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Alaska Is Home to Over 50% of America’s Last Remaining Blockbuster Video Stores

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Via a mini-documentary from Vice News:

    For many Alaskans streaming online is not a good option, so movie night means Blockbuster night. While the vast majority of Blockbusters in the U.S. have closed down, there are few still hanging on. Today, there are only 10 left in the entire country, and six of those are in Alaska. But the dark, long winters and sparse layout of Alaska allows Blockbusters to do pretty well, especially when Wifi is substantially more expensive than in other states.

    I love the instant access to movies we have today, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I sometimes miss browsing the stacks of the video rental store. Less convenient, sure, but I have a lot of memories tied to wandering around looking for a movie with friends, dates, or family (and arguing about what to get).

    Raku likes this.
  2. fyebes

    Regular Prestigious

    there's a video rental store near me that I joined. I absolutely love it. just like you said, the instant access is great, but there's something about wandering through genres and new releases and the tacit feeling of holding something in your hands that makes the stores so much better.
  3. SEANoftheDEAD


    Blockbuster is super nostalgic for me. My mom would bring my brother and I there almost every Friday or Saturday night to pick out a movie.

    Every now and then she'd splurge and let us rent a Nintendo 64 game.

    So many memories. I didn't even realize some still existed. It's pretty crazy, but for Alaska, makes a ton of sense.
  4. Bayside 182

    Wolverine Supporter

    I truly miss those days. It was often times more enjoyable walking around the store deciding what to get than actually watching the terrible movie we picked out. Its nice these days to watch anything anytime you want but I wouldnt mind browsing around a blockbuster.
    Raku likes this.
  5. SmithBerryCrunch

    Trusted Prestigious

  6. Bayside 182

    Wolverine Supporter

  7. a nice person

    Trusted Prestigious

    I haven’t watched this yet, but I’d imagine many of these remaining rental stores have adopted a monthly subscription program alongside their standard old-school rental service that looks similar to Netflix DVD in terms of renting/returning without due dates and exchanging money on each visit. I spent time in Oregon earlier this year and went to a Blockbuster for the first time in at least 10 years. I rented an older movie for 99 cents and I felt like I was in a different era.
  8. When I first moved out after college there was a Hollywood video near me that I think for $4.99 a month you could rent any movie in their collection that wasn't a "new" release and got a buck off all new releases. You could rent up to like 5 at a time, and as often as you wanted. I'd go multiple times a week. Pick up shitty fast food and 5 movies.

    I watched so many movies during that year all by myself out of school working on the website and with nothing else to do. No friends really around. I'd rent seasons of TV and burn them and re-watch them over and over again. (Scrubs!)
  9. youwontknow Nov 2, 2017
    (Last edited: Nov 2, 2017)

    If I smile with my teeth, bet you'd believe me

    When I was 13, my best friend, Sean Chan and I hit the Blockbuster after school on a Friday (as usual) and found a movie called Breast Men. It featured David Schwimmer, seemed to contain a lot of nudity, and was definitely a Restricted (17+ rating). So we thought we would try our luck and rent it. We were so nervous going up to the counter thinking there's no way the guy would rent it to us. But he did (the dude being only about 3 years older than us).

    So then we take it back to my house, thinking of what we'll say to my mom if she asks "Breast Men? What kind of movie is that?!" So we walk in the back door of my house, which opens right into the kitchen, and my mom is right there and sees us with our dirty 17+ film. We looked guilty af. But the silver lining was she was on the phone and seemingly long distance 'cause she was pacing the kitchen. She whispered to us, while still on the phone, "what movie is that?" We showed her the spine and she read the title. She furrowed her brow and said "Don't watch that until I look at it first."

    Sean Chan and I run into our home study, and with a surprising about of cunning deviousness for a couple of dumb 13 year olds...we open Microsoft Word '97 on the computer. And he quickly reads to me the description of the movie on the back of the Blockbuster paper sleeve. While he reads "17+ for nudity, sexuality and some adult themes" I type on Microsoft Word "PG-13 for course language and violence." We copy the movie summary, year, and duration verbatim and we quickly print this out, cut out our new description of the movie and slide it under the plastic sleeve on top of the real 17+ one, just in time for my mom to walk in and say "lemme see that movie." She looks on the back cover and reads:

    Breast Men, PG-13 for course language and violence. 96 mins. 1997.

