In Which Our Hero Fires Randomly at Anything Flixster Has to Offer Him...

Boy, was I ever livid... in the beginning...

Jumping onto Flixster that first day, looking at a list of people who had left recent reviews for Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas, and skipping past the girl who is so cool that she has to hate the movie just because "everyone else likes it", I ran across the profile of a soul who felt the movie was "completely over-rated". Naturally, I clicked on his Flixster profile, which revealed a lad who purported to be 16, which threw me because, in my Flixster infancy, I noticed he had 7,216 ratings in his profile.

7,216 ratings? Movie ratings? Need I mention that when one reaches their 16th birthday, one has only been alive for 5,840 days, give or take a leap year here and there? If you started watching 3 movies a day from the age of 10, you are still going to fall far short of having seen 7,000 movies at that youthful age. Unless this kid was an invalid (I would not leave out that possibility, but then the picture of him with his skateboard served to preclude that angle), I would highly doubt he has gotten anywhere near seeing that many films by the age of 16. I have been immersing myself in movies since the age of 13 or so, and it took me quite some time to get near that total number of films seen.

And there's the rub: he hasn't seen that many films. I don't need to know this for a fact; it is merely a sense. But, at first, I merely accepted that this sk8ter boi was just zipping through the QuickRate section of Flixster and dismissing offhand any film he might not have an interest in -- chick flicks, kiddie films, probably any movie that didn't have spurting blood or a fart joke in it (I am only judging from the films on the first page of his profile, but this was the pattern) -- and I was correct to the degree that I was able to discern from the limited range of that page. A couple of days later, I logged into Flixster proper -- directly onto the site -- and encountered Ardiaz23, a 21 year old who has -- wait for it -- 25,373 films rated on his profile.

I am 42 years old, almost 43. When I left Alaska two years ago, after I started collecting videotapes at the age of 17 or so, and began taping films off of cable slightly before that, I had amassed a collection of somewhere in the vicinity of 5,000 films. I have had two years in my life where I purposely watched over 1,000 films in one year (1991 and 1997, 1 married year and 1 divorced). Currently, thanks to the differing work schedules of both Jen and I, and despite the fact that I spend much of my free time writing, I still probably average around 10 films a week (remember, I watch a lot of older films, and many of them are rather brief in length). And while I am fairly certain that I have seen over 10,000 films in my lifetime, I am not so certain about having seen 25,373 of them. It would take a highly motivated/unmotivated person to pull that off. I doubt even most certified film critics have gotten near that number of films, unless they have reached the age of Roger Ebert and have been on the job for over 40 years. And there, if he sees an average of 500 films a year, it would just put him over 20,000 total.

Going back to Ardiaz23, the 21-year old with a giant capacity for film ratings, and digging into his movie rating list further, I discovered how these people were pulling this off. It was rather evident, really, but I had just assumed the program only listed films on which one had actually put a starred rating. What was vexing me, and what was making these film counts attain such high levels for these mere babies, was the ability to select either "Not Interested" or "Want to See It." If you just said you wanted to see a film, it would get added to your film count.

Then, I became even more freakin' livid! If there is anything that could possibly hack me off even more than thinking some 16 year old was just tossing around movie ratings all willy-nilly without even seeing them, it would be finding out that I was completely misguided in my premature assumption about such a thing.

Goddamn it, Flixster! Not to go all David Lo-Pan on you, but now this really pisses me off to no end! Couldn't you just leave me to stew happily in my self-righteous critical funk? How come every time I find something I dislike with you -- you inoffensive little Facebook application you, sweetly designed to give nothing but idle pleasure to lonely souls on their laptops -- you -- YOU!! -- have to ruin my sadistic reverie and make with the kissy-face...

Goddamn it, Flixster. Looks like I'm just going to go slap a rating on Lethal Weapon 2...

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