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A Halting View of Hulu

Hulu makes me happy: Full-length movies, The Office, limited 15-second commercials. Turning to the site this morning, I was enchanted by the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson on the home page and the announcement that Lost in Translation was premiering.  Okay, I’ll sit for that. 

I went to Translation and was entranced by how much director Sofia Coppola tapped into Scarlett’s beauty and the desperation Bill Murray didn’t even realize he had. Then the first commercial: After exactly seven minutes. The curtains are automatically opening in Murray’s hotel room and the thing literally stops. Then: Fifteen second of Honda. Then right back to the movie and the curtains open fully. I think they need to work on the timing a little. 

In fact, the timing in general needs some kinks worked out. The first viewer comment listed for the film this morning made some mention of Lost in Translation actually being rated “R” and not “PG-13” as had been listed. The comment cited a “booby” viewing after about an hour as proof.

A few hours later I returned to hulu to check something else out and found a few changes. The movie was now indeed listed as “R.” I couldn’t watch it until I’d logged in, and had given hulu some “proof” of my birth date . . . proof meaning clicking on a year I was born. (The oldest birth year permitted for registry was 1906. I’m a tad younger, thanks.) And that said comment, alerting viewers about said “booby” at said hour was, I must say, removed from the page.

The commercials were for Best Buy. They were now 30 seconds long, not 15. But that first one still came at exactly seven minutes. Curtains open halfway and then came the jarring cut to Best Buy, and Charles Barkley having LeBron James on his top-five phone list. Then back to our curtain revealing the day. But it amazed me how revealing that couple hours of difference was in the hulu process.