I used to mourn video shops.
When I’d read of the passing of each one, like Video Ezy Mindarie this week, I’d be cast into a few minutes of nostalgia for the staples of my youth.
Movieland Malaga was a special place for me.
Perhaps the most inconveniently located video shop in history – unit 5/9 Stanford Way, in the industrial maze of Perth’s north-eastern suburbs.
My very first video shop membership card was from Movieland.
It was the place I rented stuff like The Professional, Pulp Fiction, Killing Zoe and True Romance. Films by Richard Linklater, John Carpenter and Brian De Palma.
Seven weeklies for $10. Later, $12.
It’s a karate school now (fitting, given how many copies of American Ninja it once housed). Before that a reticulation joint.
But the walls are a little bit holy to me.
“Movieland entertains you, Movieland’s got the movies you want to see,” went the old jingle.
When I moved out I rented a little unit in Inglewood, down the road from Planet Video, which became my new church.
It was better, certainly – DVDs had taken over by then.
This was the kind of place that sold movie posters and screenplays and books about Paul Newman.
The staff had tattoos and piercings and knew about a thing or two about a thing or two.
Planet has morphed into a book store and the building where all those videos used to sit is a Mexican joint now.
DVDs were supposed to make things better, but somehow didn’t.
Sure, the commentaries can be fun – but c’mon, if ever a piece of technology was overrated, it was the DVD.
Sometimes they’d just randomly skip forward an hour or so. Sometimes they’d just get stuck in the same spot, completely unbudgeable.
I don’t care how many deleted scenes you can get on there – give me something that plays the movies all the way through thanks.
Sure, that spot where Sharon Stone uncrossed her legs in Basic Instinct was always grainy as all hell on VHS, but at least the movie didn’t freeze.
Now video shops have gone the way of fax machines and mix tapes and average record stores.
So the next time you hear a video shop is closing down, don’t allow yourself more than a moment or two of wallowing.
Jump on your phone or your tablet, dial up Google movies, the Apple equivalent or Netflix – it’ll have a selection better than any video shop you’ve ever been to.
If you’re not into that try a niche streaming service.
The creators will get paid.
And you’ll never be disappointed because of a scratched disc, a tape that’s not rewound or having every copy of what you want to see being out.