What was once a near dead industry has slowly began to reemerge in this riveting documentary that will bring back your sense of nostalgia.
At the height of the 1980s and early 1990s, the video store industry was huge. Aside from major chains such as Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video, the small mom and pop video stores had gained a rather massive following in their respective cities. These are the video stores where customers will go in and not only look for movies to rent, but mingle with fellow cinephiles, making friendships and in some cases, romance. It is these video stores that in the awakening of Redbox and streaming, refuse to go down as they still continue to strive thanks to a legion of loyal fans.
Filmmaker James Westby does an amazing job of bringing to us what was once a dying breed, the video store. An endangered species if you will. However, the focus of the film is on how the video store, in an age where it’s all about streaming and Redbox, has still peeked its head in the cinema markets with loyal fans continuing to visit and not only rent their films, but to mingle with both fellow customers and owners. The term “A stranger is a friend you ain’t met yet” really applies when it comes to the video store.
Some famous names you may know today actually got their starts as video clerks. Bill Hader, Todd Haynes, Alex Ross Perry, and Kevin Corrigan are just a few of the names interviewed in this documentary alongside greats like John Waters, Gus Van Sant, Thelma Schoonmaker, Nicole Holofcener, Dan Halsted and his wife Chantelle and many more. Some of the video stores highlighted in the film include Alan’s Alley Video in Manhattan, Video Vortex in Brooklyn, and Movie Madness in Portland. It will make viewers who wish they still had a video store in their area want to potentially make a trek to some of these classic video stores and enjoy spending time hanging with other cinephiles. You will also enjoy the musical numbers in this film, which are kind of hilarious including a country song that looks like a mini music video with the film’s opening credits.
At the Video Store is a fun nostalgic adventure to the brand that refuses to die and those who were once involved and those who continue to fight the good fight. If you love movies and you miss the good ol’ days of the video store, and we’re not talking the franchises, then you’re gonna enjoy this one!
WFG RATING: A
A Parkwood East Productions film in association with Argot Pictures. Director: James Westby. Producers: James Westby, Lydia Ricci, and Jade Olson. Writer: James Westby. Cinematography: James Westby. Editing: James Westby.
Cast: Lance Bangs, Bill Hader, John Waters, Nicole Holofcener, Dan Halsted, Todd Haynes, Alex Ross Perry, Ted Hope, Thelma Schoonmaker, Catherine Tchen, Penelope Spheeris, Gus Van Sant.
If you are in the Orlando area, this film will play on August 18, 2020 at 9:30pm at the Enzian Theater (1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland FL 32751). For more information on this and other selections at the Florida Film Festival, go to https://www.floridafilmfestival.com/