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Bye Bye, Blockbuster


Published September 24, 2010 at 9:00 p.m.

Back in March, I asked on this blog, Is It Too Soon to Be Nostalgic for Video Stores?

If Blockbuster is your store of choice, the answer could be yes, as the company just filed for bankruptcy. Many of its stores are likely to go the way of the gigantic cellphone that Michael Douglas showed off in Wall Street (1987).

I mention Wall Street because yesterday I was in Burlington's Waterfront Video picking up a copy. I wanted to see the original Oliver Stone movie, which I missed the first time around, before reviewing the sequel that hits theaters today.

You'd think Wall Street would be easy to grab, being so old it features a gigantic cellphone and outrageously decadent '80s interior decor. But both DVDs (original and special edition) were checked out the first time I stopped by.

That's anecdotal evidence to say the least. But I'm gonna go out on a limb and say people in Burlington are still renting DVDs. Sure, most frequent movie watchers subscribe to Netflix or something similar. But when you can't get a new disc in the mail because you have four episodes of "The Wire" sitting around waiting to be watched, and the movie you want isn't instantly downloadable, and you aren't tech-savvy enough for illegal file-sharing ... well, if you're me, you will be happy you have a video store.

Plus, it's just fun to browse after work and grab a movie on the spur of the moment.

Over in Montpelier, the Savoy's Downstairs Video is still around, though it's no longer downstairs -- Terry Youk, who bought the theater from long-time owners Rick Winston and Andrea Serota, has moved the store to 7 East State St.

Youk has refurbished the Savoy's basement with a new screen, and he's starting a Cine Club down there. It kicks off this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with showings of Casablanca at 7 and 9 p.m. Call 802-229-0598 to reserve seats.

Oh, and that's another sign we may not want to confine our entertainment procurement entirely to the privacy of our own homes: the sudden reappearance of old-fashioned film series. I wrote about two in this week's State of the Arts. One's at UVM, the other at CVU.

Plus, if you're anywhere near Dartmouth and the Hop, you can see The King's Speech, Never Let Me Go, Tamara Drewe and other buzzed-about festival movies this weekend, well before they hit local theaters, thanks to a series called Telluride at Dartmouth. You lucky dogs of the Upper Valley, you...

By the way, I learned the proper wording of the quote that probably launched thousands of unscrupulous careers in finance: "Greed, for want of a better word, is good." Which won't offer much comfort to Blockbuster's rank-and-file employees.