It’s Friday night. My daughter has a friend spending the night. “Pizza and a movie!” they exclaim. The stuff of sleepovers her whole childhood. So off to Block Buster we go. They browse. They browse some more. And they browse some more before finally agreeing to disagree, and we rent two movies. At the house, we plug in the movie, back then a VHS into the VCR, and we watch while waiting for the pizza guy to show up. Then we open the pizza box on the coffee table and eat and drink soda and watch their movies. Better than the theatre, they say.
That was then. My daughter’s generation was perhaps the last to grow up in this sleepover fashion where shopping for the movie was as much a part of the experience as watching it. I mean seriously, the picking out period sometimes lasted longer then the movie!
Then all of a sudden, without warning, it was the end of the Block Buster era. Generation Now has no memory of movie nights before clicking to download. This Thin Line Fest short "Block Busted" brings it all home.
I have Apple TV. Our now 30-something daughter gave it to us for Christmas the year our Block Buster around the corner died. It’s cool. Tons of movies, maybe even more than lined the shelves of the old store. But, the picking out part is just not the same. You kind of have to know the movie direction in which you are headed to find something that hits you right for that exact night. There is no more stacking the movie boxes by the TV in the order you want to watch them. For instance, action flick followed by funny, feel-good rom-com to rev-down before you sleep. There is no more accidental discovery of something totally off your own radar that grabbed your interest when you saw someone else take it off the shelf.
No, those days are gone. For some – even people of my own age who were originally awed by movies in our own living rooms viewed from the comfort of our recliners – the death of Block Buster was good riddance. But for most of us, Block Buster memories now reside there with other cool stuff of days gone by like playing all over the neighborhood, even after dark, till our moms called us home for supper. Just good-old-days kind of memories we dust off and miss from time to time.
Block Buster is gone now, and with it a way of movie-watching that will never return. Now if I can just figure out which button on one of these three remotes makes the TV part go away and the Apple stuff come on, I’m going to surf the electronic, un-fun, a lot-like-work shelves of Netflix to find a movie to watch.