The Last Blockbuster

The Last Blockbuster

By James Davidson

Before you could simply turn on your television and instantly have access to thousands of movies and TV shows, there were video rental stores. Many peoples weekends consisted of getting in their car and driving to a place where they would sometimes spend hours browsing different movie selections before settling on their choice of entertainment for the evening. The best known of these rental stores was the juggernaut of movie rental, Blockbuster. Blockbuster has since gone out of business, closing all of its 9,000 stores, except for one in Bend, Oregon.

“The Last Blockbuster” is a documentary showing the last remaining Blockbuster in the world and its struggle to stay open in this time of instant streaming. The documentary features interviews with celebrities such as Kevin Smith, Paul Scheer, Doug Benson, and many others as they take a trip down memory lane and reminisce on their days of going to and working at video rental stores.

This film caught my attention for several reasons. One, I didn’t know there were any Blockbusters left in existence, and two, like many people my age and older, I remember many an evening spent in video rental stores browsing the selections and trying to find a movie that my brother and I could both agree on. This movie seemed like a fun trip down memory lane, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The documentary mainly follows Sandi Harding, the only Blockbuster store manager left in the world as she tries to keep her store afloat, sometimes even taking trips to Target to buy new releases to rent to her customers. The film does a good job at showing the struggle of trying to keep an outdated business running as the world seems to pass them by. The store focuses on giving their customers a rush of nostalgia, keeping everything the same as back when Blockbuster was an entertainment powerhouse.

The film shows many interesting details in how Sandi is able to keep her store up and running. The most interesting to me was the fact that they still use the same computer system, and computers, that they did in the early 2000’s. Sandi has a surplus of old desktops that she frankensteins together to keep the system up and running. It seems to be working as the store has many regular customers, as well as tourists who travel around the world to visit the last remaining symbol of their childhood weekends.

I enjoyed the interviews with different celebrities as they marveled at how a Blockbuster could still be open. A lot of them also share fond memories of making trips to Blockbuster, or working in one. It was fun to share in the nostalgia and reminisce on my own memories.

This documentary is not rated. It has some mild language, as well as some mild scenes of gore and alcohol and drug use, shown in clips of old horror movies. Other than that, it should be appropriate for pre teen or teenage children, and could be a fun way to show them how we use to have to rent movies. They might think we’re crazy however, especially when they find out about the late fees and the fees for not rewinding the tapes. (Tapes! Gasp!)

“The Last Blockbuster” is a fun trip down memory lane and it’s interesting to see how a movie rental place still operates. It’s a great way to spend the night as a family and show the kids what we used to have to go through just to see a new release. It earns 3.5 out of 5 stars

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