Why You Should Rent a Movie (From a Human)


Excuse me while I take a little detour from the horror genre to discuss a general film topic.


Netflix, NowTV, SkyGo, Lovefilm ; the modern world seems to want us to stream our entertainment directly to our laptops, televisions or any device with wifi. Advancements in technology have made our leisure time even easier to enjoy. Why then am I pining for old the days?

I’ll set the scene it’s Saturday evening circa 15 years ago ; you and your family/friends/girlfriend/boyfriend /wife/husband /dog have decided to have a night in, there’s nothing good on T.V so you decide to rent a movie. You hop in the car or take a walk to your nearest rental store. This is a place where they know you (and they know you rented Show Girls) this place is familiar to you and it’s filled with other people. Now it’s time for decision making, UN conventions have been less fraught,

: “No I’m sorry I just don’t watch films with Tom Cruise in them, I don’t find him believable as a human being.”

“ Oh my God they have Leprechaun 4, the one in space!! We have to get this! Please??”

Each person makes a pick and then defends it or if you are very lucky, you find a film that is appealing to all of you. I can tell you what never happened ever, this ;

“I already watched that online, its crap.”

At least years ago if you had seen a lot of the new releases that was because you had gone to the cinema and experienced the film, not because you had gotten bored and sat in your pajamas with your laptop watching a Japanese DVD rip ( this has its merits but should it replace an experience that involves other people?) . In the rental store a decision will always be made, it has to be– you need to return home at some point and after about 30 minutes of indecision it just gets embarrassing. If you are all at home in your living room trawling through Netflix – there may be no end, everyone is comfy, there is food, a bathroom – you could all sit there for the entire night debating which film to watch (and I have been there it has happened ) this can continue until life starts to lose its meaning and everyone gives up- evening wasted. When you have returned home from the rental store and popped in your film a commitment has been made. This is the film you chose, together, you spent actual physical money on this, it’s not just one of the many, many films can you can just flick on whenever you like with a subscription service – it’s your one great hope for an entertaining evening. So everyone is on their best behavior and getting involved in the act of viewing. If someone isn’t enjoying the film – they need to suck it up and make the best of it but today they have another option. They can suggest that you try a different film in the Que and if that one doesn’t do it for everyone, you can flick to another and another and another – return to life losing all meaning.

Later today I’m going to put my coat on and walk to the DVD shop in town, it’s a local one run by a lady named Sally. I’m living again in my hometown where I grew up and Sally knows me well, she ordered in a Care Bear movie for me when I was six, she let me rent Wild Things when I was 14,she told me not to watch Gigli ;  she took that bullet so her costumers wouldn’t have to. I truly hope Sally never has to feel like Blockbuster employees do now – like a defunct, unwanted middle man. Because Sally, movies and I have a history and it’s not a digital one that can be erased with the click of a mouse.