Here's what happens all-too-often on a typical evening at my house.

Me: "What do you want to do tonight?"
G: "Want to watch a movie?"
Me: "Sure! What sounds good?"
G: "I don't care, you pick."
Me: Watches trailers for 45 minutes while browsing Rotten Tomatoes on my phone.
G: "Well?"
Me: "It's too late, I don't feel like watching anything now."

When my only real option for renting movies was to first go to Blockbuster, this never happened. It may sound similar (either way I'd need to spend 45 minutes on the decision process), but it's not really. Back then, when I decided I wanted to watch a movie, I would always end up watching a movie. The whole movie. Sometimes two.

Going to Blockbuster was a commitment to watching something. I would drive there and just wander around the isles looking for something interesting to watch. The only "reviews" available were the few choice blurbs on the cover. I could spot text-surrounded-by-a-laurel-wreath from 20 yards away.

I'd eventually pick a movie or three, pay my late fee (I always had a late fee), finish checking out, and drive home. Now I was home with a movie to watch, and I'd watch it. Every time. The decision about what to watch was made an hour ago at Blockbuster and dammit that's what I had to watch. I'd feel like I had to watch them right away to avoid late fees (ha!).

There was no real algorithm at Blockbuster. Unless you consider browsing either by "New Releases" or alphabetical order to be algorithmic. These days I hardly ever just run into some new movie that wasn't suggested by Netflix or Amazon, etc. based on 10 years of behavioral data. Serendipity is harder to come by now.

At Blockbuster, there was sometimes a "You might like" section, but those were films hand-selected by a person and that person didn't even know me. This was a great way to find new movies.

The best way I've found to find movies today is Letterboxd. With Letterboxd I can follow people who seem to have good taste in movies and they frequently post about films that I may not have run into otherwise. And I love Letterboxd's lists feature. People create really fun lists of movies based on everything from genre to the colors used on the packaging.

Point is, a little friction between wanting to watch a movie and finding a movie to watch might be a good thing. It was for me, and I miss it.