[Eulogy] Goodbye Family Video (Rental Store)

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Headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, I imagine I am appealing to a very small niche when I write about the family-owned Family Video Movie Club Inc., but I would be remiss if I did not jot down my thoughts about the store as it closes its doors at last. I have watched other Family Videoís in the Illinois area go, one by one, and like many individuals in the local area, I anticipated ours would be belly up any day.

As prefaced, most of you are not familiar with Family Video, but, it was a prevalent part of my childhood, and I would attest it meant something to a lot of people in years past.

I can remember perusing the Kidís Movie section in my youth (Family Video was Home of the Free Kids Movies, a business decision that likely made more sense at the time than in hindsight) and all the sun damaged DVD cases in all their splendor (seriously, why didnít they have curtains!?). I can remember renting videogames I would never otherwise buy, and I can remember being introduced to so many seriesí in the horror genre.

If it was not for Family Video, I would have never watched the horror film .found, which means I never would have interviewed Scott Schirmer and Shane Beasley, and that would have meant Todd Rigney never would have wrote for Readers Digested for all of five minutes! I never would have watched Boogeyman: The Killer Compilation and discovered the Puppet Master series and all of Full Moon Featuresí absurd, B-movie gems. I never would have walked past the film FeardotCom a million times without ever watching it, having it more engraved in my mind than the sun damage Family Video caused the movie cases by not having curtains. My uncle would not have a binder filled of burnt DVDs with names on them he chicken scratched with a Sharpie.

I remember a day prior, shooting the breeze and talking about all the ways Family Video could save itself. What if they created a delivery system that could bring DVDs to your door at the same day? Or, this and that, blah, and blah. The truth is, Family Video, and, probably, rental stores, in general, are a relic of a bygone era. Netflix and other streaming services have come by and offered a cheaper, more convenient alternative that they simply cannot compete with. With the Covid-19 pandemic, surely they were hemorrhaging money, but, even years before that, it seemed they were always on the brink of shutting down the same way other rental companies like Blockbuster did prior. It sucks, but thatís life sometimes.

Although it makes sense and I understand it, I am still left with a melancholy, bittersweet taste in my mouth. I had not rented from Family Video in years, only visiting every other month to buy a film or videogame being cycled out of their rotation. It does feel like I lost something though.

I make jokes, but I spent a lot of time looking around that rental store. I can remember being a pre-teen walking by trying to see in between the creases of the door in the ďAdult MovieĒ section, and I can remember marathoning A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, or Halloween and Childís Play, and, really, I think that I and Readers Digested owe a level of debt to Family Video. They were, in truth, an essential part of my childhood, more often than not acting as how I had access to most of what I watched.

I feel like, without Family Video, I might not have been started by encyclopedic obsession with horror, I might not have had as many movie nights with friends watching oddball South Korean movies, and that wouldíve been a shame. So, with that, I say goodbye to Family Video (your gumball machine was disgusting), and cross my fingers, hoping it doesnít become another Dollar General. You were something fun in a town that mostly wasnít.



Aww!

I spent 2 1/2 years working as a clerk (and unofficial assistant manager) in a Family Video. Good times. Sad to hear it's done for.

I will say, we did sometimes get weird, borderline (or overt) racist e-mails from the CEO, though.



The trick is not minding
I donít know what I would do if Wonderbooks ever closes. They have a fairly decent selection of movies to rent, and I take advantage of that like no ones business.
I miss the days of walking into Hollywood Video in Kutztown, Pa, grabbing the new film release, or just renting an older film. I looked forward to it every. Single. Weekend. Those were good times.



I live in Toronto where we still have a few indie video stores, one of which I used to frequent pre-pandemic. Would hate to see it go under. The experience of actually going into the store and skimming the shelves and trying to guess whatever movie they would keep playing in the store is something that streaming can't beat.



I will say, we did sometimes get weird, borderline (or overt) racist e-mails from the CEO, though.
Waaaaaat



Aww!

I spent 2 1/2 years working as a clerk (and unofficial assistant manager) in a Family Video. Good times. Sad to hear it's done for.

I will say, we did sometimes get weird, borderline (or overt) racist e-mails from the CEO, though.
Oh? That's awful!

I never worked at Family Video, although I did have an interview with them when I was sixteen, and, as specified, spent a lot of time there in general.



