R.I.P. Blockbuster
November 8, 2013 7:46 AM   Subscribe

The last remnants of the old LLC are being swept away forever. Nathan Rabin over at The Dissolve offers his own personal requiem to the store. And because moving on is part of the healing process, movie fans should prepare themselves for some final liquidation sales.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (79 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
RIP Blockbuster...you somehow hung on about a year longer than anyone even realized.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:57 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


My very first job was working at Blockbuster Video* the summer Titanic came out on VHS. It was a very weird place that treated its employees pretty poorly, but this includes my on-site managers, so I got along great with the people I interacted with day to day. It's been weird watching all the video rental stores finally disappear, and I'm honestly a little sad about it.

*I had to go to a Blockbuster Music to watch the training video. Thinking about Blockbuster Music, created right at the record store business completely imploded, still makes me laugh.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:57 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Awesome link text. :7)

I remember my sister-in-law proudly telling me about all the kids' movies she got on DVD at a Blockbuster that was closing down near her. Their oldest is in high school now, making that quiet a few years ago, so I guess…Blockbuster has always been dying?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:58 AM on November 8, 2013


In the mefi thread about Blockbuster's bankruptcy, I was quite charmed to see it fail! Good night, sweet prince, and may flights of mean-ass vultures sing thee to thy irrelevance.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:58 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Rabin piece makes clear an internal conflict I've had for a while -- something that I've probably been able to figure out because I forget where I came from.

I've always understood (and agreed) with the cinephile and freer-speech reasons for disliking Blockbuster as many people around my (and his) age would feel, but I've also always had strong feelings of nostalgia for Blockbuster as well.

Despite the chain's flaws, if you were somebody who grew up in Bumfuck Nowhere, it wasn't the place driving decent indie Mom and Pop stores out of business; it was an oasis of choice in a world where most video rentals were done at a gas station, grocery store, or barber shop.

(Basically, it's the Barnes and Noble problem all over again.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:59 AM on November 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


It really is amazing how fast their business model collapsed.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:00 AM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


.

I haven't been to one in years (which means I had a hand in their extinction) but I still think of a proper birthday as one that involves a pizza, a sheet cake, and rental video with the family.
posted by codswallop at 8:02 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Remember when the VCR and video rentals were destroying the movie industry ?

Heh. I remember the first time I tried to get a BB membership. They required two forms of ID, so I used my new drivers license and my expired one. No bueno. But they took a library card so...

Their selection sucked compared to 8th Street Video on 9th Street! so I didn't rent there often. But the could be counted on to have the newer stuff in stock.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:08 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good riddance from one point of view: the opaque orange film they put on the outside windows around here was really awful. It really screwed up the look of a streetscape, even if said streetscape wasn't that great to begin with (e.g. Rideau Street in front of the Rideau Center in Ottawa).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:10 AM on November 8, 2013


While the economic reality is overwhelming, it's still a shame that the rental-store model is going away. Gizmodo, of all places, made the point well - the studios' total control of streaming rights means there are many, many movies that would be stocked at any self-respecting movie store - Star Wars, for instance - but can't be streamed legally, anywhere, anytime, and are too old to be in Redbox's rotation. So your only option is to (a) buy them at full price or (b) get a Netflix membership and wait two or three days for the disc to arrive in the mail.

The future - sometimes, it's lamer than the past.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:13 AM on November 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


Back in the days when they would charge you the full price of re-renting a first run movie as the "late-fee", I got charged something like $45 for renting The Matrix and forgetting about it for a weekend in highschool.

I refused to pay, went out to my truck and cut up my Blockbuster card and came back in to give the tiny pieces to the poor clerk charged with carrying out the company's customer screwing policies. I didn't set foot in another Blockbuster for about 7 years, and then took great glee in how the company had clearly collapsed over that time after my now fiance insisted on dragging me into a dilapidated BB storefront to rent "Lost Boys", as she was shocked I had never seen it.

I wish now I had just stolen that copy of Lost Boys, because fuck Blockbuster. Good riddance.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:16 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I loved visiting the video store. I hated that I didn't get a chance to go to them more often. I would have loved to have worked at a video rental store.

Hollywood Video was better than Blockbuster, though.
posted by Redfield at 8:18 AM on November 8, 2013


So your only option is to (a) buy them at full price or (b) get a Netflix membership and wait two or three days for the disc to arrive in the mail.

