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(Tech Crunch)   A eulogy to video store culture. "Except for possibly the toy store, no trips to a place of retail commerce inspired such joy and happiness for me growing up"   (techcrunch.com) divider line 47
    More: Sad, video rental, box art, hierarchy  
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1100 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Nov 2013 at 2:13 PM (38 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-07 01:59:33 PM
And of course the fabled "curtained-off area" for Adults Only. What was going on behind that curtain??? WHAAAT????
 
2013-11-07 02:18:01 PM
2.bp.blogspot.com

"It's just a matter of time before they replace all of us with robot claws that get things off shelves for customers."
 
2013-11-07 02:23:20 PM
www.digital-polyphony.com
 
2013-11-07 02:26:54 PM
i have no idea why but my memory of Clerks is of the movie being in color.
 
2013-11-07 02:27:56 PM
i1.mirror.co.uk
 
2013-11-07 02:30:29 PM
2.bp.blogspot.com

Still alive and well in Austin.    Amazing selection of foreign/indie/cult/art house.   Movies categorized by director and country of origin.    4 movies/5 nights/$5 on Tuesdays has provided my weekly entertainment for over a decade.
 
2013-11-07 02:32:51 PM
Of course Blockbuster killed off all the smaller video store rental places.
 
2013-11-07 02:34:44 PM

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: Of course Blockbuster killed off all the smaller video store rental places.


The smaller places had less selection, higher prices, and the same dumbass dropout working the register.
 
2013-11-07 02:36:13 PM

gopher321: And of course the fabled "curtained-off area" for Adults Only. What was going on behind that curtain??? WHAAAT????


A room of carnal delights.  Each box promised a new thrill, to awaken our deepest primal desire.  If only the tape inside the box had a tenth the quality that went into the cover art.  The curtained room was a metaphor for life, desire meet with disappointment.
 
2013-11-07 02:38:19 PM
Sure there is some nostalgia there, but people were more than happy to tell Blockbuster to fark off when they had another viable option and were already pissed off over ridiculous late fees (part of the business model).

/Remembers the Blockbuster Bowl (college football).
 
2013-11-07 02:47:52 PM
I happily transitioned to netflix years ago and switched again to redbox as soon as it showed up. Even if I were capable of feeling nostalgia it wouldn't be for the likes of the video rental store.
 
2013-11-07 02:48:45 PM
The video stores never did it for me but, going to the local western auto (this was in the mid-seventies) was the best thing ever!
 
2013-11-07 02:52:18 PM

Russ1642: Abe Vigoda's Ghost: Of course Blockbuster killed off all the smaller video store rental places.

The smaller places had less selection, higher prices, and the same dumbass dropout working the register.


The less selection I'll give you, but every mom and pop store I went to was cheaper than Blockbuster.

This topic was covered in a different thread yesterday (as a thread-jack as much as anything), but I loved the ability to go through a video store and browse.  Never knowing what might catch my eye, I was always certain to find something, even if it wasn't the movie I originally went to the store for.
 
2013-11-07 03:20:57 PM
i1.ytimg.com

". . . and a copy of Happy Scrappy Pup."
 
2013-11-07 03:30:43 PM

mjbok: Russ1642: Abe Vigoda's Ghost: Of course Blockbuster killed off all the smaller video store rental places.

The smaller places had less selection, higher prices, and the same dumbass dropout working the register.

The less selection I'll give you, but every mom and pop store I went to was cheaper than Blockbuster.

This topic was covered in a different thread yesterday (as a thread-jack as much as anything), but I loved the ability to go through a video store and browse.  Never knowing what might catch my eye, I was always certain to find something, even if it wasn't the movie I originally went to the store for.


This. They often did have an oddball assortment of tapes blockbuster wouldn't have though, mostly grade z horror films.
 
2013-11-07 03:39:48 PM
Finally tossed a couple boxes of old anime I had on VHS tapes this last move. At $35 a piece for 30 to 60 minute tapes, they were hard to throw away, but honestly I don't they would even play right even if I had a VCR anymore.
 
