R.I.P. Video Rental stores.


I know video rental stores have been out of business for a while but I just felt I should share my rant with everyone here. Feel free to comment.

Tonight's rant is about Netflix and movie rental stores.

Almost everybody uses Netflix today. Heck, even I use it. And I agree that it is convenient and saves money to watch all those movies and shows. But, I don't think it's all great. You see, back in the day, there was this movie rental place in my home town called Monster Video. I went there basically everyday to rent movies, talk with the owner about movies, and just hang out. It was great. Every day we would return our movies, talk about what we thought about them and be suggested more movies to watch. It was great to talk to another film lover about films. But sadly, that's all gone now. Today, we just turn on our computers and search for movies. Yeah, Netflix "suggests" movies for us but what does it know? It tells us what to watch based on what we watched before and a bunch of numbers and data. It used to be that people at the rental places would tell us what we would probably like based on what we've rented before. They've seen a ton of movies, they know their stuff. Do you really think there's some film geek over at the "Netflix headquarters" saying " oh he just watched this! He would certainly love this." No, there isn't. Netflix just isn't personal or human enough. There's no heart in it. I loved going to Monster Video to rent movies and just talk about movies all day. It was great to learn about new movies I'd never heard of before and learn about what movies I might like. You never know, maybe the next movie they suggest will happen to be your next favorite movie of all time. The rental stores were the best places to find and discover new films, and talk with other film lovers. That's gone now, and we're trusting a computer to tell us what to watch next. Human interaction is slowly leaving us. You may think it's absurd to be going as far as to say this simply about Netflix, but it's true. I would honestly give up Netflix any day just to have Monster Video back. Sure, I may not get to see as many movies and it may not be as convenient, but at least it will be human. At least I would be trusting another movie fanatic to suggest movies for me, instead of a machine.

I will even go so far as to say that if it wasn't for Monster Video, I wouldn't be as interested in film as I am now. It shaped my love for motion pictures, the whole experience of finding new films on the shelves, films that I've been told to watch, bringing them home to watch, then returning them the next day and talking about them just created this sense of wonder and awe at the new movies I could find everyday. In conclusion I will say this...

R.I.P. Monster Video and video rental stores everywhere, you will be remembered well and missed greatly.
Through the darkness of future past
The magician longs to see
One chants out between two worlds:
Fire walk with me.

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

The People's Republic of Clogher
I feel a slight pang of guilt every time I drive past my local rental store but the fact remains that I only used them because they were just that - My local rental store. The fact is that they'd been going downhill for years, since before Netflix was a thing and, unlike your store, had a manager who was punch-worthy.

Physical media still has a place and will probably fill some sort of hipster niche like vinyl records do now. I'm still buying it but the bricks and mortar opportunities to do so are slowly going away.
"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how the Tatty 100 is done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan

The People's Republic of Clogher
Remember when we were told that CDs (and, by association, DVDs) were practically indestructible? You'd see clueless local news reporters smearing them in jam etc like this was a normal part of everyday wear and tear.

Some of my CDs are 25 years old and have been cared for like they were first press vinyl LPs. They're not wearing well...

Yeah, the word "Local" is a very important one.

The last local place for me was the corner shop that rented VHS tapes back in the 90s, but when DVDs came out, they had trouble because people were just stealing them or copying them and returning the copies and keeping the original.

So that left one place in my entire town that rented VHS and DVD... Blockbuster... and they weren't exactly local.
So non-local in fact that you couldn't even get there by bus. There's a little industrial area at the back of the town centre but is accessible only by car or walking, and the nearest bus stop is nearly 2 miles away.

Needless to say, Blockbuster in my town didn't last long when downloading became a mainstream thing. In fact, I think Blockbuster closed its doors in my town about 3 weeks after online became a thing.

I mean, what's more "local" than your own living room? I can't blame people for using online downloads or online rental. It's more convenient than having to use several bus rides and then walk 2 miles to the nearest rental place or use two taxis which cost a fortune.
Unless of course you drive, but then, who would want to drive to some industrial estate when there's a perfectly good laptop on the coffee table?

Personally, I don't use online downloading or rental from Amazon etc... never have, never will.
Online movies are lower quality in picture and sound and cost silly amounts... I'd rather pay £10 for the DVD straight out... and have decent picture and sound and not have to pay up out of my pocket every time I want to watch the film.

