Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The geeks were right

Seriously, Richard Corliss? Netflix is ruining the movie-watching community?

He does remember that most of us were going to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video or some other awful video store which carried 50 copies of the latest blockbuster (with a little b) and maybe one copy of Gone With the Wind, if you were lucky? Right?

I mean, growing up in Raleigh, we didn't have a trendy place like Kim's Video to go to. My video store never even carried a copy of The Taking of Pelham 123.

Corliss is right that wait times suck, and Netflix's recommendation software isn't as good as a knowledgeable video clerk. But then again, in my memories of Blockbuster, you were lucky if there were two guys on register on a Friday night and a third person working the floor. That's awful customer service. Good luck getting out in 10 minutes with the movie you wanted, let alone getting recommendations!

I don't want to just snark Mr. Corliss. There are probably some cool video stores driven out of business by Netflix. But 99% of the places were crappy, ill-stocked chains that wanted to sell you over-priced popcorn and never carried a video that wasn't put out by a major studio.

And the thing is, I've been learning a lot about movies from the film blogosphere, by people not motivated by the urge to move product, who aren't in a hurry to get me out so they can serve someone else. Most of the people who blog about movies that I read care about more than the latest blockbuster and they want to have a conversation. Isn't that the kind of community that Richard Corliss misses?