Editor’s Note: Though albums and films are certainly worthy of review, there are other things that should also be looked at with a critical eye. This first of a new feature compares the various video rental outlets available to UC Davis students.
Someone once mentioned to me that since getting Netflix the quality of movies he watches has dropped dramatically. Though it was the opposite of my experience (Schindler’s List awaits me at home), it’s a likely outcome. That’s one of the best things about Netflix: whether you watch one movie a month or fifteen, it’s the same price. So what’s holding you back from finally watching The Love Guru, just to see what all the fuss is about? It’s only wasted time, not wasted money.
Along with inexpensive pricing and online viewing, Netflix is ideal for the lazy and tech-savvy. The smoothly organized online queue is designed for functionality and yet I could play around on the Netflix site for hours planning my next movie, or maybe more – my queue currently has 480 pending, I kid you not.
If you tend to be distracted by shiny things (guilty), Blockbuster would be the most attention-getting movie rental chain. They make a big deal out of the fact they have no late fees, which is admittedly convenient (though slightly fudging the truth … there is a “restocking fee” if you wait too long).
Sadly, Blockbuster is the place most movies go to die. They bank on the hopes that you’ve already forgotten about the terrible reviews and paltry box office receipts from a few months ago, and will try to re-sell you a familiar face on a DVD box. Don’t be fooled by the extensively stocked movies; it usually indicates that they’re crap.
Blockbuster Video is located at 303 F St.
49’er VideoRating: 4
For lifelong devotees of the cinema, this place is Mecca. Every so often I feel compelled to leave the pre-paid convenience of my Netflix account to spend time among the sea of pink movie cases.
The most marvelous part of the 49’er experience is browsing categories like BBC imports, art house movies and famous auteurs. When Heath Ledger died, he got his own section. The staff leave index cards around the store that indicate their favorites and why. They have yet to steer me wrong.
Uniquely, 49’er carries movies in VHS as well as DVD. This allows them to rent out those old or obscure movies not yet released on DVD. Rentals are reasonably priced (a few bucks, depending on which part of the store the movie comes from), but it’s those pesky (and expensive!) late fees that might trip you up. Still, highly worth the price.
49’er Video is located at 606 West Covell Blvd. in Anderson Plaza.
Redbox, which can be found in the Save Mart grocery store at 1900 Anderson Rd., is the only movie rental service where you can watch a movie for less than the price of a candy bar. One dollar, one night. That’s the deal. It’s great for movies on the cheap, though you’re limited to the select few new releases they can stock in a vending machine-type apparatus. This is probably the most straightforward of the options.
LAURA KROEGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.