2013-11-07 03:41:15 PM
I too miss video stores. I like a lot of underground horror and foreign films which I'm unlikely to find in a redbox. I use Netflix streaming but it's bottom of the barrel with a few exceptions. I miss looking through the old horror section. The place I used to rent from had a 5 movies/5 nights/$5 deal on old movies. I saw a lot of good stuff that way.
 
2013-11-07 03:44:35 PM

Fano: This. They often did have an oddball assortment of tapes blockbuster wouldn't have though, mostly grade z horror films.


I never would have seen Microwave Massacre (totally misleading box) and Chopping Mall if it wasn't for my favorite mom and pop store.
 
2013-11-07 03:44:43 PM
That stirred up memories of me and my family, going in, splitting up and meeting later to edit and choose which we would take home.
Then later, my kids grabbing some asking, "Can we get this?"
Now, it's just Netflix whenever they want.
It's dumb, but, it was a fun time looking back.
 
2013-11-07 03:49:35 PM

gopher321: And of course the fabled "curtained-off area" for Adults Only. What was going on behind that curtain???


Everybody's hugging!
 
2013-11-07 03:53:44 PM
I worked in a mom and pop video store.  Clerks was obviously a favorite.  My girlfriend never killed a guy in the bathroom though.
 
2013-11-07 03:55:46 PM
When I was in high school, a local video store had a SNES, a Sega Genesis and a Sega 32x in the back of the store and rented games 15 minutes for 50 cents. When we hurried enough, we could fit in three rentals in a lunch break.

What I remember the most about this period, though, is that the systems were right on the other side of one of the adult section's shelves. Since it wasn't a solid shelf, our view was instead blocked by a piece of fabric which was merely velcroed to the wall. Needless to say, the employee frequently had to reattach the fabric to the wall, while we tried to avoid eye contact and to have a "I have no idea how that came off" look on our faces...
 
2013-11-07 04:08:18 PM
 
2013-11-07 04:18:19 PM
i114.photobucket.com
Hope to corner this emerging market of video stores.
 
2013-11-07 04:22:11 PM

wildcardjack: [2.bp.blogspot.com image 850x594]

"It's just a matter of time before they replace all of us with robot claws that get things off shelves for customers."


RedBox?
 
2013-11-07 04:24:26 PM

mjbok: Fano: This. They often did have an oddball assortment of tapes blockbuster wouldn't have though, mostly grade z horror films.

I never would have seen Microwave Massacre (totally misleading box) and Chopping Mall if it wasn't for my favorite mom and pop store.


I now know two people who have seen Microwave Massacre. The other is me
 
2013-11-07 04:39:33 PM
Mom and pop stores had a deeper selection and were less about the newest releases. They had a very different business model and customer. But Blockbuster still viewed them as a threat.
 
2013-11-07 04:43:46 PM

rikkards: mjbok: Fano: This. They often did have an oddball assortment of tapes blockbuster wouldn't have though, mostly grade z horror films.

I never would have seen Microwave Massacre (totally misleading box) and Chopping Mall if it wasn't for my favorite mom and pop store.

I now know two people who have seen Microwave Massacre. The other is me


What did you have to eat?

Peking chick.

You mean Peking duck?

No, Peking chick.
 
2013-11-07 04:46:17 PM
My favorite place growing up was the buggy whip store.
 
2013-11-07 05:27:43 PM
I loved them growing up. Recently, as I saw around two blockbusters a year fail around me, I would always make it a point to go in there and buy some stuff at like 75% off. Rekindled the feeling of copious overwhelming selection, and prior to Internet days, the excitement if reading every box and weeding out the crap for what might be a hidden gem.
 
2013-11-07 05:35:10 PM

eltejon: Mom and pop stores had a deeper selection and were less about the newest releases. They had a very different business model and customer. But Blockbuster still viewed them as a threat.


This.  Mom and pop stores were fun to browse for obscure or older things.  Blockbuster (especially in the later years) was like 85-90% new releases and then maybe a row of shelves with "catalog" titles.

And Blockbuster never seemed to want to try new things or innovate, really.  I remember thinking that, at least in places where the population density might support it, they ought to set up an inter-store system whereby you could return a video at any location (for example), but the rental experience from BB shortly before they closed was remarkably similar to the rental experience when the chain first showed up.
 
