For those old enough to remember- Do you miss the "Blockbuster Video" days of picking up movies?
By - popgeist_official
When I was a kid there was a small strip mall that had a pizza hut, arcade and blockbuster video. The best weekends were when a friend slept over and we went to pizza hut for dinner, then to the arcade and finally rented a movie or game from blockbuster. Those were some great times.
Oh man this comment just hit home. Blockbuster days were a different time.
There’s still 1 blockbuster left! Bend, OR. Ha
And there's an awesome documentary about it!
Sounds so awesome. I have two kids and feel like an old fart when I describe arcades and vhs rental stores with sparkles in my eyes. "Ok" they say.
It’s alright bro karma will get them. Someday they’ll have kids of their own who will be like “Yeah yeah pops shut the hell up about this ‘Fortnite’ and ‘winter’ already they don’t exist anymore.”
Sad about winter. Fortnite can take a flying leap off a short pier.
Definitely. Before Blockbuster existed, we had a little video rental store called "Videos & Cream" which was a video rental, ice cream parlor, and arcade. Could go, spend an hour or so, and come home with a couple of movies.
Now I have a strange desire to find an arcade with Bad Dudes.
Videos & Cream is a little too close to Netflix and chill
Olde Tyme N&C
\>for when you can’t afford Netflix
>Now I have a strange desire to find an arcade with Bad Dudes.
No offense but do you really think you're a *bad* enough *dude* to rescue the President?
My brother and I grew up in the early 90s and we would play “Bad Dudes” in our backyard. It mostly consisted of us doing pull-ups on the monkey bars and running away from all the “hot babes” who wanted our autographs. Sometimes we’d scream “Get down, Mr. President” while tackling each other into our kiddie pool.
Who remembers the smell? Never walked into another store with that unique odor
My local Blockbuster was attached to a Subway so it was this combination of Subway smell mixed with that classic Blockbuster smell and it’s honestly an odour I think about and miss quite often.
Subway has a distinct smell too.
I worked at subway for a while and it was impossible to get that smell out of clothes. It's the bread baking smell!
Subways that don't clean well seem to have a stronger odor of bad yeast that seems to cling really badly to clothes...
I cleaned that place so hard every night. There's no escaping it.
Bread and disappointment
That’s one word for it.
My blockbuster was also next to a Subway. I wonder if that combo was pretty common?
Just an absolute winning combo. Nothing like convincing the parents to get a Subway Cookie after picking out a movie.
White macadamia nut cookies.
Yeah. what was up with that?? All the plastic cases?
Its a combination of o-zone, magnetic tape, plastic, and air conditioning, sorta the same smell of a computer lab from when I was kid. I kinda miss the smells of vhs and floppy disks.
Oh my god computer lab smell… that takes me back…
The hot plastic smell of new PC is very nostalgic to me haha
I’ve never felt more seen.
oh my god i know exactly what smells you mean! elementary school library circa 86!
plus stale popcorn if you were lucky
Shout out to Jumbo Video for that free popcorn to eat while browsing.
Cleaning that up each day would have been awful.
And the syrupy smell of spilled candy and soda ground into the carpet.
And that hard carpet.
Don't forget the accumulated smells of thousands of people's homes where those movies went: a soft miasma of tobacco smoke, pet odors, personal hygiene products, urine, and perfume particles, infused into the plastic of those reused VHS and DVD cases.
I always thought it was the carpet.
That was most of it, yeah. I used to do contract carpet cleaning in Blockbuster and Pizza Hut locations along the Atlantic coast of Florida. The soap and chems we used smelled like a Blockbuster on steroids.
Can you remember the exact chemicals involved? You may legit be able to find the recipe for a smell a lot of people would pay good money for
oh please, I would buy a candle of this smells
You are in luck
I got this in the mail the other day and it truly smells like an old blockbuster its great
Wtf is going on?
Alas, no. The chemicals were supplied in 6-gallon tubs by our employer.
I worked at one; it was indeed the VHS/DVD packages offgassing that caused that unique smell. You know it for sure because you get a big blast of it when you open new shipment boxes, with 40 DVDs inside.
That, and some places had *popcorn.* All oil popped popcorn still reminds me of the first video store my parents would take me to.
It was more of an event to go out and get a movie rather than just pick something from your house
I still have some used Gamecube games in my closet that I got from a Blockbuster back in the day... the cases *still* smell like that.
I will pay you $5 to let me smell your Box
edit: so I meant to say "case"...
