Chanatown

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Unless proven otherwise, this will be another blog that I’ll fail to update after a week or so.

$1.08 DVD = Rise of the Redbox

For the past few months, T and I have been putting Netflix on hold, instead focusing more of our time on other things besides sitting in our tv room. We’ve been more selective of what we watch, recording our favorites (Top Chef, Project Runway, Cubs Games, etc.) on TiVo, and occasionally renting a DVD. If we were to head over to our local Blockbuster, we’d have to shell out $4-5 for a DVD. Instead, we take a leisurely walk to the neighborhood Jewel and rent a DVD from a kiosk called Redbox.

Redbox has been around for awhile here in Chicago, and after a little wiki research, I found out a bit more about how the company started with grocery items and DVD kiosks at McDonald’s. The company quickly discovered that the vending machine grocery thing wasn’t working, so they focused instead on the DVD kiosks.

If our neighborhood is any indication, I’d say that Redbox is on the upswing. Lines are common, and I noticed that another Jewel just added another kiosk. Some quick observations about the positives and negatives of the Redbox:

You may have to wait in line.
To avoid this, you can reserve your DVD online and just pick up your selection very quickly. However, if there’s a line, you still won’t be able to jump ahead.

The DVD selection is pretty weak.
Unless you’re a big fan of Saw IV, White Noise 2, or Little Mermaid 3, you’ll be fighting with others for the new releases and movies that most of us would want to pay to see. It seems that Redbox likes to stock up on low budget horror movies, family flicks, and 2nd tier dramas.

That being said, you can often rent for free. Redbox is currently offering free rentals on Mondays if you sign up for text messages. I also received free Wednesday rentals for August by doing the same. There’s also a website dedicated to free Redbox offer codes if you’re so inclined to do the research.

So, what’s the catch? I imagine the limited selection of movies has something to do with how Redbox makes money. There’s also the “late fee” that they’ll charge you if you don’t return the DVD by 9pm the next day. I had to pay a few bucks for a bad movie multiple times, but that’s nobody’s fault but my own. I will say that their customer service has been positive, as I had a problem returning a DVD to a kiosk, wrote an email, and was promptly credited with a refund.

In the end, if you’re looking for a cheap movie rental, and you don’t mind potentially ending up with a bad movie (I have seen a few good ones: Definitely Maybe, The Orphanage, No Country for Old Men), I’d recommend Redbox as a quick and easy way to rent a movie.

Comments? How about the worst Redbox movie you’ve rented?

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Filed under: Findings, Reviews, , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. T says:

    “Next” wins my “worst Red Box rental” prize. This 2007 drama stars Nicholas Cage (with scary and terrible long hair), Julianne Moore (a fabulous actor miscast as a volatile tough-guy cop), and Jessica Biel (hot stuff who is much too young to play Nicholas Cage’s lover). The premise was terrible, the dialogue was too cheezy even for a Nicholas Cage movie (and I love cheezy dialogue), and the action sequences felt gratuitous and unsatisfying at the same time.

    Don’t rent it, even if you can rent it for free!

  2. DC says:

    Well put, T. I seem to recall doing something else while “watching” Next. Similar to the time I rented Charlie Wilson’s War, though that was probably a good movie. That was the same night that Chanatown was born. And look at how it’s grown since! DC

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