Love Film & Cinema

Before streaming, how did people watch films without buying them? It's hard to imagine that there is a whole generation growing up that have no concept of "the time before". The time before the internet and the time before streaming.

A recent tweet from my friend,Sam brought up some nostalgia; LoveFilm. A service in which you paid a monthly fee for a DVD to be posted to you. You watched it, posted it back, got another one. You logged in and created a "watchlist" of which they would send you a random one. It forced you to watch films you wouldn't normally be in the mood for watching.

I then had a similar vibe when going to the cinema. My wife and I were Cineworld card holders - pay a monthly fee to see as many films as you want. From memory, you had to see 2 a month to get your monies worth. The thing I enjoyed about this was, again, you were forced to see films you weren't necessarily in the mood for - you just had to pick from what was on otherwise you "lost out" on money.

With the introduction of my children into the world, the Cineworld pass had to stop, so we turned to streaming for our film watching. The trouble with this was we so much time browsing and trying to decide what to watch that, by the time we picked a film, it was too late to watch it all.

My solution to this is the Film list. It's so simplistic in it's approach and is centred around a Google Spreadsheet.

  1. Films get added to the spreadsheet - either new releases, ones we find on Netflix & Disney+ while looking for other things or if they are suggested to us
  2. Every now and then, the spreadsheet gets randomised (by me, nothing clever)
  3. When it's Film Night, I use a random number generator (on Google) to give me 3 numbers - this replicates going to the cinema as to "what is on" and prevents just picking favourites from the list
  4. I then find and read the synopsis and Rotten Tomatoes rating to my wife - we chose based on that. It has to be one of the three - no take-backsies
  5. The film gets removed from the list when we finish it.

Now the web developer in me wants to make this a website, in which it pulls details from APIs, automatically randomises the films (maybe surfaces ones which have been shown but never picked) and allows for quick adding & removing titles but then that is another side project I would spend time doing instead of actually watching the films.

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Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a CTO and Lead Developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Mastodon.