With or without context that is one hell of a post. LOL
Oh my God I thought I was the only one! It had such a distinct smell... when I think of blockbuster I can literally smell it. I don't have that with too many memories.
The old Blockbuster Video building in my hometown was used a couple times a year for a baby clothes and toys resale thing. Went to it a few times after my kids were born, and it still had that smell. Also still had the rows and rows of CRT tvs mounted up on the ceiling that they played previews on way back in the day.
Yeah, I know what you are talking about. It was very nostalgic for me. Like I knew I was going to get something good for the weekend.
I know it had a smell but it’s been so long my mind has forgotten it.
Yeeeeeeesss. Yes. The best smell.
The only thing I miss is the ability to browse. Scrolling through menus isnt quite the same for some reason.
This is what I miss the most. Just walking through the rows looking at the covers. Trying to find the perfect couple of movies for the weekend. It’s not the same scrolling through apps. I browse through my Blu-ray collection frequently just to get a little bit of that old feeling.
For me it was the finality of renting it. Basically once you pick it out that’s what you’re going with. I can scroll through menus endlessly and even when I pick something I always have in the back of my mind I can just stop it and watch something else.
We are spoiled for choice.
That's truer than you may realize. I used to show movies in classes for fun right before Christmas break/at the end of the school year, and the kids typically enjoyed it. We'd make an event out of it, make popcorn etc. I've noticed a trend over the last few years that students are engaging less and less with movies in my class, as well as my colleagues' classes. I'm convinced that is due, in part, to the fact that our students have access to movies whenever they want, as often as they want, and whichever ones they want.
When you have the whole world, none of the places matter.
Anything and everything, all of the time.
Apathy's a tragedy and boredom is a crime.
This makes me slightly sad, but I suppose that every generation has their own relics and rituals that later generations don't cherish. Maybe what I'm really lamenting is the inevitable flow of time past me, some day leaving me behind for good.
"Fortnite just felt different, like you were specifically doing a particular thing. Now that everything is the VR omnigame, the experience just seamlessly blends in to the real world." -- Current kids in the future, probably.
Movies in school were never the same after tv carts with VCRs and CRTs big enough to crush you.
In grade 6 we had a movie day, with a bunch of us in the gym sitting on the floor, watching that TV/VCR on a cart. They rented Back to the Future as the movie that day. I was so excited to watch it because I hadn't seen it since it was in theaters the year before. We got to the part where Marty says "Holy Shit! Lets see if you bastards can do 90". One of the teachers then walked up and stopped the movie, saying that the language was too naughty for us to watch. I was so pissed off because we had to wait in that gym while a teacher ran to the 7-11 to rent a different movie. We ended up having to watch The Swiss Family Robinson, some fucking Disney movie from the 60's. I was not impressed.
And that's my story of VCR's and TV's on carts from 35 years ago.
Dude Swiss family Robinson is dope. They rode fucking ostriches man.
Comparing two negative outcomes on a young impressionable mind:
a) hearing 'shit' in a brilliant inspiring movie with messages about making the right decisions in youth to make your future life better.
b) build up excitment then disappoint a whole class with a vastly inferior film
Your teacher - "yeah I'll choose b"
The best part was trying not to drop the tv off the cart when you went over those seemingly 9 foot bottom door jams at public schools.
Back then there was a measure of gatekeeping done on our behalf by the mechanism. Now streaming services will buy any damn thing just to offer more content. Amazon Prime is particularly bad for the straight to late night cable grade trash.
Video stores also had a lot of direct to video movies, and a loooot of those were also pure crap
I feel the opposite. Blockbuster was choice. Netflix has a tiny, tiny sliver of what you could look through back then. To search for a film, I have to dive into the five major streaming platforms. Go through their menus. Even then, the majority of films aren't even available for legal streaming. We're basically back to PPV, having to pay to rent digitally.
Older movies were cheaper in blockbuster, now older movies are more expensive because no streaming service carries them
I wanted to say this too. Movie stores really were for everyone and every taste. As I got older, with our barely-hanging-on store, I could get 5-7 movies of varying genres but more importantly, decades. My problem with streaming platforms like Netflix, is that they treat movies as a commodity rather than an art. Once you get past the latest good modern movies, your only option is modern garbage films. Films earlier than the 2000s are rarely introduced, and I feel like it’s watering down my generations film experience. Turner Classics' Watch TCM app or the Criterion Collection are really the only legitimate ways to explore classic film legitimately.
HBO Max also has a whole TCM section, and being HBO they also get access to what is probably the more ‘expensive’ ones like Casablanca, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka, etc.