I can think of at least one oth--

STEAL

YOU CAN STEAL THEM
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:19 AM on November 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


This link is a lot better than the Blockbuster link I found. That one required a $2.99 payment and then gave you three days to read it. After that, it was an additional $1.99 a day, plus a college dropout would call your home every day at 11 am and 6pm.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:19 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


sorry, "cyber-steal"
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:19 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a Blockbuster in my home town in Tennessee and there's a Blockbuster just outside New Orleans (barely over the parish line into Metairie) and since those are the only two places I've lived in the past few years I hadn't realized the stores were in such short supply. The Quartz link with a map of existing locations was surprising to me. I mean I knew they were sad and dying but I'm shocked at just how few are left.

(and, you know, simultaneously shocked that they lasted this long at all, etc.)
posted by komara at 8:19 AM on November 8, 2013


Someday, I'm going to write a nostalgia piece set in the 80's, in which the rich bully's family draws their fortune from video stores and travel agencies. Just as a sort of wink that don't worry: they're doomed.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:21 AM on November 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


I still think it's weird how things about my childhood that were so absolutely central, like the ritual of going on Friday nights to rent a couple videos for the weekend, are just going to be gone. Because it really was a ritual. Sometimes you knew what you wanted. Sometimes you found things that looked good but you had no idea whether they really would be or not. Sometimes you walked in with a very strong idea of what you wanted and found there weren't any left so you ended up with weird obscure stuff.

I watch a lot fewer bad movies these days, but there's a certain sense of wonder that's gone.
posted by Sequence at 8:23 AM on November 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


Fuck them. They took me to collections over a month-old $7 late fee. That was when I decided I was never going back and that I would dance on their grave.
posted by klangklangston at 8:29 AM on November 8, 2013


I prefer techno-pirate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:29 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The video store I used to frequent as a kid has been a Buffalo Wild Wings for about a decade now- that was my first lesson in impermanence, where a cherished place ceases to exist.

I've been using Netflix's DVD-mail service since the days when streaming entire movies on the internet seemed kind of preposterous, though, so this is all kind of difficult to mourn.
posted by maus at 8:32 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have really mixed feelings about all the video stores closing down. I mean, yeah, Blockbuster can go jump up its own ass, I'm not really shedding too many tears about that one. But locally, super awesome world famous Scarecrow Video is probably going to close, and that is a serious downer.

(I'll admit to having some nostalgia pangs over the closing of Blockbuster, though... the company sucked, their late fee policies sucked, their habit of editing content super sucked, but I really do miss the ritual of going to the store with friends or loved ones and haggling over which movies to rent, or feeling that sweep of elation upon seeing just one copy left of the new release I came in to get and snatching it up like Gollum diving for the preciousssss.)
posted by palomar at 8:46 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I scored a year's worth of rainy-afternoon children's movies for $1 each when my Blockbuster closed last year. Even in death you have served me well, Blockbuster.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:48 AM on November 8, 2013


I have nostalgia for the days of video stores, but not because of Blockbuster. Did anyone from the NYC area ever get to go to Piermont Pictures Video during its reign? I'm sure there are a number of places of that caliber in the city proper, but man, I grew up down the street from that place and I didn't realize how good I had it as a kid in the suburbs until I'd spend weekends at my cousin's house and we had to go to motherfucking Blockbuster. I remember after I came to the counter one time with the one copy of La Grande Illusion they had, Rick Pantale, who owned the place, got this look in eye and said "good choice." Every time I went after he'd give me an extra movie for free, saying "I think you'll like this one." It was awesome. I loved that place.
posted by invitapriore at 8:57 AM on November 8, 2013


Count me among millions who looked up from their newspaper* with surprise because I figured they had been dissolved years ago. I miss some independent video rental businesses that have gone under but BB had it coming to them. They were actually propositioned by Netflix (before they did streaming) to be acquired and BB turned them down.

