It's become a common sight to see video stores going out of business but I was still jolted when I passed by the longest-running Blockbuster in my area today and saw it sporting a "Store Closing" banner.
Most of the Blockbusters around here have already folded - but this particular location (the night my parents finally bought a VCR, we rented our first tapes from there - I forget what my parents got but it was Pink Floyd: Live in Pompeii for me) had managed to weather the changing times...until now.
In Maitland McDonagh's 1995 book Filmmaking on the Fringe, Joe Dante described an abandoned ending to his 50's nostalgia piece Matinee (1993). As he said: "in an earlier version of Matinee, the main story was a flashback, and the script ended with the theater being demolished to make way for a video store. It was too depressing."
But not quite as depressing as this, I think:
And even these shitty vending machines will be obsolete as more and more people opt to obtain their films through digital means.
I'll admit, over the past few years I've probably gone into a video store maybe three or four times at the most. But still...it's sad to see them vanish altogether. It's like watching my past evaporate. Working at the two local chains that I worked at during the '90s (Movie Shops and Flix Video, represent!) was a joy. I even met my wife during my last year behind the counter, when she began renting as a customer. So I owe, well, everything to my time in video.
It boggles my mind to think that the next generation of film fans won't even set foot in video stores, never mind work in them. I know that in another five or ten years, there will still be some drive-in theaters scattered throughout the US but the same can't be said for video stores.
And if that thought doesn't make you feel old, this will: