There used to be two independent movie rental places in my neighborhood, with one just a few blocks further away offering a seemingly endless array of movies - blockbusters, esoteric indies, extreme horror, sexploitation and grindhouse, triple X features, and even dubiously dubbed impossible to get films like the infamous Skidoo, Preminger's LSD freakout featuring a stoned Groucho Marx as God.

Since rents have skyrocketed and Netflix has appeared on the scene, these brick and mortar stores have been wiped out like the T-Rex, and if I don't like my Netflix offerings at home or if I need to find a movie for research, well, my choices are Blockbuster (which does have some surprising DVDs to rent) or the rental place that's squeezed into the corner of a pizza joint.

For what it's worth, I love Netflix. Love it. I love rating films and seeing what it comes up with, and I love getting those little envelopes in the mail. I love seeing what my friends have rated. My queue is topped out, and I have started bookmarking movies I need to Netflix. Streaming to my Xbox is great, and new films are being added at an alarmingly awesome rate.

At the risk of sounding like a younger female Richard Corliss, I do miss browsing my local video store - a good one, mind you. I could examine each shelf for ages, looking for the perfect movie to suit my mood that night, or getting something on a whim because its cover catches my eye or because it's an employee pick I'd never heard of, in the same way I visit my favorite book store and peruse the books they have handpicked to display in the shelves at the front.
categories Features, Cinematical