Hello again, LOVEFiLM.

Film Back in March, you'll remember with all your long memories, that I cancelled my Lovefilm account after twelve years and wrote inevitably about this big moment here and here with dates and solemn recording of the final films I received and the implications this has on the future of consumer entertainment. I said:
"The combined catalogues of Lovefilm, Amazon Prime and NowTV amounts to over six thousand items and even taking into account the dross and Disney repetition, that should be more than enough films and television installments to keep me busy especially with their rolling catalogues. Yes, I'll have to wait three to six months or longer after the shiny disc release to see some films, but at this point I barely pay attention to release dates anyway."
All of which is true.  But the intervening six months, the following became apparent:

(1) Those extra three to six months can be interminable if it is a film you'd actually quite like to see and didn't manage to catch at the cinema

(2) It's sometimes even longer because you're also at the whim of when the streaming service decides to upload the film based on metrics and marketing. Items aren't uploaded as soon as the streaming window is closed. Sometimes they'll wait until the end of a month or even the following month. In the case of NowTV, because television is the primary outlet for the films they'll save some of the big ticket items for a national holiday or some other reason why people will be in the house at a weekend.

(3) Six thousand items seems like a lot, but it's not plenty. There are massive gaps, especially in the independent and world cinema areas to a degree I simply hadn't noticed or realised until that was all gone.  I'd glancing longing through Sight and Sound Magazine at everything that would not be there.  Not to mention when a film has been recommended online, in print, broadcast or by a friend but it's not in any of the streaming services or at least without paying extra.

(4)  Adding MUBI didn't help.  MUBI now and then has films which are still at cinemas or will have a rare film like Downhill Racer which hasn't had a UK dvd release but it's useless to anyone who already has a decent dvd collection and/or access to any of the other streaming services.  Their selection this past week has been The Odd Couple, Petty Persuasion, IF..., The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Munich, Great Expectations and The Parallax View.  All fine films but not quite what I was expected when I signed up for my year's subscription.  I mean it's fine -- if I manage to watch two or three of their films per month -- the stuff which isn't available elsewhere, I'm probably getting my money's worth but it's no substitute for Lovefilm.

(5) I missed the randomness, of having the decision as to which film I'd watch next taken out of my hands. Sometimes this became a reality:



With so much to watch, you really don't know what to watch next.

(6)  There's a huge difference between temporarily being able to access films due to licensing windows and just sort of having nearly of them there, albeit via the postal service.  Despite NewOn existing in the work keeping track of when a film was leaving and managing to watch it in time felt like real work.  Now if it drops off, I can simply add it to my Lovefilm list.

(7)  Of course, I'm also now back to making sure that I don't have items in my Lovefilm list that are currently available to see stream  and seeking out items which are Netflix/Amazon/MUBI exclusives to watch first.  Cameron Crowe's Aloha is on Netflix but hasn't had a UK dvd release.  Alex Gibney's Going Clear is only on Now TV.  But that bit of admin is a small price to pay. (updated: after writing that I decided to add them anyway - I simply can't be fussed with the admin)

This week I've worked through Knights of Cups, Room, Bridge of Spies and The Hateful Eight, finally and can't wait to see what'll be sent from my list next.

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