In Memoriam to BlockBuster: Back When I Used to Go Outside…

Wednesday, November 6th was a sad day for many of us who grew up before Netflix innovated a new way to kill any chances of our productivity. It was announced that all remaining Blockbuster stores would be closed.

I still remember the first time I lost my mom’s BlockBuster card. It seemed like the process of lamination had yet to be perfected at that time because the corners of that thing stabbed my fingers like little knives. 

I still remember when the new releases were in a red case instead of a blue one. That bright red meant you had two days to get it back to Blockbuster. Renting one blue-cased video and one red-cased video at the same time could strongly affect how you planned the rest of your week.

I still remember how if the they were out of the video I was looking for I would look behind the cover of every video to the left, right, top, bottom or diagonally adjacent to it. The search yielded postive results approximately zero times. 

A few weeks ago, I watched Looper on Netflix. Years ago I rented Angels in the Outfield from Blockbuster. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I have come a long way since then.

I still remember the two year period of my life when I claimed Blue Streak as my favorite movie. I would walk into the comedy section of Blockbuster and never make it past the B’s. 

I still remember the extremely short description’s of the movies on the back of each case. In case you were wondering, the description for the 1995 cartoon film Balto was ““An outcast half-wolf risks his life to prevent a deadly epidemic from ravaging Nome, Alaska.” It had me at half-wolf.

milk duds

I still remember the candy sold in the line of the check out. They sold Milk Duds in milk cartons. Something about those cartons really brought the taste out of those things in a way a rectangular box never could. 

I still remember renting Blank Check and returning to ask the Blockbuster employee what other movies Tone Loc had been in. 

I still remember Buncha Crunch. They looked like asteroids, guys. I rented Deep Impact and ate them while watching it once. It was pretty awesome. 

buncha crunch

I still remember being introduced to the Beach Boys by the modern cinematic classic Surf Ninjas. 

It’s not inconceivable that the amount of gas mileage accumulated taking me to Blockbuster specifically to rent Surf Ninjas could actually be a larger number than the one currently in my bank account. 

I still remember Hot Tamales. We all got those things for one reason and one reason only: to impress our friend. Well, where is that friend now? Do you even hang out with him/her? Probably not. They probably wouldn’t stop talking during the best scenes in Blue Streak.

I still remember it was way too damn cold in every single Blockbuster. 

I still remember that if my video was out of stock I would ask them to check behind the counter for the recently dropped off videos. I later learned I was not the only person in the world who knew that trick. 

I still remember that, for some reason, the “Action” section would just run directly into the “Horror” section causing me to become compltely terrified when I saw the cover of the Hellraiser video. Tenth grade was a tough year for me. 

I still remember when a trip to BlockBuster meant something. It determined what I would watch that week. Whatever one or two videos I came home with had to be enjoyed and appreciated.

I still remember when Netflix hadn’t yet ruined my life and stood between me and any chance of succeeding in this world. 

I don’t even like The Walking Dead, but apparently if I don’t do something another one is going to start in 15 seconds….

Jonny Auping

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