Nostalgia is entirely based on when in your life something happened and not at all on the relative merits of the experience. I'm sure we'll be waxing nostalgic about streaming movies in the good old days when we're spending all our time having government satellites directly stimulate our pleasure centers with microwaves.
"Back in my day..."
Back in my day, we didn't start complaining about shit that happened back in our day until we were AT LEAST 28 years old.
shit, i better start complaining.
We would get movies every Saturday night. I always liked to wander around in the horror section and get scared by the covers. Ghoulies in particular. I have still never seen Ghoulies.
Ignore them, see Ghoulies as soon as possible.
I am sad that all those jobs disappeared. It wasn't a bad gig for a a kid to have, given the options. I am not sad that video stores are gone though. They never had what I wanted and their entire profit margin was based on fining people, which is shitty. There was a small video store in Seattle that made over 0,000 a year, almost all of it from fines. Fuck that.
Counterpoint: hefty fines only applied to the dipshits who kept you from watching the movies you wanted because they kept it checked out for weeks. Fines are what lets stores get away with charge a dollar per night. People who can be bothered to return them got to watch cool movies for a dollar each. Assholes who kept them checked out paid fines.
Good. They were what ruined the whole rental experience. Fuck em, gouge em, and gimme my all nighter marathon selection for .
Fines first sustained and then destroyed the video store industry. Blockbuster's profit margins were such that without the extra revenue from fines, they wouldn't be able to operate in smaller markets, which is where the majority of their stores were at their peak. Customers put up with it because there was no alternative.
Until, of course, there was. When Netflix first came along, their main advertising push wasn't "look at all these movies," or "now you don't have to leave the house, we'll mail your DVD to you." It was, "NO LATE FEES EVER."
I worked at Blockbuster for quite a while starting in high school, and the customer attitude toward fees changed overnight. For years people who didn't want to pay had insisted their movies weren't turned in late. Suddenly, this changed to them questioning the concept of late fees themselves. They didn't dispute that their movie was late, they simply objected to the fee existing at all. Inevitably Netflix's name would come up in these arguments.
Blockbuster might have survived if it had refocused on making the place seem welcoming and emphasizing the human touch Netflix can't provide. Instead, it implemented a policy that required clerks to speak to every single customer the same way. We were required to follow the same script with newcomers, with regulars who came in every day, or even friends. It was intended to speed up or eliminate the line to the register. And it did, because nothing eliminates a line like having no fucking customers in your store.
Fuck Blockbuster and their shallow selection of middle of the road garbage and their censorship, they'd already killed most of the good video stores years before Netflix came along.
Remember back when video cameras were expensive, youtube wasn't available for instantaneous distribution, and hipster douches didn't think they were the next great documentarian? Those were the days.
What is it about shitty ukulele playing that just primes me to rip someone's ridiculous bushy beard off their smug, horn-rimmed bespectacled face?
Capn, this is pretty much what I was going to say. The ukelele soundtrack for everything these days is sickening.
I live a block from a video store I've been visiting since I was 7 years old and I still go there sometimes when I can't find a torrent of the movie I want to watch. As the bigger chains have disappeared, the small places with large stock and cult flicks stick around, buoyed by loyal customers. It also helps to be located in a walkable neighborhood.
So don't lament their death just yet.
I meant to 4-star this, but I guess 5 stars for the store, then.
Interestingly, Blockbuster was invested in both streaming and kiosk rental (ala Redbox) technologies before the companies that ultimately took them down. For some reason they decided to focus on retail, and we all know how that worked out for them.
My favorite part was how once Netflix's mail order service had them firmly in a choke hold, their last gasp was to roll out a mail service of their own, even as their stores were shutting down in droves.
I am certain that I am older than the people who made this video, and the idea that anyone could feel nostalgic for limited selection, inconvenience, late fees, and employees who were either totally apathetic or snooty, is completely baffling to me.
