Within the last few months I have been making use of the two RedBox “automated retail systems” within the lobby of a nearby Wall-Mart. (And mostly being successful in resisting the urge to venture into Wall-Mart on each visit and get trapped behind a lady talking on her cell phone while trying to write a check to pay for 26 items in the 20 items or less checkout lane…you know the famous Wall-Mart shopping experience, and it’s not fun.)
While the selection at a RedBox DVD vending machine isn’t as good as Netflix, the average cost per DVD is lower, especially if you have intermittent viewing habits. I have taken advantage of my wife’s absence to sample most of the movies she would veto in favor of a better selection if she was with me (you know the ones that you’ve always wanted to see but the wife veto’s in favor of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2…..things like Hellboy II, Get Smart, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Speed Racer, Wanted, Zohan, Tropic Thunder, Doomsday, Drillbit Taylor, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Sukiyaki Western Django, etc). I watched the movies in the above list, and take it from me, you don’t want to. Well, actually, the first few on the list aren’t too bad. If you like comic-book or sci-fi movies Hellboy II is reasonably good, and Get Smart was funny. But definitely avoid Sukiyaki Western Django. Trust me on that one.
There are also several less well known movies that are excellent. Having watched a lot of RedBox movies, here is my list of suggestions that you may not have heard of before:
- Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas – This movie really surprised me. I rented it after exhausting most of my other (non-horror) options expecting to find a typical frat-party college movie. Instead, it’s a touching look at loss, depression, and re-finding what’s important in life, all in the guise of a frat-party college movie. It was especially well done and enjoyable throughout!
- Flawless – With Demi Moore an Michael Cane as the leads, this heist movie involves a woman trying to make it in the 1960′s male dominated diamond industry and an elderly vault robber who doesn’t want the money. A smart heist movie that is more about the characters than the diamonds.
- Charlie Wilson’s War – Based upon a true story; Charlie Wilson is a womanizing career politician who falls almost accidentally into covertly supporting Afghan rebels fight off the Soviet invaders. This is a smart political documentary wrapped up in an entertaining story.
- War Inc. – A biting and surreal satire of the war and subsequent political rebuilding in Iraq. A mix between Dr. Strangelove and America’s Sweethearts, think Grosse Point Blank in Turaqistan.
- King of California – What is insanity? What does it mean to be a family? How far would you go to find the American Dream? King of California starts out low key and gradually builds into a magnificent ending.
Of course, you can usually count on the major release motion pictures to be worth renting, and I also approve the following list (ordered by enjoyment):
- Kung-Fu Panda – Great family fun that everyone will enjoy.
- Wall-E – Pixar is just amazing, a must watch!
- Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull – For sheer entertainment value it’s hard to beat, but don’t expect anything too serious.
- Iron Man – A fun and light action adventure movie that’s better than The Dark Knight!
- The Dark Knight – Not quite as good as Batman Begins, but still worth renting.
- Juno – It’s all about teen pregnancy, but is much funnier than you’d expect based upon the subject.
- The Bucket List – Need a movie to watch with your parents? This is the touchy-feely movie that everybody will agree was worth watching.
- The Bank Job – Raw gritty heist movie with great twists and just enough humor.
- 21 – If you like MIT, or poker, or Keven Spacey you’ll like this movie.