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I guess I just like liking things

I’m sure I’m not the only who does this:

  • “I’m in the mood to watch a movie.”
  • Look through every movie in my library. Nothing sounds good.
  • Look through category after category in Netflix. Nothing.
  • Move on to Amazon Prime. Bleah.
  • Hulu?
  • Crackle?
  • Back to Netflix for a second pass.
  • bleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh

Used to be you had two options: it was on TV right then and you could watch it, or you’d go rent something. Sure, walking around a Blockbuster looking for something was pretty much the same as the above, just with fewer choices, but there was something about the process of driving there specifically that meant you were going to find something, no matter what. Now, it seems, the multitude of choices makes it less and less likely I’m going to find something, which is ridiculous.

I have a shelf full of movies with one row dedicated to movies I’ve bought but haven’t watched since I bought them. They’re on their sides so I know which ones they are. These are movies that I’ve bought because I know I like them. I have specifically spent money on owning a copy, most likely after I’ve already spent money going to see it in the theater or renting it. I don’t buy movies I might like. So you’d think I buy them and watch them, but no. There’s 20-25 movies sitting in there on their spines, waiting. Some have been there for over a year! I tell myself I’m not going to buy anything else until I’ve watched through the queue, but then I’ll find a copy of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for $5 and I can’t pass that up.

Thing is, you have to be in a particular mood to watch a particular movie.

On that second pass through Netflix, you start to adjust your mood. “I could maybe watch that one.” “I remember sort of wanting to see that one at some point.” That’s how I ended up on Life After Beth (and thus ends the longest way ’round to getting to something ever).

lifeafterbethThe IMDb blurb says this about Life After Beth:

A young man’s recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.

Seems simple enough. The cast is pretty great, too: Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, and even Paul Reiser, who I haven’t seen in anything in forever.

The movie opens with the wake, and we follow Zach as he feels lost and alone. He confesses to Beth’s dad over a chess game that he and Beth had been having some troubles recently and were headed towards a breakup, but he’s distraught over losing her.

The next time he goes over to her parents’ house, they don’t answer. Nor the next. He starts freaking out and snoops in windows and sees Beth and then really freaks out. They let him in, he accuses them of some weird scam and faking a funeral, but, no, Beth just came back. She doesn’t know she died, and seems pretty normal, really.

So, sure, Zach doesn’t know how to handle all of this, but after a bit she seems normal enough, so they hang out a lot and sort of pick back up where they left off. But as time goes by, Beth gets less and less normal and things get worse and worse. I’ll leave it at that for those among you who don’t like spoilers, even for things you’ll never watch in a hundred years.

I saw this referred to as a “zom-com” here and there, a romantic comedy that just happened to feature zombies. I can’t really describe it any better than that. I couldn’t help but think there’s some kind of metaphor for trying to go on with your life after a breakup, but that just might be me projecting – I have dated two separate Beths in my life, after all. (Neither one has died nor become a zombie, for the record.)

There’s an Of Mice and Men undercurrent, mixed with normal family drama, mixed with humor, mixed with a little zombie gore (not as much as I expected, and I was thankful). I think I liked it? I didn’t dislike it, for sure, but I think some elements could have been tweaked a little (I didn’t care for the brother character at all). Overall… yeah I think I liked it. Not enough to buy a copy and have it rest on its spine for a year, but I liked it well enough that I’m glad I saw it.


Life After Beth was my 13th movie of the year.


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