The documentary is #10 on Netflix this week!
Blockbuster makes me reminiscent of days long past—Friday evenings with my family at the local Blockbuster, roaming their winding aisles, perusing their sainted shelves, picking a film, and maybe a box of Milk Duds for good measure. But it's not 2001, it's 2021, so we've got a different suggestion for Friday nights: Watch Netflix's new documentary pick, The Last Blockbuster, about the rise and fall of the Blockbuster franchise—"and how one last location in Oregon keeps the spirit of a bygone era alive."
It feels very 2021 for a company that began as a video rental service to stream a film, decades later, about the demise of its once-competitor—and, as the internet pointed out, weirdly mean. Mike D. Sykes, II, writing for USA Today Sports' website, For the Win, put it best: "Poor, poor Blockbuster."
The film itself, according to Netflix, features "Kevin Smith, Jamie Kennedy, Doug Benson and more pay[ing] tribute to the once-dominant, popcorn-scented video rental chain." While the premise might seem a bit harsh, Variety calls the film a "casual, kid-gloves doc" that ends up being a "fond homage" to both the chain and the titular last Blockbuster, which "inspire[s] pilgrimages to this Tuvalu-like outpost for many who associate Blockbuster with early jobs and/or formative movie-watching experiences."
Netflix streaming The Last Blockbuster may be a cruel twist of fate for Blockbuster as a franchise. But for that last, lonely beacon of nostalgia in Bend, Oregon, it might just inspire another wave of fans. And maybe we don't have to feel too bad for Blockbuster—it was, after all, basically "the Walmart of the movie industry."
What are your favorite Blockbuster memories? Are you interested in the documentary? Let us know in the comments.