RIP Blockbuster

And all the things I thought would last forever in 2005

Let’s all take a moment of silence to remember Blockbuster and all the things that rocked our (or maybe just my) world back when subprime mortgages still seemed like a swell idea, President Donald Trump was just a reality star and JoJo had a viable music career.

You remember Blockbuster. You remember going there after school Friday afternoons on those rare occasions when your mom didn’t hit you with the dreaded “we’ve got food at home.” Tonight — yes, tonight — you were getting a one-topping pizza. You remember perusing the aisles of flashy movie covers with beautiful people, their beautiful soulmates and the occasional film still of Matt Damon and his biceps saving America. If you’re like me, you might even remember biding your time until your mom was far away by the PBS documentaries to finally sneak a peek at the partial nudity on the “American Pie” movie cover. Good stuff.

While casting your eyes over those cinematic covers, you might have been struck by a grand sense of possibility. See, within each box Blockbuster promised individual two-hour-long voyages into the realm of grown-ups. To a nine-year-old with a borderline bowl cut and light-up sneakers, Blockbuster didn’t just peddle entertainment — it dealt in dreams. Not only would you one day watch every off-limits movie in the store, but you planned on living out most of the plots. You would seek out adventure like Indiana Jones. Make big romantic things happen like Jack Dawson. Live and act like a grown up. You would get the punchline.

But in the words of the American poet laureate of Blockbuster’s golden age, Nelly Furtado, “All Good Things (Come To An End).” Alas, Blockbuster too did perish. Today you would be hard pressed to find a still-functioning Blockbuster that hasn’t deteriorated into an empty storefront where raccoons go to hit rock bottom.

Things generally started to go downhill around the time that all the Blockbusters disappeared. Some skeptics might point out that correlation does not equal causation. Others may note that the failure of Blockbuster coincided with the start of adolescence for lots of us. Nonetheless, the world started to look at little different then.

Disillusionment is a natural facet of life, particularly when growing up, but I never anticipated how much movie magic would be missing from real life. Not only did I never get the chance to watch every movie packed into the store, but the wonder and romance of those stories seemed to slip away around the time that Blockbuster closed its doors.

But that’s okay. Actually, it’s stellar. Who really wants a life as pristine as that of a fictional character? The everyday monotony may be lacking in grand romantic gestures and cinematic moments, but, turns out folks, adulthood isn’t predicated upon how much your life resembles the movies. Nope. Instead, it’s the everyday work that you put into being the kind of person you want to be. Very seldom do you find yourself yelling “I’m the king of the world” at a ship’s stern, but day in and day out you get up, go for a run, include correct in-text citations and feel guilty for spending $8 on an overpriced sandwich at Panera. You do the unexciting things that existence demands until you can look back in the end and realize a little bit of movie magic was there all along.

Also, Netflix.  

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