A Blockbuster Swan Song: SNL Mourns the End of an Era

RIP cardboard character cutouts, VHS tapes and those tubs of Blockbuster popcorn

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This week, SNL paid tribute to Blockbuster — which recently announced it would be closing its remaining brick-and-mortar stores — with a three-minute short film. Bobby Moynihan, Taran Killam and newbie Mike O’Brien star as three employees who go on a bizarre Blockbuster-mourning bender until they happen upon an even stranger, mystical replica of their beloved store, deep in the woods. Lady Gaga (the episode’s host and musical guest) plays the oracular overlord who feeds them sugary movie theater treats in a VHS-lined sex lair.

Totally weird, yes, but definitely worth a watch. It’s a strangely touching tribute to what is truly the end of an era. Or maybe it’s just the 1990s imagery and all the gauged-eared Blockbuster employees named Mike that make us long for those simpler days. RIP, Blockbuster. You have served us well.

3 comments
annjoy.viewster
annjoy.viewster

Those who didn't have the same experiences as you are probably not likely to feel they are missing something. It is surprising how easy the modern kids are taking to everything being available in a second online or on a mobile device. They are perfectly comfortable with it and often better at it than their parents. Still, I wish we could have some of the smaller businesses/stores left, to go and rent something for a different experience.

ydrittmann
ydrittmann

I'm old enough to remember memberships at the mom and pop stores. Heck, I rented from a Beta only store. We were mad that  Blockbuster ran the indies out of business. 

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

I clearly remember Blockbuster and Easy Video being "The Places" to rent videos when I was a kid in the 90s, and a teenager in the early-mid-2000s.  Additionally, I remember other big chains (i.e. Office Max) that carried video rentals too.  In fact, I remember renting a video with my father from Office Max when I was 8 years old.  Coneheads (for those of you old enough to remember) was prominently featured on the display shelves, so that gives you an idea of how far back I'm going.

For a kid/teen, renting videos was a part of every Friday night/weekend.  You would go over to your friend's house just to watch videos (and play N64, Sega, Super NES, PS, etc.).  It was also a time when the whole family could watch the same video in the same room at the same time.  Additionally, if you were a teen, it was considered 'big' if you could rent an R-rated movie without the cashier demanding to see ID.  I remember, while perusing in the "R" or "PG-13" section, being called away by my father, who would be wondering what on Earth I was doing 'there.'  Sometimes, we would stay in the store for 1/2 an hour or more, because the featured store video would be a real classic of American cinema.

Going into those stores for a kid was awesome, and was also a 'time warp' for adults.  It's a feeling that Netflix or Amazon just cannot replicate.