Wednesday, November 06, 2013

An ode to classic video stores

Get ready to say goodbye -- and maybe even shed a few tears in the process -- to another cultural mainstay, friends. Blockbuster just announced that it will be closing its remaining 300 stores in the U.S. by January 2014.

We all knew it was coming, didn't we? After all, Blockbuster just can't compete with the digital trend. And yet, my heart still sank a little when I heard the news. I even let out an audible sigh. Not because I had some huge attachment to Blockbuster (honestly, I haven't stepped foot in one in a few years...), but because video stores were such a defining part of my childhood in general. A happy memory I've always carried with me.

Let me explain.

A few years ago. I found out that my childhood video store -- the video store that was close to our house, and the place we'd walk to at least three times a week on hot, sticky summer afternoons -- rolled up its metaphorical red carpet and closed its doors for the last time. In that moment, a flood of memories came flooding back. Memories I didn’t even know were tucked in the back of my mind. Memories that made me smile. Memories that, like Doc Brown’s time machine, took me back in time.
Little does that little video store know just how much it shaped and defined my youth. It was the place my mother, sister and I would walk to in search of great movies to watch during the summer. I’d browse every aisle, staying mostly within the confines of the Disney section when I was younger, and eventually branching out to the more “grown-up” dramas when I was a teenager. Maybe I was just trying to be cool, but it was fun.

It was the place that fueled our summer of Al Pacino when I was 16. We made it our mission that summer to watch all his great films, and we did. From Dog Day Afternoon to Scarface. I really felt cool watching Scarface.

It was also the place where we’d occasionally find ourselves in small, but heated debates. Thanks to the store's 5 For 5 (five videos for $5 for five days), we always found ourselves bickering over the final two movie selections. The first three were easy because we could each choose our own. My mother usually picked a dramatic thriller. My sister usually chose a slow-moving drama like The English Patient. My choice was always easy, much to their chagrin and ridicule: an ‘80s Brat Pack film or my standards like Shag or Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

But the last two? We could never decide on ones we all agreed on. I was the one, though, whose choices were always the first to get shot down. I often ended up walking home sulking about the boring movies I’d inevitably be forced to watch. I definitely didn’t feel cool in these moments.
It’s memories like these that make me realize those bright lights and rows of videos are something I’ll always miss. I can’t get those same sorts of memories from my Netflix queue. No matter how many hours of Breaking Bad I binge-watch.

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. That makes me so sad! I, like you, haven't set foot in one in years, but oh, the memories!! I remember weekend trips to the video store and I remember begging my parents to buy the big box of popcorn. :^)

  2. i haven't used blockbuster in ages but growing up - even in college - it was allll about blockbuster. i guess it's another one of those things we'll recall in 10-15 years and say.. hey remember blockbuster???


Your lovely comments make my day so much sweeter! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin