The Movies I Saw in 2020

I mean, what is there to say about 2020. It was a real shit year.

When the quarantimes began, I thought I would end up watching a ton of movies, but the opposite occurred. I’m not sure if it was general anxiety/malaise, the lack of the film club/iff forcing functions, or something else, but it just wasn’t happening. The pace seems to be picking up in 2021, but we’ll see how it goes. If I’m able to go to a theatre safely/comfortably in the near future that will certainly change things.

If you are interested in the technical guts of these graphs, look here.

I skipped the minor editorializing about trends and whatnot this year because… well, it’s just all too depressing.

The graphs, as well as the list itself, are behind the jump below…

Continue reading “The Movies I Saw in 2020”

RCN and iMessage Business Chat

There was no way this was going to work.

A few years back I cancelled my RCN Cable TV service in favor of Youtube TV. I realized that since all I really was keeping cable around for at this point was to watch Baseball, I could save a ton of money by switching to Youtube TV while also upgrading my RCN Internet service to “Gigabit” (not actually Gigabit. Also has complete garbage 25Mbps upstream which is indefensible). At the time I was paying about $165/mo to RCN for 330Mbps Internet and Cable TV. Youtube TV was $40/mo, and also allowed me to ‘pause’ service for months at a time (aka the Baseball off-season) with a click. RCN “Gigabit” service was around $100/mo. So not only would my in-season monthly rate be lower (~$140/mo), but i’d save even more in the off-season.

But, every few months, Youtube TV would raise their prices, with the most recent hike bringing the cost up to $65/mo. The final straw, however, was that they dropped NESN in this off-season. Now my hand was forced. After the season ended I cancelled Youtube TV with the plan of reaching back out to RCN.

Since baseball was quiet and I was not in a rush, every once in awhile I’d call the RCN support number to get a quote, but the wait times were over 30m each time I tried, so I’d hang up. Yesterday, however, I wondered to myself if they had some kind of chat support. They did, I clicked it, and it turns out their chat support was Apple Messages Business Chat. This was both surprising, as I’ve never seen this work with anyone outside of Apple, and exciting because the usual chat support experience was terrible. But this would more or less work like any other text messaging.

That said, there was no way this was going to work.

But I tried anyway. I got a text telling me the wait was going to be about 15m, and confirming I wanted to wait. I clicked yes and went about my way. About 15m later I was told I was 5th in the queue and it would be a bit longer; I confirmed I wanted to wait and went back to dawdling.

After a total of about 20m I received my first actual message from the support rep. They first confirmed some account information, then asked me what I needed. I had already prepared my first message, where I tried to play Fast Food Chicken and try to answer every possible question in one blast:

I am interested in knowing how much it will cost per month to add Signature TV to my service, without modifying my current service. I do not want any cable boxes and instead just need a cablecard.

There was no way this was going to work.

But, to my surprise, the rep was mostly able to work off of that. They asked if I needed more than one CableCard, I replied that I needed a single, multi-stream CableCard, and they asked me to wait while they went away to figure everything out.

After a few minutes they came back with some numbers. My total bill would be roughly $130/mo for the first 6 months, and then go up to roughly $160/mo afterwards. This was acceptable, so I told them I’d like to sign up, but wanted to make sure they could simply mail me the CableCard as opposed to rolling a truck or requiring a pickup visit to the office, as I am trying to minimize contact with the outside world in the quarantimes.

They went away to check, and came back a minute or two later confirming that they could mail it on Monday. So I told them I wanted to move forward, we spent a few more minutes confirming shipping details and such. They did their usual pitch for their Service Agreement, but I was able to easily decline it (and the pitch is way less annoying over chat than it is over the telephone). But after that, I was done.

It worked.

The Movies I Saw in 2019

As has been the standard over the past few years, the number of features I saw in 2019 was a tick down, at 128 vs 132 in 2018. I had a particularly busy year in 2019, so this isn’t really a surprise for me.. I was on the road for nearly two of the twelve months this year, so I simply had less time for film.

If you are interested in the technical guts of these graphs, look here.

The graphs, as well as the list itself, are behind the jump below…

Continue reading “The Movies I Saw in 2019”

The Movies I Saw in 2018

I totaled 151 movies this year, but ‘only’ 132 features which was a tick down from the past few years. To be honest, Corinna and I binged all of the Star Wars films (except for Rogue One) within a few days at the end of the year, so that definitely goosed the stats up.

If you are interested in the technical guts of these graphs, look here.

The graphs, as well as the list itself, are behind the jump below…

Continue reading “The Movies I Saw in 2018”

The Movies I Saw in 2017

Last year I wondered if ~140 features a year was the ‘new normal’, and it appears that is the case, as in 2017 I saw 147 features. That said, it felt like a really good year for cinema.

If you are interested in the technical guts of these graphs, look here.

The graphs, as well as the list itself, are behind the jump below…

Continue reading “The Movies I Saw in 2017”

2016 Films in Review

Top Films of 2016 (in Alphabetical Order):

Honorable Mention: 

Bottom 5 Films of 2016:

Most Disappointing:

Best Reissue:

Most Unnecessary Remake/Reworking:

Best Movie I Finally Saw: Room

Best Director: The Daniels (Swiss Army Man)

Best Ensemble: Don’t Think Twice

Best Original Screenplay: The Daniels for Swiss Army Man

Best Adapted Screenplay: Amy Jump for High-Rise

Best CinematographyChung-hoon Chung for The Handmaiden

Best Soundtrack: Swiss Army Man

Most Memorable Lines:

  • Swiss Army Man
    • Hank: If you don’t know Jurassic Park, you don’t know shit.
  • High-Rise
    • Laing: You know, Toby, when I was your age, I was always covered in something. Mud, jam, failure… My father never associated himself with anything dirty. Or real.Toby: My father’s up there.Laing: You mean, in heaven?Toby: Heaven isn’t real, stupid.
  • The Witch
    • Jonas, Mercy: [singing] Black Phillip, Black Phillip, a crown grows out his head. Black Phillip, Black Phillip, to nanny queen is wed. Jump to the fence post. Running in the stall. Black Phillip, Black Phillip, king of all.

