Category Archives: Entertainment

Netflix Annoyances – Can’t Gift DVD Subscriptions

Netflix continues to annoy me; and I’m not even a member anymore. My wife and I canceled our account earlier this year when Netflix announced their price hikes on their DVD and Streaming subscriptions. I had thought about just canceling the Streaming subscription because the titles available sucked, especially compared to what we could get on HBO/Cinemax/Showtime, but I was just overly annoyed so I gave them the boot. We weren’t alone as thousands of subscribers punted on their Netflix subscription. My mother on the other hand, kept her subscription.

She lives alone and having access to movies to watch, especially during the winter, was worth the price she paid. This year for Christmas (hopefully she’s not reading this in case I figure out how) I wanted to get her a year long subscription to Netflix. I figured it was a gift not only she could use, but she’d enjoy. When I went to Netflix’s site though, all I could see where subscriptions to their streaming packages. It would cost $99.85 for a full year to their subscription service. Ok, great, $100 for crappy titles on-demand. No DVDs. Not even the option to gift the DVD subscription and not streaming.

Now, I could be totally off base here and their streaming service could be 1,000 times better than it was, but I haven’t had anyone tell me, “Bill, get Netflix! Their Streaming is awesome now!” If someone had, I’d probably at least check it out for a month. But no, no evidence of that. So my deal here is why would I spend $99.85 on something that I’m not convinced is of value as a gift? Why wouldn’t Netflix offer both as gifts? I understand that streaming is the wave of the future, but until you can get every title on-demand, it just doesn’t seem worth it. What do you think?

Being Passionate About Your Dream

…And also seeing it through. I found a link to a guy (via reddit) who is a 3D Animator (he worked on Matrix Reloaded) that has spent the last 4 years of his life and his entire life savings (and maxed out his credit cards) to produce his own animated movie called Killer Bean Forever. The preview is pretty funny. What impresses me so much is that he’s that passionate about what he does. He’ll do whatever it takes, even if he goes bankrupt. I admire that type of passion.

Finding New Music

My good buddy Kyle and I are music junkies. Well, Kyle more so than I am. However, we both usually have the same problem. We’re tired of the music we have. Yeah, we can go through our respective music libraries and find SOMETHING to listen to, but its always nice to to have something new. But how do you find it? I usually struggle finding new stuff, but today, I tried something new.

I’m a new fan to a couple of bands The Bees and Maserati. So I thought, heck, I’ll go to the iTunes store (where I got those albums) and see what other people bought who liked those bands. It yielded me three new albums:

Rogue Wave - Asleep At Heaven

Rogue Wave – Asleep At Heaven’s Gate

Rogue Wave is a cool band signed to Jack Johnson’s music label Brushfire Records.

Rogue Wave - Asleep At Heaven's Gate

Caspian - The Four Trees

Caspian – The Four Trees

A similar band to Maserati, Caspian’s music is very instrumental. Besides coming up with cool music, they’re from Masschusetts, where I currently live!

Caspian - The Four Trees

The Thrills - Teenager

The Thrills – Teenager

The Thrills is a cool band, I’d say similar to The Bees in sound that has been around for a while. I think “Teenager” is their third album.

The Thrills - Teenager

All three albums I downloaded are excellent. I’ll definitely be using this technique in the future to find new stuff. I’m not sure why I never thought to do it before. I just wish that my music addiction wasn’t so expensive. At $9.99 a whack, it can get out of hand. How about $5.99 an album Apple???

Movie Review: Transformers

One of my favorite toys and cartoons growing up was Transformers. All the kids were into it. Some had more toys than others, but everyone was nuts about the cartoon. Then they made the animated movie and killed off a lot of kid’s hero, Optimus Prime. Transformers faded away until recently, and now we have the full action movie in theaters, which opened July 3rd.

I just got home from the theater and I have to say, they did an excellent job with it. The only downside I thought was that they used a Mustang as a bad guy, and I’m a huge ‘Stang fan so that didn’t sit well. Anyway, the acting was decent, the animation for the robots was excellent, and it seemed that they tried to stick to the old Transformer story the best they could. Even my fiancee, who was a little skeptical about seeing it, enjoyed it. I’ll give it an A, one of the better movies I’ve gone to see recently.

Larry King Live & Lite-Brite

I’m in California this week for work and after my day was over, I was sitting in my hotel room flipping through random channels. I happened upon the Larry King Live interview with Paris Hilton. The first thing I noticed, as I don’t watch Larry King (nor do I pay much attention to Paris Hilton…though her homemade movie is neat…), was that the backdrop of his set looks like a complete Lite-Brite pattern! Anyone else ever notice this?

Movie Review: Stranger Than Fiction

After a busy weekend, my fiancee and I decided to watch Stranger Than Fiction on DVD. We have had it for a week, but hadn’t had the time to watch it. I’m glad we finally got around to it. Will Ferrell is absolutely brilliant in this movie. He plays Harold Crick, an average joe, going to work every day as a IRS auditor. One day he finds himself the main character in a strange author’s book. The most bizarre part is he can hear the author narrating the book in his head!. Because of this, he looks to a literature professor for help in trying to to figure out who the author is and why he’s a part of her book. At the same time, the author herself is struggling to complete the final chapters of her book, which she’s been working on for the better part of 10 years. At times, the movie is a little bizarre (if the movie were actually a book, it’d be terrible), but it will make you laugh and chuckle the entire time. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend picking it up or renting it.

Movie Review: The Departed

Like Borat, I was probably the last to see The Departed and I wish I could have seen it when it was in the theater. But, I had some gift certificates to Best Buy and went to pick up a copy of the DVD this past Sunday. Even with all of the hype that was out there (and the Oscar wins), I’d have to say it lived up to its billing. Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, and Leo were all incredible. And the twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat, especially at the end. If you haven’t seen it, go get it. If you’re a fan of The Boondock Saints, which I thought was the best Boston based movie ever, you’ll be a fan of this one. The Departed definitely gives it a run for its money!. Its worth the $24.95 Best Buy rapes you for it. You’ll watch it more than once, I guarantee it!

The Beatles Love

Shannan, my fiancee, and I recently took a vacation to Las Vegas. While we were there, we were fortunate enough to catch the Cirque Du Soleil show The Beatles Love. Even though tickets were about $110 each after fees, etc. it was well worth it. To hear all of your favorite Beatles music put to a show with high flying acrobatics was just amazing. If you ever get out to Vegas, I highly recommend seeing the show. Songs used:

  • Get Back
  • I Am The Walrus
  • Strawberry Fields
  • Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • Octopus’s Garden
  • Back In The U.S.S.R.
  • Hey Jude
  • All You Need Is Love

and many many more. There are a total of 26 tracks on the album.

Movie Review: Borat

So I’m probably one of the last people on the planet to see Borat and probably the last (well, maybe not really) to review it. I’d have to say it was definitely worth the $5 I paid to see it (ok, my girlfriend paid, but I bought dinner!). Would it be worth the nearly $10 it’d cost to see it the first month it was out? Maybe…probably…ok, yeah!

Parts of it were definitely hilarious (why I find two naked guys wrestling funny is beyond me) and there are parts that I was just like, wtf is wrong with this guy. The people who are sueing him are stupid…you got what you deserved (stupid college guys…stupid even for drunk college guys).

The most interesting part of this movie to me anyway is how successfully he portrays different groups of Americans for who they really are. Do you think the church goers at the end of the movie will realize how ridiculous they appear? Or how about how stuck up the people at the dinner party are? And again the college guys on the road trip.

Somehow I doubt it…and that’s the sad part.