Have you used "just watch" app on your mobile device? If not, it's a major time saver. You tell it what streaming services you have and you can then browse whats available on all them in one place. Click what you want and it'll tell you which service to find it on.
Just watch is amazing. I even have certain movies saved so I get an alert when they’re on my streaming service.
It keeps telling me stuff is available on Amazon Prime, but no, its only available from one of the optional channels supported on Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime Video fucking sucks.
That sucks and I’m sorry.
I should have caveated by saying I have a few streaming services, so if it’s not on Prime it may be on Netflix, Hulu or Criterion. Or it’s in a channel my cable service doesn't have and I just rage. Fuck you Xfinity; put TCM back!!!
I find it’s the same way with music. Back when I would travel to the music store, browse for 20 minutes, pick the album I wanted and put down 15+ dollars of hard earned money for it, it was a serious commitment. Even if you put it in and it was just ok, you’d always find one or two tracks you liked and after listening enough times, a couple more would grow on you. You’d really give an album your time. Shit, I can still remember the track sequencing of certain albums because of that. Nowadays a new track gets about 30 seconds to impress me before it’s skipped forever. I rarely ever listen to a full album. There’s just so much content with no commitment required.
I’d never thought of it that way, but it makes total sense.
I’ve stopped halfway through a bunch of movies on Netflix/Hulu that turned out to be duds.
But I can’t recall a single time when I rented something that I didn’t watch the whole movie.
When my dad mistook Transmorphers for Transformers when it first came out.
There’s a sunk cost fallacy element at play that is rewarding sometimes. With streaming services, I have less interest in what I’m watching. I can put something on, tune out, turn it off, start it over, or just abandon the tv/movie entirely. With Blockbuster, I paid a good $4 for that movie, I don’t care that I lost interest in the first 10 mins I rented Kids and gosh darn it I’m going to finish it.
I was just talking about Kids with some coworkers 4 or 5 days ago.
That's a great movie.
Also, that movie is FUCKED.
Smells like butterscotch baby.
Plus it was a "let's get out of the house, get in the car, drive 20 mins, walk around for 30 mins, argue about what were getting, rent, drive back 20 mins, usually stop somewhere else, finally get home". Getting 2 movies took 1-2 hours and was it's own experience. Now just sit on the couch.
Remember getting to the Blockbuster only to find out that there were no more copies of the movie you wanted and...that was it? You were not watching that movie this weekend. They could *run out of a movie*.
We lived in the goddamn dark ages I swear.
There’s still hope! You gotta check the return pile at the front counter!
If there was a new release i wanted I'd call and reserve it. Friday night was Blockbuster and takeaway night. Get home after work, pop something comfy on and hubby and I would walk down working out what was for dinner, order it, pizza, lebanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese. Then over the road to Blockbuster. A new release, a couple of three days for three dollars, weeklies, pick up dinner on the way home. Was a really nice little ritual, we had some of our best chats, walking and talking. I miss it.
Love this comment, even now in 2021, the best times my wife and I have are when the kids are out and we have the time to work out what we're ordering, or where we're going to have some dinner, browse our record collection, just chatting and having the best time. Honestly I think there's something about forgoing all this new tech we have today and just doing things the old way, skipping reviews of where we're eating... There's a fine balance and it's hard to get it right.
This makes me think of how outings of social interaction create a kind of "social stage" where you share a physical space with props and prompts and an environment you're experiencing together. Watching things on a streaming service limits a lot of that, and moves the focus away from each other in this mutual space onto the TV or whatever. It kind of saps the energy that comes with being active and drains the interaction.
I don't think I've ever had an exciting time browsing a streaming service with friends. We've all kind of made a silent agreement that we have to know what we're going to watch before we hang out if we're using a streaming service because the experience of trying to browse into a choice is so annoying. It's kind of a party killer.
Just to provide contrast to your thought, there’s potentially more of a Dark Age now, and will be moreso in the future as rights cannot be agreed upon for streaming many titles. Older content will effectively just disappear from streaming over time, with no sense of preservation, even if there is demand for it.
The means of acquiring something to watch was trickier, but allowed for a rich amount from which to choose.
