Due to a computer time crunch and an upcoming trip to Dresden and Copenhagen, I've temporarily left the blog in the hands of Jack Brazil. Let's see if he screws it up!
Well, well. It looks like Truman left the keys to the blog in the ignition, and now Big Daddy Brazil is going to take it for a joy ride. I’ve been reading Truman’s musings for quite some time now, and let me just get one thing out of the way: they’re good. They’re damn good. And you’d be a fool to expect this is going to be better. But there’s one thing I can promise you: I’ll use the word TARDIS* more than Truman ever has. TARDIS. There. 200% more.
* Hi Doctor Who fans!
But what I’d really like to talk about today (and who’s going to stop me?) is something that I discovered recently. Let it first be known that I absolutely love movies. I love movies more than the proverbial fat kid loves that mythical beast known as cake. And because I love movies, I end up renting them all the time.
You see, as a college student, I don’t have vast sums of money; otherwise I would just buy every movie I wanted to see. Or I’d just go see them all in theaters, but I don’t remember the last time Robert Altman’s Popeye was shown on a big screen. But I don’t have the big bucks, so it’s much cheaper to rent films both new and old, and watch them from the non-comfort of Bret’s lumpy, old futon. *
“But Jack,” you say, “this is not making for a very interesting blog entry!” I completely agree, and if you’d stop interrupting, I’d get to my point. I’ve lived in Davis, CA for the bulk of my childhood, and near my house is an independent video rental store called 49er Video. This is an absolutely wonderful place, a veritable paradise in a sea of mediocre, corporate chains. My family goes in often enough that the staff recognizes us, and always engages in friendly banter. Not only this, but they are extremely helpful when you’re looking for a movie, or you need a suggestion. And, to top it all off, they still have some VHS tapes intermingled with the DVDs, something that has an awesome nostalgia factor, even if I never watch them.
But. There is no 49er Video in Eugene, OR, where I now spend the bulk of my year. This creates a dilemma: do I go without renting movies or do I sacrifice myself to a chain rental store? Do I sacrifice my support of small, independent businesses for my own personal pleasure? You could cut the tension with a knife!
For the first two years of college, I did without movie rentals, relying instead on what my friends owned, or watching a lot of TV. There’s not a whole lot of TV watching in the dorms, and last year my roommates were watching Blazers games more often than not, so movies were not all that frequent in our tiny little quad. This year, however, the game has changed.
Truman, as you probably have figured out if you read this blog with any frequency, is a freaky pop culture nerd much like myself. Because of this, and the exquisite TV he and Bret chose to purchase, movies have become a regular feature in this household. * The demand for watching movies suddenly increased more than I had anticipated, and my reasonable DVD collection was clearly not going to be enough to satiate our needs. So I broke down. I got a Blockbuster card. And for a while, this was enjoyable enough. They did charge more for movie rentals than I was used to, but I was so happy to be able to be only a few blocks away from a vast movie library. But then, as I should have expected, the Imperial Empire raised their costs for rentals to a point where it wasn’t financially viable anymore. And that was the day my life changed. FOREVER.
*Granted, he’s gone now, so Bret and I get to make ALL the movie choices! No more Battlestar Galactica** for anyone!
**I actually like BSG.
Rather than take their financial slap in the face, I decided to retaliate against Blockbuster and join the Rebel Alliance. I signed up for a Netflix account. And oh baby did I make the right choice. For a paltry $8.95 a month, I could rent as many DVDs as I want (one at a time), plus stream unlimited movies and TV shows on my computer. A match made in heaven, to say the least. Netflix has more than paid for itself if you’re basing it on Blockbuster rates, and their library of films is gigantic.
And yet I’m not entirely sure about this. On the one hand, Netflix has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made, making movies instantly available to me whenever I want to watch them. But I’m starting to miss going to the video store. I miss walking the aisles, looking at new releases and remembering movies I’d forgotten about. Netflix likes to provide suggestions, but there’s no real character to it, no employees to converse with. Of course, Netflix is a large corporation as well, so I’m still taking business away from my beloved 49er. I don’t know if they’re suffering without me (probably not) but I still feel bad.
A few days from now I’ll be returning home to celebrate my mother’s birthday. And I know, as part of the weekend, my family will go into 49er to rent some movies we all can enjoy. I haven’t been back in 49er since I started my Netflix account. To tell you the truth, I’ve never been quite this excited to walk back through those doors.
Jack Brazil hates that this sounded like an advertisement for Netflix at some points, but it’s probably worth it. They’ll probably decide to start paying him.