Matchstick Men

Where I Watched It?: Apple Plus

English Audio Description?: No

Excuse me for my tardiness. I do believe that Apple has moved on to a newer set of licensed titles. i noticed a while back that they were offering anywhere from 3-6 films made by other studios along with their subscription, and with this being the 20th anniversary of Matchstick Men, i figured I’d roll the dice. After all, i think this is a very underrated Ridley Scott film. yes, the least Ridley Scott film is actually a Ridley Scott film.

This is mostly about con artists, and a man (Nicolas Cage), who finds his long lost daughter (Alison Lohman) and with this unexpected meeting comes an unexpected opportunity to teach her the ropes. Sam Rockwell also stars as Cage’s best friend/partner in crime. It has a neat way of playing into Cage’s strengths that really take his character in a direction that helps serve the ultimate final act of the film. it’s a really good film.

It just doesn’t have audio description. I know, somewhere around my house I have the original DVD, but Apple certainly made no effort to add audio description, which is so deeply disappointing as it effects their 100% at Apple plus, and it’s audio description they could use in the iTunes Store. So even when they are no longer featuring it for free, it’s one more accessible title that blind people could have downloaded from their store. But sadly, Apple didn’t value accessibility enough to help us get to that 100% ratio.

I’ve seen this film before, so it was like a lot of things coming back to me. I even remembered the ending. But there were sections I missed, and visual cues still lost on me. It is really dialogue heavy, so it’s pretty easy to follow, though it’s also a giant sleight of hand, so there are clues you miss without audio description.

Sighted people never have to worry about “Can I watch this?” Of course you can. The only limitation might be a foreign language title in a language they don’t speak, that doesn’t offer subtitles. Meanwhile, we struggle to piece together films, because the truth is that the list of services that support audio description, and even offer a limited percentage of titles is really small. So, I’m not happy that Apple, which has committed to audio description for all of its original titles, has allowed it’s 100% ratio to suffer… for what? Until this novel idea to sponsor films outside the Apple catalog for a limited time, I was proud to say Apple Plus was 100% accessible, and now i can’t say that. now, there’s this asterisk, and it’s so unfortunate coming out of a billion dollar corporation.

I enjoyed the opportunity to revisit this underrated gem, but for anyone looking to go for the first time, I’m afraid they’ll miss out on the fun.

Final Grade: A-

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