Flick In A Box

I have become very fond of the RedBox.

redbox

For those of you not in the know, the RedBox is a movie vending machine who’s only real flaw is I have to go to Walmart to use it (although I have seen them in Kangaroos and McDonalds).  You use a touchscreen and pick from a selection of mostly new releases, swipe your debit card and it slides a movie out at you… bring it back tomorrow by 9:00p.  You can go to their website and reserve a movie and when you get there they charge you $1.07 and you go home with a copy of a movie where Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson punches people in the throat for one hundred and twenty minutes because his daughter doesn’t listen.

I love the RedBox.

I know what you’re thinking.

Hey dumbass, what’s the difference between the RedBox and the Self-Checkout Lane you were bitching about last week?

Firstly, stop calling me dumbass.  Secondly, when I ask for a copy of The Third Man at the RedBox and it laughs at me and points out we’re in the breezeway of the Walmart and says:

Keep that arty Ingmar Kurosawa bullshit to yourself.  Here’s a copy of Transporter 3 and a warm cup of shut the hell up.  (Mumbling)…  The Third Man… you think you’re better than me?

It’s exactly what it pretends to be: a vending machine for movies.  If the red light is on, Grape Crush is out, choose another drink.  The Self-Checkout actually makes me work.  I have to get my own crap, scan my own crap and bag my own crap.  At the RedBox I stand there and make a selection and it just gives it to me.

At a Blockbuster I was going to have to show up anyway.  Going to have to pick out my own movie anyway and stand in a line and because I never carry cash, swipe my card anyway.  What the RedBox doesn’t have is ten thousand titles to choose from or my having to hover around the counter waiting for someone to dropoff a copy of Hotel For Dogs.

It eliminates the blue-shirted counter monkey.

Part of my pleasure of the RedBox is when it comes to movies, the less interaction I have, the better.  I once watched a Blockbuster monkey when asked where The Rocky Horror Picture Show was asked had she checked under ‘R’ in Horror.  There are three things wrong with that comment.  A) If you don’t know what something is your dumbass should know enough to look it up so you don’t B) look like the asshole who thinks Rocky Horror is a horror movie and C) doesn’t give the customer the simple courtesy to assume she knows movies, like books, music, telephone, dictionary and encyclopedia entries (as well as everything else in a first world nation) are alphabetized.

Then again, I worked in Spec’s Music and Movies where a guy couldn’t find something and when I went to the wall and pulled it out in under ten seconds he was amazed and asked me how I did it.  I told him that wall was alphabetized.  He was flabbergasted.  Apparently he thought we just jammed stuff wherever there was space and crossed our fingers we’d find it later.  Two minutes later he complained he couldn’t find Ted Nugent and I explained it’s filed by last name.  Two minutes after that he couldn’t find Judas Priest and I explained that’s a band name, not a person.

I then took my break, got some TCBY and wept for the future.

My biggest problem with the RedBox is that people who don’t know what they are doing use it.  The descriptions are fairly Spartan and I find myself standing behind people who have to read the description of every movie to see if Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus in 3D (starring Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson) is worth the dollar or should they just go home and watch the NewsHour With Jim Lehrer on PBS.

For the love of Kubrick it has a giant shark attacking a giant octopus and eighties pop icon/hat magnate Debbie Gibson… what more information do you need?

megashark vs octopus

And so you all know that isn’t just a ridiculous title I fabricated and something I photoshopped…

Can’t fake that shit.  How quickly we go from Broadway to Sci-Fi Channel at 3:00a on a Tuesday.

I have a friend that owns an adult video store (which isn’t as cool/creepy as you’d think).  He tells me stories of people that will spend an hour trying to pick out a movie and ask him for suggestions.  Really?  Are you that particular about your porn?  You understand the girl on the box cover won’t look nearly that hot in the movie which is to be expected if that was what you did for forty hours a week.  I look busted carrying groceries in from the car. I guess if it was my hard-earned money I’d wanted the hottest moms/daughters money could buy.  My friend spends most of his time at work watching old episodes of HBO series like Oz and Sopranos and every now and again something he’s rented with Keanu Reeves.  Inevitably someone will ask what he’s watching because it looks good (because it’s an actual movie that had writers and actors (or Keanu Reeves)).  They’ll ask if they can rent that and he’ll kindly tell them yes and give them directions to Blockbuster.

Back to the blue-shirted counter monkeys.

When I worked in video stores my opinion was valued. This isn’t because my opinion was better than anyone else’s but because I asked the right questions.  When someone asked me for an action movie suggestion I would ask what they liked.  If they told me Terminator 2 or Predator I had to try a little.  If they told me they liked Steven Segal movies I would just hand them anything with Michael Dudikoff on the cover.  I wasn’t picking movies out for them as much as filtering movies based on information they gave me.  I often gave them movies I’d never seen.  I once made the mistake of giving a woman Die Hard and essentially ruining her for everything I suggested after.

Who gives a crap about the opinion of the guy behind the counter.  I always like to find that shelf where the employees pick their favorite movies and see what I am dealing with (I often notice most of their picks are seldom more than ten years old).  I worked with a girl that thought the Oscar for Best Picture should go to whatever movie made the most money since that was the movie people liked the most.

And 2000 Academy Award for Best Picture goes to Mission: Impossible II.

For all you know that guy behind the counter is a complete psycho and you’re four dollars and two hours of your life shouldn’t be trusted to him.

I found Meryl Steep’s performance in Doubt to be common and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance predictable.  Amy Adams seems to be the Hollywood’s It Girl and her acting skills are limited to perky and perkier.  Overall I found it lacked the nuance and tension of Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift.

I love my mom but she’ll tell you she didn’t like The Shawshank Redemption because there wasn’t enough action.

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