08 November, 2013

Blockbuster Memories - Final Thoughts and Further Analysis

I share more final thoughts about the shuttering of Ol' Blue & Yellow, why I'm so passionate about something I left so long ago, and send you to further online writings about the end of a business and an era. 

The news of Blockbuster closing really touched on something I've been feeling, enough to the point that I dusted off this old blog and wrote about its impact on me yesterday. This lead to some excellent, thoughtful and progressive conversations with my friends, and many other writers I admire and respect came out to share their stories. These stories have reflected the heterogeneity of experiences that emerged from an oddly homogeneous source. Some will remember the good side of Blockbuster, while others will gladly kick its ashes as it burns and fades like so many other companies that steamrolled over local businesses, only to find that it couldn't keep up with the times. 

The more time I've had to reflect on it, the more I agree with my friends about how having a physical product in my hand and a certain set of limitations just added to the romance of the time. Netflix came along and gave me everything I could want in terms of convenience, but there is a sick and twisted beauty in the struggle of locating certain media. I no longer frequent so many record stores to find LPs when I have so many, but I also don't listen to as much new music, nor do I feel as passionate about more recent music. 

I used to think that Blockbuster was a faulty company because it couldn't meet my wants or needs from a company. Even if I loved its knowledgeable staff (when I enountered any), I loathed its practices and its elimination or acquisition of smaller competition. Make no mistake, there were indeed problems with Blockbuster, problems that the company never truly addressed until it was far too late.

But my friends were also absolutely right: Blockbuster wasn't just for me, it was for a majority of people that wanted ease and convenience. I do hate the idea that future generations may not have access to video stores to peruse and start conversations about movies. Then again, my friends bonded with me through various ways that my parents and grandparents didn't have; we didn't need to play hooky and drink chocolate phosphates at the local malt shop to bond. 

Ultimately, what's driving my current thoughts about Blockbuster and the shuttering of its stores are two things:

1). It really is sad that 2,800 employees will be put out of work and need to seek new jobs, though these employees may also find better jobs in the process.

2). We are getting older, and Blockbuster Video represents a specific time in our lives that is fading into the rear view, reminding us that nothing truly lasts and that we are all changing. We must change and leave things behind. If we felt deeply about it, regardless of whether that was love or hate, we still are losing touch with something that affected or connected us. 

Through it all, what's been great for me is seeing my friends come out and share stories and thoughts about it, and what it means. Even if we're not in the same state or country, it's great to see that we had certain - sometimes common - experiences through this nexus point. 

In closing, Blockbuster did the one final thing that I always wanted it to do: Get my friends and my fellow writers to talk about movies and culture with me. For that, I am thankful.

Sadly, this could also have been representative of the New Release wall when Blockbuster Video was still on top...

Now, here are some links to some other op-eds about Blockbuster Video and its passing. 

Blockbuster Video: 1985-2013
Grantland - Alex Pappademas

Pappademas offers a stellar overview of the history of the company, from its rise amidst the burgeoning rental market to its slow death march in the face of new technologies and stagnant business practices. 

I Come to Bury Blockbuster Video, Not To Praise It 
BadAss Digest - Devin Faraci

A less-than-rosy view of how Blockbuster Video killed off local video stores, and why its closing is ultimately a good thing for the industry.

MovieBob's Re-Tales: Blockbusted
The Escapist - Bob "MovieBob" Chipman

A collection of short anecdotes by the prodigious columnist. My favorite is the second story about widescreen versions of films and the anger they inspired in unassuming renters.

RIP Blockbuster: We'll Miss You
Screen Invasion - Kristal Bailey, Kip Mooney, and yours truly

Thoughtful remembrances by Kristal and Kip, covering some of the thoughts of what it meant to be a Blockbuster employee. My post from yesterday is in there as well.

Blockbusted: An Insider's View on Blockbuster Closing Down
Screen Invasion - Carl Wilhoyte

One of my personal favorites is from a fellow Screen Invader. Wilhoyte's stories and experiences with the business side of Blockbuster puts my consumer-only nostalgia into sharp relief.

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