* that is me being ironical
posted by dgran at 8:57 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Yeah, but I mean the very end, when he actually died...that was extremely sudden." (Go to 1:02 for the related joke. Can't make the time code linking work.)
posted by nosila at 8:59 AM on November 8, 2013


My last time to use a Blockbuster was in 2005, when they were heavily advertising their "no more late fees" policy. I had a few Blockbuster movies at home and, trusting the commercials, didn't bother to return them until the next week or so. I was promptly hit with a $47 late fee and told that my local franchise wasn't participating in the "no more late fees" thing. I paid the fees, went home, signed up for Netflix, and never entered a Blockbuster again.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:59 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The shuttered Blockbuster (closed at least a year ago, in the last round of "Maybe this will keep us profitable...") in my town is now a dance studio. I don't even dance, but that still makes me smile a little whenever I drive by it on my way to the vet.
posted by Etrigan at 9:03 AM on November 8, 2013


I still think it's weird how things about my childhood that were so absolutely central, like the ritual of going on Friday nights to rent a couple videos for the weekend, are just going to be gone. Because it really was a ritual.

True, but future children will have their own rituals, like WALKING DOWNTOWN TO WORSHIP THE ANT GOD
posted by Greg Nog at 9:08 AM on November 8, 2013 [23 favorites]


I think you meant to post that to Twitter, dude.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:11 AM on November 8, 2013


I met a traveler from an antique mini-mall
Who Said: "One vast and trunkless leg of steel
Stand in the parking lot. Near it, on the asphalt,
Half sunk, a shattered yellow sign lies, who's blue
letters and torn side of cold command.
Tell that the CEO well those passions read
Which yet survive, spray painted on these lifeless things
The hand that mocked their video choice
and the heart that fed them dots
And on the pedestal these words appear -
"My name is Blockbuster Video, King of Kings:
Look on my video selection, ye Mighty, and Despair!"
Nothing beside remains, round the decay
of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level concrete stretches far and away"
posted by hellojed at 9:14 AM on November 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


I’ve probably not rented more than 3-4 things from Blockbuster in my whole life, and haven’t rented from a video store in 20 years, but this still kind of bums me out.

The whole video store ritual was fun and interesting. Like many other things, now that I have a world of movies at my fingertips I don’t watch nearly as much.

Despite the chain's flaws, if you were somebody who grew up in Bumfuck Nowhere, it wasn't the place driving decent indie Mom and Pop stores out of business; it was an oasis of choice in a world where most video rentals were done at a gas station, grocery store, or barber shop.

My dad, who is nearly 80, had the same argument about Walmart. I was surprised and had never thought of it that way.
posted by bongo_x at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember going to Blockbuster and renting an actual Video Cassette Player. I also remember standing in the aisle looking at movies that I new nothing about and thinking "I wish I had a device in my hand right now where I could connect to IMDB and check to see if this movie is any good".

And, like many others, I have a Ridiculous Late Fee Story after which I Cut Up My Card and Never Returned.
posted by achrise at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2013


Sears could have been Amazon, and Blockbuster could have been Netflix. It's interesting to ponder why these things didn't happen and what company will perform controlled flight into terrain next.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:25 AM on November 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


So your only option is to (a) buy them at full price or (b) get a Netflix membership and wait two or three days for the disc to arrive in the mail.

LIBRARIES. LIBRARIES HAVE MOVIES YOU CAN BORROW. WHO DO I HAVE TO BLOW TO GET ONE BLOCKBUSTER NOSTALGIA PIECE TO MENTION LIBRARIES?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:26 AM on November 8, 2013 [43 favorites]


The Blockbuster that I used to go to has been sitting empty for years now, had no idea that there were any left.
posted by octothorpe at 9:27 AM on November 8, 2013


I worked at a blockbuster in high school. It wasn't a terrible job for retail. the exception being the "loop tape" which was a non stop video assault of Dave Matthews,No Doubt, Blues Traveler and Garbage (the latter was my only respite). The free video rental were my sole reason for quitting Safeway.
posted by Dr. Twist at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2013


or (b) get a Netflix membership and wait two or three days for the disc to arrive in the mail.

THE HORROR!!!! I might have to wait a couple of DAYS? My gratification, it would not be INSTANTANEOUS and LIMITLESS???? WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS????

Really I get two discs out at a time and it's more TV than I ever watched before I had Netflix.
posted by localroger at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


LIBRARIES. LIBRARIES HAVE MOVIES YOU CAN BORROW. WHO DO I HAVE TO BLOW TO GET ONE BLOCKBUSTER NOSTALGIA PIECE TO MENTION LIBRARIES?

