The Last Blockbuster


Manuel Rodriguez, Writer

Blockbuster. What was it? When the world didn’t depend on Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, families all over the United States relied solely on Blockbuster. Blockbuster was a store that carried a variety of movies, games and films ready to be rented to anyone. Today, watching movies and TV shows is a mostly independent activity due to the popularity of streaming services that are easily accessible on most any device.  During the peak days of Blockbuster, however, watching movies was a family activity that required more than just a few taps or clicks. A drive to the local Blockbuster provided valuable time for a parent and child to bond away from their strenuous and often busy lives. In 1989, Blockbuster was at its prime with “a new store opening up every 17 hours”. It was a new concept that was especially convenient to people living in the late 80’s and early 90’s because it gave them the ability to see any movie they desired without having to wait for it to be played on their local television channel. Blockbuster was once just as popular as the streaming services thousands use daily today.

Something as monumental as Blockbuster was easily forgotten in the early age of technology, however there is still one last independent self-owned Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon. Recognizing the timelessness of Blockbuster, the owner decided to not let his store become extinct,  and this single store is determined to uphold the past and the often forgotten way of life, as well as continuing the memories near and dear to thousands of hearts. Many people fly to Bend, Oregon just to recapture the familiar sensation they had when they were younger. “Once you come here you remember your childhood, your favorite movie or that Friday night when you were trying to get a movie but you couldn’t,” said one customer. Despite what technology can bring to the table and the many benefits that come with it, there is something very special about living simply and emulating the past.

Even though new inventions make our lives increasingly easier, there is something comforting and special about the past, a time when the world didn’t rely upon all these new technologies and tight-knit families spent more time together. Recently, the momentum of Blockbuster’s sales suddenly came to an end due to Netflix and online retailers like Amazon diminishing the brand’s customers. Now after only 5 years since the company was shut down, many young people haven’t even heard the term Blockbuster before, though it was once such an important part of a family’s bond. People still faintly remember what life once was as well as  how much the world has changed and, in my opinion, the past will always evoke something within oneself that no invention will.