I donít know what I would do if Wonderbooks ever closes. They have a fairly decent selection of movies to rent, and I take advantage of that like no ones business.
I miss the days of walking into Hollywood Video in Kutztown, Pa, grabbing the new film release, or just renting an older film. I looked forward to it every. Single. Weekend. Those were good times.
Recently, not only did Family Video close, but the AMC nearest to me closed down as well (the next closest theater is about an hour away). Sucks.



A lot of individuals on Reddit, for instance, highlighted a presumed hypocrisy of what I wrote for the thread.

Specifically, when I said I had not rented from them in a while and that I occasionally bought videogames and movies being taken out of their rotation. Their belief is that I was "zealous to the cause I affected to serve," or that I was a part of the issue, and I think that is worth acknowledging and talking about.

I didn't write about Family Video because I was committed to saving it or because I loved it so affectionately. Hence why, even caringly, I highlighted a lot of the criticisms I had of it over the years about it. The truth is, I believe that most rental stores, in general, are obsolete and a relic of yesteryear, no different than other things that have fizzled out.

I could understand arguing it as a symptom to a greater disease, like the declination of smaller businesses, but, in terms of a product, it was not one I had a need for anymore. Through digital rentals and streaming devices, and through, simply put, buying home-video products, instead of renting them, I had no real use for Family Video.

But, the fact is, I once did have a use for Family Video, and that is why I wrote about it. Similar to a burger joint that used to be the only establishment in my hometown (a village of about 800 people), where I used to eat at for my school lunch sometimes. I stopped doing that, mostly because the food was greasy and the building was a rundown, white cinderblock building, that likely violated a million different health codes. Regardless, when it closed down a few years ago, I was sad about it. Not because I was ever going to eat there, but because of the nostalgia I had of eating there.



I believe in the heart of the cards
Here in Brazil, rental stores are very rare nowadays. Here in the city where I live there is only one (used to have many in the good old days). It is sad to see they dying everywhere.
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I remember way back in the day going to this small family owned video rental store and perusing the shelves for provocative looking VHS tapes and renting them on the 5 for 5 special (5 movies for 5 days). That was back in the mid 1980s before streaming, before DVDs and even before many of you were born There was a special thrill when one browsed the long shelves of movies looking for movies based on cool cover artwork alone. Back then I didn't know the name of directors, I just headed to the Sci-Fi section and looked for something that said, 'hey rent me!'




I remember way back in the day going to this small family owned video rental store and perusing the shelves for provocative looking VHS tapes and renting them on the 5 for 5 special (5 movies for 5 days). That was back in the mid 1980s before streaming, before DVDs and even before many of you were born There was a special thrill when one browsed the long shelves of movies looking for movies based on cool cover artwork alone. Back then I didn't know the name of directors, I just headed to the Sci-Fi section and looked for something that said, 'hey rent me!'


Ah yes, every town had one. With a beach towel covering a doorway to a room with "special" movies.



So many formats for watching and buying movies have died out over the years/are going to die out in the future. Video stores, drive in theaters, and VHS tapes have already died out. Also, DVDs have declined in popularity over the years and may eventually die out once and for all. Meanwhile, online streaming services have grown in popularity over the years. It's an interesting thing to think about.



I miss the days of walking into Hollywood Video in Kutztown, Pa, grabbing the new film release, or just renting an older film. I looked forward to it every. Single. Weekend. Those were good times.
We had a very nice Hollywood Video opposite Super Stop & Shop. Long gone now. I think itís a laundromat.

We didn't have Family Videos. We had Blockbuster stores.
Blockbuster was the last to go in my area.

Ah yes, every town had one. With a beach towel covering a doorway to a room with "special" movies.
We had a small family-owned video store in our town. Owner would come out to serve me with an obvious boner from looking at the porn movies he was selling in the back.

So many formats for watching and buying movies have died out over the years/are going to die out in the future. Video stores, drive in theaters, and VHS tapes have already died out.
During the pandemic drive-in movies have made a small resurgence.
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Iím here only on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Thatís why Iím here now.



Hm, didn't know that. Thanks for filling me in.
As an aside, Wal-Mart recently unveiled intent to open over one-hundred Drive-In's.



As an aside, Wal-Mart recently unveiled intent to open over one-hundred Drive-In's.
Oh wow, cool. Since drive ins are still a thing, I'll have to go to one someday as I've never been to one.