It also kinda shoots you in the foot for trying to find something new/different. Most apps tailor your list to your perceived personal tastes based on what you've watched/searched for/liked/etc. and pepper in the latest new release from their original branch that they're trying to promote, be that a movie or series. Me? My tastes are all over the map. I like ridiculously long art piece films, horror-comedies, psychological thrillers, Japanese dramas, moody thrillers, indie romance films, and everything in between. I've watched movies that I might not have given a second glance otherwise because I loved something else by the director and learned to appreciate seeing their personal style woven into whatever films they make. Half of my favorite films growing up were things I would never have heard of had I not picked it up off a shelf out of curiosity at our local rental place. When Netflix has you pick a handful of things you like and doesn't have anything aside from a "liked/disliked" option anymore, instead of a rating scale, I'm sure there's plenty out there in their library that I would love, but I'll never see it unless I manually search for the title, which I'd have to be aware of it to do.
I miss the days where I could walk in and see a cool movie cover while walking through a section and take it home to find something better than I expected. Tailored selections are nice on the one hand, but man I really wish it was peppered with some random curveballs just to see if there's something you like that slipped through the cracks. It's kinda depressing knowing that there are probably movies coming out today that I've never heard of and never will that I would absolutely adore, all because we don't do rental stores anymore. I'm kinda hoping that with the death of Family Video recently, and the long-felt absence of Blockbuster and other chains, that somebody will step up and try to revitalize the industry somehow. Even if it has to be something like an Amazon video store, I'd take the option just to have it. The only other is to be that tacky person who goes into an FYE, browses the selection and writes down stuff to go home and stream later, and I don't think I'm desperate enough for that level of weird/trashy yet.
Brows the entire store for 30 minutes, pick out a movie you’ve seen 10 times.
“This job would be a lot better without the fuckin customers”
I'm fairly convinced that the algorithms Netflix and the like use sometimes cause me to miss out on titles I'd actually be interested in. Maybe I'm wrong but since there are multiple people in my household and we all use the same account, I think the algorithm sometimes screws up what it thinks we want to watch and some gems are left from the suggested menu.
My good friends' Netflix home always seems to have better suggestions and more than mine and we have the same tastes and watch almost all of the same things.. I'm always impressed with others' home screens on Netflix because it usually has so many movies I didn't even see while browsing my own.
I miss that distinct smell and even the rug burns I got as a kid from crawling to see the lower shelves.
100%. I definitely spent too much time browsing the aisles. But since you couldn’t take the whole store home with you, you really had to curate your choices. We also had a Hollywood Video and their cult classics section was mint. Plus, I enjoyed picking the employees brains about cool/obscure films. Kind of like having a good relationship with your local independent record store. It’s invaluable
My wife and I have been married 16 years and we met at blockbuster back in 2002. I was the employee, she knew a bunch of the people who worked there (and used to work at a location about 8 blocks away). My first memory of her was seeing her just chilling in front of the "coming releases" standup sign, in her denim skirt and fishnets. When she would stop by I would go walk the aisles with her to talk about movies and whatever. The store was close to her home and she would drive by and stop in if she saw my car. After a month or so she invited me to a party at her house so we would have an excuse to meet outside of work, and at that party I asked her out (to a cheesy movie I got free tickets to from opening movie stock). I remember it was the week that LotR Two Towers came out on dvd.
This is the love story I want.
I used to walk into the video store every weekend (seemed like) and walk out with 3-5 movies I was exited to watch. These days I can spend an hour searching on ReelGood across the 5 services I subscribe to and literally “find” nothing.
Perhaps it’s the unlimited shelf space of streaming services (relatively speaking). There’s so much trash that I won’t even bother with anything less than 6 on IMDb.
Thing is tho, there’s probably plenty I would enjoy seeing. But trying to find stuff to invest time into just seems remarkably difficult compared to the old days when you’d have your fingers crossed that a movie wasn’t out of stock.
Maybe movie watching has become to disposable. I had the same emotions you had when going to Blockbusters/Hollywood Video stores.
I think it’s more of an expectations thing. If a movie was somehow good enough to make it to a rental shop in my town, and had a cool cover, and maybe a couple actors I recognize, it must be good right?
Now I feel like my standards have been raised because I have access to too much. I don’t have some limited quantity of movies to watch before returning, I have access to tens of thousands at any time.
I don’t feel like the time spent watching movies itself is disposable these days. When I see a good movie now I feel like it’s a good use of my time. When I see a bad movie, though, I feel worse about having wasted my time. It’s weird I guess.
It makes sense. When I was younger there was free time aplenty. Video games, all sorts of movies, all day outside playing football or street hockey etc, there was free time to do all that with plenty to spare. Now, free time is at a premium, and I don't want to waste it on something that might just be *ok*.
Maybe it’s something about actually picking up and handling the DVD or VHS,There’s so many fond memories of cruising video store. Once feeling excited the process of scrolling for 30 minutes not being able to decide what to watch.
