Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

the last blockbuster

marc pulled up this documentary on Netflix about blockbuster video and we got such a kick out of it! our kids didn't care. they just shrugged and said "awe your childhood must have sucked", because when they want to watch a movie they just turn on the apple TV and pick one out from any of the infinity streaming services we subscribe to... too high a number. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, maybe more! We ditched amazon prime this year. I'm proud of us.

As long as I could remember we had a VCR - that will date me compared to you Actual Old People reading this.

When I was elementary age, we'd rent videos from the grocery store. You had to find the VHS section not the betamax. the grocery store video rental section was probably two aisles wide, about 40 feet long? It was up front in a special section. You had to walk past the horror section to get a bunch of other sections. I could not look away. I was so curious, but so scared to get nightmares. I also remember the warped melted VHS tape on the counter with a sign that said "DO NOT LEAVE TAPES IN YOUR HOT CAR!"

What were my favorite movies in the 80s? The Last Unicorn (1982), care bears (1985), flight of the navigator. I remember Beetlejuice (1988) because I loved it SO MUCH I wanted to rent it again weeks later, but mom was like "you've seen it, why would you want to get a movie you've already seen?" sigh.

Childhood memories always get a line through them when the geography changes. When I was 12, we moved to KC, and that's when we'd go to Blockbuster. Nobody can ever express just how exciting our saturdays were when we'd get TAKEN to the VIDEO STORE to rent a MOVIE! Dad would take one or both of us to go to Pizza Hut, walk in and order pizza. Then we'd walk to the Blockbuster a block away and get a few tapes. I didn't like getting new releases, because then you couldn't keep them as long.. but there was a step below the new new releases that was kind of a compromise, they'd still be new to you but not two day rentals or anything terrible like that. By the time we'd picked out our videos and checked out at blockbuster, the pizzas would be ready to pick up. We'd go home and have the best saturday night! popcorn, movies, pizza, we had it made!

The documentary talked about how great it was that video store geeks had a place to work and congregate and nerd out on films. personally, my exposure to new movies increased a LOT in the 2000s when I got netflix by mail and could get ANY movie. foreign films, independent, documentaries - these were all tiny sections in blockbuster. and when you paid per movie, you hated to take a risk on not liking one. but when netflix was mailing me three DVDs at a time, I could send one back immediately if I watched half and it wasn't for me. the selection was so much better and the format so much more convenient, I don't even think I had a blockbuster card by the time I moved to my own apartment in 2002.

apparently blockbuster got too big, too mismanaged, and then a guy who was sick of late fees started Netflix and disrupted their whole business model and then they died. Netflix went seamlessly from mailing DVDs to streaming online, they were able to change models. Blockbuster was just behind on every change. Lesson learned. So now they're gone, and all just live in the past.
Tags: childhood

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