Sunday, December 13, 2020

Nostalgia for the present in Taylor Morden and Zeke Kamm's doc, THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER

What a sweet treat it is to view the new and quite lovely documentary, THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER, directed by Taylor Morden and written by Zeke Kamm

The award-winning cable show, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver cleverly covered one of the remaining Blockbuster video stores in Alaska a year or so back, but even those are now gone and only one single location in the entire world (Blockbuster used to be relatively international) now remains -- in the town of Bend, Oregon. 

There is more than a little question raised during the course of this engaging doc whether or not this store will be viable for very much longer, perhaps closing its doors before the documentary has even finished being shot.

Misters Morden (pictured above, right) and Kamm (left) give us the history of both Blockbuster Video (including several of its owners over the years) and to a lesser extent the town of Bend and its own history of video stores, one of which was more or less blackmailed into becoming one of Blockbuster's franchises, though it is still owned by the original family (one of whom is shown below).

We meet plenty of minor celebrities -- from Kevin Smith (shown at right) to Adam Brody (two photos below) and Ione Skye -- each of whom seems to have an interesting video store history of his own.  

We also meet the woman, Sandi Harding (at right front, two photos below), who manages this last Blockbuster video store, as well as her family, friends and co-workers, all of whom seem like intelligent caring and very nice people to get to know. 

TrustMovies should think that, for anyone 30 years or older, the memory of going to and spending some really fun time in a video store will still burn warmly. 

Streaming has replaced all this, but as various folk in the doc point out, Netflix's suggestions for your viewing pleasure hardly take the place of your favorite video store clerk suggesting an interesting and right-up-your-alley new movie to see. 

Carl Icahn gets involved with Blockbuster along the way, as does Sumner Redstone and others, and we're told the major reason that Blockbuster finally went under (no, it was not because of Netflix). Finally, we're privy to how all the media coverage about this last Blockbuster has helped turn Bend, Oregon, into a real tourist attraction. 

There are humor, charm, culture, economics and irony aplenty here, in addition to a kind of nostalgia that is both real and not-quite, since -- despite going from a high of 9,000 video stores in its heyday down to a mere one -- there is still an actual functioning Blockbuster video rental store in our increasingly crazy world.

From 1091 Pictures and running just 86 minutes, The Last Blockbuster hits streaming -- and I would imagine actual DVD rental, at least in Bend, Oregon -- this coming Tuesday, December 15. For more information, 
click here.

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