Monday, November 11, 2013
Blockbuster's Last Store Closes: Thoughts
The last movie to be rented, in the last Blockbuster franchise open, was "This is the End". Fitting isn't it.
I think they had a pretty good run. Let's take a quick trip down memory lane, explore the awesome things I remember about our popular rental store in a pros and cons(?) mash-up.
God, where to start. I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere Vermont, that had no Blockbuster franchise available. Not that I could not watch the commercials on Sci-fi, and dream about the ultimate selection of games and movies available for just a few measly dollars. I shortly thereafter moved to Florida.
It was a production really. My father would announce we are going out to eat or get ice cream at Ben & Jerry's down the street, and hit the Blockbuster and pick up some movies after dinner. He never really cared about how many movies or games, or combination of both that I picked up, and he even let me grab some candy and soda to take with me. To complete a really good night you had to finish up at Blockbuster.
When we got home it would be a movie night. My parents would sit in front of the big TV in the living room, while I would go and park in front of the smaller one in my bedroom and watch the crappy movies I just rented. I was never interested in mainstream movies, so I always rented the worst B movies- sandals and sorcerer flicks I could get my hands on. Real crap.
Deathstalker was the best kind of shit there was to watch. There was at least four of them I can remember without doing research. There was nudity. Sometimes the main character was the same, sometimes not. More nudity, and extreme violence. My parents would ask me what I rented, and I would always tell them something like, "The Secret Garden", or "Drop Dead Fred". Old movies at the Blockbuster by my house were $1.00 for three days. Three days! What a deal.
Other local rental places were popular in pockets around town. One particular rental establishment was called Prime Time Video, and honestly, was much better than your average Blockbuster rental store. Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures or video of Prime Time Video, as it closed several years ago. They had a Game Trader section where you can sell your old games and get a new one for a decent price. Popcorn was free, and they had arcade machines and vending machine all over the place. Movies played on TVs around the store and you could test any video game you want to buy on one of their provided consoles in the game area. They were the only place I ever went to that had rare, obscure and PC games for sale and for rent in the same place. Prime Time Video: A relic of the past that will be missed.
I will conclude this drunken rant with the following: Don't forget the rental places that first introduced you to certain movies and video games. Before Netflix and Google existed, you had to read the back of the box to make a choice of what you wanted to watch. God help me I can remember the carpet at Camelot Video in Cape Coral had special carpet that glowed under blacklight, and had movie-film-popcorn pattern to it.