I guess it's the same thrill of stumbling across something great you weren't expecting in a music store.
There was a little sense of adventure browsing through the videos and picking something weird based solely on the cover and box blurb. But yeah that was far outweighed by the inconveniences.
Local video stores were still going strong in L.A. back in 2008. Cool little independent stores that would have one copy of any movie you could think of, including independents and foreign flicks, along with the owner who could tell you about all of them. Plus they only charged a dollar a night.
I think Blockbuster could have held on a couple more years if it wasn't for their ridiculous policies and pricing. to rent a movie, but you get to keep it for a whole week! Why the fuck would I want it a whole week? Games were something like for five days. Then when you went to checkout you got the clerks hassling you with upsell attempts of Radioshack/Gamestop proportions.
The mandatory week rental and clerk hassle was what made me switch over to Netflix. If it wasn't for that, I would have stuck with stores at least until streaming really took off. Driving to a store and getting it THAT NIGHT was preferable to waiting weeks until netflix eventually got around to mailing you a scratched DVD.
Blockbuster's bigwigs were convinced that retail was here to stay. They figured that rent-by-mail outfits like Netflix were only for hardcore movie geeks who rented 10 movies a week. Blockbuster was certain that their core suburban family demo would never abandon the brick-and-mortar stores. Their conclusion was that Netflix's model was "confusing" and "too complicated" for anyone who wasn't a movie geek.
Pretty much every Blockbuster policy I can remember was based on the guiding principal of "Our customers are barely-functional morons." I love that that attitude finally came back to destroy them.
|Binro the Heretic |
I miss the ritual of movie night. It was the 1980s teen equivalent of a Japanese tea ceremony.
Going to the video store was the key part of the ceremony. Finding a copy of the new release everyone wanted to see in stock was instantly uplifting. It was like the gods of cinema had smiled on us. Even if the movie turned out to be awful, we felt special. We had acquired a rare and special treasure.
If a new release wasn't available, an intense debate would begin. We would each grab two or three movies. Maybe we had seen them before, maybe we hadn't. We would all argue the various merits of our choices. Finally, we would end up with one or two tapes we all agreed on.
Then we stopped for food. We never ever decided beforehand where we would go. It was always decided after we left the video store and it was never decided easily.
The place where we ultimately watched the movies was always determined before the evening began. We usually followed a regular cycle, but some members of our little circle either didn't have VCRs or didn't have parents who would tolerate a house full of pimply kids scarfing down junk food and watching movies on their couch.
Of course, it's not the video stores themselves I miss. It's the friends and the ritual.
Yes, I also miss having friends.
I think there have been developments both postiive and negative in regards to the unprecedented level of access to material that we have today, especially in regards to the more cult or more esoteric or more obscure films and other works, in some cases films you'd have to hunt several rental stores for before maybe stumbling a copy tucked in the back shelves or stumble across some dealer's mail-order catalog or shell out for a grainy 4th generation bootleg VHS tape back in 1992 and so on and so forth. The thrill of the hunt for this material often faded, especially in those situations when it almost inevitably led to a profound sense of letdown when one's built up expectations collided head on with the actual quality of your film Grail-of-the-month.
I believe it's great that just minutes after reading about bout some obscure film, album, book, etc, access to it is often just a few mouse clicks away thanks to the power of the Internet. The problem with that is that having all this access to so much of the material means a lot of it languishes on hard drives and Netflix queues, never to actually be enjoyed as it gets backlogged up. These days we truly are spoiled for choice and it doesnít help that a lot of the stuff really isnít worth the time and effort to watch.
|Monkey Napoleon |
I dunno hipster dude, I kinda like what we have going now. The modern video store is just a kiosk outside the convenience store where milfs in yoga pants and slippers are too busy browsing the selection to notice that you haven't gotten out of your car and are staring at their ass.
Oh yeah, and also I can download unlimited movies in HD, for free, faster than I can watch them. Often before they're actually released in HD format.
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