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Blockbuster stores closing: Ode to a fallen icon (sort of)

November 06, 2013|By Steven Zeitchik
  • A shuttered Blockbuster Video store in Los Angeles.
A shuttered Blockbuster Video store in Los Angeles. (Getty Images )

While Blockbuster’s announcement that it will close its remaining retail stores may cause little weeping among those who long ago moved on to streaming and other types of those, you know, technology things, there’s something a little sad about this final reminder that the video store has gone the way of the milk man and Nicolas Cage's career.

Back in the day, there was something appealing, if not quite romantic, about browsing video store shelves late at night, spotting that new find because an overeducated/underemployed store staffer recommended it, or perhaps coming across that old Andy Garcia movie that reminds you of why you broke up with her in the first place. Discovery happens online all the time, but as rental-company metrics make everything more accurate, more personal, more targeted, the sheerly serendipitous stumble-upon is just a little less common.

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Video-store geekery of course played a big role in moviemaking too. Quentin Tarantino might never have become a filmmaker, or at least a filmmaker who cribbed all those influences, had he not spent his early days in that Manhattan Beach Video Archives. (Incidentally, "The Butler" screenwriter Danny Strong and the guy who created "Cops" also were in there a lot.)

And it did give us the setting and/or premise for a range of movies, most notably Michel Gondry’s “Be Kind Rewind” a few years back.

Finally, who can forget the Patton Oswalt video-store cameo on "Seinfeld," which if you in fact remembered without having to look up, you really should get out of the house and go somewhere more often. Not to a video store, though.


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