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The Previous Hotel Guests Forgot to Log out of their Movie App...Here's What I Added to Their Playlists

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

This past weekend my family packed up and headed to our favorite “staycation” spot, Palm Springs. We enjoyed the pool, caught some sun rays, and enjoyed each other’s company. But our kids are teenagers and they only want to enjoy so much of our company. So in the evenings we retired to our spaces to cue up our own entertainment. Our rooms were equipped with Roku TVs, so there were multiple apps to choose from. I set the kids loose with their shared tv and retreated to my room. I pulled up HBO Max and noticed that none of my lists were present. I realized that I hadn’t been prompted to sign into the HBO account, which meant whoever had used the app for me was still signed in. Should I log them out…

…or should I be nosey and see what these perfect strangers are into?

I’m not known for minding my own business, and I’m definitely the curious type. I couldn’t resist. What people watch says so much about them. I started perusing the three separate profiles on this particular account. It felt a little bit like peeking into their window at night. I felt a bit guilty. Your playlist is sort of intimate. It’s a little peek into your mindset, into what makes you happy, what excites you, what moves you.

It was an interesting exercise, but it did make me think about the dangers of leaving your accounts connected to public devices. If I were a different person I could cause a lot of havoc for these accounts. Out of curiosity, I checked to see if account information was visible and easily accessible. Thankfully most of it was cloaked, but emails were still visible and I could have chosen to cause a lot of trouble by renting movies and making other purchases through the app.

Thankfully for those people, I am only a sort of bad person. I didn’t choose to add any purchases, and I did decide to log out of the account for the users…but not before I made some of my own recommendations for their playlists, based on what I thought their personalities might be.

Here’s what I came up with…and don’t forget…sign out of all the apps you use on public devices like in hotel rooms. Not everyone will use their powers for good when it comes to wielding control of your accounts.

Nat – I’m assuming this was a young woman, primarily based on the fact that she got about halfway through the (kind of) romantic comedy How To Be Single. I imagined a college-age woman who prefers Instagram to Netflix when it comes to video entertainment but has the same sort of romantic spirit that many young women her age (or what I imagined her age to be).  So for her, I recommended:

  • Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightly)- classic romance with a modern sensibility. Every romantic should either read this book or see one of the versions of this movie.
  • The Wizard of Oz– Another classic that every person with an iota of whimsy should know and love
  • Maid in Manhattan – a fun JLo “mistaken identity” romantic comedy
  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin – this was a risk but I thought the Nat in my mind might appreciate the overarching theme of intimacy and finding and appreciating true love, whether it be with your friends or with hot chicks.
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary – most young women fancy themselves some version of Bridget Jones, be it romantically confused, dreading the process of aging, or seeking where they fit into in their career and their social set.
  • Succession – everyone should be watching this.

Liam – Liam had cued up The Internship and had finished one season of a cartoon called Clarence. He also had a few minutes of The Sopranos, but I figured that was something someone mistakenly hit play on and then quickly exited out of once they realized. So I decided Liam is a young teenage boy who likes silly comedy and is starting to explore adult themes. So for Liam I recommended:

  • The Amazing World of Gumball – a weird Cartoon Network show about a boy who is a blue cat who lives with a bunch of other weirdos.
  • Spirited Away – one of the first mainstream anime movies
  • Adventure Time – another Cartoon Network show about a weird-looking 12-year-old boy and his magical cat and the adventures they have in their strange universe.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – The perfect show for a teenage boy. It’s a nostalgia watch that appeals to many young people these days, goofy Will Smith at his goofiest Will Smithiest, and the Carlton. What’s not to love?
  • Blades of Glory – I took a risk with this one but it has a silly, goofy, inappropriate quality that the kids are starving for these days. Will Ferrell never disappoints and Liam could be the cool kid on the block for having this one in his arsenal of references.
  • Succession – everyone should be watching this.

And then there was Shelly. Shelly was already watching Succession (she gets it) and was almost finished with White Lotus. She also seemed to have an interest in fantasy/witch stories, having already cued up The Witches of Eastwick, The Witches, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She’d also finished the entire crime procedural series, “The Missing”. So for Shelly, I recommended:

  • The Black Lady Sketch Show – Shelly seems like she would enjoy this offbeat but hilarious all-female sketch show. It’s not only hysterical, it’s sort of brilliant.
  • Chapelle’s Show – I think Shelly would like this one for a lot of the same reasons, but a part of me imagines she’s old enough to have already seen it. Still, you can never get enough Chappelle.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife – a great mix of magic and romance, I feel like Shelly would really like this one.
  • Frequency – a sleeper classic starring Jim Caviezel as a firefighter who discovers he can communicate with his deceased father through a radio that broadcasts through time. It’s a very sweet story about love, parenthood, and destiny.
  • 13 Going on 30 – I imagine Shelly and Nat watching this one together. It’s a great movie with themes they both could enjoy – romance, coming of age, and magic.
  • For crime procedurals, I thought Shelly would enjoy Without a Trace and Person of Interest.
  • Invisible Man (2020) – a little scarier than any of the profiles seemed to indicate interest in, but a very entertaining reboot of the classic with a “girl power” center that isn’t too preachy.

I did log out of the app for the family when I was finished. Then I proceeded to log out of the rest of the apps for others who had neglected to do the same. I hope they get a kick out of their enhanced playlists, and I hope I helped at least one of them discover something new.

Enjoy, Shelly and family!