The Movies I Saw in 2016

I saw even fewer feature films in 2016, but it was a rather busy year for me. My final total was 141, which was 7 fewer than 2015. The big thing I alluded to last year, that may depress this total, was buying a new house. That happened, so it’s possible that may explain the reduced number. Or, perhaps, I’ve settled into a new normal.

If you are interested in the technical guts of these graphs, look here.

The graphs, as well as the list itself, are behind the jump below…

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The Death of Print (or: My Adventures with the Boston Globe)

Update 20161122:  Since writing the text below, I’ve been contacted by several staffers at the Globe via many channels.  They not only assure me that my discrete issues have been addressed, but that they’ve had meetings to pick apart what went wrong based on the notes I wrote up below.  Hopefully my experience will (ultimately) make things better in the future.

Setting the stage: I’ve been a digital subscriber to The Boston Globe for years now.  Corinna decided she would like to try getting the Sunday edition in print.  Here are the things I needed to do to accomplish this:

  1. Log into my account on their website, to find there was no easy way to simply add ANY print subscription to my account.  You’d think they’d want to make this braindead simple.
  2. Call their phone line (1-888-MY-GLOBE) to find out they were only open until noon on the weekend.
  3. Remember on Tuesday that I wanted to do this, and call the phone line again, waiting on hold for a few minutes to talk to a representative.  I state that I want to add Sunday delivery to my existing digital account.  I’m told the only way to accomplish this is to close out my existing subscription and add a new one.  The existing subscription will be terminated as of Thursday, but my new subscription won’t be in effect until Sunday.  So I’ll have no digital access for those few days.  That seems ridiculous, but I accept it.
  4. Wake up this morning, excited to fetch my paper, to find nothing.  Try to attach my new account number to my bostonglobe.com login, but meet no success.
  5. Call their support line, wait on hold for 5 minutes until a robot tells me i’m 22 in the queue.  I hang up and run to their online chat.
  6. After about 5 minutes a chat rep. appears, I explain my plight, and she straightens everything out.  She tells me my subscription has no digital access, and would I like to add it?  I told her that I was supposed to have digital access, that the rep on Tuesday told me I would have it as of Sunday, but apparently that rep messed something up.  She schedules a redelivery before 2pm and gives me gratis digital access until my ‘repaired’ subscription kicks in on Tuesday and we end our chat.  I have no idea why it takes them several days to activate a digital subscription.
  7. Just before noon, I learn they have a Customer Service iPhone app. The sign-in screen asks for my name, email, phone # or acccount #, and house #.  After lots of trial and error, i find that the address and phone number were out of date on my account.  I can’t remember if the phone rep asked for updated information or not, but she clearly should have.  As someone who’s never had print delivery, to assume that the address is correct on my account seems unwise.
  8. I reenter chat (with 10 minutes to spare before they shut down at noon) and explain that the address is wrong on my account, and that is probably why I didn’t get a paper this morning.  I give the rep my account number, which is attached to an address in Wellesley.  I can’t tell you if the original phone rep transposed numbers or I did, but the whole time I was using the incorrect account number.  So some person in Wellesley probably just had digital access added to their account.  I give the rep my current info, and she updates my account, crediting me for today’s paper and suggesting that I will receive a paper at my ‘new’ address starting next Sunday.
  9. I log into the Globe site, attaching the new account number to my Globe login, and notice that while my billing address has been updated, my delivery address is still incorrect. There is no clear way for me to change this myself. My plan is to check back in a few days and see if it is fixed, otherwise I see another chat in my future.

It is maddening to me that this process was so painful.

  • Why can I not add a print subscription myself, online, without involving a customer service rep?
  • Why can I not update the address on my account myself?
  • Why wasn’t I able to add print delivery without losing my digital access for several days?
  • Why didn’t the phone rep verify my delivery address?
  • Why didn’t the chat rep, once I complained of a missing delivery, verify my delivery address?
  • Why is the process to attach my subscription to my bostonglobe.com login a manual process?  Why can’t the customer service reps do it for me?

The Movies I Saw in 2015

I saw fewer films in 2015, but it was a rather busy year for me. My final total was 148, which was 11 fewer than 2014. There are some things conspiring that could depress the total in 2016, but we’ll have to wait and see if that ends up happening.

If you are interested in the technical guts of these graphs, look here.

The graphs, as well as the list itself, are behind the jump below…

Continue reading “The Movies I Saw in 2015”

The Movies I Saw in 2014

I saw one more film in 2014 than 2013, but strangely, I apparently didn’t see any short film or, more likely, I didn’t record seeing them. With so much short-form video content available online it is difficult to figure out where to ‘draw the line’ in my recordkeeping.

After deciding last year that ~160 features a year was unsustainable, in 2014 I watched 158 159 features, so perhaps it is..

If you are interested in the technical guts of these graphs, look here.

The graphs, as well as the list itself, are behind the jump below…

Continue reading “The Movies I Saw in 2014”