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Watching movies on a broadcast or cable station


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#1 OFFLINE   Mark Holtz

Mark Holtz

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:25 AM

I just got to thinking here.... when was the last time I watched a film on a broadcast or cable station?

I had to think long and hard on this one, and it was probably a few months ago on the treadmill. I think it was either Drag Me To Hell or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Or, was it a Chris Nolan Batman Returns? It wasn't intentionally, it was just something to watch when I put in 30 minutes on the treadmill. I can't recall when I intentionally selected a film to watch on broadcast TV or regular commercial basic.

As for non-commercial cable? It was 1977's Hausu (House), a WTF did I just watch Japanese horror film on TCM about a month ago. Before that, it was several months since I watched a film on TCM.

I remember when I was growing up, there was no video rental stores, and no VCRs. If you wanted to watch a film, you would have to check the television listings of the local TV station. I remember when the local station got into controversy for showing films that were not edited for content before it became a Fox affiliate. Films were in the theaters longer because people knew that it would be a while before they could catch a film on network television. Does anyone remember the annual network broadcasts of Sound of Music or Wizard of Oz?

Then, of course, we had the video rental business coming into the picture. I remember when it was a big deal because Raiders of the Lost Ark was on video prior to the release of Temple of Doom. But the economics of the time had the studios selling the videos at around $80 per tape, with a long period before it was available for sell-through pricing. (Anyone remember previously viewed?) Blockbuster ended up being the big bully. I also remember when it was surprising when Spielberg said he was releasing The Color Purple as widescreen and having to show a sample scene to show people that they were seeing the whole picture. (And people still complained about the picture not filling up the screen). Then, of course, DVD came along, and early Warner Bros titles were flippers, wtih Widescreen on one side, and Pan-And-Scan on the other side.

Nowadays, it is not surprising that if you miss the film in the theaters, you won't have to wait long to view it at home. The Fellowship of the Ring was released in December, 2001, and the theatrical release on DVD was in August, 2002, with the extended edition in November.... prior to the sequel. For a not-so-successful movie, the window is smaller. (Wrath of the Titans anyone?)

With videos now available, why should I even bother to watch a film on television? When was the last time the networks even showed a theatrical movie? I'm tempted to say on a Thanksgiving or as part of May sweeps, but I honestly can't remember. There may be movies shown on the local stations, but I'll be darned if I can recall. Maybe I have become such a movie snob that I can't stand a film being chopped up for commercials or not shown in it's original aspect ratio. I remember seeing a James Bond film where the film was originally in 2.35:1. It was formatted for 16:9 except for the title sequence. Wierd.... and annoying.

What do I tell kids in the future how we had things when we grew up when they can steam a movie on demand?
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