I got a Playstation 4 for Christmas from my daughter’s teddy bear. It is amazing and I love it. Of course you can play games on it, since it is technically a gaming console, but there are so many other things you can do with it, like stream movies and television! Wirelessly connected to our internet, the PS4 has made our TV into a virtual smart TV, with tons of apps and countless ways to consume media. Obviously we had to try them all out!
We already have a Netflix streaming subscription, so that app was downloaded immediately and we started browsing for some family-friendly movies to watch together. The problem was, having a new device to watch Netflix on did not change the terrible selection of films available to stream. Shiny new system, same abysmal content. Yes, there are a few good movies on there, but we have already watched those a million times, and we wanted to show the kids something new. What we really wanted to do was to introduce the kids to some of those live-action Disney classics that they had never seen. The Love Bug. The Absent Minded Professor. The Shaggy Dog. The Parent Trap. The Gnome-Mobile. You know. The classics.
When Netflix failed us, we decided to branch out. Most streaming services offer free trials, so we signed up for Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus, while I am fully aware that their main focus is television, also claimed to have some movies available, but they did not have what we were looking for. They had a similar selection to Netflix, minus all of the good movies. And when we tried to watch some TV, they started showing us commercials. COMMERCIALS! As part of a service they expected me to pay for! I don’t think so. We cancelled that service quickly.
Redbox has a new service called Redbox Instant that we then signed up for, but again we were thwarted at every turn. Nobody seems to have any of these classic films available to stream, and while Redbox did have a few movies to stream as part of their service, they were, almost to a one, the exact same terrible movies that Hulu Plus and Netflix offered. There are a few movies that really seem to get around, but they aren’t the kind of movies you want to invite into your living room. Redbox also offered me the chance to, in addition to paying their monthly fee, pay more money (five or six dollars) to “rent” actual good movies not included in their subscription service, by which I mean recent movies that you have heard of, but we still were light years away from finding a way to watch “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.”
Amazon, Vudu, the list goes on and on, and we tried them all. Never did we find a single movie that we were looking for. And you know what? I would have gladly driven down the street to browse the selection at my local video store. But I can’t. That isn’t a thing anymore. There was really one place left around here that still rented videos, an awesome little place called Hollywood Video, that is now closing its doors as well, leaving me with no options left, other than buying DVDs on Amazon.com and waiting for them to arrive. But I don’t really have room in my house to store every movie I will ever want to watch. What I really want is a video store. I feel that we have traded selection for convenience, and it makes me sad. Does it also make me old? Does anyone else out there care about this? I mean, if enough people wanted to rent movies at the video stores, the video stores would still be open, right? Am I just a lone codger, railing in my little chair against the new world? Do you miss them? Do you still have one that you go to? Do you have a copy of “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” that I could borrow? Let me know.