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An Ode to Blockbuster and Other [Video Rental Stores]

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Posts

  • NocrenNocren Lt Futz, Back in Action North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    Mego Thor wrote: »
    Nocren wrote: »
    I worked at Blockbuster all the way through college and then ran one (briefly, thankfully) afterward. I blame that place for the majority of the drinking I did. Every time I closed, which was a lot, it was inevitable I would end up at the bar.

    A few funny stories:

    The Blockbuster I worked at in college was in a rather wealthy area. Arguing with someone over a two dollar late fee and then watching them get into their Mercedes in a huff was always a good time. On the other side were people who would pay $50 dollars late fees without blinking. Every single weekend.

    Remember when The Sixth Sense came out on video? Everyone wanted to get it and it was almost never available. We had a woman walk up to the counter, skip everyone, and then yell and scream about how we didn't a have enough copies. The other person working motioned for everyone else in line to cover their ears. 'He's DEAD.' She got very quiet, realized that there would be no sympathy from the ten people in line she cut in front of, and left.

    Remember when Titanic came out? It took up two VHS tapes, it did. Corporate when crazy over it. We had three full bays full of it on the new release wall and hundreds of copies for sale. There was enough demand for a midnight opening and I volunteered to run it with the store manager. We sold a shit load but not a single one was rented. They all sat there, on the wall, for weeks.

    Setting the New Release wall on Mondays was always a bitch. First you would pull the copies to be sold used, then spend half the day shifting things around, trying to maintain some sort of order to make space for the two hundred copies of Eyes Wide Shut that no one would rent.

    In between stints at Blockbuster I did a little time in a mom and pop CD Store/Video rental place. I swear they made most of their money off of the porn selection. People would ask for 'the wine list' and I would hand them a nondescript box full of note cards. Each card listed an adult film with far more information than anyone needed, up to and including a review written by someone who worked there.

    ...

    No knocking laser discs. I had one. Blade Runner took up four sides and was fucking glorious.

    Your last bit reminded me of this one mom-and-pop store I used to frequent in Charleston when I was stationed there. It was also a Comic, RPG store so they mostly had the classics like Robocop but the majority was Asian import movies and anime.
    Scratch that, the majority was all the porn they had that covered about a 4th of the wall (halfway across, about waist high).

    I didn't realize what they were (they were all either copies or had their labels/cases replaced to more generic slip cases) until I found the list.
    It was a list of every title they had, alphabetical, with symbols marking which ones were personally recommended by the owner, which ones were those "he heard were good" and which ones were ok.

    @Nocren, was that the Green Dragon?

    Yes it was. It still there?

    newSig.jpg
  • NocrenNocren Lt Futz, Back in Action North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    mantis23 wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    mantis23 wrote: »
    I have to agree that the biggest factor in the death of the video store wasn't netflix or redbox but the Movie industry's switch from "priced to rent" to "priced to own" during the VHS to DVD transition. It was literally a built in protection for the video rental industry. With the rare exception of megahit movies like Titanic, nearly every movie cost $100 when they were first released so only rental stores would buy them to rent out. renting a movie was the only real option you had for the first 6-9 months a movie was available until the eventually dropped the price to $20 so the general public could buy it.

    Yup. Cut the shit out of rentals. Obviously a lot of movies still weren't worth the $20 to own, but were perhaps worth the $5 to rent...and which are which varied between customers. But for an individual customer that meant that some significant portion of movies that they'd otherwise have rented they bought instead.

    Like, why the fuck would I pay $5 to rent The Dark Knight when I can buy it for $20? Or even $15, on sale down at Target, this weekend only?

    Then Redbox came along and attacked them from the other end...why pay $5 to rent it for three days, pay $1 to watch it tonight.


    That same transition made stocking new releases fun, too. For a while videostores still stocked a ton of VHS, but pretty quickly the attitude shifted to "fuck you, buy a DVD player if you want to rent it." Fun explaining to grandma why we only have two copies on VHS and eighteen on that newfangled DVD, though.

    ugh the single worst thing about old people and the VHS to DVD transition was trying and failing to explain letterbox. People would swear up and down that the black bars were cutting off the heads of people and they couldn't see everything.

    I have a friend that still swears by this... She also has everything hooked up to her tv via SD connections (it's an HD tv) and only buys "full screen" movies.

    Frustrating...

    I wonder if there's still a thriving market for video rentals in ethnic communities. I remember my grandmother (up until 4 years ago when I last saw her) was renting a lot of Japanese shows taped from their original broadcast onto cassettes and mailed to various stores.

    She also introduced me and my cousins to Kage no Gundam this way.

    newSig.jpg
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    I gotta say, I'm mildly impressed by people who went through all that expense and effort just to pirate a low-quality copy of a vhs movie.
    I mean, it must have taken what like 20 movies just to break even on the cost of the second VCR.