The drop off was my favorite as a kid. Felt secretive and important.
"I have to return some videotapes."
After hours? Run up to the dark building and drop the tapes or DVDs through a little metal door. Gotta make sure the movies are back by the time they open in the morning!
A quest perhaps.
If they could make a VR where you could physically browse, but also see the preview…
Reading the back of the DVD/vhs/game.
Looking at all the 18+ rated movies. Ah such fond memories
You should check out your local library. They have DVDs and it brings back this factor.
Yes! When we were first married we were crazy broke but lived in a county with a great library. We'd go after work on a Friday, browse books, and borrow movies and music and that was our weekend entertainment.
I was going to say...we'd go to Blockbuster occasionally when I was a kid, but the library was where the magic really happened. Hell, I think that's how I first saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail...
My library has lots of blu rays too. I actually go there quite often
This. Brings back the *browsing* aspect, stumbling upon a movie you've never heard of before and bringing it back home to watch without having to buy it.
I read this in Joe Pera's voice.
Especially since the requirement of all streaming services is to make the UI as un-user friendly as possible.
And to recommend things you'll never watch.
Streaming services would be so much better if they gave us an "I'm never going to watch this" option that prevents shit from showing up unless you specifically search for it.
Ugh not to mention the dozens of categories in which everything is put. Imagine a video store with shelves for different things and you keep seeing the same set of movies on them lmao.
I'd love to be able to sort things into 4 bins.
'Yes', 'Maybe', 'Might Again' and 'No'
I'd spend a week going through their entire library and sort them just to get rid of titles like 'Glee' that a lot of people may like but isn't my thing. I don't need to see it over and over and over again.
I think some of it might have to do with being able to hold the case in your hands and flip the it over to read the description. There's a comfort in that.
To be honest, I remember going with friends to pick a movie, and it was murder to try find something that everybody wanted to watch...and there was always one person who had seen something before and wouldn't let us choose that. We'd spend 30 minutes trying to decide what to rent....when ironically if we just turned on the TV we'd happily watch whatever movie was on.
Netflix should just have a virtual blockbuster video store that you can navigate like a FPS to pick your movie.
Maybe Netflix should have a demo store. Very full-circle and somewhat morbid, like Amazon having brick and mortar stores now.
That'd be so cool. With VHS definitely.
I hated having to drive back to drop it back off though
I once accidentally put a VHS tape with the latest episode of Buffy on it into the Blockbuster case into the return bin. I went back to return the real tape and get my tape back. They went through the bin and found it for me. I made some joke about my girlfriend being real mad if anyone saw it for no reason. Blockbuster was fun
So at one point blockbuster had a 'movie pass'. You could get a few movies a month and just swap em out endlessly for a monthly fee.
We had one guy who was clearly burning them. He's rent like 15-20 movies a day.
But my favorite story was when this couple in their 50s came up to swap out some movies. It's part of the process for me to open the movies they're returning to assure the right movie is in the right case. I open up the first movie and in the case was anal blasters volume 4. Not the right movie.
I hold back a smile and pretend I just notice it's not the right movie and hand it back and go along the process. The husband picks it up, opens it and says.. A bit too loudly "ANAL BLASYSR VOLUME 4, HOW'D THAT GET IN THERE?"
I've never seen a woman turn so red so fast. She stormed out and we both just started laughing.
Blockbuster was charming.
Agreed. The golden age was when Blockbuster launched their Netflix competitor and you could bring in mailed movies and swap for at-store ones. Dropping off movies was awesome then.
I was more of a Hollywood Video girl, but I do miss it. It hit its height in my mid 20s and it was the typical 3rd date experience. You went to the video store, browsed the shelves together, discussing movie tastes, grabbing some snacks at the check out and just learning more about each other. I’ve been out of the dating scene for a while, but I really doubt “Netflix and Chill’ has the same vibe to it.
I think the experience of physically collecting your VHS (or DVD towards the end of the Video Shop's life), gave more value to the film you watched. You paid for that specific title, so you would watch it, whatever it was.
Having access to hundreds of movies straight to your TV, somewhat cheapens them; I had a similar experience when I was given a load of copied PlayStation games. Play for 5 mins and meh, onto the next one.
Occasionally! There was something about the Friday night get dinner and pick out a movie that’s just not the same with scrolling Netflix and then Hulu and then prime and then and then….
Something about all those movies in one place ?
