my house. I was due at the theater but I was so utterly depressed – not necessarily due to subject matter – but to the incredible score and emoting powers of the cinematography and design. Man. Chalk it up to “fucking beautiful but fucking depressing.” That’s Aronofsky for you.

    Comment by shoetrumpet — February 5, 2008 @ 5:26 am

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