Can you first intervene with my local system to get them to stock literally anything that was produced in North America?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:32 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


THE HORROR!!!! I might have to wait a couple of DAYS? My gratification, it would not be INSTANTANEOUS and LIMITLESS???? WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS????

Yes, yes, it's not the end of the world. I am aware that drone strikes, hunger and poverty are worse problems than not being able to watch Star Wars on a whim. It's still a worse option than walking around the corner to the rental store, despite the fact that the surviving services are supposedly far superior in every way.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:35 AM on November 8, 2013


Can you first intervene with my local system to get them to stock literally anything that was produced in North America?

The Fairfax County Public Library holds 20 copies of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:40 AM on November 8, 2013


Wait, so it's just Dolly Madison that's run by BBC-philes? Okay, that's nice to know.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:43 AM on November 8, 2013


There is still a good video store in the SF Bay area called Silver Screen. They even stock The American Astronaut which Netflicks never has in stock.
posted by boilermonster at 9:48 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's kind of a weird feeling to see an entire category of business - the video rental store - be born, live and die, all within my adult lifetime.

One of the remaining Blockbuster locations is just a few blocks from my house. I joined a few days after they opened and used to go in at least once a week, but have only been in there three or four times in the last year, most recently to rent the DVD of the latest Star Trek movie.

While the company's top management over the years has screwed up too many times to count, the employees at my local store generally were pleasant and helpful, and I don't really have a late-fee horror story.

Though I've done it a lot less lately, I'll miss the convenience of being able to pop over there and rent a movie on the spur of the moment. The other fun things about the experience, like the wide selection of older movies, or the buzz in the store early on a weekend evening when it was packed with people looking for something to rent, have mostly been gone for a while now.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Gelatin at 9:58 AM on November 8, 2013


Man, I remember renting Super Nintendo games from Blockbuster. I got a SNES for Christmas but for some reason never actually owned many of the games. The location by my house let you renew indefinitely, so when Final Fantasy III came out, I just rented it over and over again. That was a good summer.
posted by deathpanels at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2013


Blockbuster was great for a thirteen-year-old who could walk from his high school to the local store and rent ALL the movies. As my tastes changed and I went to school out-of-state, replace "Blockbuster" with "VisArt," "thirteen-year-old" with "college student" and "high school" with dorm. I mourn 'em both. Hell, I mourn 'em all... and not just because I work in home video.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:20 AM on November 8, 2013


On the plus side we never again have to be kind.
posted by srboisvert at 10:21 AM on November 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Now I'm feeling all wistful and nostalgic for the "Hey let's pick out a movie and some candy" ritual.

Seeing video stores fade away has been kind of sad even though I have certainly contributed to that decline in the last decade, thanks to Netflix and my local public library/interlibrary loan system. I'm having a hard time mustering much sadness or nostalgia for Blockbuster, though.

I was lucky enough to have access to independent video rental places from the time my family got its first VCR (The first video store we went to actually charged an annual fee on top of its nightly fees, which is kind of amazing to remember) right through college, so going from that to a neighborhood Blockbuster was a real bummer. Apart from the draconian late fees, I just remember a sense of them never having amazingly little variety for such a big store. They never updated their stale selection of older movies, and with new releases they'd either have one copy that was perpetually taken, or 8 dozen copies of some drek I wasn't interested in.
posted by usonian at 10:28 AM on November 8, 2013


The Fairfax County Public Library holds 20 copies of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD

[morbo]New Zealand is not part of North America![/morbo]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:33 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was sad when small local video stores went away. I was extra sad when the localish branch of Video Americain went away, and will be sadder still when the main one goes.

Blockbuster, though?

For every single goddamn time I got charged a late fee on a rental that WAS in the slot on time, for their mutilation of the mainstream, and for their overall, unbelievable corporate shittiness—I can only hope that corporate personhood means that there's an actual personified Blockbuster LLC being with dreams and feelings that can go and burn forever in hell.
posted by sonascope at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


P.S. You can buy the greatest monochromatic Lynchian science fiction western homoerotic musical dieselpunk honky tonk debutante cult film of this century as a HQ download for ten bucks from the man himself, and considering that you will watch it at least forty-seven times as you bring more of your friends into the secret society of those in the know, it's cheaper than any rental.