    She says, "Hm, okay. Enjoy your movie." Then we proceeded to head to the basement and watch more nudity than we had ever seen in our youthful 13 year old days.

    I love Blockbuster.
  10. Turkeylegz


    I still go to family video on occasion but blockbuster holds so many memories.

    I remember I spent so long finding a game that my mom just grabbed one and made me rent it. I complained but that game ended up being Morrowind. It ended up being my favorite game for years.

    Also, when they went out of business near me, I saved up for months to buy all the seasons of Scrubs during their going out of business sale.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  11. crunchprank Prestigious

    10/10 story. It's these kinds of fond youthful memories...
    Raku and youwontknow like this.
  12. crunchprank Prestigious

    I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss going to Blockbuster to rent (mostly video games) and movies. But I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't endlessly frustrated with them never having what I wanted to rent.

    To this day though, there's over a dozen movie covers that when I see, I immediately think of Blockbuster because some just stood out over others. Dead Alive being one, Major League being another.
    youwontknow likes this.
  13. Bayside 182

    Wolverine Supporter

    Great comments here. Reading all of the comments I'm feeling all nostalgic and now also missing the release day Tuesdays at Tower Records.
    Raku and youwontknow like this.
  14. DarkHotline

    I’ll teach you to be happy! Prestigious

    I have a love/hate thing for rental stores. I do miss being able to peruse through rows of shelves for movies but at the same time, streaming just makes watching movies so much easier.
  15. Larry David

    I'll see you again in 25 years Prestigious

    I still can't adjust to Friday release days for albums!!
    crunchprank and Bayside 182 like this.
  16. Larry David Nov 2, 2017
    (Last edited: Nov 2, 2017)
    Larry David

    I'll see you again in 25 years Prestigious

    I used to work at Blockbuster. It wasn't a bad job to get through college. I enjoyed the 5 free rentals a week, and getting movies in advance!
    coleslawed and Jason Tate like this.
  17. ARo24


    I still hit up Family Video once in awhile. Can’t believe they’re still open though.
    Raku likes this.
  18. Full Effect Ed

    ...In F*cking Full Effect Prestigious

    Blockbuster Video. Best job ever.
    Raku likes this.
  19. drew



    I believe you live in the greater Portland area, right?

    I'm a big Movie Madness guy but I found a video store on SE 70(ish) and King Road called Great American Video and Espresso that reeeeeally feels like Blockbuster but is also family owned. You can return movies at 7:30AM and get kinda shitty coffee. It's the best.
    coleslawed, Raku and carrytheweird like this.
  20. carrytheweird

    I didn't have a Blockbuster nearby, but there were 3 private rental stores called like M&M Video, Video Cave, and one other. Then when I was like 11 or so, we got Hollywood Video. All of which are gone of course.
  21. Yeah, I think that's where my girlfriend's parents have gone a few times with us because they only have a DVD player. Hah. That's cool.
  22. aoftbsten

    Trusted Supporter

    I definitely miss browsing the store for movies and video games. I remember renting so many cheesy, horrible horror films from blockbuster as a kid.
    Raku and Turkeylegz like this.
  23. zporter92


    I'm sure the blockbuster on the island in Alaska that I lived on will be the last to go lol
    Jason Tate likes this.
  24. suicidesaints

    Trusted Prestigious

    Renting a video meant you were actually going to watch that movie when you got home. Streaming means you scroll through Netflix for a hour and then decide to do something else.
  25. Supernova Nov 2, 2017
    (Last edited: Nov 2, 2017)

    Prayers/Triangles Prestigious

    That’s fascinating. Didn’t think there were any more at all. It makes total sense now that there would be some up there thinking about the internet situation.

    I miss those days of going to rent the newest game, and of course they got 2 copies so they were sold out. I had to settle for something else and would sometimes stumble on a real gem.
    Raku, Turkeylegz and Jason Tate like this.