Blockbuster – a BFF eulogy

Here at BFF, we’ve all had something odd happen to us in a Blockbuster – here’s a selection of our choicest moments:

Harry (thinks Blockbuster is the warmest colour):
We had a video shop in our town run by two lesbians. Once I rented Little Shop of Horrors and got so excited that I wanted to play with the cassette tape outside in the rain and subsequently ruined it. I always saw Blockbuster as the soulless corporate megalithic rival to Penny & Tut’s (rhymes with foot) small town concern and I’m glad it’s dead.

Ella (visited the Blockbuster from Twin Peaks):
I only went to Blockbuster once in my life, and in memory it has taken on a sort of dream-like quality. I remember it well, this Blockbuster dream. I remember it was in the town (we did not go often to the town). I remember there was a man in a red shirt. I remember there were more M&Ms than I had ever seen in my life. I remember there was a man hitting another man, over and over again, the same, on three or four screens. I remember there were no books, anywhere. I remember Blockbuster. I remember Blockbuster, but I do not mourn.

Vince (got sucked into Hookworm Hell by giant robots):
I went into a Blockbuster once. I ended up buying a game called Dynasty Warriors Gundam because it had giant robots on the cover. I had just paid £30 for the gaming equivalent of having a hookworm wriggle around the back of your eyeball. They didn’t give me a refund. I hope Satan wants to rent Caddy Shack in hell, Blockbuster, because that’s where you’re going.

John (accidentally joined the Blockbuster Sex Stasi):
Since I’m from the arse end of nowhere, we didn’t actually have a Blockbuster – we had a weird little shop called Visual Vibes, which (despite its chronically awful website, still gamely promoting Cloverfield like it’s 2008 and Mandela’s still alive) appears to have ridden out the twin evils of recession and Netflix.
In fact, I don’t think I actually visited a Blockbuster until I Was nineteen and living in south London. I’d gone to Wimbledon to do the food shop, and the indie video library near my house presumably didn’t have The Lives of Othersor whatever film I thought would make people want to sleep with me that week, so I trotted under the awful garish sign to be met, almost immediately, by the sight of a man tossing himself off to a rack of DVD boxes. I wish I could remember what he was looking at, because without it this sentence is going to gradually sicken and die just like the company itself, but that’s how it goes. Nobody uses LoveFilm to wank at strangers.

SLD (made a fatal mistake but STILL wants her money back):
I remember going to my local Blockbuster and asking for recommendations on new films from the guy at the desk – a rookie mistake. He promptly paused the overhead monitors, which had melded the visuals of a gory horror with the audio from Trading Places – looked me up and down and pointed to the ‘Romance’ section, saying, ‘Try there, love.’
I picked up something that had Harrison Ford in it – I thought it looked alright, and went to pay. He said “Oh yeah Han Solo – good choice.” And rang it through. I watched the film with three others and within five minutes, two were asleep. I however, couldn’t stop watching and made it through to the grisly end – the film? Random Hearts. If I ever find that boy I will tie him to a chair and make him watch it on repeat forever.

Duncan (still NO GIRLS ALLOWED. ayoooooo):
I remember going into Blockbuster when I was about six, and my neighbour’s kid immediately striding up to the counter and yelled “DO YOU HAVE ANY GOOD MOVIES”. We went home with Mr Magoo. F*ck Blockbuster.

Possibly even worse was about five years when I was at NO GIRLS ALLOWED sleepover, which is what all sleepovers are until you’re old enough for shagging, and someone’s big sister was sent out for COMEDIES PLEASE. She came back with what the clerk had recommended: The Princess Bride and Coyote Ugly. I think one of my mates had a crafty wank during the latter. F*ck Blockbuster.

Tessa (remembers Blockbuster through a haze of blue and gold nostalgia):
Sometimes on a Saturday night one of my parents would say ‘shall we get a movie?’ and everyone would cheer and we would all get in the car and drive into town. As simple country folk, the Blockbuster was a sort of hallowed and majestic place, shining out blue and golden into the darkness. We trawled the aisles, laid out all our options on the floor, whittling them down.
Sometimes we would try and sneak a bag of Butterkist popcorn in to the order when my dad presented his laminated Blockbuster card at the till, and he would reject it with a snort of derision. A Canadian man born and bred, popcorn is homemade, salty and dripping in butter or nothing.
I understand that if I was to now go into a Blockbuster, I would turn up my nose at the terrible carpets, the awful lighting, the price, the lack of service. I was blind to these things when little, seeing that most magical of places through the rose-tinted glasses of my youth. RIP Blockbuster, always in my heart x

Hannah (found the Eternal Sunshine of the Leprechaun Mind):
I went to Blockbusters one when I was stoned. I crashed my car on the way there and came out with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Leprechaun 4: In Space. I still don’t know which film was the worst part of that experience.

Paddy (lived out his warped childhood on a moon orbiting Blockbuster IV):
It’s hard to recall the exact moment when my local childhood rental shop stopped being Ritz Video and became Blockbuster (the fact that they let us carry on using the old membership card does little to help my recollection), but my presiding memory of it is one of me consistently taking advantage of my mum’s good nature.
With our regular use of the shop basically amounting to entertainment for me and my pre-adolescent schoolmates, the rental criteria usually amounted to “does it have an 18 rating and will there be violence?” Now, me watching unsuitable films from the age of about 7 onward was nothing new (I had two teenage brothers), but Blockbuster did offer me the unique opportunity to sidestep even the few rules that they laid down.
Indeed, in all my young years, I only remember my eldest brother deeming two films that I wanted to watch to be unsuitable for my consumption: these were Starship Troopers and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I will always be eternally thankful to both Blockbuster and my sweet, unassuming mother for allowing me to see these titles at an age altogether too tender.

Sarah (her soul burns onnnnn):
Soul Blade was the first game I ever rented from Blockbusters. I spent too many happy hours playing it, and once I fell asleep with the game paused all night. Whether it was a direct result of that or just coincidence I couldn’t say, but Cervantes still haunts my dreams to this day. I’ll miss you BB but the demon pirate stuff is tired – Off you pop.


So there you have it – by and large, our entry in the Blockbuster Book of Condolence is a resounding ‘meh’. What are your memories of the fallen titan of video rental? Let us know below!

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