I dunno might need to make the 6hour round trip out to the last blockbuster just for old times’ sake…
If you're in the PNW and looking for a road trip to a movie store, go to Scarecrow Videos in Seattle instead. It's a two-story video rental spot with a massive catalogue, I can get lost in there for an hour or so just looking through movies I've never heard of. It definitely beats scrolling menus
Oooh next time we’re that far north totally will!!
I’m new to Oregon and was trying to find a video rental place and there’s one in Portland called Movie Madness Video. I haven’t been so idk if they’re back open yet but that might be an option if you’re close by.
Movie Madness is amazing, they have a museum of old props and costumes and stuff throughout that you get to see while you browse. They notably have the original knife from Scream, and one of Austin Power’s suits but those are just drops in the bucket.
How did I live 5 blocks away from that place and never know it existed?? Guess I'll have to go check it out soon, thanks!
There was a Chinese takeout place next door to the West Coast Video, we used to go in and order dinner and go pick out the movie, by the time we were done dinner would be ready. Getting delivery while scrolling is just not quite the same!
Do it if you can! It's totally worth it. Such a cool experience going in and seeing something frozen in time.
What I miss about going to the video store or a movie theatre for that matter was that it felt like an event. Didnt matter if it was with your friends or family, you were sharing an experience rather than just consuming media.
Edit: Thanks for the gold kind stranger! ;)
Yep, its the same with buying a CD. ***Something happened today***
I also miss magazines, newspapers, all the other things that the internet is killing.
There's nothing like:
1. Buying an issue of a magazine you love.
2. Reading the most interesting articles.
3. Reading the rest of the articles anyway, because you're so invested.
4. Re-reading everything + the adds
5. Waiting eagerly for a week for the next issue to be available.
Now we are constantly bombarded with articles and personally I just skim most of them.
I completely agree. It did feel like an event. I think it's also one of the biggest differences between how "hyper social and mostly remote/online" everything is these days, in comparison to the "locally social and mostly in person" just *doing things entertainment related in general* used to be.
The internet is just a monkey's paw with infinite fingers.
My friends and I would compete to find the worst movie that we could actually watch. Each of us would pick one movie, we'd load up on soda and snacks and settle in for the night.
Watched some truly terrible movies that there is no way we ever would have watched otherwise.
I'd usually win with movies like "Slavegirls from Beyond Infinity" or "Barbarian Queen" through my nearly foolproof technique of "titties and explosions".
We almost had to revoke one friend's ability to pick a movie due to his apparent inability to understand that the bad movie still had to be watchable. He would pick the dreariest, most miserable kids and puppies dying of cancer and then their orphanage burns down shit. But every now and then he'd pull out a gem like "Curse of the Queerwolf" and redeem himself.
Streaming just doesn't lend itself to this kind of experience, and the world is poorer for it.
Kinda. The best part was when I'd go for something specific and it wasn't there, and when I took a gamble on something new and ended up liking it a lot.
There was a local video store we went to that was better though called Bargain Video and they'd always do fun games and giveaways and trivia contests. I shot 5 free throws into a nerf hoop once for free rentals during March Madness, had a store applaud for me when I knew who Jimmy Durante was, and won a cool prop from the movie The Player for free. That's the kinda stuff I miss. That was fun.
That's what I loved about the 90's. I found a few movies that I took a gamble on and ended up enjoying immensely. Now when I look them up, some of those movies got like a 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Nowadays I would never take a chance on them.
90s was the peak of entertainment variety without information overload. I catch myself watching worthless YouTube videos instead of committing to movies and shows these days.
The last video store in my small Wisconsin town closed a couple months ago. I can't overstate how much of my youth was defined and informed not only by the films my family rented from those stores, but from the *conversations* in the stores, conversations with thoughtful staff who worked not for high pay, but for the same love of cinema that brought you in. I was a black belt video store rat kid and, although it was no surprise that video stores were going the way of the dodo, the closing of the final video store in the area rattled an endless stream of nostalgia and appreciation for video stores. Because I'm an obsessive neurotic I spent a few weeks researching at the local libraries and found *every* record of *every* video store that ever came to town since the first in 1985, then reached out to whatever staff and management were publicly listed, living and available for thoughts and wrote a piece for our local paper. Went to more lengths than necessary maybe, but video stores really brought about many of the relationships, conversations, and art that have made every day at least a little better. Here's the [piece](https://volumeone.org/articles/2021/04/30/275774-be-kind-rewind) for any curious fellow video store fans. Sad end to a beautiful era. But gratefully the movies live on. Viva la video store!
