Holiday bumper issue!

Prepare for a special holiday bumper set of posts in the next few days! I’ve spent the last week or so getting up late, reading books and watching a lot of TV, which surprisingly has given me the time to think about a lot of interesting things, such as Sky Movies, zombie language, boardgames, the Xbox 360 retail performance in the UK and the Peloponnesian War…

One of the great things about being home is having access to satellite TV, and more specifically, Sky Movies. This is not because it lets me watch good movies – I can do that perfectly well via DVDs and my nearby cinema. It’s because there are nine movie channels on Sky, and on a given night, there are four or five reasonably entertaining movies showing between them in parallel. So for about two hours, I can sit down, flick between every five or ten minutes, and be sure to catch the best bits of all of them.

I know this sounds like a completely ridiculous thing to do, and it would be if I hadn’t seen any of the films before, but Sky Movies normally shows films that are 12 or 18 months old, which means I have seen them at least once, perhaps in the cinema or on a plane. I’ll usually buy a film on DVD if I particularly like it, but otherwise I won’t bother; however, this movie-surfing technique allows me to rewatch all these movies without all the tediousness of listening to the expository dialogue, and just catch the good scenes (by which I mean either good jokes, or things blowing up, or both).

The interesting thing is that even with DVDs and downloaded movies, I still can’t movie-surf on my computer; the selection just isn’t great enough, and there’s something about having a random selection of movies foisted upon you that’s refreshingly different from just watching movies you’ve picked out yourself. For example, a couple of nights ago, I was flicking between Minority Report, Independence Day, American Wedding, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Mean Girls. What a choice! Certainly not one I would pick out myself, and they’re all films that I’ve seen before, but it was plenty of fun zapping between them. More on forced limitations tomorrow…

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