By Eddie 7/11/2013
Disclaimer – this is not a love letter in anyway to “Blockbuster” in particular, more the rental institution as a whole and what it encourages.
With the news of Blockbuster Video closing its doors in the USA by the start of the new year it feels apt to pay homage to the place where many of us film lovers used to look forward to going to on the weekends, whether it was to load up on the classics for a movie marathon, collecting some horrors for the sleepover or rushing in to catch the latest and the best on VHS and later DVD, Blockbuster was the place where film dreams were made of and a place that will be missed in years to come.
This opinion piece I must confess may be somewhat biased as I myself hold the pleasure of having Blockbuster be my first place of work, a workplace where I enjoyed every shift for a period of over 4 years. It was in this store where my love for film thrived, wondering through the aisles and encountering many a film fan my movie knowledge multiplied no end with hidden gems found, customers personal favourites spoken about and many a new release watched just because (or maybe it’s because they were free for staff). It is in these memories and the act of physically finding movies that I believe we will come to miss so much.
Blockbuster offered that two pronged ability to not only get the movie but have the interaction of getting to know the workers, I speak for myself here but I took great pride in the customers I got to know over the years from debating why a movie was bad or why it was grand or merely suggesting to the lost film wonderer a movie that may suffice their needs. Sure sometimes the VHS’s weren’t rewound, the DVD’s sometimes scratched and is there anything worse than those late fees? These downsides however were far outweighed by the sheer and unbridled joy of the film hunt and hopefully your positive interactions with the movie loving staff.
Blockbuster opened its first store in Dallas in 1985, setting forth a video rental domination that would at its peak have over 9000 stores providing the masses with their movie needs. To think now that in less than 30 years this domination is about to end in a sad whimper is a sobering thought. With growth in the medium from home rental services through to piracy it is a reminder to us all that we the lovers of film could also be it’s killers and this brings me to the point I want to make as to the “why” we should miss Blockbuster.
Movies can bring people together like almost no other medium. You find someone that likes the same films as you and you are set for life, hours can be withered away watching, talking and debating about every minuet aspect of a movie, actor or director. Blockbuster offered that chance to meet people and talk about the films you were getting, which is part of the joy of being a film fan. It may seem as though we need not mourn the loss of this particular chain but I fear for what it may trigger. It may be convenient to rent a movie from home or download a freshly cam filmed version of the newest big budget flick but if we continue down that path we will lose the film community that Blockbuster itself once so wholly supported.
Speaking again completely for myself but I will miss walking through those doors and patrolling the shop for my next rental and holding the case physically in my hand, I will miss catching up with my favourite film geeks who on a good day would wipe those pesky late fees or get excited to show you what orders arrived that week, heck I will even miss grabbing those nasty ex-rentals for the awesomely cheap price of ownership. Blockbuster you’re going but you will not be forgotten, if not solely for the “Blockbuster” brand perse but for what you promoted and encouraged.
- Be kind. Rewind: The end is near for Blockbuster Video (bizjournals.com)
- Dish to close rest of its Blockbuster stores in US (kansascity.com)
- Film: Newswire: Blockbuster Video closing all the stores it still apparently had (avclub.com)