    Mattitude
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    I gotta say, I'm mildly impressed by people who went through all that expense and effort just to pirate a low-quality copy of a vhs movie.
    I mean, it must have taken what like 20 movies just to break even on the cost of the second VCR.

    Or you could just learn to program your VCR, get an HBO subscription, and record ALL THE MOVIES.

    Oh man, Lethal Weapon Marathon this weekend, better buy a new blank tape so I can get all three on one! Score!

    L Ron HowardDasUberEdward
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    I gotta say, I'm mildly impressed by people who went through all that expense and effort just to pirate a low-quality copy of a vhs movie.
    I mean, it must have taken what like 20 movies just to break even on the cost of the second VCR.

    Or 2 Disney movies. Which is what half the people I knew who did it used it for.

    zagdrob
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    umm, that was the 80's/early 90's and before channel encryption was digital, most people recording off of HBO did it with a scrambler box.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    I gotta say, I'm mildly impressed by people who went through all that expense and effort just to pirate a low-quality copy of a vhs movie.
    I mean, it must have taken what like 20 movies just to break even on the cost of the second VCR.

    Or 2 Disney movies. Which is what half the people I knew who did it used it for.

    Were Disney movies super expensive in the 80's for some reason?

  • AtomikaAtomika Brought to you by Technicolor™ Registered User regular
    cloudeagle wrote: »
    Remember when movies had completely different "fullscreen" and "widescreen" editions just for dinks like those? I don't miss those days.

    I was so jazzed to hear that blu-ray was only going to be in original theatrical aspect.

    Because fuck the luddites. If you don't like doing things the right way, keep watching your betamax tapes.

  • AtomikaAtomika Brought to you by Technicolor™ Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    I gotta say, I'm mildly impressed by people who went through all that expense and effort just to pirate a low-quality copy of a vhs movie.
    I mean, it must have taken what like 20 movies just to break even on the cost of the second VCR.

    Or 2 Disney movies. Which is what half the people I knew who did it used it for.

    Were Disney movies super expensive in the 80's for some reason?

    Yeah, pretty much the same way they are now. You'll almost never find a Disney movie on sale at the store, and they're always priced about 30% than the other videos. Disney has long practiced the "false scarcity" theory of economics.

    It was worse when VHS was a thing, since parents would play those things non-stop for their kids and the tapes would wear out at around 25 plays.

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    Oh man, Blockbuster story time. I worked at one for about 4 years, started as a register jockey and worked up to assistant manager before getting myself back in college so I'd never have to work at a Blockbuster again. I was there from 1999-2003, which were basically the glory years, business-wise.

    When the original Xbox was released, we had our systems a week in advance. We opened one and would play Halo every night after closing in the store. The first one we opened was actually DOA. We couldn't exactly tell the boss we'd been playing Halo on the clock, so we just taped it back up and sold it, and waited for it to come back as a return.

    I worked through the switch from "movies due at midnight" to "movies due at noon." Probably the most miserable time there. Even though it was an actual extension of the rental time, an extra 12 hours, people constantly claimed we'd shortened the time and no one had told them. This despite the fact there were gigantic signs all over the store, on the entrance and exit doors, on every single rental box, and on the return drop box. No amount of logic (you had TWELVE EXTRA HOURS and were still late!) mattered. When we'd refuse to refund late fees, they'd call the district manager who'd tell us to refund it, even though it was a legit late fee. Then when our monthly numbers came out and our refunds were through the roof, she'd scream at us for giving too many refunds. We hated our district manager. But we got revenge, more on that later...

    Ah, the drop box. When they were due at midnight, everyone with late fees claimed they'd returned their movie before midnight and we just hadn't checked the box. (Checking the box was the last thing we did, to make sure even the stragglers that were dropped after midnight got marked as on time). When they were due at noon, everyone claimed they'd been in before noon. (The system didn't start marking movies late until 2pm.) I once had my life threatened over a $3.98 late fee.

    My second year there, my annual raise was a nickel. Five cents. That same year in one of the industry mags there was a piece on John Antioco, who owned the company at the time, talking about how the company was doing so well, he'd given himself a five million dollar Christmas bonus. You can guess how much any of the employees cared about Blockbuster after that.

    Blockbuster started selling DirecTV systems in-store, and I got picked to be one of the two salespeople. It wasn't so bad really, I lived in a somewhat rural area at the time not well served by cable, so a lot of people were interested. Plus it was a $10 "commission" every sale I made. Of course, when the commission checks were supposed to go out, 6 months after the start of sales, DirecTV execs went "well, uh, by our numbers, Blockbuster didn't sell enough systems to trigger the commission payments, so nobody gets their checks." Surprisingly, Blockbuster execs didn't roll over, pointed out that DirecTV's numbers were twelve kinds of bullshit, threatened a lawsuit, and two weeks later I had a check in my hand.

