The life of a Gen X movie nerd SUCKs without Blockbuster and its myriad competitors of the 1990s. Netflix is clever, but there was something great being able to just roll over to Blockbuster, Hollywood Movies, Erol’s, or Bill Ross Video (my first experience in video rental) and grabbing a flick.
To the younger, instant gratification spoiled, millennial generation, you have no idea how wonderfully social a trip to Blockbuster was. There was an art to visiting the store. An art which has sadly been lost with repeating “dude I know you’re there pickup.”
At the video store you immediately scanned the new releases. In the REALLY old days this was done with heads tilted at a 30 degree angle in order to read the vertical titles. Next up, we would enter into negotiations that would rival Middle East Peace talks with your fellow traveler(s). The subject would be over what to get when they were all out of copies of Seven or American Beauty or Usual Suspects.
This conversation happened a hundred times in every video store every Friday and Saturday night.
You – “How about this one?”
Them – “Fuck no!”
Them – “This?”
You – “I heard that sucked.”
Twenty minutes later, the third person in your group “can we just pick something?”
You and the first person – “Shut up, we’re still looking.”
The Baby-boomers had the miserable experience of doing all of this with the indecisiveness of children. Now that I have kids I can see that would have really sucked.
I like the convenience of Redbox, but not the selection. Redbox is cheap which is good.
I like the instant gratification of on-demand movies, but they are a little pricey and like Redbox their selection sucks. If I want to watch Dr. Strangelove or the Maltese Falcon I have to own them or pay 8.99 a month to Netflix and wait 2 days for them to show up, fuck that.
Going to the video store with friends was one of the last great social situations that required “in person” negotiating. There was tweeting, no texting, no Facebookery to decide on the alternative movie(s). This is for millennials – YOU HAD TO TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS IN PERSON TO WORK THINGS OUT. Crazy right?
I decided to reminisce about all of this after seeing the Trailers from Hell Kickstarter campaign. If I had cash I’d back these guys. Please check them out and give them some love if you can.