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The Queue Conundrum

30 October 2008 3,062 Views 11 Comments author: D.J. Bigalke

My queue is pimp.

I understand that such a statement is highly subjective, but it’s true. If we were in the fifth grade, on a playground, my queue could beat up your queue . It didn’t get that way over night, though.  No. Hell no. There were hours, days, WEEKS of hardcore training and tweeking to get it as pimp as it is. It’s like the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Or the Mighty Ducks. It’s actually more like the Mighty Ducks. With Air Bud as their center. Not that either of those movies are in my queue; they’re just not good enough.

So what makes my queue so pimp? A lot of it has to do with the way I have it set up. Up until a few months ago, I used Blockbuster’s online rental service. They finally pissed me off enough that I thought I’d give Netflix a try.  In order to do this, however, I had to transfer my queue from one service to the other. This was a long, painful, grueling process, which was made even worse by Netflix’s “May we also recommend” feature, which ended up nearly doubling the size of my already bloated queue. Luckily, Netflix allowed me to create separate queues for my wife and me, so I could whittle down the size of my queue to a, still bloated, but less daunting size by giving my wife all the crap movies and saving all the super awesome happy cool movies for myself.

So now we have three separate queues:  one for her, one for me, and another entitled “TV Queue” which is reserved solely for (wait for it) T.V. shows.  Once I had transferred over all my picks, I found the joy of reorganizing my queue.  The Netflix queue system is much more chic, much more sexy, much more ‘worky’. Compared to Netflix, the Blockbuster queue system had the functionality of Windows ME1.  I decided to put my queue in alphabetical order with the first ten slots reserved for movies that I was anxiously awaiting to see. Once I’d have a movie shipped to me, I would be able to add another one to the entirely creatively named ‘top ten’. This has caused its own set of problems.

I’ve become increasingly obsessive compulsive about keeping order with my queue. The top ten isn’t just a list of movies that I want to see, it’s become its own entity which requires constant upkeep and maintenance. For example, I had Ikiru and Ugetsu in my top ten. I realized that they were both directed by Akira Kurosawa and decided to jettison Ugetsu. I don’t want to have two movies by the same director occurring concurrently in the top ten. It was just bad queue mojo. I’m afraid I’ll get sick of certain directors and then I’ll put a halt to watching any of their movies.

Then, I realized that I was mistaken in thinking that Ugetsu was directed by Kurosawa, and wanted to bump it back up. However, when I bumped it down, I needed to pick a movie to replace it. Since I already had a full cache of movies in the top ten, I couldn’t bring Ugetsu back up until I got a new movie. It took all of my concentration to actually remember to do that.  However, once I was able to bump it up, I realized that I had a large number of horror films in my queue.  There was Slither, In the Mouth of Madness, and The Brood. I also had the 2008 version of Funny Games there, and while it’s not actually horror, it has some of the same conventions. Combine those with Ugetsu and you get half of my queue filled with horror films.  Again, I was somehow mistaken that Ugetsu was a horror film2. It all came out in the wash, though, because I’m so bad about watching and returning movies that by the time I felt compelled to do anything about getting the horror films out of my top ten, it was October, the time for scary movies.

At this point I started to seriously wonder how the hell Ugetsu managed to land on my queue, let alone in my top ten. I obviously had no idea what the movie was about and couldn’t quite recall what the circumstances were regarding its addition and bumpage. I briefly entertained ideas of drunken misadventures on the internet, which culminated in an orgiastic tirade of bumping and queuing; this wasn’t that odd a notion.  I remember long ago receiving a copy of Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes with no godly idea why I might’ve thought, even for a second, that renting it would be a good idea. This was before I became insanely compulsive about checking my queue and did not realize my error until the disc was already in my hands.  Imagine my shock at realizing that such a studly young buck as myself would need to watch a movie about ballet.  Ballet, for cripes sakes.  With nary a naked breast or explosion in sight.  I must’ve been drunk off my gourd, and I figured that Ugetsu was added to my queue under similar circumstances.  That is until I stumbled upon an old MSN conversation between myself and a friend.

U there?

I can’t really talk right now.  We’re kind of having
a family emergency.

You should add Ugetsu to your queue, it’s bloody brilliant.
Probably my new favourite film.

I seriously can’t now.  My grandma dropped acid and
got rushed to the hospital.4


Fine, fine, it’s added.

Okay then.  Take care.

So I obviously have a problem with adding stuff to my queue and forgetting about it.  To see how bad this problem had spread, I decided to meticulously go through my queue examining each title for worthiness. I found no less than forty titles whose appearance on my queue was a complete mystery to me. However, by going through this little exercise, I discovered something far more disturbing. I can’t ever delete titles from my queue.  It’s like the constitution, stuff can get added, but once it’s in there, it’s never coming out.  When we first got Blockbuster, adding movies to the queue was like a game to us.  There were no rules, no consequences.  So one night, I decided that I wanted to see all of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.  I made it through the good ones, (the Conans, Terminator, Running Man, Predator, Commando) but then I got to the films he made in the mid 90s. Three years later, Eraser, Jingle all the Way and Junior are still hogging up space on my queue. Do I dare delete them? What if I change my mind and decide I want to watch them.  It’ll take precious seconds to re-add them, and while I seem to have an abundance of free time on my hands, that could all change.  What if a crazed man broke into my house and demanded that I put End of Days at the top of my queue in 30 seconds or he’d blow my head off? Is deleting a few movies from my queue worth risking my life? Sure, such a situation is highly improbable. But not impossible.

My wife’s list is a completely different animal.  She never bothered to figure out how to use Netflix. Suffice it to say, I am the one that does all the busy work when it comes to organizing her queue.  As a result, her queue is completely disorganized.  It’s not alphabetized and there’s no top ten list. She’s got a top one, and most of the time that doesn’t even get updated.  I do try, but every time I ask her what movie she wants to bump up she replies that she won’t know until it’s time to get a new movie.  I usually respond with an incoherent bit of furious rambling that sounds like a mash-up of Yosemite Sam cursing and a robot whose motherboard is frying after being presented with a paradox.  In the two years that we’ve been married, her Netflix queue has been the number one cause for arguments amongst us5.

The one good thing about all of this is Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” feature.  It’s the only way that I can get some of the more, how should I word this, undesirable movies off my queue.  There are a number of movies on my queue that I’m not really interested in renting any more, but I’ll watch them online for free. And I don’t care if that doesn’t even make sense.

  1. For those of you that are less technologically inclined, the functionality of a three wheeled shopping cart would also serve as an appropriate analogy.
  2. The movie I was thinking of was actually Onibaba.
  3. Names have been changed to protect and mock the innocent.
  4. Nana is doing fine now, thanks.
  5. The police have been called. And not the cool, brit-rock musician kind.

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