2013-11-07 05:39:12 PM
I worked in a local video store for 4 years when i was a teenager, and absolutely loved it. Saw all the movies i could ever want and got to talk about movies all day.

Now i can't stand movies at all, but that's just because movies today are formulaic garbage. Back then it was beginning to go that way, but now it seems to be the rule. The only bad movies now are ones that screw up the formula. They aren't even trying new things. Just trying to copy previous successes.
 
2013-11-07 05:51:36 PM

J. Frank Parnell: Now i can't stand movies at all, but that's just because movies today are formulaic garbage


There are tons of movies being made every year that aren't the big blockbusters you know. I find it hard to believe you can't find a current movie that you could enjoy. Are you just not looking?
 
2013-11-07 06:04:31 PM

cheer: Blockbuster (especially in the later years) was like 85-90% new releases and then maybe a row of shelves with "catalog" titles.


Plus a movie was considered a new release for what seemed like a decade.

J. Frank Parnell: I worked in a local video store for 4 years when i was a teenager, and absolutely loved it. Saw all the movies i could ever want and got to talk about movies all day.

Now i can't stand movies at all, but that's just because movies today are formulaic garbage. Back then it was beginning to go that way, but now it seems to be the rule. The only bad movies now are ones that screw up the formula. They aren't even trying new things. Just trying to copy previous successes.


Just curious when you were working in a video store.  A lot of the stuff I loved as a teen is absolute garbage without the nostalgia filter.  Given that video rental didn't really take off until the mid 80's it would probably be 87ish?  If so, films were already shiat by then.
 
2013-11-07 06:14:09 PM

cheer: And Blockbuster never seemed to want to try new things or innovate, really.


Yep, maybe the fall of Blockbuster was inevitable, but the fact that they never tried to be anything more than a brick and mortar RedBox certainly helped RedBox make them obsolete faster.    Nothing but the lowest common denominator mainstream selection.   Absolutely no catering to niche markets.   Absolutely no attempt to value-add or personalize the experience for the customer.   Absolutely awful customer service.
 
2013-11-07 06:26:11 PM

InmanRoshi: cheer: And Blockbuster never seemed to want to try new things or innovate, really.

Yep, maybe the fall of Blockbuster was inevitable, but the fact that they never tried to be anything more than a brick and mortar RedBox certainly helped RedBox make them obsolete faster.    Nothing but the lowest common denominator mainstream selection.   Absolutely no catering to niche markets.   Absolutely no attempt to value-add or personalize the experience for the customer.   Absolutely awful customer service.


Exactly.  At best, they were reactive.  When Hollywood Video got rid of late fees, BB eventually followed suit.

Another example: when Netflix came around, BB launched their own version (which wasn't as good because they didn't have as many distribution centers, so depending on where you lived you might not get the movies as quickly).

They did then try something cool: a monthly-fee service for a few bucks more than Netflix that also included a one-at-the-time video store rental (in addition to the two you got from the mail order).  I actually signed up for this for a while, because you could run back and forth to the store whenever you wanted to exchange your movie.

Was great if you wanted to spend a few days ripping stuff.  And clearly the store employees knew what I was up to, but they didn't give a sh*t.  :)  Anyway, that particular plan didn't last very long.
 
2013-11-07 06:30:59 PM
I know who can deliver the eulogy.

i1.ytimg.com
 
2013-11-07 06:33:00 PM

jpat: I worked in a mom and pop video store.  Clerks was obviously a favorite.  My girlfriend never killed a guy in the bathroom though.


You're girlfriend might of farked a dead guy in the bathroom though, since that's what happened. :-P
 
2013-11-07 06:49:47 PM

InmanRoshi: [2.bp.blogspot.com image 200x200]

Still alive and well in Austin.    Amazing selection of foreign/indie/cult/art house.   Movies categorized by director and country of origin.    4 movies/5 nights/$5 on Tuesdays has provided my weekly entertainment for over a decade.


That's because Vulcan caters to hipsters. I've been in a few times. Their selection is both massive and bizarrely crippled. 


In the meantime,  "Except for possibly the toy store, no trips to a place of retail commerce inspired such joy and happiness for me growing up" 

How boring was Your childhood? It seems the only entertainment you ever achieved was being in a retail environment... One-horse town?
 
