This isn’t the column I originally wrote for today. I was halfway through writing the other column when even I couldn’t take the reality of yet another column harping on the insanity occurring daily in the black community. We have babies falling out of windows, shooters murdering innocent children, and what should be “grown folks” proving that the Peter Pan syndrome is alive and well as they participate in negative and childish behaviors.
When reality becomes too much for me to bear, then it’s time for some escapism. My first choice is always to read a good book. After that, it’s renting a movie. As a fiscally conservative person, I like to pay as little as possible for my rentals. The Chicago Public Library is always a good choice in terms of price. But the selection can leave a lot to be desired. So my next choice is the Redbox machines all over the place. Even with the 20 percent increase in price, renting from Redbox at $1.20 a movie is still a bargain.
As I perused the selections available from the kiosk machine, the choices of new releases was limited. Part of the reason is that Redbox has been in contention with several movie studios over its ability to offer those studios’ movies in their boxes. That dispute led to Redbox featuring older movies as if their inclusion were a big deal.
But every cloud has a silver lining. The dispute with the major motion picture studios has led to a big benefit for producers of small, independent films. As Redbox continues to supply new videos for the ever-increasing demand from the marketplace, films made by black filmmakers are being given a greater presence among the offerings.
That’s a big deal because those movies were having a hard time getting released as videos. Even after release, they would languish and be very difficult to find. But Redbox is putting those movies front and center. For example, the aforementioned movie I rented was not only filmed right here in Chicago, it was filmed in Englewood.
That film, Black Butterfly, tells the story of a 16-year-old who has aspirations of making the Olympic Swim Team – which is unique unto itself. The young girl, Ariel, is brutally raped and the movie deals with the aftermath of that tragedy. Seeing the other side of Chicago on film was fantastic. The young actors did an excellent job of becoming their characters. And I got to see a movie with people who looked like me, striving for things that were not stereotypical.
There were several other movies available via the Redbox kiosk that I have never heard of. I will try to rent those films in the coming days.
If you too, like me, are looking for a diversion from the chaos and mayhem, stop by Redbox and support a film that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.