What did your father teach you?
posted by sonascope at 10:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I keep trying to be sad, but I haven't been in ove in over two years. Even then it was to rent something that I didn't want to wait for through Netflix. The more I think about it, the more I am saddened by all the independent stores, and smaller chains I frequented that were pushed out by Blockbuster. Does anyone else remember National Video? I think they went out of business in the late 80's but it seemed like the coolest place ever when I was younger.

Blockbuster did keep me occupied pre-netflix, when I had a lot of free time on my hands, but I can think of more times when I went and then left empty handed because I wanted specific things that they were out of, or never carried.
posted by Badgermann at 10:51 AM on November 8, 2013


I was rather systematic when it came to hitting all the local Blockbusters for their "Previously Viewed" sales back in the 1990's. VHS tapes for $1, $2 or $3 a pop was a dream for a budding cinema geek with disposable income.

Moreover, there were a number of locations that weeded specialty titles to make room for the popular stuff, so I ended up grabbing half a dozen Kurosawa titles for a song at one location. Good times.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 10:56 AM on November 8, 2013


Moreover, there were a number of locations that weeded specialty titles to make room for the popular stuff, so I ended up grabbing half a dozen Kurosawa titles for a song at one location. Good times.

I am not unfamiliar with that tactic myself. I have discovered that if your tastes go beyond the mainstream, the cheapo discount bin is an inconstant but generous friend. The stuff that gets sold for nickels is 95% dreck and 5% gems: it is worth sorting through the Steven Seagal straight-to-DVD flicks and second sequels to middling kids' movies to find the occasional Jean de Florette or Killer's Kiss.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:22 AM on November 8, 2013


As always, relevant Onion article (with video!):

Historic ‘Blockbuster’ Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past The Blockbuster Video Living Museum offers tourists a glimpse of how Americans rented movies in the days before Netflix and iTunes.
posted by wcfields at 11:28 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Beat me to the punch, wcfields - I came here to post the same thing. I play that in my "human information interactions" class and it always gets laughs - and prompts some good discussions about how people search for entertainment media.

I have fond memories of heading down to "Busters" with my dad and picking out a movie to watch together on weekends home from college. It's silly, but I am going to miss the physical video store experience. The stores always have that popcorn/new carpet smell.
posted by k8lin at 11:39 AM on November 8, 2013


I wonder if there is still a market for video stores in smaller towns. My parents live in the mid-west and are stuck with DSL for Internet, which is much too slow for streaming Netflix. I guess the Redbox machines have taken that niche, but they have such a tiny selection. You would think that the back catalog of an actual store would still be worth something.

I still mourn our original mom and pop store which when I first visited had three sections: Betamax, VHS, and Videodisc! We actually rented a VCR for a birthday party the first time we went.
posted by Eddie Mars at 11:46 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


College freshman watching Clerks in 2030: "Fun movie, but, uh... what the hell is a video store?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:12 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I still vividly remember the bad old days before Netflix came in to our lives, because Mrs. Guy and I had the same sad routine for every trip to the local "Lackluster Video" store. The first lap (the new movies were always around the outer perimeter of the store) was a string of popcorn and popular movies we didn't want to see... those always seem to have 50 extra copies, and then a couple of indie movies or whatever of which there were always two copies, both rented.

The second lap (the lap of defeat) was the two of us going around again, this time with MUCH lower standards/expectations. We rarely managed to find something even then, which meant we were then relegated to the absurdly tiny selection of earlier 'popular' movies at the center of the store, most of which we'd already seen more than once (often as a result of previous unsuccessful trips).

I remember when we first joined Netflix, the selection was like finding the lost city of gold.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:19 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The other thing about the video store -- my first experiment in revisiting a missed TV series was the Sopranos, courtesy of the local video store (not Blockbuster, a smaller chain). Someone had never returned Season 3 disc 1 and they had no plans to replace it. I didn't get to see those four episodes until I got Netflix.

(Of course that's Netflix DVD, because if you have only Netflix streaming you can't see any Sopranos episodes at all because of the licensing mess.)

