There is always a danger to perusing the "Old Releases" section of a video store, scrounging for those five videos that you can rent for five nights for five dollars, desperately trying to remember what looked cool five years ago.

I religiously take advantage of the five for five for five deal at any video store, and no more than three of the movies that I rent will be in any way known to me. The others will have interesting write-ups on the back, or be half-remembered from a preview I saw years ago, or be directed by someone recognisable or starring someone who is now a celebrity.

Now, there's always the worry of renting a bad movie, a movie in which you cannot discern a plot, a movie where the characters are eerily interchangeable, a movie that, really, shouldn't have been made. At least these have comedic value, however. At least these have some redeeming features. You can always, for instance, mute the television and sit around inventing your own dialogue.

There's another worry, however, and one which is not so easily dealt with: softcore pornography. It's out there, and it's in all of your favourite sections: action, thriller, horror, drama and even science fiction. These movies aren't filed under "Erotica", quite probably because they're not very erotic. They're not even good examples of softcore pornography, you see. They lurk, waiting patiently for the unsuspecting viewer to pick them up and check them out.

"Valentine's Day" was billed as a gangster thriller. It was, instead, some sort of convoluted story about a woman who slept with people. That's all that I could pull from the plot: This chick sleeps with people and it tends to cause problems. It was Species, but without the species.

"Bound" was meant to be a thriller with a minor subplot involving the lesbian relationship between the two main characters. Instead, it was one hour of softcore lesbian pornography followed by forty-five minutes of a mediocre thriller. I suppose that the glowing review from Maxim should have tipped me off, but I probably wasn't thinking clearly.

These movies are painful to watch. They lack the sought-after qualities of both of their parents: the, er, pornography of pornography and the plotting of their genre. It is a painful experience, putting on a movie only to realise that it's really just going to be one excuse after the other to show some woman's breasts, each of which receives more screentime than any actor involved in the picture.

Keep this node in mind when next you advantage yourself of the deals at your video store. Ultimately, though, there is no way to be safe. These movies cannot be detected by conventional means. Only putting them on the VCR and counting down until underwear is removed will inform you of your error.

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