By NinjaTard 4 Comments
Ok, alright I get it, digital downloads and crap are the way of the future and I have to change with it or get outta the way.
Look, thing is that when I was a wee lad the video store was a magical wonderland! My pops would take me in on a Friday afternoon on the way home from school and we could browse and discover new things that looked cool to take home for the weekend. For me the video store wasn't a place to go so you could get "insert title here", although some days we would stop by to see if anyone returned it since it was out of stock last time. The sense of discovery and surprise was the biggest draw for me as I grew into the movie nut I am today. Not to mention video game rentals! My brother and I never had much money as children and $40-$50 was an outrageous price (according to my parents) for electronic games. Trying the games out during summer break or lazy weekends when our homework was done enabled us to make sure we got the best games when birthdays or Christmas rolled around.
It's not that I don't understand why video stores are dead (unless you count Blockbuster but word I hear is that things aren't good with them either). Late fees were a way for rental places to make cash when the movie wasn't in stock and the system just grew more corrupt in the 90s/00s. Likely the big complaint people will bring up is the availability of things: "They never have the one I want cause it's all rented out". That's true and it sucks, I was disappointed when "Ghostbuster 2" was all checked out the week after it came out, but it's part of what made you feel so awesome when it finally WAS in stock and when it wasn't there you just found something else. Braving the wild shelves of Bradley Video back in Campbell, CA I discovered some of my favorite movies and some crazy stuff that I would never have believed existed: "Empire Records" was never promoted that I saw and if I had to rely on Netflix or Xbox Marketplace for my rentals I would never have found that movie, "Captain America" in Italian is so bonkers weird that there is no way that would have come up via digitial or mail services unless the new Captain America came out and they lumped them together.
There will always be people to inform the next generation of "Star Wars" and 80s horror pre-remake "Nightmare on Elm Street" or "Friday The 13th" but who is going to watch out for making sure the next generations know about "Universal Soldier", "Spaced Invaders", "Bebe's Kids", "Leprechaun" before he became a thug-rapper in da hood, and other forgotten gems? It's literally one of the saddest things I can imagine, a sterile environment where you browse movies by clicking hyperlinks on a website or pushing onscreen buttons via the rental box at the grocery store. Only able to see what the hottest titles are or a small selection of "classic" library titles. Some of the films I am talking about will be there but not all of them and so I dramatically proclaim that the death of video stores is the death of 3rd rate entertainment. We consume what "the man" tells us to consume from here on out.
In honor of the death of a great and mighty piece of who I grew up to be I raise my glass to Hollywood Video. You may have been #2 to the world and I may not have rented from you exclusively but you contributed to the man I became, to the men and women that others became, and sadly you will have to trust that tomorrow's movie nuts will be educated enough in your back catalogue by the old school.
Rest in Peace H-Wood