The manager of the last Blockbuster video store in the world located in Bend, Oregon, struggles to keep the store open.
When I was a kid, I sadly took Blockbuster Video for granted. I’ve lived in the same small city my whole entire life and still do to this day. I even live in the same house I grew up in as a kid today. And as far back as I can remember, my mother used to take me every other week to the local Blockbuster Video store which was about a five-minute drive from our house, and I would spend about twenty minutes each time just being in awe of how many amazing movies and video games were on display.
I have always been an avid gamer and have played more games in my life than I can count. It’s definitely in the hundreds or maybe even thousands. So as a seven or eight-year-old, going to a store that had hundreds of games right in front of me that I could rent for a week at the low cost of five to ten dollars was absolutely magical. The first game I ever remember renting as a kid was Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I ended up renting four times and beat it each and every single time because I loved it so much. To this day, it is in my top three favorite games ever.
Because it was so cheap and so easy to rent games at the Blockbuster store in my city every other week, I took the place for granted, and never in a million years did I think that one day, it wouldn’t be there anymore. What was once a place that I used to spend so many days as a child at has now been transformed into a butcher shop. And every single time I drive past the building (which is quite often), I can’t help but reminisce about my childhood and how much I wish I could go back to a Blockbuster Video store one last time.
Taylor Morden’s The Last Blockbuster is an absolutely delightful watch for anybody that longs for the Blockbuster Video days and for anybody that spent countless hours there growing up. In the film, we watch interviews of various different celebrities and movie stars such as Kevin Smith and Ione Skye as they discuss how important the popular chain was to them back in the 1990s and early 2000s and how it still impacts them to this day.
There is something so special and endearing about listening to people talk about what it meant to them being able to go to their local Blockbuster store and renting out movies and spending time talking to their friends in the store. There’s this kind of indescribable magic that comes with Blockbuster that nobody will ever be able to fully put into words. But The Last Blockbuster does a pretty good job at doing it.
Instead of delving super deep into this company and how it failed, the film instead tends to focus on the nostalgia aspect of things which was fun. However, it definitely would’ve been so much better if the film was able to talk about the nostalgia along with how the company failed in the first place because it really shies away from doing it.
But something that I thought was really interesting and enjoyable to watch was seeing how the manager at the last remaining Blockbuster in the world, Sandi Harding, is able to keep it alive when all other stores in the franchise closed down. She manages the store and almost all of her employees are her family members and for them, running a Blockbuster video store is something that they feel incredibly blessed to be able to do especially in this day and age.
And the irony of The Last Blockbuster being able to watch right now from the comfort of your own home on Netflix is amazing and also sad. I really love the fact that in this day and age, we are able to watch practically any movie we want by going online on various different streaming sites, but I will always cherish physical media and video rental stores so much more than online streaming. The Last Blockbuster is a reminder of why the old way to consume media is so nostalgic and for a lot of people, much better.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directed by: Taylor Morden
Distributed by: 1091 Pictures
Release Date: December 15, 2020
Running Time: 86 minutes