Several months ago we came to the conclusion that, like it or not, we watch noticibly more movies as a married couple than we did in our days of singleness. Naturally we’ve thought about outright banning the television from our home altogether (we already don’t have cable), but a friday evening with popcorn and a rented movie seems an ideal way for us to spend some time together. Call it lame, call it American, bottom-line is, we enjoy it.
That said, we found several frustrations with our rental patterns.
- The drive to the video store is about 30 minutes roundtrip
- It took an average of 30 minutes to find a movie–longer if we were together!
- Finding a movie that would satisfy our moral standards ALWAYS proved trying
- Despite our intentions of returning the video on time, we regularly incurred late fees
- We’d frequently have to stop watching a movie due to its crude or inappropriate content–not having a good way to review the movie while at video store (or worse, we’d compromise and watch it anyway, telling ourselves we would make a better decision next time.)
Well, we’ve found a better way.
First, we use an online video service called Netflix. Netflix makes sure we always have a couple of movies onhand, and sends them to us based on the list of movies we want to see–called “the queue.” Price for the service begins at $5.99 a month. we use the $14.99 plan (2-movies at a time). Each movie comes in a SASE, and when we’re done watching one, we just put back in the mail, and in a couple days, the next movie from our queue arrives. (Blockbuster has a similar service, and you might want to look into that–espcially if there’s one near you.) More, netflix’s website is super informative and easy to use.
Beyond the frustration of having to waste time at the video store, what we like best is the ability to confirm in advance that we’ll actually want to see this movie. For that we use two websites: movies.yahoo.com and kids-in-mind.com.
We start with Movies.yahoo. It’s a great resource that provides overviews, trailors, and critics reviews. (I’m a big fan of the critics reviews.) After we find a movie we think we might enjoy, we then check it through kids-in-mind. Kids-in-mind provides three ratings based on scale of 1-10: sex/nudity, violence/gore, and profanity. They also provide exhaustive lists of objectionable content which can further help you determine if this movie might be offensive. We love it, and would pay for the service if it wasn’t free.
Anyway, even though that sounds like a lot of work, it really only takes a few minutes to build a hearty queue of movies. After that, you don’t have to think about it, and because netflix doesn’t have late-fees, you’ll always have a movie on hand should tonight prove more oppurtune than friday.