Translating the (Ridiculous) Language of Redbox

redbox

-Reed Nelson

Take a trip to your local Redbox. With you, take a pad of paper, preferably pocket-sized, and a writing utensil, preferably not a fountain pen. Write down the movies you see.

Go ahead, I’ll wait. You can find more of them in this town than street signs in the University District.

But if you don’t want to scroll through such memorable titles as Stitches, Skew, Pawn, and Expiration, here is what you missed: an electronic box featuring a mystically infinite selection of films with titles like Stitches, Skew, Pawn, and Expiration.

Sure, Academy Award winning films can be found at most locations (Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, and Django Unchained to name a few), but why would anyone rent something that pretentious when K-11, the story of Raymond Saxx—two x’s, in case the first one got lost in plot detail—is available. According to the informational screen, it’s about a businessman who gets sent to the LGBT wing of the Los Angeles County Jail where he then gets Nasty-Nated by “Mousey, a malicious transgendered inmate.”

Redbox, you have my attention. Especially when the opening line of plot info on Life of Pi reads, “A Montreal writer in search of his next project happens across the incredible story of Piscine Militor Patel.” Boring.

Why would I want a title longer than ten characters, anyway? 140 is so 2010. If I’m renting a movie, I’m renting Jacob, a movie that most definitely stars the Baby Sinclair puppet from Dinosaurs, but all grown up.

Or maybe I’ll just go with The Wicked or The Collection or The Bay. Or another one that starts with “the.”

Lord knows I’m not making that intrepid journey up to the last remaining Blockbuster in South Eugene. So what if I wanted to rent Annie Hall or The Squid and the Whale? I came home just as happy with The Marine 3: Homefront and Ghost Storm, the latter of which is a movie about two heroes saving the wonderful folks “on a small island from a strange electrical storm which is led by angry souls looking for revenge.”

(Again, their words, not mine. But, information authors at Redbox, that whole leaving-out-the-name-of-the-island move? Well played. I need to know. Like, right now.)

But Redbox is like Steve Jobs: I don’t know I want it until Redbox gives it to me. Vengeful Ghost Storms? Yup. I’m in. I already have so many questions. Like, is this based on a true story? How many ghosts does it take to make a Ghost Storm? Are there Ghost Drizzles? How about Ghost Hurricanes? Or do supernatural atmospheric occurrences peter out around Ghost Nor’easters? Are the individual ghosts visible during one of these storms? Or is it just like a collective energy kind of thing? Why is there no mention of Ghost Cellars? If this is a remote island, shouldn’t they have severe storm precautions? How does a Ghost Storm differ from, say, a Mount Olympus-inspired Midwestern thunder-and-lightening throw-down? Could those two types of storms duke it out in the sequel? Can you start a Kickstarter for the sequel involving warring storms?

See. Redbox was right. Ghost Storms are infinitely more interesting than stories of human behavior, test of will, and interpersonal relationships.

That’s why I don’t go to Blockbuster anymore. And it’s the same reason I traded in my working automobile for a Segway. Gas-mileage, baby, I’m progressive.

Blockbuster, after all, is so expensive. three dollars for a movie? Rather have a Red Bull Special Edition Blueberry, thank you very much. It doesn’t matter if I’ve seen all the award winners at Redbox, I’ll pay a dollar to see them again.

(I will then let them sit on my kitchen counter for the next six days, allowing them to become, individually, six dollar movies instead of one dollar movies, thus defeating the entire purpose. But, in the immortal words of Icona Pop: I crashed my car into a bridge. Wait that wasn’t right, I was looking for: I don’t care, I love it. That’s right, I love holding onto movies that I’m not all that into for an extended period of time, bleeding my bank account like some mini-Office Space siphon job.)

So, next time you want to rent a movie that you haven’t seen in a while, or maybe you just want to finally watch Shawshank Redemption for the first time, go instead to Redbox, and grab yourself a copy of So Undercover, starring Miley Cyrus. It’s totally the same thing, I swear.

Image by Valerie Everett.

One thought on “Translating the (Ridiculous) Language of Redbox

  1. Maya

    This post reminds me of my childhood. My father would always bring home the most laughably bad films from the corner video rental (this was back in the day when local video rental stores still existed). I think I actually *did* see Ghost Storm at one point. Sounds like something my dad would have liked. Good post!

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