Reflections while watching a DVD: A Tulane Chris Production

First of all, why I hate Memphis. EVERYTHING, except granted good ribs.

- You have to drive through SO MUCH MISSISSIPPI to get there from New Orleans.

- I have never been so lost in my entire life. We went to the airport twice trying to get back to the hotel.

- Black people at Kroger. I didn’t mind them at all. What I minded was Giant Camel giggling like a loon, poking me in the ribs every thirty seconds, and saying, “Chris. You’re the only white person here. Chris. Look. Look at your arm. Now look at anyone else in the store. You’re the only white person here.” HE TELLS THIS STORY. As an anecdote. As though it had a plotline.

- Graceland, oh my God. I was told you could just go in and look at the grounds and the grave, without taking the mansion tour. WRONG. You have to wait in a line of about 200 people to pay $40 to take a bus across the street, and you must stay with the group. I hate staying with the Goddamn group. Graceland was the point of going through Memphis instead of Atlanta and was just a total wash.

- The worst men’s room ever. On our way out, we stopped at a gas station for a standard road trip drink-and-pee. There was a metal plate protecting the lock ON THE GATE, and it took about three minutes to contort everything to open the GATE to get to the men’s room. It was so filthy. The water in the urinal was black, and the less said about the commode, the better. I used the drain in the floor.

Second, I had no idea I had so many feelings about DVDs/movies/Netflix until I started planning this post.

Reflections while watching a DVD: A Tulane Chris Production

  • Netflix knows I’m gay. I had a conversation about this months ago with Ex-Co-Bloggeuse Eddie, and it’s only gotten worse. Netflix is cannier than a thrice-divorced aunt, and they can peg you for a homo from fifty yards. They start out casual and low-pressure. “Chris, based on your taste preferences, we think you’d enjoy The Golden Girls: Season 5.” Well, DUH. Add The Golden Girls, and then “Chris, based on your preferences, we think you’d like Ellen: Season 4.” Okay, great. And then “Based on your apparent homoseuxality, we think you’d like Brazilian Boy-Toys Number 6: A Lot Of Hispanic Guys Going At Each Other.” And… granted, but I don’t like Netflix being that perceptive. And for all their sneakiness, they have the sensitivity and aesthetics of a mai tai-drunk fag hag on the prowl. Their recommendations quickly take on the same shrill tone as “Do you want to go shopping? It’ll be FABULOUS!” Netflix has recommended to me about seventeen hundred “light-hearted” gay romantic “comedies” with this plot: Nice guy wants more than just sex. BUT HOW DO YOU FIND THAT in the WACKY GAY SUBCULTURE of [New York or Los Angeles]? Gym rats playing out Protestant morality plays in the Western world’s two least livable cities sounds like a pitch for a satire, but isn’t.
  • Since Netflix knows all and sees all, who do I think I’m kidding? I have a short attention span and an infantile sense of humor. I like to watch goofball sitcoms and movies that follow this rubric: (Zombies/giant insects/an unseen evil) attack (townsfolk/villagers) while creating a terrible mess. As intelligent and urbane as I like to pretend I am, I don’t have the attention span for examinations of the human spirit. Viscera, sure; spirit takes too long. Yet I still add all these Herzegovinan historical epics to my queue so I’ll seem “worldly,” and then one of two things happens: I either keep bumping up Designing Women to avoid them, or I forget and actually get Mishtenka, billed as “a Communist Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” I proceed to put it on while I wash dishes, send it back, and claim to have seen it.
  • Widescreen? Really? Widescreen itself doesn’t bother me, but people who insist on it do. Granted, I’m a bigger Philistine than Goliath, but I refuse to believe it makes any difference. I lump these people in with other people I believe are lying: people who claim to like Jackson Pollock, people who claim not to like pornography, and people who claim that they like to drive stick shifts.
  • Das Boot, my most recent “Oops I meant to get Ghostbusters,” is three and a half hours long. Fuck me. No movie needs to be that long. If someone tried to tell you a story that lasted three hours, you’d call the police and start reading the news on your phone, but if some German auteur with dots in his name does it, he gets called “subversive.” I also hate when cultural artifacts like TV shows or movies are called “subversive.” They never are. Cannibalism is subversive. Arson is subversive. Mass entertainment is the opposite of subversive. I don’t care how many jokes about Republicans are in it, if Disney, Viacom, or Exxon gets a penny from it, it’s not fucking subversive.
  • The remote is the same color as the carpet, and the frustration this has caused has probably shaved a measurable amount of time off my life.
  • DVD extras have gotten as out of hand as the Gosselins. Why does Soccer Dog need a Romanian language track? Cast bios for Night of the Living Dead? Who cares if “featured corpse” bought a Honda dealership? And, my favorite to hate, commentaries. I don’t care, I don’t care, and I don’t care. They never have the extra I want, which is a bloopers reel. Vivien Leigh calling Clark Gable a motherfucker. Adrien Brody just a little too drunk to make it through the scene. Robert Downey Jr. way too drunk to get through the scene. Bea Arthur punching a boom mike operator in the mouth. Jane Fonda falling into the mud. That’s an extra. Woody Allen trying to explain why his impotence led him to make boring movies? PASS.
  • I think one of the clearest indicators that the world is in decline is the shift in the meaning of “piracy.” Circle the situation that is badass: Gold-hungry marauders in the pay of a queen blasting away the defenses of a Spanish settlement and looting it – OR – downloading Three Men and a Baby from BitTorrent. This makes me wonder what petty crime will be called “terrorism” in three hundred years. My money’s on prank calls.

