Video stores should make a comeback

Streaming services have taken the fun out of picking a film to watch

Art by Chelsea Lai

Art by Chelsea Lai

As I scroll through my subscribed streaming services, I realize it is all I ever end up doing — scrolling. Other times, I start watching a movie, but get bored half-way through and turn it off. It is rare that I actually find something to watch and stick to it because there are so many options.

There is too much content and streaming services to subscribe to. A lot of the films available on these services are either sequels or Netflix Originals, which usually contain predictable and contrived plotlines. The worst part is when you search for a film and the search bar comes up with “similar to [insert movie you feel like watching].” You curse at the screen because the movie they suggest is not at all similar to the one you’re looking for. 

Then, there is the price of subscriptions. Streaming services have gotten expensive, as has everything else this last year. When Netflix first became popular in the early 2010s, it cost $7.99/month. Now, a subscription can cost up to $20.99/month, but the content is still average.  This can add up quickly, especially if you’re a student. That doesn’t even touch on other streaming services you might be additionally subscribed to like Disney+, Crave, and Max (formerly known as HBO Max). 

While streaming services initially sold people on the fact that you can have accessible film content at your fingertips without leaving your house, their content has gone rapidly downhill, causing some streaming services to lose subscribers and resort to adding ad-supporting subscriptions. 

My suggestion is to bring back Blockbusters and other small chain video stores. Streaming services have not only taken the fun out of deciding on a film, but the experience of walking into your local Blockbuster store and making an event out of it. Although you may feel more pressured to pick a movie because you’re not in your house anymore, that is actually the great part about it because you are forced to pick something. Also, because of the limited content in a store, it will be easier to decide on a film to watch. 

The main reason Blockbuster stands apart from streaming platforms is because you had to physically go there. I remember getting excited as my dad pulled into Blockbuster’s parking lot and we walked towards the giant blue sign with yellow coloured letters, which felt so big to my eight-year-old self. 

Once inside, there were rows upon rows of DVDs and I would race to the kids section, usually picking a Disney film to bring home. It was my comfort place. I can still remember the smell of plastic DVD covers and freshly cleaned carpets. At the counter, I would watch my dad hand his worn-out membership card to the cashier. I remember thinking how much I wanted one, but sadly that day never came. 

Having a return to video stores would bring a sense of nostalgia back to the community. It would also bring back fun date nights, by actually having somewhere to go rather than sitting at home. 

Blockbusters reminds me of warm summer nights when they would be one of the few stores open at 9:00 pm, but also the perfect place to go to get away from the wet and cold in the winter months. 

It was a great place to make lifelong memories, because let’s be honest, nobody is making memories while scrolling through streaming platforms.