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Desc:Not gonna lie, I'd still rent from Blockbuster if it hadn't gone out of business down here.
Category:Business, Educational
Tags:Alaska, blockbuster, physical media, Luddites
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Comment count is 21
Maggot Brain - 2017-11-02
It's sad to think that the video store never got the same second act that record stores were given.
Mister Yuck - 2017-11-02
Don't count them out just yet, some new independent places have popped up in the hipster neighborhoods of Chicago. I'm sure it's happening in other cities.

infinite zest - 2017-11-02
The "Big Box" video stores like Blockbuster, Hollywood, and smaller chains like Videorama are all pretty much dead but I see hope for the indie ones. If you took one film class in college, then you know that you'll probably see maybe two of the films you ever studied pop up on ANY of the streaming services, including services for movie-specific broadcasting corporations like HBOGo and Snowtime Anytime. And if you're about to say "ooh but Pulp Fiction" or maybe a recent Best Picture Nominee, then you had a pretty shitty film teacher, just saying. The idea of "renting" from Amazon.com or waiting around a few days for oldschool Netflix to deliver sounds like less fun than taking a walk down to the video store, and certainly less illegal than bittorrenting, which everybody already knows how to do.

Adjuvant - 2017-11-02
IZ: Have you checked out Kanpoy? It's a streaming video site for art films, indie films, foreign films, and documentaries. They host a lot of the Criterion Collection movies. I never took any film classes in college, but it certainly looks like a lot of proper film class curriculum movies could be found on that site. The university I work at offers the service free through the library and I'll bet a lot of other libraries would, too.

With regards to this video, I really do miss video stores. I remember my distaste for Blockbuster (especially the mysterious "late fees" that would show up when you were checking out, but the minute you asked them which movie you had returned late and when, the fee would magically disappear), but Hollywood video wasn't bad and the Video Hut in Iowa City totally ruled. I wish I could still just browse a store and pick a movie off the shelf sometimes.

That guy - 2017-11-02
mubi (curates about 30 movies at a time)

infinite zest - 2017-11-02
Ah thanks! As soon as I wrote that I realized I was thinking only about the Hulus and Netflixes: As a side-note I originally signed up for Hulu because they actually used to have the Criterion Collection, but I should've figured SOMETHING was out there.. good to know!

fedex - 2017-11-03
Cinefile is still going strong here in LA on the corner of Sawtelle and SanMoB

That guy - 2017-11-03
fedex, we should beer sometime!

Gaseous_Planet - 2017-11-04
I was really sad when they closed the I Love Video that was close to my house in Austin a couple years ago, but at least one of the branches stayed open. Then again, most of the cool things are getting shut down in Austin, so it might not really be Netflix's fault.

Old_Zircon - 2017-11-02
Blockbuster was the most shit video store and were already killing video stores by driving all of the independent places and regional chains that had deeper collections out of business, long before the Internet showed up and twisted the knife. Even West Coast Video was better than Blockbuster. This is like a Chipolte becoming a tourist attraction for its authentic Mexican cuisine.

5 for evil.
betamaxed - 2017-11-02
Agree, OZ. Blockbuster was the wal-mart of video stores and no one should feel nostalgic for this bullshit.

The world needs more casa videos and scarecrows



Old_Zircon - 2017-11-02
I wish Video Oasis was still around in Cambridge. 50,000 VHS titles, specializing in out of print and obscure stuff.

StanleyPain - 2017-11-02
Blockbuster was run by fundamentalist assholes who funneled money illegally to political candidates and not-illegally to a variety of disgusting organizations. When Texas tried to actually criminalize owning or watching certain movies, Blockbuster turned over their customer list and what they had rented.

There is a nostalgia for the video store age....but fuck Blockbuster.
somedongus - 2017-11-02
I moved to Dallas way back when and was horrified to find that Blockbuster was the only game in town for rentals. I couldn't believe that a city that was literally 50 times larger than the one I moved from had zero other options. Their selection was such shit and crazy expensive to boot. Remember DVD season sets? At ~$4.99 per disc rental you'd still end up paying like $40 to rent a single season. Granted they were like $150+ back then but still. My solution was to massively abuse the then generous return policy that the Costco had, buy a season set, watch it and return it no questions asked.

I hope Blockbuster is sucking cocks in Hell.
sasazuka - 2017-11-02
I'm not saying Blockbuster was the ideal place to rent movies from but I kind of like that it had every recent wide-release movie and a good number of niche and classic films under one roof.

I have Netflix but I can only watch some recent wide-release movie and almost no classic movies. Some movies are only on competing services to Netflix, other movies are simply not available by legal streaming in Canada. I know Filmstruck and TCM online sorta like Netflix for classic movies, but, again, not available in Canada.

Streaming makes economical sense as a replacement for brick-and-mortar video stores if I could get it all on one service, but it gets expensive very quickly if I have to subscribe to many different services just to get a fraction of what I could rent at any Blockbuster. I get Netflix now because it has some of what I want to watch in every category (movies, original TV shows, broadcast TV shows, and anime) but if I had only subscribed to Netflix for movies, I'd be very disappointed.
Old_Zircon - 2017-11-02
"every recent wide-release movie"


"a good number of niche and classic films under one roof."

Not even close. Absolutely horrible back catalog, could never find anything. They were physically the biggest place in town (well, after Photo Graphics, which was bigger) and had the least selection by a huge margin.

I lived in a pretty small town, too, something like 90,000 people, but we had three independent video stores within half a mile of Blockbuster that all had better selections and a fourth I never really went in that probably did too.

sasazuka - 2017-11-03
Maybe the average Canadian Blockbuster was better than the average U.S. Blockbuster for older & niche movies? I was able to rent most of what I wanted to see as long as it wasn't too obscure.

sasazuka - 2017-11-03
By "niche movies". I mean the more mainstream side of "niche", of course. Stuff that played at major festivals and the arthouse circuit in North America. I rented a decent amount of foreign movies from Blockbuster but obviously a suburban video outlet's not going to get nearly every domestically-released-on-home-video foreign film, especially if it was made outside of a handful of European and East Asian countries.

Nominal - 2017-11-03
Blockbuster was indeed absolute shit for movies. Their videogame selection however was great.

My problem with them was their shit policies. They started trying to bilk you with ridiculously long minimum rental lengths. $7 to rent a movie ($10 for a game), but you get to keep it for an entire week! Fuck dude, I'm renting BECAUSE I don't want to make a fucking consumer commitment. Nobody needs to rent a movie for a week, and most people only rent good but short games you don't need a week to beat or as a get together event like a party or sleepover, neither of which need a week.
Nominal - 2017-11-03
Oh, and also at the same time, they started with their aggressive upsell pitches that almost rivaled Gamestop. Play twenty questions at every checkout trying to sign you up for stuff, sell more shit, or push bulk rentals. It got to the point where if I was even slightly on the fence about renting something, I wouldn't bother at all because I didn't want to go through the fucking checkout hassle. Same exact thing that drove me away from ever setting foot in Gamestop or Radio Shack.

Why do clueless executives still think those policies increase revenue?

Nominal - 2017-11-03
Also how funny is it that the Onion video on Blockbuster went from making fun of an out of touch national monopoly to the complete unadulterated truth in such short a time?


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