DVD stores will never return, and that’s okay. But we should remember them fondly.
It’s been a few years since the death of the DVD store.
Sure, some are still alive, but they’re a bit like Robert de Niro. What was once the greatest is now old and doing things like The Intern.
You can spot the DVD store survivors from a mile away. They’re empty, cheap, and beg you to divulge in their closing down sales. Quite frankly, they make for a pretty sad sight.
Before you all attack me, saying “get with the times JBM”, I’m not actually complaining or suggesting things should return to the early 2000s. Here is a photo of me from the height of the DVD store empire to prove just how much I don’t want to go back to that time.
Streaming services arrived and made it essentially illogical for anyone to get out of bed, put on clothes and speak to people. Why would you when you could get any movie or TV series of your choice at a second’s notice?
The demise of DVDs was inevitable.
Netflix, Stan, Hulu, and the many others are all, for the most part, great. They are, I would say, objectively better than DVD stores. Except for Presto, but fortunately that’s ending. We live in a modern world, and online streaming was the logical next step forward for home video consumption. I both accept and embrace that.The new DVD store: Netflix. Source: Huffington Post.
But a few weeks ago, my DVD nostalgia came flooding back.
I needed to watch a Charlie Chaplin film for a personal project, largely because I have no life. I checked Netflix. No luck. Stan. None either. Foxtel on demand had a surprisingly impressive list, but still didn’t have one of the greatest films ever made by one of the greatest directors to have ever lived. And I don’t personally identify as a pirate so I couldn’t visit pirate bay (don’t torrent, kids).
But then, stumbling out of my long-term memory, I remembered another place to find films. Yes, you guessed, the DVD store. I called up and found out my local one was still open, just three minutes drive away. It even had the film!
In 10 minutes, I had gone and returned. I had the movie. It cost one whole dollar. One dollar! How are these places still open??!
The film was great. I returned it a week later and haven’t been back since. There’s a good chance I will never return.
I’m sure we all remember trips to Blockbusters.
Blockbusters were like toy stores for movie lovers. Unlike nowadays with online streaming, with DVD stores, a certain amount of the entertainment experience was achieved in the quest to select the right movie.
There were the aisles of endless possibilities to get lost in. The obscure movies playing on the screens in the corners. The area of naughty over 18 stuff that you couldn’t resist peeping at (please say that wasn’t just me). There was the selection of terrifically unhealthy snacks at the check out. And then a day or a week later, there was the mad rush to return the DVD before the fine.Ahh, the good days. Source: Tumblr.
DVD stores were also great because they encouraged shared viewing. Be it with family, friends, or a partner, trips to the DVD store encouraged debate. Some felt like a comedy, others an action, and others 1940s French noir. And after the decision was finally made, everyone came together for an hour and a half of good ol’ movie watching fun.
I know for me personally, my Netflix account has led me to become more reclusive with my viewing habits. I haven’t set it up on the television; I watch in bed on my laptop. Asides from the odd movie night here and there, I watch most of my films alone. Now the only time I debate over what movie to watch is with my very indecisive self.
It would be foolish to criticise online streaming services and their influence on movie consumption. But it would also be foolish not to lament the death of DVD stores, and the death of that part of our family, friendship, and movie culture.
They won’t return, and that’s okay. But before we forget DVD stores completely, I think we owe them the respect of missing them.