The Last Blockbuster is a documentary about how Blockbuster Video began and eventually became one of the greatest retailers of entertainment. As well as that, this is also the sad story of how the major retailer fell apart leaving only one Blockbuster Store remaining. The Last Blockbuster is still in full operation to this very day.
For those who do not know, I personally worked in a Video Ezy store as a teenager in Qld, Australia. Honestly, I think I was offered a job because I was always visiting the store and hated leaving. I have so many fond memories when it comes to visiting video stores as well as having the honour of being employed at one too. During my time in a video store, I remember repairing VHS tapes and recall loaning out VHS players to customers. I witnessed the arrival of DVDs and saw VHS tapes disappear from our shelves. Working part-time in a local video store is where my passion for movies, as well as becoming a personal collector of movies, all began. A journey which would lead me to writing this very film review.
The documentary begins by introducing us to the proud owner of the remaining Blockbuster store, which is in Bend, Oregon. The manager’s name is Sandy Harding and her nickname within her community is ‘Blockbuster Mum’. Sandy earnt this nickname from the many teenagers within the community who have all had the honour of working for her in the past. While working at and managing this store, Sandy has witnessed many incredible moments. Sandy reveals incredible insight and many details about Blockbuster which I was not personally familiar with. Did you know that in 2004 Blockbuster had approx. 60,000 employees along with 9,000 stores? To my surprise, by 2017 the company went from having 9,000 stores down to only 12. In the year 2019, Sandy Harding’s store became the only remaining Blockbuster store in the world. If you thought the reason for the disappearance of all the other Blockbuster stores was because of Netflix, you’re in for a shock.
If you’re not sure how video stores came to be, you will also find this feature rather insightful, especially when this documentary explains the original cost of a video cassette set at a high price by film studios. We are also spoiled with guest appearances through interviews as they share their own experience and memories with Blockbuster Video. Some of these guests include Kevin Smith, Ione Sky, Brian Posher, Doug Benson, Paul Scheer, Samm Levin, Jamie Kennedy, Darren Hayes and many more!
Overall, I found this documentary to be rather fun and pleasing as it takes its audiences on a trip down memory lane. Having personally worked in a Video Ezy store as a teenager, I felt like I had a special connection with this feature. It is quite insightful as we discover how video stores came to be and the journey of the major retailer who once had over 9,000 stores, eventually reducing to only one store in the world. Once there was a time where people used to select a film and at the same time have a human connection or even a deep discussion with others. It is certainly a different kind of a history lesson and one that should be witnessed by all movie lovers. Are you ready to visit The Last Blockbuster?
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Review Written by Peter Walkden