2 min read

Wolmania - Friday, January 28, 2022

Good morning to all readers, especially the esteemed, sagacious Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Welcome back to Wolmania, where I have curated the following items for your consideration and enjoyment:

Here's Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult To Understand (And Three Ways To Fix It)

Here's Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult To Understand (And Three Ways To Fix It)

Very interesting piece. One of the reasons listed (because Christopher Nolan wants it that way) is different from the rest. I don’t personally agree with him (I’d be inclined to make sure dialogue is easy to understand or very obviously not intended to be understood), but at least it reflects the director’s intention and isn’t just a mistake. (I imagine the actors whose hard work is muffled may feel differently.)

Item 2: a list

Streaming video services, ranked:

  1. HBO Max
  2. Disney+
  3. Netflix
  4. Apple TV+
  5. The Criterion Channel
  6. Peacock
  7. Hulu (no ads)
  8. YouTube Premium
  9. Kanopy
  10. Amazon Prime Video
  11. Paramount+
  12. Hulu (ads)

This is a holistic ranking taking into account 1) current and upcoming shows & movies; 2) content library; 3) website/app UX/UI; 4) subscription price; and 5) my actual usage.

Here’s what the list looked like when I looked at it last March (although I didn’t actually have/use ESPN Plus then, either):

  1. Disney+
  2. Netflix
  3. HBO Max
  4. The Criterion Channel
  5. Kanopy
  6. Hulu (no ads)
  7. Amazon Prime Video
  8. Apple TV+
  9. Hulu (ads)
  10. Starz
  11. CBS All Access (aka Paramount+)
  12. ESPN Plus
  13. Peacock

Some observations while we’re here:

  1. Biggest gainers - Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock (which I think barely existed last March…)
  2. Losers: Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, despite Squid Game - but I suspect they’ll have a strong 2022
  3. HBO Max’s catalog (mostly HBO and a remarkable classic film portfolio) is so good that it tops the list despite the app’s user interface being a bit of a nightmare and much, much worse than most of its competitors.
  4. If you watch much Hulu and can afford it, I strongly recommend paying for the ad-free version (ditto Peacock). Life is too short.
  5. Similarly, I have YouTube Premium bundled with YouTube Music and pretty much the only thing that gets me is ad-free YouTube, but every time I am on a device that isn’t logged into YouTube I am reminded that YouTube with ads is incredibly annoying.
  6. I think one could probably get by without any of the main streaming services and just use Kanopy, but in practice most everything I want to watch is on one of the services I pay for, so I very rarely consider Kanopy. But you can’t beat the price (free with a US library card) and it actually has a ton of great stuff available. Plus, unlike borrowing books/e-books from the library, you’re likely to actually finish what you’re checking out before your time expires.

Item 3: a media recommendation

Mr. Show - Pre-Taped Call-in Show

Item 4: a photograph

Sequoia National Park - by me

See ya!

Thanks for reading - see you next week!