Day 334. 10 Things I Miss About Video Stores

Saturday, January 22, 2012

So, I’ve never seen The Godfather before. I know, I know. How can I have never seen it before? Everyone has one movie that they haven’t seen yet that everyone is supposed to have seen. I can’t help it, I just haven’t seen it. Michelle and I get our movies from Redbox, streaming Netflix, or through our AT&T cable service. None of those services have movies like that, so it made me miss the old days of the video store, you remember, back when you had to look for a movie in a building, hold it, and put it in a device that played movies.

10 Things I Miss About Video Stores

1) The video store guy working behind the counter. This guy was always the most knowledgeable movie guy that he’s ever met. The guy’s name we used to see in high school was Tod. One D. I remember him saying, “Oh yeah, Rocky, up for Best Picture in ’76, down year. You can get it if you want.” Then later, when we went up to the counter to rent it, he said, “You sure you want that? Alright I guess. Did you hear me sigh just now? Cuz I did.” He either made you feel really good about your choice, or really bad, but mostly really bad.

2) Having 5 minutes to pick out a video, then taking an hour to choose, only to go home empty-handed because you got tired. This happened about 40% of the time for me.

3) Peeking past the curtain of the adult section. I never had courage to venture beyond there, but I saw people leaving. They were always men, with mustaches, who were walking really fast.

4) Finding sequels you didn’t know existed. Who knew there was a Truer Lies? Police Academy 12? American History XI? Usually, the sequels don’t have any of the regular cast in them, just people who kind of look like them.

5) Taking a new date to the store to find out how compatible you actually are.

6) The employee’s picks. These were always picks from the assortment of employees who worked there. There was always the art house fan, the horror fan, the black and white movie fan, the foreign film fan, and the blockbuster fan, who was probably not respected by the other staff.

7) The voting rounds. Voting would invariably happen when going to the video store with friends. You all would scatter and pick out one that you really want, reconvene and begin the heated discussion over which ones will be selected. The winner was not selected by quality of movie as much as it was by hierarchy within the group, or if the movie had BN.

8) Seeing movies and exclaiming, “Oh yeah!” You know, you have movie that you store away in the back of your head  to remember to see later after seeing a preview. In the video store, you actually came across those movies, even a few years later. Now, you see a preview for a movie, store it away, forget to see it in the theater, forget to get it from the Redbox, and the movie is out of your life forever within six months.

9) Imdb’ing actors. It wasn’t like now where you can look up any actor you want on Imdb to get their entire filmography. Back then you could only utilize the images on the VHS covers, and the faulty memory of your movie knowledge friend to figure out what other things the actors had been in.

10) Hiding the movies you were checking out when a hot girl walks in. It’s not that How Stella Got Her Groove Back is at all a bad movie, it’s just not one you want the hot girl to see you checking out at 10 pm on a Saturday night by yourself.

Bonus: Seeing the movie on top of the VCR when it needed to be rewound and returned within the hour. The worst.

Bonus Bonus: Discovering the existence of Frank Stallone for the first time.

I miss video stores, I haven’t been to one in a long time. I realize they’re not dead yet, but right now they’re looking back on their lives and remembering how they used to matter. They had regrets, did some things they didn’t want to do, got mixed up with the wrong people. Next thing you know, they find a horse head in their bed. That’s a reference to The Godfather, but I don’t know if the reference makes sense…I haven’t seen it yet…and I don’t know where to find it.




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4 responses to “Day 334. 10 Things I Miss About Video Stores

  1. Jesse

    My favorite Tod moment was pulling up to the store during the week Happy Gilmore came out on video. Tod was having a smoke outside the front door, and he sized us up then said with disgust, “Let me guess: Happy Gilmore.” (Cue the usual eye-roll and sad head-shaking from Tod.) The best part was that he looked exactly like Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons.

    I’d like to think Tod is enjoying life as a snide Internet commenter these days, but he probably died of a heart attack after having to rent out “Mr. Deeds” one too many times.

  2. Amanda R.

    My very first job was at Blockbuster, I worked there my junior and senior years of high school. I loved it!! It was so much fun talking movies with my co-workers. Once a month we had inventory on Saturday night from 10:00 PM – around 2:00 AM and we just ate pizza and brownies and watched movies (usually Empire Records) while we worked. The general manager’s favorite movie to recommend to people was Boondock Saints.

  3. I am so with you on this one! We’ve resorted to going to our local library which has a great selection of the “oldies but goodies” as well as a nice selection of the current releases. You can still peruse the aisles and look at the covers and say, “Oh yeah, I had forgotten I wanted to see that one.” One other nice thing about it is — it’s free to rent from the library… 🙂

  4. So, as it turns out… I own all three of the Godfathers… on VHS. Just let me know when you want to break your Godfather virginity, I want to be there for it.

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