There were two big developments in the world of movie rentals this week, one a pleasant surprise, the other, not so much.
First, the pleasant surprise. Online rental company Netflix finally released an app, and while this may not seem that important to anyone, if you are a Netflix subscriber, you can watch any of its tens of thousands of movies and TV shows right on your iPhone.
Netflix made its bones through the DVD-by-mail business, and with postal charges and technology catching up, it's no wonder the company wants you to see fewer of its little red envelopes in exchange for getting films through a presumably cheaper Internet connection.
The non-surprising news was the bankruptcy of Blockbuster Inc. Company heads met with studio executives on the changes ahead for the company that pioneered the term "late fee."
You may have noticed the series of vacant Hollywood Video stores around town in the wake of that company's bankruptcy earlier this year. It's too soon to tell what will become of Tucson's nearly two dozen Blockbuster locations, but one thing is clear: Many of them are in for a curtain call.
The video store market was created in the wake of the popularity of the VHS tape. But now that the last major video store chain is preparing for a retooling, the replacement of the video store—movies that stream from the Internet—will rise to prominence.
Obviously, the home-video watching habits of an alt-weekly technology columnist do not represent those of the rest of rental market. But there's something to be said about being able to watch Interview With a Vampire from anywhere you want.
Hey, vampires are big right now.
THE WEEK ON THE RANGE
The Range was embedded at Republican Jesse Kelly's victory party, at the GOP celebration at Mr. An's and at the Democratic election night party at Hotel Congress, with bulletins on key races, interviews with the candidates and photos from the field. We continued to watch the dust settle over the primary field in the days that followed, with updates from the wire-thin race between Andrew Thomas and Tom Horne; details about how Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was wasting no time in going after GOP opponent Jesse Kelly; and reaction to McCain's win from Comedy Central.
We also brought you Rasmussen polls that showed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer with a big lead over Democrat Terry Goddard and U.S. Sen. John McCain with a big lead over Democrat Rodney Glassman; shared a video of Glassman on the Rachel Maddow Show's blog; and told you about a poll that showed a majority of Arizonans want to have primaries without the political parties.
We brought you photos and music from the big Viva Arizona voterpalooza in Phoenix that featured Calexico, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta and other friends; told you that Metropolitan Grill had undergone a makeover and emerged as Metropolitan Grill: America's Kitchen; and—on the cupcake beat—let you know that Mini's Cupakes is open for business at Casas Adobes Plaza.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"How do you think I feel? Born and raised in Texas: 29 years. Emigrated to Arizona: for 38 years. OMG! Mea culpa! I caused all this! I was an emigrant and an immigrant."
—via Facebook from user "Randy Summerlin" in response to a satirical post from The Onion titled "Texas Vows To Reclaim Title Of Most Regressive State From Arizona."
BEST OF WWW
Tucson Meet Yourself is approaching and we have video this week of co-founder and local personality Big Jim Griffith on how he came to start the annual culture festival, as well as the role of folklore and tradition in today's society.
Elsewhere on TucsonWeekly.com, think you have what it takes to play "Know Your Tucson Endangered Animals"? Check out Tim Vanderpool's story this week online for a slideshow of Pima County's endangered and threatened critters. For the curious, you can find a list of all of Arizona's (and the rest of the nation's, for that matter) threatened and endangered species at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service site, www.fws.gov.