An ode to Blockbuster and the end of an era


By Jack Beck ’18

When Blockbuster announced that it would close its remaining retail stores in 2013, there was little weeping among those who moved on to streaming and other types of movie watching technologies long ago.

However, there is something melancholy about the video store closing, much the way countless other retail stores have done as a result of technological advances.

Back in the day, there was something appealing and sometimes even romantic about browsing video store shelves late at night and finding the perfect movie. Discoveries like this happen online all the time, but online company methods make everything a little more accurate, personal, and targeted. It’s as if the efficiencies and direct marketing methods created by video-streaming companies have in many ways replaced the joy of that unexpected find on the shelf of a video store.

Blockbuster was a staple in my childhood. I wasn’t the kind of kid who watched hundreds of movies, but I always enjoyed the movie-watching process, from selecting the film at Blockbuster to sitting down on the couch with friends or family and enjoying an exciting film.

There were so many great experiences I remember from visiting that movie store. Roaming every section, spending an hour figuring out which movies to choose, just to bring it to my mom and have her tell me to pick a different movie.

It wasn’t about the movies themselves, but more about the experience. It was about walking up and down the aisles, scanning for that one movie. It was about the memories of making popcorn and sitting on the couch with my family and bonding over my parents favorite films.

This is what Blockbuster was all about; it wasn’t about sitting in bed with your door closed and computer on your lap, watching episode after episode, ignoring the outside world.

Blockbuster faced a tough ride over the few years leading up to its official closing. It went from a huge chain movie store with market power, to slowly having its flame snuffed out by competitors because of its inability to keep up with the quickly-changing business dynamics of the 21st century.

But with Blockbuster’s end comes a look back at how it paved the way for movie rental business. It paved the way for businesses like Netflix and Red Box. Blockbuster leaves behind a great legacy and will always be remembered with great fondness and nostalgia.