In closing, this week’s “Sorr about the bag":

“When I was just a little girl

I asked my mother, ‘What will I be?’

‘Will I be pretty, or will I be rich?’

Here’s what she said to me:

‘Sorr about the bag.’”


Jessica said...

I just saw this on a music blog and started laughing: "Hollerado...They sell their home-burned album at shows in Ziplocks, use doot-do-doos instead of la-la-las, send postcards to their fans." nowhere did it say the band apologizes for the bag. Someone is getting away without a "sorr".

Anonymous said...

I am confused as to why Memphis could ever sound like a better idea than playing in Atlanta (other than our traffic).

Tina said...

Seriously, I have had a list of movies on my Q for years now that I keep bumping down for things like X-Files and Battlestar Galactica. However, I will admit that I do sometimes like commentaries, and I do love Jackson Pollock (BUT I minored in art history accidentally, so I may have been brainwashed somewhere during that time).

Elliot Smilowitz said...

"The remote is the same color as the carpet, and the frustration this has caused has probably shaved a measurable amount of time off my life."

Am I the only one who had to read this sentence like six times before realizing that it wasn't actually a double entendre?

Sarah said...

Tulane Chris 4-evah. The end.

BK said...

Netflix thinks I am a grandmother because I have rented the odd combination of Golden Girls and the Hannah Montana movie. It asked me how old the children living in my household were, and if I also wanted to rent Matlock. I was like... I'm 23. and the only on in my house.

Jennifer said...

You must have spent a lot of time in South Memphis. Which, of course, is the worst part of Memphis.

1. Graceland is in the Ghetto.
2. If you stay on the 240 loop you'll never get lost, its like a giant roundy round track.
3. NEVER pee at a gas station..opt for a fast food joint
4. Gambling in Tunica or getting shitfaced on Beale would have been a better choice

I have a ton of suggestions if you ever decide to come back to the godforsaken place.

Jennifer said...

PS. On behalf of Memphis we say 'sorr about the bag'

Caitlin said...


And yes, for all the movie rating I do on Netflix, I'm surprised it doesn't give me better suggestions. Once, because I like Gilmore Girls, it suggested Thomas the Tank Engine. The latest one is "Based on your preferences we think you'll like Spartacus" (The new HBO version? I'm not sure, I didn't look.) What part of all seasons of Laguna Beach and The Hills, Freaks and Geeks, and Julie and Julia indicates I'd want to watch an ancient fighting DVD?

You should go the ghetto-rigging route and put some day-glo tape all over your remote. That way, the highlighter yellow will stand out against your carpet! Problem solved.

Stephanie said...

what a great post. On the subject of dvds though, I'm amazed you didn't mention the menus. Since when the fuck does the menu have to take as long to load as the movie does itself? (unless of course you're watching one of those unnecessarily long 3 hour experiences.) The menus are like frigging works of art that ANNOY. The loop music... the slideshow... the "fun" cursor... this is why I like old movies put on dvd. Suckers just go straight to the point. A picture background, no music, and 2 basic options: "play", and "scene selections". Badda boom badda bing. Roar, mgm lion, roar.

Also... I'm perennially disappointed in blooper reels. They're never funny. They're never good like the ones you mentioned. They're just inside jokes and people making faces at the camera.

