The movie industry in the USA has delivered a forum for story-telling that is unparalleled in human history. The general public can draw from this delivery system to spend a few hours in total fantasy, or to have cultures presented and viewpoints acted out to inform and entertain.
Story-telling has always been a unique and honored method of communication and of making sense of the activities, possibilities and limitations around us. The ideas that often are lost in direct articulation, can be better understood when acted out in story form.
The USA presents a noble and free palette upon which uncensored story-telling is possible. And our free enterprise system supports and encourages the many delivery systems from which we can draw.
The time-honored movie delivery system of the public theatre is a grand example of combining entertainment and communication. Most of us have enjoyed the “dinner and movie”, allowing for an inexpensive and thoroughly entertaining evening out.
Many of us have experienced the slightly weird but thoroughly enjoyable drive-in movie. This was often an eerie experience.
Rows of cars lined up in the dark to allow for the occupants to view a common movie shown on a huge screen was the norm. The nights could be clear and warm, with the accompanying bugs and mosquitoes flying in the window. The night could offer rain or wind, adding texture to a mystery that one could never experience but at a drive-in. Fog could roll through, adding to the drama.
And the eeriness of rows of dark cars, some with brake lights on, often with a horn blaring here and there, made the trip to the restroom an adventure.
This is just another but very appealing form of story-telling such as humans have participated in since the day of Cave Men. The uniquely human activity of trying to make sense out of life, as told in story form, is probably one of the most satisfying activities available to people.
The movie rental store added a new dimension to the movie delivery system. What luxury to bring the rented movie home. One could watch the movie at leisure in the peace and sanctuary of one’s own home. The facilities are clean, the dinner preparation could become a part of the fun. The safety and security is a luxury that, 100 years ago, a King could not enjoy.
Of course, one would need to return the rented movie on time. This could add a bit of drama of its own, remembering to put the rented movie in the car on the way to work, remembering to actually drive to the rental store at some time during the day. But still, a great time was had by all.
A new and convenient movie delivery system has developed in the form of Netflix. One enters into an agreement with this company in which they will withdraw a stated dollar amount from your checking account monthly. In return, you are contracted to receive at home 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 movies, or whatever is convenient for you, at any one time.
They send you the movies you have chosen online, you watch at your leisure, and send it back in the mail. As soon as they receive the movie (usually 1 day), they return the next movie in your queue. This means you truly can watch a movie in your own time with no overdue charges. The movie is popped into the mail and forgotten.