POPCORN AND A ... But with so many options, what’s a movie to view?

Man asks Woman out on a first date. She says, “Yes!”

The excited, but nervous, couple deliberate over what to do on their date. They settle on dinner and a movie.

Man: What movie do you want to see tonight?

Woman: At the theater? I don’t know. My Netflix movie comes in the mail today. We could watch that.

Man: If it doesn’t, I can rent a movie at Blockbuster, Hastings or a Redbox kiosk.

Woman: I don’t want to inconvenience you. We could just stream a movie through Hulu, Amazon or my on-demand cable account if that sounds better.

Man: No inconvenience at all. I pass three Redboxes on my way home. I could even stop by Mesa County Public Library and rent one for free.

Woman: Well, one thing is for sure. I don’t want to stream anything to my iPhone. The screen is too small for us to share on a first date.

(They laugh.)

Man: So did we decide what movie to watch and how we want to watch it?

Woman: Um ... no. But all this movie talk has made me hungry. Let’s discuss over dinner.

Man: Good idea. Burgers?

Woman: Yum.

Since the VCR entered homes in the 1970s, the experience of watching a movie has transformed first dates, second dates, well, any date.

And nowadays, the experience is loaded with options. Movie availability varies depending on what option you choose, but you no longer have to go to the movie theater to watch a specific movie at a specific time.

You can watch movies over and over again, at any hour, from the comfort of your home courtesy of rental outlets via mail, store, cable, Internet, mobile device or computer.

In addition to mail rental programs such as Netflix or Blockbuster, you can rent movies at stores or Redbox kiosks and borrow movies from libraries. Redboxes can be found at most supermarkets and are even outside many McDonald’s, giving you the option to literally get dinner and a movie.

The increasing number of movie-watching choices available was highlighted recently when movie rental giant Netflix announced, then backtracked on, plans to separate its rental and streaming services.

Count Brittany Taylor, an 18-year-old senior at Central High School, among those who did not like Netflix’s original decision to split its rental and streaming options. She is pleased that separation will no longer happen.

“I like movies, especially with Netflix because it has so much variety with instant stream,” said Taylor, who watches three to four movies a week on her Xbox LIVE.

But that isn’t the movie-viewing route for all high schoolers.

“I go and rent from Redbox,” said Central High School junior Joel Brown, 16. “It’s easy and cheap. I watch it that night and take it back. It takes time and money to go to the movies (in the theater).”

And for those who think waiting for rentals in the mail or driving to a store also takes too much time, there are the on-demand options from cable companies or satellite dish providers. Websites such as iTunes, Amazon or Hulu offer online rentals or live streaming service to TVs, computers and phones.

“I watch primarily on my Droid,” said Alan Comerer, 60, referring to his Android cell phone. As a ski instructor, he is on the move a lot. “With my cell phone, I go right online.”

Not surprisingly, however, there remains a core group of movie viewers committed to the theater.

Lakeside Salon stylist Jemmi Law, 24, goes to a movie theater several times a month. It is by far her favorite place to watch a movie because she also gets popcorn, candy and Coke before watching a film with no interruptions.

The experience — stadium seating, popcorn, big screen — is the main reason retired siblings Lupe Rodriguez, 78, and Mary Melchor, 74, prefer the theater.

“I gotta have popcorn,” Rodriguez said.

Then there’s Brian Palmer, 50, drama teacher at Fruita Monument High School. He watches movies in a variety of ways.

He goes to the theater maybe twice a month to see movies on the big screen “as they were intended to be seen.”

If he’s not in the mood to pay movie theater prices, he’s fine renting from Redbox.

Then again, “give me a corner movie store where I can browse and look around,” he said.


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