Be kind, rewind. (Kids today won’t understand this 😩)
There isn’t an experience quite like meandering up and down the aisles of videos in search for the perfect movie to watch on a Friday night. Whether I was in the mood for the most recent feature film or a childhood classic; each visit felt new. If I thought I was sad when the CD stores closed, I wasn’t prepared for Blockbuster to close its doors.
With technology changing and everything switching to online and streaming, the once video giant has closed its doors…all except one nestled in Bend, Oregon. My dreams of visiting the store will have to wait, but thanks to the documentary, The Last Blockbuster, I was able to revisit what made each trip to the video store special.
You could see what other people were choosing as you roamed the store. You could pick up a copy of a movie you thought you’d be leaving with, but end up taking home something totally different. I loved going with my friends and seeing what they would pick and a lot of the time, we’d each pick a movie and battle it out to see whose movie we’d end up watching later that night. You know, its those memories I remember most!
There were snacks too. No need to stop at the grocery store, you could pick up some popcorn or candy when you were at the checkout counter preparing for the rental process. They’d scan your Blockbuster card and check that the movie was inside its case. They’d let you know how many days you had before you’d have to return the movie so you wouldn’t be hit with the dreaded late fee.
So to reiterate, you’d have to physically scan the rows for movies, get in line and check out. You’d get to experience that smell of old, peeling plastic on the movie cases, and years and years of family fun. Now, with just a few clicks the movie is in front of you ready to be played, and like the documentary reminded me, where’s the fun in that?
I do have to admit though, I’m guilty of using a streaming service to watch The Last Blockbuster. Yes, that’s correct, I rented the movie from iTunes which is ironic because the film is about how streaming has gobbled up most of the last remaining video stores. But to make myself feel better, I’d like to think that if I lived in Bend, I’d be renting it from my friendly neighborhood Blockbuster.
I’d also like to think that if I lived in Bend, I would’ve been one of the lucky few who got to spend the night at Blockbuster for its 90s night when it was doubling as an Airbnb! For four dollars a night, you could stay at Blockbuster and stay up all night watching movies. Who hasn’t wanted to do that? You can check out the Buzzfeed article here.
Watching the documentary brought up so many good memories from my childhood. It reminded me of simpler times, even though kids today could argue, where’s the simplicity of going to a store to pick out a movie when you could do it from the comfort of your own home, hidden away from the world behind a screen? But that’s just it, it was more than just a store. It was an experience. It was a place that gave us the opportunity to go up and down the aisles and physically pick up a video. We could talk with friends as we scoured the racks for the perfect film. We made an outing out of going to the video store. Blockbuster provided us with the movies that made our weekends or special occasions truly memorable. I recommend this film to anyone who wants to relive the nostalgia and reminisce about the good old days.