By: Charlotte Gascoigne, Loyola Junior
The last Blockbuster in the Chicago area closed in Wicker Park in 2013. The closest Blockbuster location to Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus could have been found at 5300 N Broadway off of the Berwyn Red Line station but was closed as of late 2010. Although most people have accepted the death of their favorite video store, residents in Bend, Oregon still hold their Blockbuster close to their hearts, especially as the last one of its kind.
A wave of nostalgia hits anyone who remembers walking into a Blockbuster video rental store in “The Last Blockbuster,” a documentary that takes viewers through the eventual collapse of the globally loved video store franchise. No one would have expected the fall of the video store, let alone the top dog of the market, Blockbuster, but the rising competition from Netflix and the 2008 stock market crash were catalysts to the inevitable collapse of the beloved experience of Blockbuster.
Although most people consider Blockbuster to be a fallen angel of the past, residents of Bend, Oregon hold their local Blockbuster close to their hearts as it remains the only one still standing in the world. The documentary sheds light on the family-like community of the Bend Blockbuster location, where the well-known and cherished Sandi Harding has managed the storefront long enough for her to watch her former employees have families of their own. Harding, also known as the Blockbuster Mom, keeps the reminiscent smell of burnt popcorn and plastic alive while continuing to lure in tourists from around the world.
Unlike most top-rated documentary films, “The Last Blockbuster” shines nothing but a positive light on the Blockbuster experiences people globally once knew and loved. Interviews with celebrity Brian Posehn recount his most idyllic memories of going to Blockbuster and how it was more than just a video rental store, it was an experience. Other longtime Blockbuster enthusiasts walk the aisles of the last standing Blockbuster location while reenacting dates they went on in high school or college. No matter what the occasion was, everyone had nothing but positive things to say about Blockbuster. That is, except for Lloyd Kaufman.
Kaufman is featured throughout the documentary and serves as the one person who rains on the parade of the glorious life of Blockbuster. However, the reasoning behind his gripe with the company all stems from the lack of representation the films he worked on had in the storefronts. Essentially, his problem was with the success of the company because they did not promote his films, rather than disliking the experience of a Blockbuster.
Finally, the documentary did have a comedic take on a typical informative film, which was a refreshing spin on an information-dense story.