Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Blockbuster by Mail

A few years ago, while working for Lions Gate Entertainment, I came across a little-known company called Netflix. It seemed like a great little start-up, and so I asked my cousin's stockbroker husband if it was a good investment.

He never got back to me, and I sort of wrote the investment off as a silly idea. Then a year later, the stock doubled or tripled. By that time, I saw my cousin's husband who thanked me for the stock tip. Turns out, he invested a few thousand into Netflix and came away a winner.

Am I bitter? More like sour and rotting, to be more precise. That little lesson turned out to be the last time I asked for or gave any stock advice from anyone.

But now I'm thinking of asking the guy about Blockbuster, since while it looks way undervalued, with a price-to-book ratio under 1, I really don't know if they can survive in this evolving industry.

Regardless, I signed up for a trial of Blockbuster's home delivery service. About a year ago, I became rather frustrated by Netflix's lack of predictability. Plus, it was possible the mailman was watching my movies, because I often missed deliveries. Netflix was pretty good about apologizing and providing replacements, but when I asked them if their online delivery would soon work for Mac users, they just told me, "Sorry, probably won't happen." That was the proverbial straw.

So here I am, trying out the new service and... so far, so good. The first discs arrived in one day. I dropped off one of them at the Blockbuster store down the street from the office yesterday, and I might stop in today for an in-store exchange. Call it the dumbed-down version of Netflix, but I kinda like it.

Currently, at the office, I'm working on the old Batman collection for Blu-ray. This includes Batman, Batman Returns, Batman & Robin and Batman Forever. And, boy, do these films look dated. Sure, Batman with Nicholson and Keaton and Basinger came out in 1989, but this was surely a different pre-9/11, pre-Lady Di, pre-Heath time and place.

For those who haven't read about Jack getting upset for not being included in the story-forming process of Dark Knight, click here. But just looking at his picture on the back of the disc packaging, I have to say that even then, he was just too old and too out of shape for the part.

Still, I did love watching him then. I just have no interest in watching him now. As for Val Kilmer and George Clooney in their turns as the Caped One, well, I missed it the first time, so maybe now I'll take a look. Heck, how much worse can it get after watching Spider-man 3?

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