Yes! Last standing was a Family Video, unsurprisingly. They only lasted as long as they did because the company buys the property their locations are on. So renting part of their real estate out helped subsidize the hemorrhaging revenue stream of the flailing video stores. Reminded me of the movie The Founder, which Ray Kroc was able to take over the McDonald’s franchise by owning the property McD’s was sitting on. Always a movie reference for everything!
I miss video stores. If you wanted to rent CASABLANCA, SLEEPING BEAUTY and a James Bond picture, odds are they could be found in the same place.
Today? At least three different services and then, only if the provider has allowed those titles to be available for the month.
However, I don't miss Blockbuster.
Blockbuster killed the friendly family video store.
I miss the days of Super Nintendo before the internet or even good sources of game reviews. You'd go and pick out a game based mostly on the cover and maybe what a friend recommended. Sometimes it was crap and sometimes it was amazing. I think the gamble was part of the fun for me. "Rock n' Roll Racing" was probably my favorite random find.
/Nostalgia. Anyhow, get off my lawn.
Don’t forget the area in the back concealed by a curtain! Won’t find that at Blockbuster!
You wanted porn, you had to endure the walk of shame
I remember being 6 years old and my grandma taking me to the friendly neighborhood video store. I remember seeing the curtain, walking behind it to see what was there, and BAM, titties everywhere.
I'm super salty towards Hollywood video to this day. Growing up we had very little disposable income, and we would go to the video store every few weeks.
I think it was blockbuster started a subscription service where you would get certain amount of free rentals a month or something.
Hollywood video copied that, and that was the closer place we went to. My mom went to join the "club" or whatever and we went around the store looking for movies. And almost none of the movies on the shelf a were "eligible". It was all like 40 year old random unpopular movies eligible for the service.
She went right back up to the counter and called them out and got her money back. But it's stuck in my head because of how much we were struggling and it felt like we were actively getting swindled. I just felt so bad for her.
When I worked at BB we had the "movie pass" which was a monthly subscription where you could cycle out 2 or 3 movies at a time, as many times as you want, depending on which tier you bought and you could use it for old and new movies. Some people would come in multiple times a day, every single day to swap movies out when they had it.
> Some people would come in multiple times a day, every single day to swap movies out when they had it.
That was me. I wasn't working for a period of time and watched like 90 movies a month for 3 month. Got caught up on all the classics and the new stuff.
You got me thinking. Shouldn't Casablanca' copyright have expired by now?
Copyright law in the US is so warped that I can't give you a straight answer that makes sense.
As it stands, everything has a limit of 95 years or so. Stuff from 1925 just entered public domain. So CASABLANCA should be out of copyright by... 2038.
To directly answer your question, yes, it should be, but isn't thanks to corporate lobbying efforts.
“Corporate lobbying efforts” aka Disney. They have singlehandedly changed the law thru lobbying 3 times now.. the mouse is a powerhouse
this is why i still sporadically sail the high seas
Plex my friend. Plex.
I used to go all the time, there was one a mile from my house and it actually lasted about a year or two longer than most blockbusters that were shutting down. I had a thing where I’d pay a monthly fee (can’t remember what it was) and I could swap out as many movies and games as I wanted. I actually first saw my favorite horror movie (an extremely violent French movie called Martyrs) for the first time by renting it from there. I’d heard about it but I still thought it was crazy that Blockbuster had it lol.
So interesting. In the early 2000s, we only got 5 free rentals per week as an employee. Luckily we didn’t have to do any overdue notice calls but I am certain our computer software was the same software you were using in the 90s.
I worked at Blockbuster and Hollywood video in the late 90s/early 2000s. As a result, I have seen damn near every movie that came out prior to 2006.
With that being the case, what are your thoughts on Gigli vs From Justin to Kelly? Did Justin Guarini just not have the acting chops to keep the audience engaged?
I miss it! I had a blast working there part-time. I loved bringing home the new releases before they were available for customers to rent. I felt like an insider with a hookup. I was also 17 so not a lot going on haha
I REALLY miss renting video games at blockbuster. Single player games that took like 20-25 hours to beat. I'd rent it for a week and finish the campaign and then get a new one. Such a great deal and I didn't have to drop 60$ to play brand new games and beat them. Boy do I miss it
I miss that too. Back before every game was loaded with DLC and 30Gb installs. You could just pop in a cartridge, spend the weekend playing through the game, and return it. No dropping $60 on a game that turned out to be garbage.
