Posts tagged ‘movies’

Convenience Killed the Video Store

by ToastyKen

You’d never know based on my current TV watching practices, but I spent 6 years after returning from the Peace Corps without cable and rarely watching any TV.  I lived on movies, mostly rented from a video store.  As a result, I feel that I am somewhat of an expert when it comes to movie rental stores.

I was never a Blockbuster fan, even in their heyday.  They always seemed to have dozens of copies of new releases, but very little selection among their older movie shelves.  But during the majority of my TV-less existence, I was fortunate enough to live in Arcata, CA, home of one of the best video stores on the planet: Figueiredo’s.  They might only have 20 copies of the newest releases, but their shelves were jammed with all kinds of films, which meant that they had a larger selection than your average Blockbuster, but housed in about 1/4 of the space.  Older movies were available in the 3-for-3 deal, which meant three movies for three nights for $3.  Add a few more, and you could create your own 4-for-4 or 5-for-5 deal if you wanted.  They even started renting books on CD towards the end of my time in Arcata, and their selection was far better than the library’s.  They really were a hub of the community, and I fervently hope that they are still in business!

Once I left Arcata, I couldn’t find a video store that came even close to Figueiredo’s.  But pretty soon, along came Netflicks.  And then Redbox.  And we all knew that video stores were going to die off.

So when I was speaking with a fellow teacher, D, who said she still rented older movies for class from Blockbuster, I looked around and realized there was one a few miles away from me.  But when I walked in, I realized that my plan would never work.

The store was half-empty.  They still had dozens of new releases available around the outer walls, but the interior shelves of older movies were ravaged — three of the six shelves had movies turned face-out, fitting a total of 6 or so movies per shelf.  The remaining three shelves had face-out movies, alternating with stacks of movies laid on their sides, spines horizontal.  It was obvious that they were trying to make the little stock they had take up as much space as possible.  The movies that were on the shelves were either newer releases, or classic movies from the 80s — they just cherry-picked the most popular movies.  The rest of the store was bins of movies being sold 2 for $20, or 4 for $20, depending on age and quality.  It was obvious that, as soon as a movie shifted off the “New Releases” wall, most copies went into a sale bin.  So it’s no longer a movie rental chain; it’s now a movie store that rents the newest releases.

After a hour of searching, I couldn’t find the 90s-era movie I was looking to show in my Strategies class, and there were very few options for a computer-themed movie for my computer class.  Despite the fact that I now have a Blockbuster card again, I don’t know if I’ll be using it.  It would be much more convenient for me to just find the movies I want to show my classes and buy them used online.

Sorry Blockbuster.


Why am I reviewing this?

See? Even here she looks more bored than anything else

Last night, T was working quite late, so I took the opportunity to watch the copy of the Twilight series movie New Moon that had come to the house via Netflix.  No, unfortunately, I can’t say that it got here by mistake.  I ordered it on purpose.

I resisted for a while, but eventually dipped a toe into the Twilight book series, and was immediately submerged.  The first book in particular had me reliving my 9th grade crush, who sat next to me in biology class for half the year and constantly toyed with my affections, to the degree that I almost wrote to the full-grown married man and demanded to know why his hand always ended up on my knee during bio movies, despite his complete disinterest in me at any other time.  (Fortunately, my rational, adult self took over and stopped me.)

The books are addictive, in that they help you relive all those teen angst, romantic entanglement, how-does-he-feel-about-me moments, assuming of course that you were once an insecure teenaged girl who experienced these things.   And the character you are following is rewarded for her efforts with the most ridiculously romantic, chaste, protective, benevolent, undemanding boyfriend you could ever imagine, who also happens to be irresistably sexy when experienced from her point of view.  (NOTHING turns a teenage girl on like the line, “I’m no good for you.”  I know, I remember.)  I’m not saying these books are great literature in any way, shape or form; but they are a guilty pleasure, for a certain kind of person.

In any case, I know the movies do not reproduce this world.  I saw the first one, it was okay.  I decided out of some kind of loyalty to watch the second movie and see how it was.


Well, to be fair, I was knitting a super complicated pattern and making dinner while trying to watch this movie, so I might not have been quite as engaged in it as I could have been.  But while Robert Pattinson does an okay job protraying a tortured and lovestruck immortal, Kristen Stewart just does not have the chops for this role.  She can do scared, determined, anxious, depressed, conflicted — does them all pretty well, in fact — but she really doesn’t pull off madly in love.  And the werewolf?  Yeah, his range is pretty limited too.  She gets up close to these guys, hovering just out of contact, and you’d expect it to be magnetic, but it just isn’t.  She can do desperate and clinging, but not blissful and open.  And, even with the way her character is written, she should have at least a few moments of bliss thrown in.

I know, folks all over the Internet have been saying exactly the same thing about this movie and these actors all along.  So why am I bothering to say it now?  Well, it’s like hearing a rumor about someone, but making sure not to pass it on before you can personally confirm it.

Twilight movies really aren’t very good?  Rumor confirmed.  If you enjoy the secret vice of this series, stick to the books.