Pirate copies are another thing I won't do. Was offered by a mate of mine some pirated copies of films... my reply was along the lines of "Get to f*ck".

The People's Republic of Clogher
I feel the same about record stores. In fact when I moved back home last year one of the first things I did was head down to Omagh to see if my old mate Robert was still there in Route 66, his music shop where I spent far too much time when I was younger.

It was gone. In fact, I've just been looking online to see if he's gone anywhere else. Damn.

I didn't say we are better off without... I just said I don't blame people for using the most convenient.

It's like saying "I use a horse because cars are newer"...

The most convenient thing always wins out.

DVDs took over for a number of reasons... but I have yet to find anyone who, at the time DVDs came out, didn't say "The boxes are smaller! Yes! More room on the shelf!"

The People's Republic of Clogher
Still physical media though. I can't look at a shelf of usb drives in quite the same way.

Yet to find a director's commentary on a Netflix movie either. Discs will still be printed for the aficionados but be prepared for a price hike.

I mourn the passing of LPs into CDs . When it happened we were all amazed about the quality of the sound but it didn't take long for me to hanker after the more raw sound of an LP. I still listen to mine now and love them. The covers and the artwork and words speak of an era that little cd covers can never do.

As for books, kindles have no place in my book reading. When I see someone reading one it looks so bland and lifeless

I do regret the disappearance of video rental shops although the smaller independent ones were better than the corporate ones. They'd at least go and search for things for you and get them in specially . Netflix never has the stuff I want to watch, and I still send off for DVDs from Asia now and again. I do watch things online too tho

We've still got a video shop here! Doesn't look like it's going anywhere. I really don't think streaming is likely to take off here anytime soon given our internet speeds...

I'm a 90s kid, which is the decade I would consider to be the last great one in terms of the ratio between technology and old fashioned stuff. All the tech was on the rise, but in many ways we had to "struggle" a bit in the same way, plus I did like video stores. I lived in that time where all my friends would have new songs on their phones and we had to transfer via inferred and later Bluetooth. It was a struggle but rewarding to fill up your phone with new music. And a little later downloads became a thing for me and I spent A LOT of time searching for and finding new stuff to download and listen to - and always in the highest quality possible (not exactly flac yet for me but 320 mp3). I discovered so many new songs and artists that way and I loved to organize them, rate them, add hq album artwork and all in iTunes.

When music streaming came along I held back and I wasn't that into it. It just didn't gave the same feel to search for a number and just play it - it didn't have the same great quality either... but I do now realize that it's simply because we are from a different time. People on this forum who are older than me would refer to how they were going to the local music store and then organizing everything at home etc. Downloading music like I did would probably sound too modern to them and "not be the same" but to me there was something about it which I on the other hand don't see in today's world... but as I said, it's just because we are all from a different time. People can make unique playlists now, share favourites, build a personal profile and so on; to the new generation that's probably exciting in the same way it was for us and the way we experienced it. Of course we feel they will miss something when they don't go to a store and pick something out, but that's because we grew up differently.

Anyways, that was a long post mainly on music but I thought it was important and it worked better for what I wanted to say than movies would. BUT when it comes to movies, I did indeed go to the store and buy my movies and I'm also sure that helped make me a movie geek. I loved going there and checking old and new movies out. And like Sexy I picked up a lot if stuff because of the artwork. I didn't check my smart phone and searched for the movie - because I couldn't. So my picks were all about the artwork, title, description or suggestion from friends or others... the biggest and oldest electronic chain here in Denmark just closed up recently and that place was the one where I bought like 90% of all my movies. Such a sad thing. I have vivid memories from that place.

Anyways, I have always and still love physical media and having things between my hands with cool artwork etc. That also made me fond of special editions like steelbooks, digibooks or just releases with a bonus disc or whatever. You don't get that through Netflix... but even for all my love for stores and physical media, my dad had a friend way back at work who used to bring us pirated copies in dvd quality that really also elevated my love for movies. I was young, so to a young kid, getting all new releases and watching them was like Christmas Day. I remember for example one day, I was sick at school and my father came and picked me up and he had the new King Kong with him - you know, the technologically ground-breaking 2005 production that would be any kids dream despite of what you may thing of it now. I remember being driven home, being home alone, and watching that on the big tv in the living room. Oh man what memories.

