Video stores are being knocked down faster than Sonny Liston in his second match with Ali. Brutally and swiftly.
Recently, Blockbuster announced it is closing 300 stores and its mail service options for DVDs. It apparently couldn’t compete with the streaming video Goliath, Netflix.
Four of five of the Blockbusters here in Minnesota are closing, leaving
(oddly enough) the Bemidji store as the lone survivor.
I have not stepped in a video store to rent anything for about 9 years. With streaming services, Red Boxes (I always think about trying these, but I probably won’t) and so on, actually going to a store to rent something seems more of a chore than it needs to be. Plus when I had cable, there was so many options to choose from, along with how cheap it was to but a DVD (rent for $3 and face possible late fees versus buy for $3 and re-gift something you didn’t like. No brainer.)
But growing up, there was a sort of magic of going to these establishments. Being 13 and pestering the person behind the counter to allow you to rent an R rated film will now be a lost art.
There was also the aspect of renting a movie and having to actually sit through the thing whether you liked it or not (after all, you did pay money for the rental). These days it’s so easy to simply watch the first 10 minutes of a streaming flick, know you will not like it, and move on as fast as hitting a button. I grew up with having to watch, no matter how awful, the whole movie.
But it was through this trial by error that I found some pretty awesome flicks. The “Evil Dead” films I discovered by taking a chance (this was before the Internet made “word of mouth” cult classics available to everyone). “Clerks” and “Mallrats” were also found through this method. On the other hand, I did sit through some awful Z-Grade horror movies that even “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” couldn’t make tolerable.
I once sat through a horror movie about a killer refrigerator. And it was worse than it sounds.
But, like many avenues of old media, the Internet has hit these avenues like a hurricane. I worked in record stores for 10 years, and the hit from 1999 to 2001 were quite something. I imagine the same hit video stores once Netflix opened Pandora’s Box of streaming movies and television.
But maybe, just maybe, I will venture down to the lone Blockbuster in Minnesota and rent a flick.
Or probably not, considering I believe I still have late fees from the short-lived Blockbuster in St. Cloud.