The Netflix Files: September 20, 2011

If you still possess a Netflix account, yesterday you received a sad, sad email from CEO Reed Hastings. Mine began: “Dear Michael, I messed up. I owe you an apology.” The message proceeds to explain that Netflix had not anticipated such negative feedback to its recent change in price structure. It further informs the subscriber that DVDs will no longer be mailed under the Netflix name — now, mail service will operate through “Qwikster.”

The pricing hasn’t changed this time around (both services still cost the same as before, but now cannot be combined on credit card statements), yet the move certainly doesn’t help the company’s image. Especially since the Twitter name “Qwikster” is already taken, and by this guy:

The lovable, hungry-as-shyt Jason Castillo has received over 10,000 followers since Hastings announced the new name. Netflix has offered him $1k for his account, but Blockbuster is probably offering him more to keep it.

Last week we told you we’d keep writing about Netflix because it’s suddenly become an endearing underdog of sorts. This week, we’re gonna retcon all that and instead turn our attention to local, computer-free options for DVD rentals.

Acme Video (137 Brook St.) – That shop you always pass on your way to Campus Fine Wines. Also “the last independent movie rental store in Providence.” The selection is extremely comprehensive, although better alphabetization would be helpful. Some films are grouped by director; they have everyone from Robert Altman to Wim Wenders. Pricing is a little steep — $6.00 for a three-day rental, $4.00 for one day with a new release. But if you’re looking for something obscure and need it quick, this is your best bet. Feel free to ignore their rarely-updated website, which boasts the arrivals of Precious and The Hurt Locker.

Friedman Study Center – You can check out DVDs from the SciLi! The library boasts exactly 995 movies, all available to loan out for a maximum for three days (two DVDs at a time, completely free). They’re missing some of the classics, of course, but they have most popular recent releases — The Social Network, The King’s Speech and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I are all yours for the taking.

The MCM Department (155 George St.) – If you’re enrolled in an MCM class, you have access to the super-fun basement filled with DVDs! Technically it’s only open for research purposes, and you can’t really check stuff out, but who wouldn’t want to binge-watch Mad Men Season Two in an MCM basement cubicle? (It’s BYOH, by the way — that’s “bring your own headphones.”) They also have VHS!

Tedeschi – Right on Thayer Street, as you know. There’s a Blockbuster Express kiosk inside that allows you to rent new releases like Thor for around $3.99/night. Some lesser-known features are only a dollar. If that’s not your scene, there’s also a great bargain bin that contains various $4.99 DVDs of dubious origin, all available for purchase. So if you’re looking for Scary Movie 4 to complete your Scary Movie quadrilogy collection, look no further!

Here’s to Qwikster, and to future multimillionaire Jason “I went into the shower turned on the water n then stuff started falling I was lik omg wtf lol” Castillo.

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