Monday, January 07, 2013

Seeing Redbox

Every once in a while I'll want to see a fairly new film that's at that brief new release point in its life cycle where it's just out of theaters but not yet seasoned enough to be aired on TV or streamed on Netflix. It is in these situations where I find myself impulsively sparing a buck at the ubiquitous Redbox rental kiosk at a nearby supermarket or drug store. The price and convenience are fine and all but the one fly in the ointment, especially with newer releases' is the bare bones, ad stuffed "rental copy" you get instead of a proper DVD. I know I'm only paying a dollar night and all but shouldn't I be entitled to one night of the full DVD experience rather than this no frills edition that the studio seems to be begrudgingly allowing me to screen? It'd be like renting a car and getting one with no radio, air conditioning, power anything, and plastered with advertising inside and out.

I think all the "rental copies" should include a brief message to the viewer at the beginning of each DVD. It should be given in a stern and direct manner by a gruff looking authority figure, sort of like Stacey Keech or Phillip Baker Hall's Detective Bookman from "Seinfeld".


He would curtly tell the viewer what they're in for with their rental. It would be along the lines of:

"So you thought you were pretty clever renting a movie from a Redbox. You thought 'hey, I can watch a film without having to pay a first run screening price at the picture show, or purchase the DVD, or commit to a monthly rental service. I can just charge a buck in the old Redbox machine, get myself an evening of full DVD enjoyment, and return it the next day. Badabing badaboom.'

Well listen up, big shot. If you think this is a real DVD you're dead wrong. Hell this isn’t even a VHS, you can fast forward and resume from a point on a VHS. No you are going to sit right there and watch a full length trailer for 'The Sessions' and we're going to follow it up with a commercial about Blu-Ray technology (by the way why haven’t you upgraded to Blu-Ray yet? What's the hold up?), and then just for good measure we’re going to throw another trailer in for some forgettable indie something or other with Greta Gerwig at the end just because we can. You make it through all that we’ll finally let you get to the main menu if you still remember you were intending on watching a film.

Think you're gonna go anywhere with that extra features option, kid? Not by a long shot. You want extra features, grow yourself a second nose. We've got one extra feature here, it's called sneak previews. And do you know what makes up the sneak previews? A full length trailer for "The Sessions", a commercial about Blu-Ray technology, and a trailer for some forgettable indie something or other with Greta Gerwig.

You should be thankful that we've given you scene selection, if I had it my way you would have to watch it in one showing like an old nickelodeon. You miss a scene, you either suck it up and let it go or you go all the back to that trailer for 'The Sessions'. For a buck it's amazing that we’re even letting you see the movie more than once and that the DVD doesn’t self destruct after one viewing. Also, as if you haven't been coddled enough, you've even got audio options and subtitles for the hard of hearing, you lucky deaf bastard.

So there you have it. If you find these conditions somewhat lacking then by all means get yourself to your local Walmart and start rooting around the bargain bin or hop on over to that one Blockbuster in Shangr-La that's still in business. This is Redbox and when you pick up a rental from us you should thank your lucky stars that there's picture and sound and that we're not stopping the movie to show you a cereal ad every ten minutes. You made your decision you lazy tightwad and you have to live with the consequences.

Oh and please enjoy 'Ruby Sparks'."

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