    One fall, Blockbuster decided they were going to "save money" by not letting any store do sundries orders from October to February. This meant no bags, no paper, no extra rental boxes, no cleaning supplies, no office supplies, no receipt paper, no Blockbuster cards. No. Toilet. Paper. So our store manager put through a nearly $15,000 sundries order right before the deadline, about 5 times the normal order. It cleared and got shipped before the district manager got wind of it. She was furious, naturally. But there was nothing she could do about it, Blockbuster corporate wasn't taking the stuff back. Come mid-December, we're the only store in the district that has supplies, she's telling us to send stuff to other stores who are out of things like product bags and TP, our store manager is telling her to go fuck herself. Someone in Blockbuster corporate finally realized that having stores with no bags for customers to carry things out of the store in at Christmas was a bad idea and the ordering system got reactivated.

    Three months in a row, while doing inventory, one employee kept coming up as the last employee to have rented out dozens of movies and games that came up as "missing" on the inventory report. The report showed his employee number as who checked them out, they got checked back under a different number but weren't in the store. And there were dozens of them like that, across every category. This is usually a sign that someone is stealing, by checking stuff out then manually "returning" the items by punching in the barcode numbers instead of scanning. We told our store manager about it, he told the district manager about it after the first inventory, she told us we just didn't know how to do our jobs, obviously we were missing things. So my friend and I started checking timestamps for when stuff went out and came back. We went through hours of store security video, watching the one employee check something out, then "return" things using one of the assistant manager's employee numbers, punching it in by hand. We gave the evidence to the store manager, he went directly to the regional manager, who showed up at the store a day later and took the suspect employee in the back, who promptly broke down and admitted everything. Grand total: Nearly $5000 in VHS and DVDs, a rental DVD player, and a rental PS2, about 90% of which he still had in his possession and returned, which netted him just a misdemeanor theft charge instead of a felony.

    Our district manager hated the shit out of us after that, because we told the regional manager we'd brought it all to her attention 2 months previous and she'd blown us off. She only lasted another 3 months though fortunately, terminated for incompetence. Apparently our report to the regional manager made him curious and he started poking around, and realized she was shit at her job but good at hiding it.

    The last year I was there, a cop came in, looking for the other assistant manager. Of course we asked why. The cop was investigating reports the assistant manager had filmed a 17 year old girl having sex. It only got better from there. They arrested the manager, searched his house. Found three garbage bags worth of pictures he'd taken of people having sex. Found dozens of video tapes of people he'd filmed. The police called the store manager two days later. Asked, could he come down to the station, some of the pictures and video they'd found had Blockbuster logos in them, would he mind trying to identify people in them. So my store manager goes down to the police station. He's gone two hours. He's a big guy, Polish, in his 50s, former fire chief, still an EMT, swift water rescue rated, can be super imposing. He comes back, roars through the parking lot in his truck, skidding stop in the fire lane in front of the store. Marches through the door, down the length of the store into the back, flings the office door open. We're up front just staring at each other. The office door flies open again, he's got the office chair over his head, marches back up the length of the store, out the exit, to the dumpster, slams the chair into the dumpster, and tears out of the parking lot in his truck again. Comes back half an hour later with a new office chair. We ask him, "Ron, what the hell was that?" He goes, "If you saw what I saw, what went on in that chair, you'd never want to sit in it again either." The assistant manager had been filming porn in the office. Two other employees had been involved in it. They all got fired with extreme prejudice.

    When I started there, we were a "C" store, meaning gross revenue was under $750k a year. We hit "B" store status the last year I was there, improving by over $350k total. This was supposed to trigger a $10k bonus to the store manager. But Blockbuster execs decided to deny him the bonus. He was understandably furious, and quit.

    I thought about quitting then too, but I only had 3 months to college, so I stuck around through the new store manager they hired who was a complete idiot, then quit a month before classes started and that was it for me. Two months later, the idiot store manager closed the store for the night on a Sunday, took the deposit (from Friday, Saturday and Sunday since we made deposits in the morning and the bank wasn't open on weekends), and skipped town.

    There are other little stories, we had a kid poop in one of the aisles, we had a burly redneck break down crying when we caught him shoplifting, we had a drunk woman leave her still-running car with baby inside in the fire lane while she "just came inside for something quick" who we stopped from leaving until the police showed up, but that's the big stuff. Other than that, the job was just mostly awful.

    Oh, one year we met our Blockbuster Gift Card Sales Quota by using the no-charge account (a generic account for people who didn't have a Blockbuster account but just wanted to buy things, not rent) to "sell" gift cards, then use the same gift card to pay for itself. Since the system wasn't set up to refuse gift card payments on gift card purchases. Number one in the district that year.