2013-11-07 06:58:16 PM

Confabulat: There are tons of movies being made every year that aren't the big blockbusters you know. I find it hard to believe you can't find a current movie that you could enjoy. Are you just not looking?


The ones i see being heralded as the best at most festivals for indie films i'm also not very interested in. I'm not sure where else to look.

And it's not that i don't enjoy any modern movies. They're designed to be enjoyable for as many humans as possible so it's nearly impossible to not enjoy them when the formula is done correctly, but i feel like they've tricked me after. They lack any real substance, and are just mindless entertainment. So that's why i don't waste my time on them and consider them garbage. With enough drugs in me i could probably sit in front of a screen and just watch primary colors and shapes float around and be amused, but it would be empty and hollow.

mjbok: Just curious when you were working in a video store. A lot of the stuff I loved as a teen is absolute garbage without the nostalgia filter. Given that video rental didn't really take off until the mid 80's it would probably be 87ish? If so, films were already shiat by then.


Mid to late 90's. When i started i wasn't nearly as judgmental, and went with whatever hype was going at the time. If a movie was a blockbuster i probably liked it too. But over the years it slowly crept in, as i saw how the same plot mechanics were used time and time again to elicit the same response in an audience, and most movies become predictable and cliche when you pick up on those tricks and patterns. But near the end of my time there i was suggesting Gummo to people out of spite. Which is a really good movie, but completely flies in the face of everything people might expect, or want. Also enjoy Harmony Korine's other stuff, but haven't seen Spring Breakers yet, because it doesn't look like anything else he's done. Pi would be another more recent movie i liked, and Momento. So there are occasional ones, but for the most part i really am becoming increasingly despondent with the movie industry as those gems become rarer and rarer. Even the 80's weren't so bad, really. There was still this strong desire to do something new and different which various directors had. Now practically everyone, including indie directors, is afraid to do anything different because new directors might be labeled bad, and established directors might not make as much money, so everyone is just reusing and rehashing, or rebooting, things that worked before.
 
2013-11-07 08:46:53 PM

smoky2010: The video stores never did it for me but, going to the local western auto (this was in the mid-seventies) was the best thing ever!


Those were cool stores. Combination hardware/notions/knickknacks and of course GUNS!
 
2013-11-07 10:16:53 PM
Worked my way through college in the late 80's in a video store (Erol's FTW), so getting a kick

/company policy was we could only show rated G or pre MPAA rating movies - probably got a master's degree in film history worth of knowledge
//goddam was it fun explaining widescreen to slackjaws when Lawrence of Arabia spec ed was released
///"yeah, whatever. It's broke, I want my money back!"
 
2013-11-07 10:31:04 PM
Now there will be no jerk-ass punk video store employees who will claim that you owe the store for a video you had returned weeks ago (yet never, ever tried to phone you once), but they either were too lazy to log it back in or deliberately "misplaced" it so they can try to extort money from you.


Yeah. Wonderful days indeed, Subby.
 
2013-11-08 12:41:11 AM
Came for the Clerks references, leaving satisfied.

/weirdly enough, I recall reading a long time ago that Clerks was one of the most-stolen movies from video stores, which is bizarrely fitting
 
2013-11-08 02:03:48 AM

Strolpol: weirdly enough, I recall reading a long time ago that Clerks was one of the most-stolen movies from video stores, which is bizarrely fitting


Slacker culture was big in the 90's.
 
2013-11-08 05:37:05 AM

InmanRoshi: [2.bp.blogspot.com image 200x200]

Still alive and well in Austin.    Amazing selection of foreign/indie/cult/art house.   Movies categorized by director and country of origin.    4 movies/5 nights/$5 on Tuesdays has provided my weekly entertainment for over a decade.


The need one further south (or an i love video); there is/was a blockbuster on wm. cannon, but vulcan and i love have better selection
 
2013-11-08 09:48:07 PM
I cant believe that blockbuster is gone... I spent a good portion of my childhood there checking out NES video games and playing the SNES in the corner... and then the playstation came out OMG!!!!   Blockbuster is also the first store I ever thew up in...  That particular store is now a subway.  Eat fresh.
 
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