Some nerd once said you can't judge a book by its cover. (That nerd has clearly never read "100% One Direction: The Unofficial Biography.") But nobody ever said you couldn't judge a movie by its cover.
As this winter has been what Winnie the Pooh might call "blustery" and has featured more than one day in which you could toss a pot of boiling water out of your front door and watch it freeze midair (as it blows back into your face), those of us lucky enough to have sustained our Internet connection throughout discovered a socially acceptable excuse to binge on Netflix like a next-level couch hermit.
I know this to be unequivocally true because I, too, have looked up from the unsanitary depths of despair, body odor and spent Pringles cans after power-loading an entire season of "Saved by the Bell" and wondered what it all means.
But I also know Netflix binging is a "thing" this year because "Good Morning America" ran a segment on it recently, and if "GMA" is doing a piece on a pop culture trend, you can be sure that trend has already reached critical mass.
History remembers the caveman who discovered fire, not by name of course (because his name was the sound of a boulder being dropped on a woolly mammoth), but by his far-reaching contribution to mankind. We would have no fireworks or s'mores without the tinkering of that wily, maverick monkey man, and we are forever in his debt.
But even the knuckle-dragger who invented fire couldn't match the contribution of the pioneer who realized he could hibernate in his cave during the winter eating rice and balogna, and watching all 71 episodes of "Pretty Little Liars" without anybody judging him.
As much time as I have spent watching stuff on Netflix during the Midwest's tryst with the North Pole this winter, I have spent even more time perusing all the stuff on Netflix, and collecting titles in my instant queue that I will theoretically watch one day when I am in a full body cast after having been trampled nearly to death by an elephant.
This Netflix hoarding habit is nothing new to me.
When Netflix first offered its online streaming service, I consistently maxed out the 500-title limit in my instant queue. Ignoring the fact that some of those titles were entire television series, even by watching one film a day, I could not clear out my queue in a year.
Sometimes the amount of choices available on Netflix overwhelms me, and I spend an hour flipping through all the different subcategories before ultimately deciding to give up, peace out and waste my time in the black hole of the Internet, not writing my newspaper column.
(Fun fact: Do you know if you Google search for "Michael Dudikoff," the entire film "American Ninja" pops up for free on YouTube? You're welcome.)
With the time we have left today, I'd like to take a look at a few films I almost watched in 2013 — films that sat in my instant queue all year, passed up on a weekly basis for reruns of "The X-Files" or the occasional episode of "Sliders":
Plot of the movie (as deduced from cover photo): Nicholas Cage is running (determinedly? suicidally?) toward a fireball (clearly a postmodern take on his well-documented ability to run away from fireballs — SEE: "Con Air").
He looks not concerned, necessarily, but bewildered. He is clearly mid-run in this photo, and while his body is contorted in a very physical pose, his left arm is either entirely behind his back or completely missing.
The tagline reads: "Never Steal From The World's Greatest Thief."
I am only to assume that this movie is about the world's greatest thief trying to chase down the fireball that stole his arm (and heart).
I guess I could just check the summary or something...
Chance that I'll ever watch it: Depends on how much alcohol I ingest at night (not much, anymore), multiplied by the odds of rolling over on the remote and accidentally hitting play in my sleep.
Plot of the movie (as deduced from cover photo): Jason Statham plays a guy who is stuck in a "Pleasantville"-like monochromatic black and white world. Only his hands and face have any hint of color. He is scowling, so he probably isn't happy about his situation. He longs to be the Sunkist orange of the all-caps title "BLITZ." He has a gun, but we all know that the deadliest weapon he carries is that grizzled five o' clock shadow.
Chance that I'll ever watch it: There are several other unexamined works from Statham's oeuvre in my queue that I would place ahead of this one. As it is, I only average about one to two Statham movies a year (is that low?), so it's not looking good for 2014.
Plot of the movie (as deduced from the poster): It's the 1980s — judging by Burt Reynolds' un-ironic mustache — and Reynolds stars as Malone, a man who has been recently shot in the stomach.
Don't worry, it's only a flesh wound — while his shirt is bloody, and beneath the machismo there is a glint of pain in his eyes, he is still standing with relative ease and wielding a shotgun.
Uncle Ben from "Spiderman" looks on while his henchmen/Morris Day and the Time tribute band vogue about with their weapons in a purple mist.
Chance that I'll ever watch it: Even odds.
Ryan Jackson has not watched "House of Cards" yet — so don't even ask him — and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.