    That Blockbuster managed to hold on until about a year ago. It's a Zumba Fitness now.

    matt has a problem on
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  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    Nostalgia: Its a helluva drug

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    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Nocren wrote: »
    mantis23 wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    mantis23 wrote: »
    I have to agree that the biggest factor in the death of the video store wasn't netflix or redbox but the Movie industry's switch from "priced to rent" to "priced to own" during the VHS to DVD transition. It was literally a built in protection for the video rental industry. With the rare exception of megahit movies like Titanic, nearly every movie cost $100 when they were first released so only rental stores would buy them to rent out. renting a movie was the only real option you had for the first 6-9 months a movie was available until the eventually dropped the price to $20 so the general public could buy it.

    Yup. Cut the shit out of rentals. Obviously a lot of movies still weren't worth the $20 to own, but were perhaps worth the $5 to rent...and which are which varied between customers. But for an individual customer that meant that some significant portion of movies that they'd otherwise have rented they bought instead.

    Like, why the fuck would I pay $5 to rent The Dark Knight when I can buy it for $20? Or even $15, on sale down at Target, this weekend only?

    Then Redbox came along and attacked them from the other end...why pay $5 to rent it for three days, pay $1 to watch it tonight.


    That same transition made stocking new releases fun, too. For a while videostores still stocked a ton of VHS, but pretty quickly the attitude shifted to "fuck you, buy a DVD player if you want to rent it." Fun explaining to grandma why we only have two copies on VHS and eighteen on that newfangled DVD, though.

    ugh the single worst thing about old people and the VHS to DVD transition was trying and failing to explain letterbox. People would swear up and down that the black bars were cutting off the heads of people and they couldn't see everything.

    I have a friend that still swears by this... She also has everything hooked up to her tv via SD connections (it's an HD tv) and only buys "full screen" movies.

    Ten bucks says she views all those full-screen movies in stretched-across-the-whole-screen mode, too.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Nocren wrote: »
    mantis23 wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    mantis23 wrote: »
    I have to agree that the biggest factor in the death of the video store wasn't netflix or redbox but the Movie industry's switch from "priced to rent" to "priced to own" during the VHS to DVD transition. It was literally a built in protection for the video rental industry. With the rare exception of megahit movies like Titanic, nearly every movie cost $100 when they were first released so only rental stores would buy them to rent out. renting a movie was the only real option you had for the first 6-9 months a movie was available until the eventually dropped the price to $20 so the general public could buy it.

    Yup. Cut the shit out of rentals. Obviously a lot of movies still weren't worth the $20 to own, but were perhaps worth the $5 to rent...and which are which varied between customers. But for an individual customer that meant that some significant portion of movies that they'd otherwise have rented they bought instead.

    Like, why the fuck would I pay $5 to rent The Dark Knight when I can buy it for $20? Or even $15, on sale down at Target, this weekend only?

    Then Redbox came along and attacked them from the other end...why pay $5 to rent it for three days, pay $1 to watch it tonight.


    That same transition made stocking new releases fun, too. For a while videostores still stocked a ton of VHS, but pretty quickly the attitude shifted to "fuck you, buy a DVD player if you want to rent it." Fun explaining to grandma why we only have two copies on VHS and eighteen on that newfangled DVD, though.

    ugh the single worst thing about old people and the VHS to DVD transition was trying and failing to explain letterbox. People would swear up and down that the black bars were cutting off the heads of people and they couldn't see everything.

    I have a friend that still swears by this... She also has everything hooked up to her tv via SD connections (it's an HD tv) and only buys "full screen" movies.

    Ten bucks says she views all those full-screen movies in stretched-across-the-whole-screen mode, too.

    OH GOD NO

    The best is when you've got non-anamorphic movies, and they watch them in stretch mode, so that everybody looks three feet tall and two hundred pounds.

    I tried for years to get my ex to understand the "Aspect" button. I called it the "make it look good' button. All. you. have. to. fucking. do. is. hit. it. until. the. picture. looks. good.

    Letterboxed SD content. Hit it until it hits the "make letterboxed HD content take up the full wide screen" mode. But you don't need to know that. There's no menu. It's a single button. JUST KEEP HITTING IT UNTIL THE PICTURE DOESN'T LOOK STUPID GODDAMN

    Sangheili91
  • NocrenNocren Lt Futz, Back in Action North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Nocren wrote: »
    mantis23 wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    mantis23 wrote: »
    I have to agree that the biggest factor in the death of the video store wasn't netflix or redbox but the Movie industry's switch from "priced to rent" to "priced to own" during the VHS to DVD transition. It was literally a built in protection for the video rental industry. With the rare exception of megahit movies like Titanic, nearly every movie cost $100 when they were first released so only rental stores would buy them to rent out. renting a movie was the only real option you had for the first 6-9 months a movie was available until the eventually dropped the price to $20 so the general public could buy it.

