My favorite movie in the whole wide world is Hackers. It's a classic mid-'90s techno-thriller starring a fresh-faced Angelina Jolie. It's got romance, comedy, hacking. And lots of rollerblading.
Now let's say I've just guzzled down a can of Jolt cola and I want to watch Hackers tonight.
Ten years ago, I could have gone to my neighborhood Blockbuster, or possibly even a Hollywood Video, and probably found Hackers. Today there isn't a single area Blockbuster that carries it. There isn't even a single Hollywood Video left. (And let's face it, time is ticking down for Blockbuster).
OK, I could try Redbox or that blue box that Blockbuster has started installing at neighborhood grocery stores. (Look at them, trying to adapt to the changing market. How cute). The machines are pretty convenient, I suppose. Dollar rentals — not too shabby. But they're not going to carry Hackers. It's not new enough, and it's not some weird, random, straight-to-DVD sequel that didn't need to get made, or something starring Paris Hilton.
Blurgh. I'll go home and see if it's on Netflix.
Oh look, I can watch it instantly.
But Hackers can't be limited to a 13-inch laptop screen. It's just too awesome. And watching anything longer than a 30-minute episode of 30 Rock causes my computer to start making that ominous whirring sound that it makes when it gets real hot and threatens to explode. Nah, I want to see Hackers on a real TV, with a real remote and everything. I can watch it through my Wii. But I don't have one of those. What do you think I am, some kind of loser?
I could put it on my queue. First I have to find that first disc of Freaks and Geeks that I watched two weeks ago and still haven't returned. And it'll be harder to find the sleeve and envelope it came in. But I'll put it in the mail, send it off, and sit in my Hackers-less home, waiting for the day when I can meet my friends Crash Override and Acid Burn yet again.
And I'll think about Jonny Lee Miller and Matthew Lillard, and imagine how lucky they are that a fully-stocked video store is just a few minutes away. By rollerblade.