It was of course fun to watch a whole 22-episode season in a weekend (Hulu made that possible with Stargate: SG1 a season per month for 10 months) but it's also a bit exhausting and I find the pace of DVD arrivals to be just fine. And I can always get the DVD's again if something piques my curiosity; those SG1 episodes evaporated.
posted by localroger at 1:31 PM on November 8, 2013


Blockbuster Video was better than nothing and worse than everything.
posted by ckape at 1:36 PM on November 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I vaguely remember ignoring Blockbuster because the local Videosmith 1) had a better selection and 2) had porn. (My God. That Videosmith was the Only. Place. You could get porn, anywhere. Only.
posted by Melismata at 2:27 PM on November 8, 2013


College freshman watching Clerks in 2014: "Fun movie, but, uh... what the hell is a video store?"

Fixed that for you.

Netflix was just coming into vogue among the Linux geeks in my town when I was in college, but I knew one guy who had it. We spent plenty of time at Blockbuster...or the "indie" 49er Video, which had a nice porn section.

Nowadays, the only rental place in town is our comic book shop, which offers various things (books, gaming stuff), but also has a giant amount of rental options in the back. I wonder how much business they get on that part of the store.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:32 PM on November 8, 2013


I own a video store.

Threads like this leave me feeling pretty weird. On the one hand, screw Blockbuster. On the other hand, it keenly reminds me that I own a business with a definite expiration date, after which my finely-honed skill of knowing the title to that one movie you saw with that one guy is not going to mean much to anyone.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:20 PM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


On the other hand, it keenly reminds me that I own a business with a definite expiration date, after which my finely-honed skill of knowing the title to that one movie you saw with that one guy is not going to mean much to anyone.

We'll still love you on AskMe, if that helps.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:32 PM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's kind of a weird feeling to see an entire category of business - the video rental store - be born, live and die, all within my adult lifetime.

ditto.
posted by double bubble at 3:56 PM on November 8, 2013


Oh god you guys, my local indie video store had a DELIVERY SERVICE, you just called them up and asked. MY TOWN WAS THE BEST.
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on November 8, 2013


There's a nice piece over at Grantland:Obituary: Blockbuster Video: 1985-2013
posted by Otherwise at 5:41 PM on November 8, 2013


My local Blockbuster is one of the ones closing.

It has a big sign out front saying, "Blockbuster Closing! This location only!"
posted by jaguar at 7:08 PM on November 8, 2013


LIBRARIES. LIBRARIES HAVE MOVIES YOU CAN BORROW. WHO DO I HAVE TO BLOW TO GET ONE BLOCKBUSTER NOSTALGIA PIECE TO MENTION LIBRARIES?

That is not universally the case though. My county-wide library system lends nothing but books.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:34 PM on November 8, 2013


That's weird, I just had this realization a few weeks ago.

College freshman watching Clerks in 2030: "Fun movie, but, uh... what the hell is a video store?"

You know, if you were to make a movie today about a group of icemen and their crazy antics, I think we'd be able to follow along just fine after the initial adjustment to the idea.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:22 AM on November 9, 2013


*writes folk song about the CD longbox and the empty VHS cardboard shell for display purposes to keep the ways of our people from fading*
posted by Rhomboid at 6:31 AM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


College freshman watching Clerks in 2030: "Fun movie, but, uh... what the hell is a video store?"

You know, if you were to make a movie today about a group of icemen and their crazy antics, I think we'd be able to follow along just fine after the initial adjustment to the idea.


Sure, today, but their talking about college freshman in the future.
posted by bongo_x at 9:43 AM on November 9, 2013


College freshman watching Clerks in 2030: "Fun movie, but, uh... what the hell is a video store?"

You know, if you were to make a movie today about a group of icemen and their crazy antics, I think we'd be able to follow along just fine after the initial adjustment to the idea.


Note that you had to link to "icemen" there. The freshmen of 2030 will similarly need exposition that the freshmen of 1994 didn't.
posted by Etrigan at 11:03 AM on November 9, 2013


My only fond memory of Blockbuster is of the "Wild Action" section (which featured movies like this) some of the stores had...in Canada, anyway.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:07 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know. The video rental store seems to be alive and well here in Montréal. I live down the street from a massive Videotron store, which is basically just Blockbuster but also you can sign up for shitty internet service and satellite TV.
posted by awenner at 2:29 PM on November 9, 2013


Family Video stores are around here in the Central Illinois area. I usually rent from Redbox or the local library.
posted by cass at 7:53 AM on November 11, 2013


The last movie ever rented at Blockbuster Video was, fittingly, This Is The End.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:58 AM on November 11, 2013


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