    Yup. Cut the shit out of rentals. Obviously a lot of movies still weren't worth the $20 to own, but were perhaps worth the $5 to rent...and which are which varied between customers. But for an individual customer that meant that some significant portion of movies that they'd otherwise have rented they bought instead.

    Like, why the fuck would I pay $5 to rent The Dark Knight when I can buy it for $20? Or even $15, on sale down at Target, this weekend only?

    Then Redbox came along and attacked them from the other end...why pay $5 to rent it for three days, pay $1 to watch it tonight.


    That same transition made stocking new releases fun, too. For a while videostores still stocked a ton of VHS, but pretty quickly the attitude shifted to "fuck you, buy a DVD player if you want to rent it." Fun explaining to grandma why we only have two copies on VHS and eighteen on that newfangled DVD, though.

    ugh the single worst thing about old people and the VHS to DVD transition was trying and failing to explain letterbox. People would swear up and down that the black bars were cutting off the heads of people and they couldn't see everything.

    I have a friend that still swears by this... She also has everything hooked up to her tv via SD connections (it's an HD tv) and only buys "full screen" movies.

    Ten bucks says she views all those full-screen movies in stretched-across-the-whole-screen mode, too.

    Yes... Though I got her a 360 with Netflix and an HDMI cable so hopefully she's accepted widescreen now.

    newSig.jpg
  • AtomikaAtomika Brought to you by Technicolor™ Registered User regular
    It aggravated me to no end the way my parents couldn't even see the difference between anamorphic and stretch-o-vision.

    I came over one evening while they were watching something all stretched to fuck, grabbed the remote and changed it, and then got bitched out for "putting black bars on the sides of the screen."

    DasUberEdwardAiouaBolthorn
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    There's a classic example out there of a scene from Star Trek IV Pan and Scan and the anamorphic scan that I used to help convince people back in the day. Pan and Scan its like they're talking off camera while in the anamorphic version they are in the frame. It's like night and day.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    I gotta say, I'm mildly impressed by people who went through all that expense and effort just to pirate a low-quality copy of a vhs movie.
    I mean, it must have taken what like 20 movies just to break even on the cost of the second VCR.
    Hell with that, it's much cheaper to just make friends with a person with a VCR. Borrow their VCR, go to Blockbuster, rent some movies then spend the night making copies. They get their VCR back with a couple new movies, of course, you keep the copy you made for yourself, Blockbuster gets there tapes back, everyone's happy.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    I don't get pirating/recording movies.

    Typically after I've seen a movie, even one I enjoyed a great deal, I have no desire to see it again.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    It aggravated me to no end the way my parents couldn't even see the difference between anamorphic and stretch-o-vision.

    I came over one evening while they were watching something all stretched to fuck, grabbed the remote and changed it, and then got bitched out for "putting black bars on the sides of the screen."

    My family often watches in strech-o-vision. I don't know WTF is wrong with them. And my dad used to try and buy me movies in fullscreen.


    And God, fucking pan and scan. The last pan and scan movie I watched was The Professional with my friend. We made it like ... 20 minutes in and then we both looked at each other and were like "This is the worst thing ever".

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    RT800 wrote: »
    I don't get pirating/recording movies.

    Typically after I've seen a movie, even one I enjoyed a great deal, I have no desire to see it again.

    Lots of people rewatch movies.

    I rewatch some, like the Bourne movies or Lord of the Rings, almost yearly.

    Or holiday movies.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    People who never rewatch/reread/etc always confuse me. A good work of art requires more then 1 watch to really understand and take in.

    shryke on
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  • GreasyKidsStuffGreasyKidsStuff MOMMM! ROAST BEEF WANTS TO KISS GIRLS ON THE TITTIES!Registered User regular
    I look at my Star Wars DVD releases - all of them fullscreen - and weep for my younger naivete...

    I GUESS I could go buy new copies but I can't find the editions I like. CURSE YOU LUCAAAAAAAAAAAAAS

  • Sangheili91Sangheili91 Registered User regular
    The last Blockbuster closed around here last year or so, and of course Hollywood Video has been gone seemingly forever. Hollywood closing was a big blow, because Game Crazy was where I spent the majority of my teenage years. I made a lot of friends there and found some great games talking to the guys that worked there. Good times.. But anyway. We still have Family Video, which I'll go to every couple of weeks. Even though I have a Netflix subscription, sometimes it's just more fun to walk down the wall of new releases and grab something that catches your eye.

