Whenever we’re at home and have the time, we almost always watch a rented movie on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, just before dinner. We’ve done it hundreds of times. Recently, the fickle finger of fate caused us to Netflick two newly released DVDs from the same studio: ANOTHER YEAR and BARNEY’S VERSION, both from Sony, both fine films which we recommend highly. However, I must note a huge caveat. It may be the repeat gauntlet we had to run that made me want to write this today, but I’ll just be blunt: Sony’s pre-show routine, at least the one on Blu-Ray discs, is tiresome to the point of anger.
I’m talking about trailer after trailer after trailer – sometimes preceded by such utter crap as a CGI bear wasting five minutes chatting with his forest friends to convince you how great Sony 3-D is – before you finally get to the Holy Grail, a button you can push at last to PLAY MOVIE. Sony’s assault cannot be escaped by HOME or DISK MENU buttons. Sorry, Charlie. You just have to let the frickin thing run. Eject the disk and re-insert, and the whole thing starts over.
The worst culprit in this regard used to be Disney, which you might logically expect to beat you over the head with cross-marketing. But even the Mouse finally learned that kids, and their parents/sitters, won’t sit still for this excruciating grind-out while they’re waiting for TOY STORY to roll. Now, a chastened Disney lets you opt out of the marketing barrage if you like. But not our friends at Sony.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against trailers. What I’m against is when they become inescapable.
ANOTHER YEAR just would not flippin start until we’d endured at least five trailers, maybe more, including one for the other Sony flick we’d just rented. Tonight, for BARNEY’S VERSION, I decided to let the DVD warm up like an oven before calling Linda into the room – and friends, we get to 425 in the kitchen faster than a Sony Blu-Ray DVD gets to PLAY MOVIE. The pre-show was more than :15 and was identical to ANOTHER YEAR’s, except that the BARNEY’s trailer we saw last night was now switched for ANOTHER YEAR’s, just in case we hadn’t seen it the frickin night before.
So. If this sounds annoying, you have two choices. Either don’t ever, ever, rent any Sony DVDs ever again, and just wait for Columbia, Screen Gems or Sony Pictures Classics flicks to appear on cable or stream on Netflix. (You’ll see some great movies much later than most, but you’ll have saved :15/:20 per film, which you can devote toward the rest of your life.) Or else, do what I do: start the damn thing about :15 early and walk out of the room. Use this time productively, and wander back in whenever you have a nice, steady menu screen.
Hey, smart guys at the studios: we’ve already learned to enter a movie theater auditorium about :15 after the posted showtime. Don’t front-load us with the same junk on DVD. Because we’re not a captive audience at home, pally. We may have to play it. But we don’t have to watch it.