So I think it's not RIP to video stores per say, though that's of course what the thread is about, but it's really RIP to old times which was special to us and how we came across new movies, new music etc. Because to us the new way is just not the same, but to the new generation it is probably magical like our era was to us. I was partly in the "download era" but truly miss the way I experienced movies and music just like y'all miss the video stores and rental places.

Here's to old times! Good memories.

"Honor is not in the Weapon. It is in the Man"
I miss the video rental stores as well. The one I used to go in my hometown was so much fun, but let's face it. The VHS art wasn't always the best but they were like car accidents: you don't want to see but you have to see it! I used to go there so much that the video store owner knew me by name LOL. And I still have a working VCR to this day and beginning a few years back, I began to collect VHS tapes by going to the local library and going to their little book stores where they sold VHS tapes for $.25 each or 5 for a $1.00 so I would stock up and I would also hit the local Goodwill stores and find VHS tapes and buy them at $.59 each. However, nowadays I only see DVDs at the Goodwill stores and they went from $1.49 each to now $.99 each, at least the ones I go to.

I did a recent inventory and everyone tells me I could own my own "retro video store" as I have over 600 VHS tapes.

Here are some videos on YouTube I found on Bad VHS Art

It's All About the Movies...No Matter Where They Are From

I've always depended on the kindness of strangers
I agree, great points... When I was 17, I had the urge to take movies seriously, and the big chain store here was Blockbuster, and I became a "Rewards" member, and would rent two movies every single day.. Sometimes I would close my eyes and pick a random movie - sometimes they were junk, but sometimes I saw great movies I would have never saw before.

But..... we do have the internet, there are thousands of movies available for free online.

Video rental stores were a staple of my childhood. If I ever stepped into one again I would probably explode from nostalgia overload! Near me were 2 Blockbusters and the local store, Movie King. All 3 of them seemingly disappeared around the same time about 7 or 8 years ago. What I, and I'm sure others miss, is the experience of them. Sure streaming is more convenient but it was a place to socialize in person about something that you and many others that visited there love.

The most loathsome of all goblins
Video rental stores were a staple of my childhood. If I ever stepped into one again I would probably explode from nostalgia overload! Near me were 2 Blockbusters and the local store, Movie King. All 3 of them seemingly disappeared around the same time about 7 or 8 years ago. What I, and I'm sure others miss, is the experience of them. Sure streaming is more convenient but it was a place to socialize in person about something that you and many others that visited there love.
Just visit the museum:

I used to drive the video store clerks nuts. I was in there every day, like Kramer. This was back when you could find Re-Animator, The Mutilator, Warning Sign, Def Con 4, Police Academy 2, and Better off Dead on the same new release shelf. New England Video. Had a birch wood sign with brass embossed lettering. The ceilings were about 25 ft high. I'd go into the back and see titles like Zardoz, The Kindred, A Company of Wolves, Yor, Krull, Young Lady Chatterley's Lover, Hercules, and so many others. I'd frequent that store for a few years, about up until Amazon Women on the Moon and Killer Klowns from Outer Space came out, and then it was off to jr High School to work on popularity and girlfriends.

I loved that store. On the way down there, walking, I'd always have the butterflies knowing I'd be renting and seeing something fresh. Ladyhawke, To Live and Die in L.A., Hawk the Slayer, Consuming Passions, Anguish, Max Headroom: The Movie, Light Years, R.O.T.O.R., Dirty Dancing, Brazil, Maximum Overdrive, Flowers in the Attic, Deadly Friend, Cat's Eye, Legend...no wonder I'm so screwed up. I'd see these movies within the same sentence, I didn't discriminate or line films up by themes back then. It was one after the other, from one extreme to the other. Complete stimulus meltdown.

I miss going there with friends, and even my long time friend who'd drive me nuts in the next aisle over, always yelling "Joel, check this out!", as I tried to focus on the different array of box art, which was incredible back then. I could usually tell if a movie was going to be worthwhile by seeing at least one blurb about it from a critic. After a while, I knew how to gauge a good film from a bad one, not always relying on blurbs, as sometimes I'd use common sense like what kind of stills were printed on the back. If it was flatly lit and looked awful and random, I'd know it would suck, although I'd rent it anyway since the cover art would be better than any movie you could imagine.

I still have frequent dreams about Xtra-Vison being open.

Then I wake up.
I worked in a video retal store for a while. Got a whole new appreciation for Clerks after that.