New to VOD this week:
THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER
A nostalgic look at the rise and fall of Blockbuster Video.
Founded in the mid-1980s and quickly expanding to dominate the video rental business through the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Blockbuster Video once boasted of over 9000 retail stores. As signaled by the title of Taylor Morden’s film, the company’s fortunes changed, with the last outlet located in Bend OR, run by the pleasant and unassuming Sandi Harding, a surrogate mom to the parade of local teenagers who have worked for her. Morden attempts to profile Harding and her struggles to keep her store afloat despite competition from Netflix and other VOD services, while also recounting the history of the company and how it fell from grace. Unfortunately, despite its nostalgic appeal, the overall result feels imbalanced and padded, with far too many anecdotes from celebrity interview subjects and the like, suggesting that the project might have worked better as a short film.