OH, and alternate endings? wtf? I'm so against those. I mean have some balls and stick with the cut you put out!

wow, I didn't know how strong my feelings were about dvds, either...

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephanie:

I didn't mention menus because I dealt with them in an earlier guest post about things I expect to find in Purgatory.

-Tulane Chris

Anonymous said...

The worst part is that one of your rants comes as a direct result of another. The rise of "piracy" has brought about a rise in extra features* because producers are desperately trying to convince you it's still worth your while to spend $20 on a DVD.

Aside from the real-people comment, I just wanted to say that I think you're FABULOUS, Tulane Chris. And I totally mean that in the most hetero sense of the word, unlike Netflix.


*that no one could ever possibly care about

Hails said...

I refuse to buy DVD's marked "full screen." Yes, I am that asshole.

Anonymous said...


WHY? I literally don't understand the difference in quality.

-Tulane Chris

Stephanie said...

ohhhhhh that's right. I'd forgotten about the menus rant in your purgatory post. My bad!

& re: full screen vs. widescreen - there actually is a huge difference. Turner Classic Movies runs a little piece on it every so often. You lose entire characters from conversations! Next time you see a person in full screen talking to someone who is obviously off screen, wonder to yourself... would that person be on screen if I was watching this in letterbox?

for lots of examples, info, and more, visit www.widescreen.org

I'm that person too. I always buy/watch widescreen.

Stephanie said...

p.s. the word "screen" is suddenly seeming SO WEIRD to me.

Unknown said...

Honestly, the only difference in Widescreen/Fullscreen can best be summed up by the jokes of Stephen Colbert when his show switched to HD. Where those with the ability to watch said Widescreen format ..could see a coffee mug.

If I can hear the person offscreen, I don't need to see them. Honestly, I can't imagine "When Harry Met Sally" being 20X better (WHMS being the end-all for imagining film scenarios.. HD, 3D, played by chimps, etc) by being able to see the both Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan closeup at the same time. Widescreen is a big fail.

Anonymous said...

Widescreen is the only way to watch movies. I don't understand how people can watch pan-scan, it is annoying to not be able to take in the entire scene, and it feels tacky.

Yum Yum said...

I, for one, like to drive stick. And cars with manual transmissions too.

Anonymous said...

Chris, this is genius! Excellent post.

emily said...

clap clap, clappity clap clap. love today's post, and not just b/c i am sleep deprived due to catching up with weeds on netflix. cheers!

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned "chimps" and it reminded me of my parents. My father because he LOVES MONKEYS, and my mother because of this conversation I once overheard:

"Hello, I'm Jim."


"No, Jim."



"Right, CHIMP."


"Chris. That man's name is CHIMP!"

-Tulane Chris

Layla @ The Midnight Garden said...

"No one really likes to drive stick."


As a gay lady (with the sensibilities of a 12 year-old) that was highly amusing to me.

Also, excellent post!

Anonymous said...

Yay for Tulane Chris! I usually skip the co-blogger posts and go straight for Meg's (no offense intended! I just really really like her), but this post was awesome.

Hails said...

everything stephanie said.
I want to see all of what was intended to be seen on the screen, I want to see what I saw in the theater.

And it's the future or something, right?

Anonymous said...

For a lot of movies, it doesn't matter toooooo much to pan&scan, although it annoys me still then.

But for a reeeeally good movie...think the graduate, you sometimes miss the best shots and the most creative parts of the movie.

I swear I'm not trying to be a dick, but it is just hard for me to imagine someone not wanting to see the real work of art. For example, meg is hilarious, right? So I want to read how she says things, not have someone tell me about what she said.

Am I making sense? I'm a wee bit high.

Jessica said...

Widescreen is so so important. I swear it's not BS. It's BS that full screen ever existed to begin with.

All movies are shot widescreen, so if you're watching a full screen version that's either cropped or pan & scanned you lose any decent cinematography, special effects or multiple character acting.

Widescreen is making sweet, sweet love to the movie, Full screen is pretty much raping it. Sure, you're getting laid either way, but what side do you want to be on?

Unknown said...

I decided last summer that it was important for me to watch all the 80-odd best picture winners. when fucking "ghandi" came in the mail, i immediately regretted my decision. no one needs to see some of those movies, they're ridiculous. but gosh darn it, if my queue didn't look fancy for a hot minute. now it's full of ridiculous ro co's and mythbusters. because that's the kind of girl i am.

Anonymous said...

Ghandi is a great movie, and this is coming from someone whose favorite movie is overboard

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