March 25, 2004


Downloading movies for a price -- at one time or another this was the latest Next-Big-Thing. The general experience needs to evolve before it becomes a regular thing for me. I've tried downloading with several films. The quality is not good, and the normal price is too high.

I've used the Movielink website for downloadable films. As it is I will only do business with them when they throw a half price sale. For two bucks, I'll download a movie to watch. But not for $4-5, which is the usual price for many of the films on that site. This new model will work eventually, they just need to understand the pricing thing. I won't pay 99 cents for an mp3 song because of the deficient quality, and such is the case here. Computers have not yet matured as an entertainment-delivery system.

For $4 I can go rent a DVD that will have much better quality, plus some extras with the film. However, I only get 3 to 5 days with the disk. When I "rent" a movie from Movielink, I get 30 days to watch it. But once I start, I've only got 24 hours to finish watching it. I don't know who came up with this formula -- it's a little weird. I think they could let us watch it to our heart's content for the 30 day period. This would make it worth the $5. But the 24 hour limitation on the actual viewing window is a little tedious. I'm afraid to start watching the film because something might get in the way of me finishing it within a day.

My attention is limited on a laptop computer. A computer-bound movie works alright for something light and short like American Pie, but I can't consider trying to watch a three hour monster like Gangs of New York this way.

American Pie was my first experience with purchasing and watching a movie download. I tried it while I was laid up for a few days last summer. Not knowing how the viewing would go, I decided that something completely void of depth and meaning, yet potentially funny and/or entertaining, would make a good first cyberflick. What movie better fits this criteria?

I watched it on the desktop computer, and I knew that would be a first and last about 10 minutes in. I just don't want to sit in my office and stare at that computer for 90 minutes. Since then, I've done several films on the laptop, and I can handle that up to a point. The laptop movie could definitely work well for filling the time on an airplane, in a car, or on the train.

Movielink needs to come up with a means of downloading onto one computer and transferring the file to another machine to watch. As it is you have to download the film onto the box you are going to watch it on. At 500 to 600 meg downloads, even with broadband, this is problematic on a lapper. (Oh, if you don't have cable or DSL, forget trying movielink.)

I do appreciate the access to some older films. That's where they should focus. I don't think many would want to download a new release because of the quality issues, but they might get interested in something like Last Tango in Paris, or The Days of Wine and Roses -- two movies that are available at Movielink. The old classics aren't as easy to find on disk or tape or TV.

Movielink is running one of their 50% off sales through today, offering certain movies at half price. Most have been out for at least a couple of years, if not 30 or 40 or more in some cases. Having seen the first Pie this way, I decided that $1.50 to watch American Pie 2 made too much sense. The first one had its redeeming qualities, if intelligence wasn't one of them. Watching it, I chuckled but didn't feel like a lech regarding the girls in the movie, like I did watching Porky's. I want to see American Wedding but feel morally and ethically obligated to watch AP2 first.

And, I picked off a DL of the Bertolucci classic. I have been wanting to rewatch that one. There is some sort of classic irony to watching that film on a computer. At 2:18 it will be a challenge, but another advantage to movielink as with all online gigs: The film is right there, if you want to watch it you don't have to go chase it down. Immediate gratification.

So at some two points over the next 30 days I'll have a take on one of those two flickies. I'm gonna need a new category.

Posted by Wayne at March 25, 2004 06:30 PM

why not netflix? if you rent 4 movies/month it's as cheap as blockbuster and there no need to get your ass off the couch or late fees.

Posted by: msf at March 27, 2004 10:11 PM

I have considered netflix in the past. However, we don't rent a movie every week, relying on cable quite a bit. I'm concerned that I won't get my money's worth, however it would seem a natural for a guy who focuses a blog on movies. Do you use netflix?

Posted by: Wayne at March 27, 2004 11:53 PM

indeedy. it was great when i travelled. it's 19/month for unlimited movies - they give you 3 at a clip. if you get 4 moveis from blockbuster (at least here in LA land of the oh so kind 10% sales tax on _everything_) it's a deal to use nf. plus you end up seeing a ot of movies you would have never considered. like amazon, the recomndation engine part of their webservices are what make them so cool

Posted by: msf at March 28, 2004 04:55 PM

i think this deal is great a cheap and easy way to down load movies just $2

Posted by: corey.vickers at May 14, 2005 05:01 PM
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