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Video rental

Bergdorf Goodwill

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So I've had this Blockbuster Movie Pass for a couple of months -- I felt as though I was missing out on a big part of shared culture because I had rejected passive entertainment for so long, so I've been renting whatever I stumble across there at a rate of $15/mo.

The problem I've run into is that their selection is fairly dire.

Predictably enough, I like pretentious artsy shit. I also like documentaries quite a bit. Last three rentals have been Bright Future (Japanese), Blind Shaft (Chinese), and Primer (American independent).

Do any netflix (or similar) users have insights to share re: the selection and timeliness and general quality of their service? I'm in Ohio, if it matters. I've browsed their website, but it's sort of confusing on occasion whether or not they actually have a movie available -- I assume upon becoming a member, you're given access to a better database.
 

petescolari

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I am not sure if I can draw any comparison between the selection of Netflix and Blockbuster. I have been a member of Netflix for over two years. Any time I wanted to watch a movie and add it to my queue, it was available. My selection varies all over the place from mostly indie to mainstream documentaries. I ran through many of the Kurosawa films recently.

As far as turnaround time, Netflix is unbelievable. I live in Cambridge and my distribution center is in Worcester. I have mailed movies back at 5 at night and arrived at work the next day and received an email notifying me the movie was received. Netflix's website lists 30 distribution sites. Most likely there would be one in Ohio.

The only drawback I have ever experienced with Netflix is scratched dvds. Only a couple have been to the point of not playing. You can ask for a replacement on your account and they will send it to you before you return the damaged one to expedite the problem.

In re: to out of stock movies. I have 30 movies in my queue and only 1 (Motorcycle Diaries) is not available.

Netflix is constantly offering one month trials. You could do that for a month and see how it goes compared to Blockbuster.
 

hopkins_student

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This is off topic from your discussion about the selection of Netflix compared to Blockbuster, but now that Blockbuster is offering an online service similar to Netflix, I've always thought that they could get a big leg up on Netflix if they would allow you to return your movies to the local Blockbuster store so that the movies could be checked back into the system, and your next movies would go out from the distribution center without the one day lag each way for the mail.
 

RJman

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A friend using the Blockbuster service pointed out that they will keep their prices low long enough to beat Netflix, should that occur, and will then raise them. Wal-Mart also has this DVD service, but I refuse to give them my money and have heard rumors they (and perhaps (.) Blockbuster) censor some of the DVDs.

The Netflix selection is very good. I recommend them. They seem to be expanding the selection all the time. I'm still hoping they get Performance with Mick Jagger, or Qui etes vous Polly Magoo, but they really do have excellent selections in foreign films and a decent art house selection.

Full disclosure: I detest Blockbuster having dealt with their high rental prices, crappy selection and generally incompetent staff.
 

Mr Checks

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Wal-Mart also has this DVD service, but I refuse to give them my money and have heard rumors they (and perhaps (.) Blockbuster) censor some of the DVDs.
I think they are pretty open and proud about the special edition media they have at Wal Mart.   I think Eminem stood up to them, but most 'artists' cave in and offer a self-censored version.
I think I heard it on PBS, and Uncle Ted and I believe everything that's on PBS.
 

mxb95

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Count me as a satisfied Ohio Netflix subscriber.  Turnaround time has been excellent, although it likely depends on proximity to one of the distribution centers (don't know where you are in Ohio, but there is a center here in Cleveland).  As others have mentioned, availability of the films in my queue has not been an issue.  The selection is fairly broad; at least it is better than that of the local Blockbuster or Hollywood.
 

Brian SD

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(TheRookie @ April 27 2005,18:37) How did you like Primer?
I absolutely hated it, but I was pretty tired/sick while I was watching it.
Thanks for the warning
 

Bergdorf Goodwill

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(orbitingio @ April 27 2005,21:02)
Originally Posted by TheRookie,April 27 2005,18:37
How did you like Primer?
I absolutely hated it, but I was pretty tired/sick while I was watching it.
Thanks for the warning

Don't necessarily let me dissuade you from giving it a chance -- it's gotten good reviews, etc. The entire premise is the old Ray Bradbury time traveling deal, wherein something minor in the past changes things in the future, etc. I thought it was poorly executed and really, really confusing for the sake of confusion. There's the whole idea of confusion vs. mystery, how they're essentially the same thing, just different expressions thereof... This definitely struck me as a film in which the director was going for mystery and fell into a whole heap of confusion. The guy who made the movie did it on a $7,000 budget and won the Jury Prize at Sundance, though, and from interviews I took a look at (trying to alleviate my confusion to no avail) he seems like a good guy. I dunno... All I can say is that when we watched it (me and a female friend who has no aversion to headfucker movies like this), we were annoyed and felt cheated by the end.
 

Carlo

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Our general impression with Netlix has been very good - we've gotten a few scratched discs but no worse than the video stores.

I lack the administrative gifts that allow some folks to rent 100 movies and get around to returning them on time so Netflix was a real godsend.

Haven't used the BB version but the option of returning and getting more RIGHT NOW with no time limit on returns is appealing since there is a blockbuster a mile from here.

I'd say give Netflix a try. There must be a distribution center here in Dallas or close by because we see a very fast turnaround.
 

Ambulance Chaser

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I am quite happy with Netflix for the most part, although they employ one extremely annoying tactic: To slow down my rentals, they will occasionally send me disc 2 of a TV series ahead of disc 1, even though disc 1 is ahead in my queue. This happens when they receive two returns the same day.
 

DocHolliday

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Originally Posted by RJman
A friend using the Blockbuster service pointed out that they will keep their prices low long enough to beat Netflix, should that occur, and will then raise them. Wal-Mart also has this DVD service, but I refuse to give them my money and have heard rumors they (and perhaps (.) Blockbuster) censor some of the DVDs.

I made the mistake of renting Y Tu Mama Tambien from Blockbuster, to show my girlfriend. The cuts butchered the film, completely changing the ending and making it largely incoherent.

I've been very happy with Netflix. Lately I've been watching old episodes of the Avengers. Rental fees would quickly add up for that type of thing.
 

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