11 Comments
Mar 13·edited Mar 13

I rent most of my physical movies from the public library. They have a great selection and high availability. I started this during my undergraduate where the the university library had a great movie selection. This is a tangible moment of gratitude for your tax dollars serving you and your community.

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I too get almost all of the movies and TV that I watch as DVDs rented from public library. There are some limitations on selection but, overall, it's been great.

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Great article. I was thinking this morning about how the last four years felt like a detour. Things big and small, personal and systemic —relationships, workplaces and livelihoods — were broken and then rebuilt. It feels like a lot of society is finally shifting away from healing from the way life was upended during the pandemic and back to moving forward on the natural path and progression of life. Back on track from the detour. In a lot of ways — maybe the fact that it’s an election year is playing into it — this year feels like what 2020 was supposed to be. My hope is that part of this shift is people becoming less polarized and outraged, less online, the way things were when there was a Blockbuster down the street from my childhood home.

When reading the sentence referring to Reddit and Discord as “virtual town squares,” I couldn’t help but think of Twitter. I believe Elon Musk used that phrasing to describe Twitter around the time he bought it. Twitter might still be a bigger town, but Substack feels more like a town I want to live in, given its seemingly higher proportion of productive dialogue. But still, as you have found in the video stores, even the best virtual town squares pale in comparison to face-to-face interaction. It was great to read that real town squares such as your video store still exist. Hopefully, places like that are among the things we’ll go back valuing now that we’re back from the detour.

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Daniel, did you ever use the Redbox kiosk to rent DVDs? I used to like the one placed as you enter the grocery store, because it had fairly recent releases, and since you pay for it directly for at the kiosk - that (plus potential late fees) make one somehow more invested in the movie. Plus you might get a DVD with "bonus features" like bloopers, cut scenes, and director's comments. However, I don't think they're including those as much anymore. As Mark and NickS mention, browse the library collections for movies and mini-series from PBS, HBO, etc.

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Back in the day....

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"Perhaps there's some universal lesson here about rejecting ease in pursuit of connection..." This, absolutely. My wife can't understand why I continue to get my meds AT the pharmacy, instead of having them delivered. In addition to the fact that when I had done that previously and not received a drug I actually need to survive because UPS subcontracts to the U (Useless) SPS, which had somehow lost the package, I like to actually have a little human interaction. Since my company closed its office in 2021 and continued 100% remote little forays into the inhabited world are a good thing. And besides, the trip to the pharmacy isn't too difficult; sometimes I even walk there. It's about 3/4s of a mile away.

Thanks to Substack Reads for posting your article, I enjoyed it.

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Before streaming if I really enjoyed a movie, I would often rewatch the movie with the director's commentary. I miss that.

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I'm impressed that there even exists a viseo rental store near you. I'm not sure the last time I've seen one anywhere.

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That was my first thought as well. If you try to find movie rentals in most locations it's a 50/50 mix of Redbox and "Blockbuster (Permanently Closed)"

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I understand when you say "DVD" and mention that you have to have a "4K player" that you mean 4K blu-ray. However, I also did a double take when you wrote "DVD" because I'd shake my head as to why anyone would want to go that retro. Some may end up confused because there is a distinct difference in the formats.

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Good call. I'm using DVDs as shorthand for physical media.

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