The Last Blockbuster Generation

April 4th, 2021

I watched a movie called The Last Blockbuster on Netflix the other night, and even though it was, on the surface, about the literal last Blockbuster Video in Bend, Oregon, and about how the company itself rose and fell, it ended up being about a lot more.

It’s about Sandi, the manager of the store, the “Blockbuster mom” who made her video business a family one, both literally and by community inclusion.

It’s about nostalgia, the distant memories of Friday nights at the local rental place, the smell of stale popcorn and flat soda, the sound and feel of a VHS box clicking together, the exorbitant late fees.

But the most surprising thing it was about was our old systems of human connection, and it got me thinking: are we the last generation who are going to have a longing for a time that existed before technology reached a certain threshold?

Just the idea of physically going to a place to pick out something to watch is a completely foreign concept to people of a certain age. It’s whatever the opposite of science-fiction is. I mean, the idea of physical content itself is mind-blowing for some (I was just reminiscing about the days that artists put out actual albums in stores and I miss that dearly).

I am in no way anti-technology and am constantly in awe of what the current world has to offer, but there is this bittersweet grief I hold for a time where we all gathered in spaces to talk about the things we love. Yeah, some of those places still exist, but not many in a permanent, routine way.

If you have a little of that longing, too, I definitely recommend the film. It’s a warm reminder of a time not that long ago and yet entire worlds away.

Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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