Remember a year or so ago, when I decided to keep an enemies list? That didn’t last too long, since the list wasn’t very dynamic. Once something secured a spot on the list, it basically stayed there.
Well, now I’ve got a new Number-One-Enemy: RedBox.
I know, I know: smarmy Erik is going to leave a smarmy comment wherein he will say (smarmily), “You should reserve your movie online. Smarmy.”
Here’s why Erik and his smarminess is close to making the list (as two separate entries--“Erik” and “Erik’s smarminess”): that doesn’t do anything except shorten the length of your own transaction time. When it comes to waiting in line behind someone who is reading the description of each movie, that still awaits you when you get to the RedBox.
Friday night I went to redbox.com and tried to reserve my movie, but it kept erroring out on me, so I drove to the RedBox. Here was the scene:
Front of the line: married east Asians in their fifties, reading each movie description and talking about it in their native tongue.
Second in line: guy who had gotten his McDonald’s meal to go and drunk half his drink while waiting.
Third in line: me.
Shortly after I arrived, Second got tired of waiting, topped off his drink, and left. I moved up. And waited ten more minutes. While I waited, a family came in and got in line behind me. Right before it was my turn, a young guy came in to return a movie. I let him cut in line. Then I took less than a minute to rent my movie.
WIFE’S REDBOX EXPERIENCE:
Returning our movie Saturday night, Persephone went to the grocery store. There was a long line at the RedBox, so she did her shopping first. When she came back out, there was still a long line. The woman at the back of the line offered to return our movie for us, so my wife gave the movie to her and came home to check our e-mail to see if the movie was actually returned.
RedBox needs to invent a secured return hopper that allows you to drop off your movie without waiting in line. When the machine is done vending movies, it can process the returns that have backed up. That seems like a necessity. Something else that would be nice but is probably impractical is to eliminate the movie descriptions. If you don’t know whether you want to rent a movie, make that decision at home, where you have critical reviews to assist you instead of the marketing-department crap that’s loaded on the back of the box. Loading that information into the machine is just inviting a certain segment of society (hint: people born between 1946 and 1964) to read it. And seriously, people who spend more than ten minutes deciding how to invest ONE DOLLAR need a lesson in time management, anyway.
Now for the movie review.
"Dan in Real Life"
I liked it. I thought it told an entertaining story reasonably well. I liked the scenes where his large family would all leave the shot in different directions at the same time, leaving him alone. Reviews I’d read that complained of formulaity didn’t seem true to me. Although there was a time with about 15 minutes left in the movie that Persephone needed a bathroom break, and before we restarted I said, “I don’t want to watch the rest because it’s all going to go downhill from here. Right now he’s met up with the girl again; that’s a happy ending. However, he’s going to get caught, fight with his brother, fight with his kids, and not get the syndicated column. The rest of the movie’s going to be a downer.” But we watched the rest and it wasn’t bad.
I’ll tell you what was bad: Dane Cook. I can’t tell if it was more his character or him, but I couldn’t stand him in this movie. I wish when he rode off with the Pigface girl that he got in some sort of horrible accident and died. Also annoying: too many background family members. During the talent show Persephone said, “Where’d that brother come from?” I think some of them were just crew members’ spouses who’d visited the set for the day and the director said, “Why don’t you jump in this shot so the crowd looks a little bigger?”