I miss video stores.
Netflix changed everything; if a person wants to watch a motion picture, all he or she has to do is type in a name. Thousands of obscure products are available to rent; if one wants a film about a talking cat, Netflix can give countless suggestions. Whether streaming or getting a DVD through the mail, thousands of movies are obtainable without stepping outside the house: creating social isolation. This isolation hurts the film geek base; we sit behind a computer and yell at people who do not share our taste in movies. We use words we would not call our worst enemies, yet it is okay because there is no accountability.
Nowadays, there is something so impersonal when talking about emotionally stimulating films. At least during the video store days, one had the choice to use the Internet or talk to real breathing humans. The invigorating conversations with the store’s regulars made me the cinema-buff I am today. Soon my limited film mind became expansive and diverse. Now I am reduced to talking about it with people I have never met. Do I respect their opinion as much as a real person? No, but this is the life of social isolation.
I know the easiness of Netflix; it is amazing and I should appreciate the technology. But there was a sense of unknowing that made the video store interesting. I did not know what I was going to get, but I was excited about my choice. Thousands of movies were under one roof; I had to pick one with my own knowledge. That was a powerful feeling; it made choosing a flick more difficult, but also, more interesting. The hours combing the store for the right film felt like a journey. A journey that Netflix cannot imitate; but life goes on and things become obsolete.
Perhaps, this is a person wanting something because he can no longer have it. There is no mention of the annoying limited day rental, late fees, or the store’s inability to carry unpopular films. Do I positively remember these stores because they were a staple of my childhood; for instance, as a child I liked Star Wars: A Phantom Menace, but that does not mean it is a good. Perhaps the nostalgia helps me forget the negative aspects of a video store; and unlike A Phantom Menace, I cannot revisit it and change my cherished opinion.
But whom am I kidding? As soon as I finish writing this, I will use Netflix to watch the latest show or movie. The irony.