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I saw it on the shelf and it looked cool

Earlier this year, while waiting for Nick to show up at my house for our Southland Tales screening, I decided to peruse the rather bare bones Southland Tales DVD. I had seen the half-hour featurette on the movie and enjoyed it, but a curious side of me wanted to check out the many trailers included. Putting myself through trailers for direct-to-rental movies like the April Fool's Day remake, I cringed at most of them. Who would watch this kind of stuff? Now that I think of it, I wonder, do I know anybody that watches direct-to-rental movies?

Besides through Nathan's Dispatches from Direct to DVD Purgatory monthly column and Richard's Doomed Moviethon, that's it, as far as I know. What compels someone to watch a movie like American Psycho 2 or Cruel Intentions 3 or I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer? Is there some form of strange entertainment or hope for finding a pearl?

To clarify, I'm talking movies that were made on the cheap, maybe had a chance at a theatrical release, but went straight to rental. Still, what's the value in watching something like this? All I can share is some experiences I had in college.

One of my best friends (who was also a roommate of mine) liked to rent movies from Blockbuster. Every so often, he'd come home with some VHS or DVD of a movie I had never heard of. These were not movies with any following (not even a cult following). These were merely movies that looked cool by reading the box. He didn't have high hopes that these movies would be great, but he rented them just to be entertained.

The one movie that sticks out in my mind is Campfire Tales, featuring the one and only Ron Livingston in a small role. This was a film Livingston did after Swingers, but before Office Space. The general premise was four teenagers telling urban legend stories around a campfire, but with a twist. Well, it surprised me and I found the movie kind of worthwhile. But this was a little under ten years ago. Since I rent movies from an online place that carries pretty much every movie I want to see (and more), I don't get allured by the direct-to-DVD rental lying on a shelf.


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