"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Friday, March 8, 2013

Elegy for a Blockbuster Video Store

Image of a Blockbuster Video Store Closing in Michigan
Local Blockbuster Closes - Kind of a Bummer

Mildly depressing. That sense that something is going away and only its departure has made me realize how much I valued it. I did a post like this a while back for Borders Bookstore. Here I am doing another. But this one is different. Perhaps that is why it is only mildly depressing.

I never really loved Blockbuster. My preferred chain was Hollywood Video. There was a big one a block over from my college dormitory. I logged many hours in there. Sometimes I browsed longer than the running time of the movie I ended up renting. Video stores are one of the few places I've ever loved shopping in.

It was thanks to the Hollywood Video in Ogden, Utah that I made it all the way through the American Film Institute's '100 Years...100 Movies' list. Their best list. Not like the increasingly contrived ones that have followed it. I've seen every film on that list. And most of them were rented from a single Hollywood Video store. No Netflix required. Couldn't dream of doing a project like that today relying on a brick and mortar video store.

The above picture presents a single store closing, not the entire chain. Another reason I'm only mildly depressed. Besides, it was a small Blockbuster for a small town. I never cherished it, like I've never cherished convenience stores or quick lube oil change shops or the book section of any superstore or discount movie theaters or any business enterprise playing to the least common denominator in the marketing guise of bang for buck. Efficiency be worshipped and quality be damned? I think not. This particular Blockbuster was basically a walk-in closet filled with new releases and previously viewed videos. There wasn't anything celebratory about the place, even back when they were making money. So I'm only mildly depressed.

But it is depressing. As I sit here typing on my charming iPad (she's a charming girl like all Apple products), as my life devolves into a procession of Wi-Fi hotspot visits, I consider the possibility that the last movie I will have ever rented from a good old-fashioned video store was A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. ... Like I said, mildly depressing.

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