Now that most of us who consume movies as if they are a food group subscribe to Netflix, one might find it hard to believe that Family Video, the chain with the 1970s forest green-and-orange color scheme and a name that doesn't exactly shout "foreign films," would be worth a trip to Maplewood (or one of several other suburban locations). You might ask, "How does such an establishment even survive in this day and age?" This Springfield, Illinois-based chain flourishes because it understands the true needs of a family. First, animation — also known as your video baby sitter — is free. Not "free with the rental of at least one new release," but free to rent without opening your wallet. Free. Second, Family Video knows that many a daddy likes porn. That room behind the curtain at the back of the store is for you, Pops. Finally, there's everything else, and it's cheap. The "family favorites" category (à la Benji), "favorite movies" (anything starring Tom Hanks) and prequels/sequels (Rambo: First Blood) are five-day rentals and cost $1 apiece. Were you home-schooled in the '80s? Now you can afford to catch up with your friends who were watching Nightmare on Elm Street while you practiced for the spelling bee. Fortunately for the refined movie buff, the deciders of Family Video's "favorites" have really bad taste. You will find quality films sprinkled among rack after rack of no-longer-new releases — which are priced at two for $1.
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