The Death of The Video Store

The Chicago Tribune has a somber nostalgic article about what we’ll miss about the video rental stores, just as the rental retail business is about to completely die off.

It’s the kind of thing that made video stores vital to movie culture, said Issa Clubb, a producer at the Criterion Collection in New York, which for decades has churned out an intricately curated selection of high-end video releases of classics and underrated films. “The best (stores) were run by people who happily said, ‘You didn’t come for this, but try it.’ A film blog might offer that, but it’s a self-selected audience. Without video stores I wonder what happens to that naive customer, the one who can be prodded to the unfamiliar.”

I love the convenience of digital on demand, netflix and redbox, but I miss the days of walking down the isles of Video Paradise — browsing the interesting movies that I had never heard of before. There was something magical and exciting about picking a movie based only on the cover artwork and short description alone. This might sound a little hypocritical, especially coming from a guy who started and runs a website which is focused on media and information overload on any given film project. The man who ran the store would recommend great classics that I had not yet seen. I guess blogs and social networks have replaced this type of recommendation.

I miss those days, yet am writing this post while watching a television show I rented on iTunes. Netflix launched 13 years ago, which means some teenagers have never experienced renting movies at the video store, and probably never will. And those that did, probably only visited Blockbuster or Hollywood Video — both of which didn’t really attribute much in the way of nostalgia.

You can read the article on ChicagoTribune.com.

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