    I'm also a big proponent of movie collecting and I've got a nice collection of about 250 blu-rays. Buying movies is addictive. Speaking of blu-rays, it really bugs me when people use the wrong term for them. They're not blue-rays, or BRs, or even BRDs. It's either blu-rays, or simply BDs. ;)

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  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    It aggravated me to no end the way my parents couldn't even see the difference between anamorphic and stretch-o-vision.

    I came over one evening while they were watching something all stretched to fuck, grabbed the remote and changed it, and then got bitched out for "putting black bars on the sides of the screen."

    My family often watches in strech-o-vision. I don't know WTF is wrong with them. And my dad used to try and buy me movies in fullscreen.


    And God, fucking pan and scan. The last pan and scan movie I watched was The Professional with my friend. We made it like ... 20 minutes in and then we both looked at each other and were like "This is the worst thing ever".
    well it couldn't have been worse than the Pan and Scan version of A Few Good Men.

  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    I shudder to think that some day we'll be having and Ode to Bookstores thread.

    Goodbye Borders :(

    RT800 on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Didn't Barnes and Nobles just say they were closing a third of their stores?

  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    My mother has a similar problem when it comes to aspect ratios and such. She does understand the differences between them, and that you're viewing more, not less. But the argument she likes to use is that you spend all this money on a giant TV, but then there's black bars on everything and you're not even using the full size of the screen. I can never formulate a proper response to that, because I kinda have to agree with it on some level. It is annoying. The only things that display properly in full screen are blu-rays, games, and most HD channels (if the show in question was also filmed in HD). Everything else is a roulette wheel of various forms of letterboxing.

    I know why it is, and I'm used to it. Still, in a perfect world it would be nice if everything would just play nice while at the same time making sure nothing is being cut or displayed incorrectly.

    "The sausage of Green Earth explodes with flavor like the cannon of culinary delight."
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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    Wow, this thread is giving me a ton of nostalgia.

    I still remember that one time when I was a kid and my father was driving us all to the video rental place to return the movies and get new ones -- except he left the VHS tapes on the roof of the car.

    They didn't fall off until we were on a fairly major road, and they immediately got run over by a truck.

    So my father calls up the video rental place and asks, you know, hypothetically, if the video was "lost", how much he would owe them to replace it, and it was like eighty dollars.

    So he (I swear I am not making this up) grabs the magnetic tape from the run-over video cassette and cracks open some old home video that we hadn't watched in forever and puts the tape from the rental movie in the other cassette, and then peels the label from the rental tape and glues it onto the other cassette, and returns it.

    We tested it before returning it and it worked... okay. Sort of. I'd taken home movies in worse shape from that rental place.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    One fall, Blockbuster decided they were going to "save money" by not letting any store do sundries orders from October to February. This meant no bags, no paper, no extra rental boxes, no cleaning supplies, no office supplies, no receipt paper, no Blockbuster cards. No. Toilet. Paper. So our store manager put through a nearly $15,000 sundries order right before the deadline, about 5 times the normal order. It cleared and got shipped before the district manager got wind of it. She was furious, naturally. But there was nothing she could do about it, Blockbuster corporate wasn't taking the stuff back. Come mid-December, we're the only store in the district that has supplies, she's telling us to send stuff to other stores who are out of things like product bags and TP, our store manager is telling her to go fuck herself. Someone in Blockbuster corporate finally realized that having stores with no bags for customers to carry things out of the store in at Christmas was a bad idea and the ordering system got reactivated.

    In the years I've been on the forums I have seen some crazy work stories, but I think this easily the most batshit retarded business practice I have ever heard of. Goddamn.

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  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    And if it wasn't obvious up there, I miss real video stores. Kinda. Like, I get it. Netflix. Redbox. Amazon VOD. We are living in the future. But...meh.

    ...Netflix? Man, internet isn't always reliable. And neither is Netflix, as we learned this last Christmas. When Netflix goes down, or your internet is down, then what?
    ...Redbox, you say? Yeah, sure, they have the movie you want...in a box that's like two counties over. Oh, and you want to return it? Sorry, this kiosk is full. Oh, and we only have like a handful of new releases.
    ...Amazon? Hope you like paying $6 for a ten year old movie in HD, also better hope it's even available for rental (or you get to buy it). Oh, and your internet sucks, and will throttle down the second you start streaming...enjoy!

    Or you can just drive two blocks to your actual video store, talk to an employee about movies you like and movies they like, find something cool, and pay $3 to have it on a DVD that will play right in your player, with no weird frame rate issues, buffering, or dropouts.

    Except when it's scratched, and skips.
    Or when they don't have it in stock. No, none on the return box either.
    And when you bring it back late you owe $27 in late fees for a DVD that costs $7.99 at Wal-Mart.

    Meh, fuck it.

    We have an understanding, sir.

