Warren at the Screenwriting Life asked an interesting question: “What’s in your Netflix queue?” Netflix is an American online DVD rental service. It’s part of the reason (along with the change in movie distribution methods) that the Blockbusters of the world will have to adapt pretty rapidly or become chains of empty stores.
The Irish equivalent that I use is Screenclick. It’s simple: I pay 19.99 euros a month and for that I get to rent 2 DVDs at a time, and can return and watch as many pairs of DVDs as I want in a month depending on my free time and the efficiency of the postal service. There are no late fees, and you can watch and return films as your schedule dictates. This is a winning feature because I can remember numerous occasions when I’ve returned a film either late, or unwatched, because something happened after I rented a film and I couldn’t squeeze in the time to watch it.
I’ve been using Screenclick for 6 weeks now and thus far I’ve been enjoying the door-to-door service. In particular what I like is assembling my wishlist of 25 titles and discovering which two will be picked and sent to me. It’s like a lucky dip. Screenclick has a big back catalogue, and features a lot of TV series, documentaries, and foreign films, which is a big plus. I can’t source some of these titles in my local video store.
Generally I’m watching and returning 2 titles a week, which means I’m renting each DVD for about 2.50 euros each. At the moment it costs 5.45 euros to rent a new title in my video store, and it has to be returned by the next day. Of course, older titles are less expensive, but I generally pick out of the new or almost-new section.
The interesting side-effect is that I can monitor how the postal system in Ireland is ticking over (we only get deliveries from Monday-Friday, btw). Thus far I usually post back the DVD package on a Monday, and on Tuesday Screenclick emails me the titles I will receive next. Next-day service isn’t bad considering I’m in Galway and the titles go to Dublin (across country). Usually, it takes two days for the DVDs to arrive from Dublin, but today I received my latest package the next day.
In it are Garden State, the Zach Braff film, and Wishing Stairs a South Korean horror flick.
After that preamble, here are the ten titles that comprise my Screenclick wishlist–expect me to yap about them in the coming weeks.
A spooky French movie I’m really looking forward to watching.
A Scottish comedy set around the Edinburgh fringe festival.
3: Corpse Bride
Yep, shocking, I haven’t seen it yet.
4: Sky High
A teen comedy about kids with super powers – looks fun.
5: Broken Flowers
It’s Jim Jarmusch; it’s Bill Murray – what else do I need to say?
Or Bin-Jip as it’s known in its native Korean. It’s directed by the excellent Ki-duk Kim, and the reviews are great.
7: Kinky Boots
A low-budget Brit comedy about a transvestite who helps saves a failing shoe factory via a change in product direction.
8: The Station Agent
An indie American film I’ve been meaning to watch for ages.
Quadriplegics play full-contact rugby in Mad Max-style wheelchairs. Awesome.
Two bothers fight on either side of the Korean War.
Who knows in what order I’ll watch these films, but that’s part of the fun.
ScreenClicks rental services have disadvantages: there is a lead time for shipping between ordering and receiving a movie; there is also lead time between returning a movie and being able to order another one; you need to make a special trip to a post box to return your movie; you can not be certain what will be sent in the post; you may receive a movie which is your fifth or sixth choice if your other choices are unavailable. I recently joined a new automated DVD rental service in Galway called NowDVDnow. It eliminates all of these disadvantages. By automating the DVD rental service, they offer a very attractive alternative to: high rental prices, long checkout queues, wasted visits due to movies of interest to you not being available, receiving movies which are your fifth or sixth choice. Each automated DVD vending machine stores thousands of movies. A NowDVDnow machine has the same new and recent releases at the same time as the local video rental stores.
Hi Padraic,Thanks for the information about the service. What you list as disadvantages to Screenclick don’t bother me personally, and postboxese are hardly out of the way, even for someone like me who lives in the countryside.I’ve looked at NowDVDnow’s web site and the service isn’t useful for me because of its (single) location. For now ScreenClick is a more viable rental system for me.
Hi there, Fellow Clarion West classmate-to-be here. Wow, you watch a lot of Korean films! Have you seen Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring? Or “Save The Green Planet”? The latter is one of the weirder, and more interesting, Korean films I’ve ever seen. Maybe I’ll try get a copy and bring it with me, if it’s still available here, as it’s sort of SFnal. (It bombed in-country, though it was rather well-respected internationally.)
Hi Gord, I’ve seen both of those films. I love Asian films, and watch as many Korean films as I can lay my hands upon.