Procrastinate Better

Candid Queue: TV Critic Troy Patterson

Once a week, Procrastinate Better features a peek into the Netflix queue of a staffer or critic. No tampering with the results to make ourselves seem more or less erudite, we swear! Just the brief opportunity to explain (or defend, as the case may be) the choices. This installment comes from Slate TV critic Troy Patterson . More Candid Queues here.


The White Ribbon

: When last I submitted

my household’s Netflix habits for inspection

, my lovely wife was managing the queue with a capable hand. Six months later, married life continues swimmingly, though the queue merely treads water. Victims of our own idealism, we allowed

The Cove

, a documentary about killing dolphins, to languish beside the TV set as summer turned to fall, and then we returned it unwatched, having grown sufficiently enlightened and depressed through sheer osmosis.

The Hurt Locker

languished even longer; the missus’s curiosity could not trump her squeamishness, and she returned it unwatched. But now we’ve learned our lesson, and I wager that we’ll return

The White Ribbon

unwatched in a mere two or three weeks. The alternative is to barrel through—hunker down, admire its stark beauty, suffer through a wrenching narrative of horrible things happening in a German village 100 years, and wonder why we didn’t look to, say,


(or, for that matter,

La Strada

) as an light leisure-time alternative.

2. La Dolce Vita : Ah, here’s the Fellini. Excellent choice, ma’am. My bride will be taking this tour of Rome this for the first time. I will be looking up from botching one home-improvement project or another to savor favorite landmarks—Christ soaring over the cityscape, Anita Ekberg swanning through the Trevi Fountain, Marcello Mastrionanni fuming coolly in a chic funk.

3. Exit Through the Gift Shop . A quick-witted documentary about the graffiti artist Banksy and his peers and inferiors. I think she’ll like it. I will give it a second look in an attempt to sort out why some people believe its portrait of the street-art hustle to be a hoax.

4. There is no four. As mentioned, the queue treads water. I’m adding Airplane! right now.