    Pfft. 'Netflix'. Can you walk into Netflix, and then walk out with your arms full of stuff after throwing down just a couple of dollars? Can you rent a duffel bag with a console, 2 controllers, and 6 games for ten dollars on Netflix, literally feeling all of that bang for your buck trying to pull you to the ground?

    Now, some of you will say, "No, and that sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me, I just want to click a button and watch a movie or play a game," and my reply to that will be, "Off. My. Lawn."

    I don't know about the stores any of you went to, but I took it as a point of pride to be knowledgeable and helpful to customers too. Like, when you walk in and ask if anything good came out this week...I actually took the time, as an employee, to watch most of the movies that came out that week (we get them Friday, they hit the shelf Tuesday). That's why they give us free rentals...it's not a benefit, it's customer service. I watch a ton of movies. I'm always up to talk movies with you, figure out what you like, and try to recommend something. If you enjoy it, I'll smile and feel like I did my job. If you don't, and I recommended it, I'll give you another rental for free, because I'm cool like that.

    Yes, for some reason our district manager was much more forgiving of free rentals than forgiven late fees. Probably because she assumed free rentals were a chance to make more in late fees. Chick was the devil.

    Oh, and if I tell you a movie is bad, it's probably bad. Like, really bad. I don't say movies that I don't enjoy are "bad." I say that movies that no reasonable human should enjoy are bad. So when I tell you that you should just give me your $5 instead of renting Ghosts of Mars, and I'll kick you in the junk, and you'll be happier because it was over faster and hurt less you should listen.

    And yeah, I actually told a customer that. College town, we were a little more laid back. He rented it anyway. Brought it back later that night, apologized for not believing me, so I let him swap it out for something that wasn't godawful. Can your fucking Redbox do that?

    Off my lawn indeed.

    I guess Netflix gets around that problem, by letting you watch as many movies as you want for a flat rate. As long as by "movies" you mean Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus.

    Hey!. I like Ghosts of Mars. In a campy B-movie way. But I still like it.

    Also yeah, used to hit the rental place all the time. Now its all netflix. The rental place was an experience. Also it forces you to get out and not be a shut-in.

    shryke wrote: »
    The Democrats aren't crazy but they are still, you know, running the US and it's foreign policy. Which is in the "you don't have a global hegemony without bombing a few eggs" wheelhouse.
  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    One fall, Blockbuster decided they were going to "save money" by not letting any store do sundries orders from October to February. This meant no bags, no paper, no extra rental boxes, no cleaning supplies, no office supplies, no receipt paper, no Blockbuster cards. No. Toilet. Paper. So our store manager put through a nearly $15,000 sundries order right before the deadline, about 5 times the normal order. It cleared and got shipped before the district manager got wind of it. She was furious, naturally. But there was nothing she could do about it, Blockbuster corporate wasn't taking the stuff back. Come mid-December, we're the only store in the district that has supplies, she's telling us to send stuff to other stores who are out of things like product bags and TP, our store manager is telling her to go fuck herself. Someone in Blockbuster corporate finally realized that having stores with no bags for customers to carry things out of the store in at Christmas was a bad idea and the ordering system got reactivated.

    In the years I've been on the forums I have seen some crazy work stories, but I think this easily the most batshit retarded business practice I have ever heard of. Goddamn.

    Either everyone in the chain of command was trying to get fired or most of them were and the others were afraid to say something.

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Shivahn wrote: »
    One fall, Blockbuster decided they were going to "save money" by not letting any store do sundries orders from October to February. This meant no bags, no paper, no extra rental boxes, no cleaning supplies, no office supplies, no receipt paper, no Blockbuster cards. No. Toilet. Paper. So our store manager put through a nearly $15,000 sundries order right before the deadline, about 5 times the normal order. It cleared and got shipped before the district manager got wind of it. She was furious, naturally. But there was nothing she could do about it, Blockbuster corporate wasn't taking the stuff back. Come mid-December, we're the only store in the district that has supplies, she's telling us to send stuff to other stores who are out of things like product bags and TP, our store manager is telling her to go fuck herself. Someone in Blockbuster corporate finally realized that having stores with no bags for customers to carry things out of the store in at Christmas was a bad idea and the ordering system got reactivated.

    In the years I've been on the forums I have seen some crazy work stories, but I think this easily the most batshit retarded business practice I have ever heard of. Goddamn.

    Either everyone in the chain of command was trying to get fired or most of them were and the others were afraid to say something.

