One recent weekend not too long ago I came home to find out that both my kids happened to be spending the night at neighbors’ homes. Heh.
Of course, I’m sure all of you who are married with children know what that means.
But before that could actually happen I had to grease the skids. Er, so to speak.
Both the Honeybee and I are homebodies, so we decided to cook up some steaks at home and rent a movie.
I sauteed us some fresh mushrooms and then cooked us up a couple of nice rib eyes (cooked rare, and lightly marinated beforehand in Italian dressing). Our steaks were accompanied by baked potatoes loaded with butter, sour cream, chives and bacon bits.
Oh yeah, it was delicious.
Before I knew it the kitchen was cleaned up and it was movie time.
I popped us up some fresh hot popcorn and cracked open a frosty cold one. Meanwhile, the Honeybee made herself a tall Jack and Diet Coke and grabbed a big bag of peanut M&Ms she thinks she keeps hidden from me in the cupboard (in the far corner, behind the bag of Lay’s Salt & Vinegar potato chips). Never mind that I prefer the plain ones.
At 8:30 p.m. we settled down to watch The Clash of the Titans starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and a bunch of other actors I never heard of.
The Honeybee popped the DVD in the player and the first trailer started up for some goofy movie about talking hoot owls called The Guardians of Ga’Hoole.
“Fast forward it, Honeybee,” I said raising my beer in the air for added emphasis. “I don’t feel like sitting through the movie previews tonight.”
Anyway, after a few seconds of her pointing the remote at the DVD player, it was apparent she was having no luck getting to the movie menu. In fact, that annoying little international red and white slash symbol for “Don’t Even Try It, Monsieur!” was mocking us, appearing in the upper right corner of the screen every time the Honeybee pushed the SKIP button. The same thing happened when she tried pressing MENU too.
Talk about threatening to ruin what had started out to be a great evening. For the next 16 minutes we were prisoners in our own home, forced to endure a seemingly never-ending parade of movie trailers, public service announcements and commercials. In our case, we were treated to the following theatrical flotsam and jetsam prior to the start of the movie:
8:30 p.m.: Movie trailer for The Guardians of Ga’Hoole. (Boring.)
8:32 p.m.: Movie trailer for Inception. (Okay, that one had me.)
8:34 p.m.: Movie trailer for Lottery Ticket. (Insufferable.)
8:36 p.m.: Commercial for a video game entitled The Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. (Wasn’t paying attention; too busy throwing popcorn passes to the dog.)
8:37 p.m.: Movie trailer for The Losers. (If the trailer was indicative of the entire movie, the title doubles as a pithy review.)
8:39 p.m.: The original cheesy movie trailer for the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans with Laurence Olivier, Ursula Andress and Harry Hamlin. (Yes, that Harry Hamlin. Now on DVD!)
8:41 p.m.: Commercial for The Clash of the Titans video game. (Must. Drink. More. Beer.)
8:42 p.m.: Movie trailer for a cartoon called Batman: Under the Red Hood. (Really? Is there anything more ridiculous than a movie trailer for a cartoon?)
8:44 p.m.: A public service announcement for the American Film Institute. (No recollection of this on account of my slipping into a mild coma.)
Mercifully, sixteen bloody minutes after we first popped the DVD into the player, our movie was finally ready to start. Of course, my frosty cold one was now empty. On top of that, the dog and I had already finished most of the popcorn in the bowl.
This wasn’t the first time this happened either. Over the past six months or so I have noticed more and more rental movies have been forcing us to sit through up to a quarter-hour or more of mind-numbing previews prior to the actual movie. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the DVDs come from Blockbuster or Netflix either.
So whose idea was it to force people to watch these movie trailers anyway? Who knows, but I was determined to figure out how to get around this unconscionable abuse of the movie-watching public. And so I did.
Later that week I made a quick search of the Internet and discovered a few simple tips for overriding DVDs from hell that refuse to let you skip past the movie trailers. It turns out if you’re watching the DVD player from a computer – rather than a DVD player – you can simply press STOP, then PLAY. However, if you’re like most people who use a DVD player, then you can try one of these two tricks:
1. As soon as the first preview comes on the screen, press the following sequence on your DVD remote: STOP, STOP, PLAY.
2. And if that doesn’t work, try pressing: STOP, STOP, STOP, PLAY.
The question was, would either of these tricks work?
Well, this past weekend we rented The Werewolf from Blockbuster. Sure enough, the DVD wouldn’t allow us to skip over the movie previews. This time, however, we were ready.
The Honeybee pressed STOP, STOP, PLAY and – voila! – the DVD sent us directly to the movie menu. It worked!
Just for grins, the Honeybee and I then tried it on the FBI warning and it worked on that too! (Yeah, yeah. I didn’t read the copyright notice for the 1,356th time. So arrest me.)
Anyway, natural order has been restored in the Penzo living room and life is good again.
Best of all, the sixteen minutes of our lives we save on most movie nights watching boring trailers can now be applied to activities that are a lot more fun. If you know what I mean.