How often does one randomly win something with just a name and e-mail address? I guess it probably varies by where you are and in what kind of contest you enter, but I read in a random Google search that your odds of winning a single-state lottery is usually about 18 million to one. You could probably see that as not-so-bad when the odds of winning a multiple-state lottery are 120 million to one. No folks, I didn’t win the lottery, but I did win something of pretty equal awesomeness.
I Luv Video, also known as I Heart Video because the neon sign is simply “I” + a giant heart + “Video,” is the largest video store in the state of Texas with a growing selection of more than 140,000 videos between two stores. I Luv Video carries more than just new releases; any film enthusiast can find the wackiest, most obscure television treasure from any genre. Austinites – you know those insanely weird previews that they often play before the previews at Alamo Drafthouse, like claymation videos and 1960s Japanese horror flicks? Well, if the previews weren’t enough, you can rent plenty of that kind of stuff at I Luv Video. And, rentals are cheap! Way cheaper than Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. A new release is just $3.75 and regular movies are $2.50. Smokin’ cheap. Unless you rent a movie say every night, then you may want to look into Netflix.
Now, what is the reason behind all of this praise for I Luv Video? It started when I signed up for the I Luv Video e-newsletter. Every Friday I get an e-mail with I Luv Video news about movie screenings, discounts, new releases, etc, and because 2009 is I Luv Video’s 25th anniversary they are giving away one year of free rentals to one e-newsletter subscriber every month for one year. Like I ever thought I would win, but I did. One Friday in May I received a random e-mail, which I could have sworn was spam because the subject line read “Congratulations, Jennifer! Seriously, this is not SPAM!” But I had a little faith in my Gmail spam filter and opened it anyway. Sure enough, this occasion did call for congratulations and I had won an entire year of free movie rentals. All I had to do to claim my prize was fill out a questionnaire and go into I Luv Video to have my picture taken. The following week I did just that. I forgot to mention that I Luv Video gives out free beer on Tuesdays while you are picking out your movie. That is why I am holding a beer with The Coneheads in my acceptance photo:
Stipulations that come with the prize:
- Only five movies may be checked out at one time. Big whoop. Do you know how hard it is to even watch five movies in five days? Really hard! For my first weekend of free movies I rented everything that I could think of in five minutes that I had been dying to watch for a second or third time, hadn’t seen in years, and was too embarrassed to actually spend money on if I was paying for it. The first five movies included Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Babe: Pig in the City, and honestly, I can’t remember the other three because I have probably rented almost a hundred movies since then. But the point is that I never actually had the time to watch all five before I had to return them, which brings me to stipulation No. 2.
- I have to return the movies by the two-day (new releases) or five-day (regular rentals) due date, just like everyone else. And I have to pay late fees.
Serious perks that come with the prize, aside from the movies:
- My photo with The Coneheads and plastic cup of beer has appeared two times already in the Onion as part of an advertisement for I Luv Video. This ad has already gotten me some street cred around town. I’ve been stopped in coffee shops and Kyle’s pals have been texting him to ask him if that is me holding The Coneheads and beer in the Onion. Yes, that’s me, Kyle’s girlfriend.
- The cashiers never question my authority, power, luck, whatever you want to call it. I am always one of the winners and they never make a fuss about it, which I like and makes me feel less awkward about the entire thing.
I’ve included the questionnaire that went out in the weekly e-mail when they announced me as the winner. I found these 10 questions to be a bit challenging, especially knowing that my answers were being read and judged by serious movie geeks.
1. What Five Movies Would You Require if Stranded on a Desert Island? Defend your choices briefly.
Cool Runnings – I just can’t get sick of this Disney flick.
True Romance – One of the best love stories ever written.
Revenge of the Nerds – Booger is my dream lover.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – More true to the book and the perfect thing to watch in any altered state of consciousness, like being stranded on a desert island.
In America – Something modest to keep me sane.
2. What’s your favorite death scene in a movie?
Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah) and Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) in Kill Bill 2
3. Dawn Wiener in Welcome to the Dollhouse or Cady Heron in Mean Girls?
Cady Heron – I miss the old Lindsay Lohan.
4. Favorite Movie Snack Food & Why?
Red Vines – Because I like red things.
5. What’s the Last Movie You Hated So Much You Had to Shut it Off or Leave the Theater?
Coraline – I hate when grown ups think kids are stupid.
6. Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen & Corey Feldman are trapped in a Burning Building. You can only save one. Which “celebrity” do you save & why?
Eh, none. I don’t have any personal attachments to these guys.
7. What actor, in your opinion, cusses the best?
Tony Soprano or Samuel L. Jackson
8. What’s Your Favorite Thing About I Luv Video Besides Us Giving You a Year of Free Rentals?
The staff! So friendly and knowledgeable.
9. Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro & Dustin Hoffman are trapped in a much nicer burning building. You can save only one. Who do you save & why?
Dustin Hoffman – Little Big Man
10. Do a six degrees of separation between you & any movie actor.
Katherine Heigel is married to Josh Kelly whose brother is Charles Kelly who plays in a pop country band called Lady Antebellum with a guy named Slim who is the best friends and used to play in a southern rock band called Deep Fried with a guy named Kyle who is my boyfriend.