Yeah, I remember growing up my parents were divorced so I only got to see my dad every other weekend, and we used to always go by blockbuster and pick out a couple of games and snacks. My brother, my dad and I would then play the ever living crap out of the games and then two weeks later repeat the same process.
We also ended up doing that with gamefly several years down the line. But in retrospect when we stopped doing that I think it just stopped making financial sense to have a subscription for something like that when we were only able to use it for a few days a month.
Really makes me sad, thinking about all the time I know my dad was wishing he could spend with us. Now my wife is telling me she wants a divorce, and I'm afraid I'll be in the exact same boat with my two babies. Man life comes at you fast. Sorry to unload all that in a rando comment.
I miss it with every fiber of my being. I remember every Friday night going to Blockbuster, and for weeks on end, running to the new release "K" section looking for Kickboxer 3. And every week, for at least a month - might as well have been a decade to my eight year old mind - that damn movie was checked out.
Eventually, I figured out that I could call ahead and reserve it and then I watched that godawful movie a dozen times over three days. I then began calling every Friday, like clockwork, to reserve my must-see movies.
It's been closed for about 15 years now, and I still have the phone number memorized.
I once found a game that I’d rented out years prior buried in the bottom of my closet. Turned it in to the drop-off box and never went back.
Then they went out of business. Suck it, late fee!
In college my husband rented some DVDs of a tv show and never returned them. I kept nagging him to just buck up and take them back because the late fees would just get worse, and he needed to be responsible. Well, the video store went under and we still have those DVDs. Lesson really backfired lol.
I just loved overhearing people comment on movies.
"What about this movie, Shanghai noon, with Jackie Chan?"
"Ugh, no. I don't like foreign films."
"How about highlander 3?"
"Yeah, I heard that it was good."
"I don't want to think. Let's just rent the Mark Wahlberg movie."
Lol I was renting Primal fear for the zillionth time, I had been since I first rented and fell in love with Edward Norton and the movie. So I was obsessed and unable to find a copy to buy. And I heard someone mention American History X and how good it was... Lol. That's where I first heard of it and had to rent it. I rented everything I could with Edward Norton. I was like woah he's prolific.
I miss it. It was truly a family event. The whole family went down to the local video rental (we didn't have a Blockbuster). Dad picked out something for him, Mom picked out something for her, and we naturally got something heavily R-rated and Dad didn't care. Then we swung by McDonald's; if it was Tuesday, McD's had 29c hamburgers, and if it was Wednesday, they had 39c cheeseburgers. But the old standby, 20 pc McNuggets, were always there as a fallback on other days. We went home and setup our TV trays and we were in business. Also, the trailers mattered, because we didn't have Youtube, we still had 56K dialup so that wasn't happening. Once upon a time the annoying trailers at the beginning of a movie were our only way of knowing what movies are coming out.
My kids - now adults - still fondly remember when we would take them to Blockbuster, set them loose, and let them choose the movie that we’d watch that night - and the candy we’d eat while we watched it.
> the candy we’d eat while we watched it.
I swear they've changed the recipe to Buncha Crunch ever since they started selling it outside of just movie theaters and video rental stores. It used to be so addictively good, and now it's just okay.
I’m with you. My wife and I used to pop into blockbuster, pick out a bunch of movies, and have them watched in a couple of days. Now the selection is vast across multiple platforms in algorithm-run menus. Sometimes it’s more effort than it’s worth. Nowadays I only watch a movie if there’s something in particular I fancy watching.
If anyone misses this there is an extremely high likelihood that your local library has a fairly wide selection of DVDs you can take out for free.
I definitely miss it. I’m only 23 and so was still young when they started disappearing, but I have such fond memories of walking through the isles looking for a movie. And then at checkout convincing my mom to get one of those microwave popcorn buckets and snocaps lol I love streaming but it’s just not the same. Maybe it’s just cause I was a kid at the time, but going to Blockbuster felt like an event and I always looked forward to it.
My much older brother managed our local blockbuster back in the 90s, and I basically grew up there. I ended up working there for a couple of years circa 2010/11 until the store closed along with most of the company and honestly it was top 5 dopest job I've ever had. There was definitely a magic to a video store back then in the pre streaming era
Yes it was a fun activity and easier to find unknown movies that I didn’t know I even wanted to sees
To this day, Blockbuster was the best job I had in my teenage years/early 20’s.
Honestly, I think the biggest part I miss is the damn smell. Some thing about all that cardboard plastic, maybe whatever they clean the carpets with. Video game stores don’t have that smell nowadays, Best Buy doesn’t really have the smell. Give me a candle that smells like blockbuster.