    The only thing that makes any kind of sense is some short term financial crunch or something. Like if they had a big loan repayment they needed all the liquid cash on hand for. It's still pretty fucking stupid, especially over what I would assume would be the busier time of year.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Or it was someone on the low end of the upper echelon of management who used their clout and forced this through in order to get a bonus or something. People at that level of a big corporation will do anything to get their bonus.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Oh fuck, that could be it too. Fucking metrics in isolation.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Yeah, that sounds like the kind of shit we'd get the MBAs recommending back at my old job.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    My mother has a similar problem when it comes to aspect ratios and such. She does understand the differences between them, and that you're viewing more, not less. But the argument she likes to use is that you spend all this money on a giant TV, but then there's black bars on everything and you're not even using the full size of the screen. I can never formulate a proper response to that, because I kinda have to agree with it on some level. It is annoying. The only things that display properly in full screen are blu-rays, games, and most HD channels (if the show in question was also filmed in HD). Everything else is a roulette wheel of various forms of letterboxing.

    I know why it is, and I'm used to it. Still, in a perfect world it would be nice if everything would just play nice while at the same time making sure nothing is being cut or displayed incorrectly.

    I fucking HATE how no one can goddamn decide on an aspect ratio for anything. Especially TVs. Every single new TV you use, it's like some sort of crazy guessing game as to how to get the TV to show the goddamn picture properly.

    I hate stretch-o-vision, but I get why people end up using it. It's just easier.

  • AtomikaAtomika Brought to you by Technicolor™ Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    My mother has a similar problem when it comes to aspect ratios and such. She does understand the differences between them, and that you're viewing more, not less. But the argument she likes to use is that you spend all this money on a giant TV, but then there's black bars on everything and you're not even using the full size of the screen. I can never formulate a proper response to that, because I kinda have to agree with it on some level. It is annoying. The only things that display properly in full screen are blu-rays, games, and most HD channels (if the show in question was also filmed in HD). Everything else is a roulette wheel of various forms of letterboxing.

    I know why it is, and I'm used to it. Still, in a perfect world it would be nice if everything would just play nice while at the same time making sure nothing is being cut or displayed incorrectly.

    I fucking HATE how no one can goddamn decide on an aspect ratio for anything. Especially TVs. Every single new TV you use, it's like some sort of crazy guessing game as to how to get the TV to show the goddamn picture properly.

    I hate stretch-o-vision, but I get why people end up using it. It's just easier.

    There's a TV at my job that is never correct. The closest you can come to the right ratio still cuts the top and bottom edge off, so fuck you if you want to know what the football score is.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    See... stretch-o-vision is great. I don't worry about my body image anymore. Hollywood creates unrealistic expectations of beauty. Stretch-o-vision corrects those.

    This machine kills threads.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Rchanen wrote: »
    Hey!. I like Ghosts of Mars. In a campy B-movie way. But I still like it.

    BURN THE WITCH

    Also yeah, used to hit the rental place all the time. Now its all netflix. The rental place was an experience. Also it forces you to get out and not be a shut-in.

    Agreed. For my "just getting out of the house" now I take my Nook to Barnes and Noble.

    Which'll probably be closing soon.

    Wanna meet up and hang out by the Redbox? :/

    Wow, this thread is giving me a ton of nostalgia.

    I still remember that one time when I was a kid and my father was driving us all to the video rental place to return the movies and get new ones -- except he left the VHS tapes on the roof of the car.

    They didn't fall off until we were on a fairly major road, and they immediately got run over by a truck.

    So my father calls up the video rental place and asks, you know, hypothetically, if the video was "lost", how much he would owe them to replace it, and it was like eighty dollars.

    So he (I swear I am not making this up) grabs the magnetic tape from the run-over video cassette and cracks open some old home video that we hadn't watched in forever and puts the tape from the rental movie in the other cassette, and then peels the label from the rental tape and glues it onto the other cassette, and returns it.

    We tested it before returning it and it worked... okay. Sort of. I'd taken home movies in worse shape from that rental place.

    My store was super hardcore about checking the labels to make sure a tape hadn't been tampered with. You know that 'if this label is removed or altered you pay for that shit' label? Yeah.

    Apparently my specific store had had an issue just a couple years back involving a young child and a Barney video that, at some point about ten minutes in, became NOT a Barney video because some fuck thought it would be funny. They sued, and I believe they got a decently-sized settlement.

  • TubularLuggageTubularLuggage Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    I'm not sure what people are getting at with it being 'difficult' at all to set up the proper aspect ratio on a TV.
    Assuming it's an HDTV, with the content source (cable, BluRay player, etc) hooked up through HDMI or HD Component, I have never had any sort of issue getting something like that set up correctly. TV shows will either fill the screen or have black bars on the sides, depending on how it was filmed, and films will either fill the screen, or have black bars as they display as large as possible while preserving the original ratio.
    Are there HDTVs that aren't a 16:9 ratio? Every 720 or 1080 resolution TV I've ever seen has been 16:9.

    The only thing I could see having an issue with would be non-anamorphic DVD, which is just all around terrible anyway.

    I'm sure I'm missing something here.

    TubularLuggage on
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