Save the video store—in more ways than one

Posted by: Mark McLeod  //  November 27, 2014 @ 8:10pm

My love of movies goes way back. Ever since I was a really little kid, I can remember having a love for movies. My earliest movie memory involves going to see An American Tail in theaters in 1986. That puts me at 4 years old. I remember covering my ears at the loud intense sound from the THX intro and the fire scene on the ship. I may have seen other movies before that, but that's the one that stands out in my mind.

In fact, many of my earliest movie memories revolve around that loveable little mouse and his family's trip to America. Well, that and my granny taking us to the movies and sneaking in her own snacks, something I frown upon people doing these days.

So much of my current love of movies can be traced back to Fievel, including my enjoment of seeing the same movie over and over again, though nowadays I'm paid to have that happen. I think I might have seen An American Tail 6-8 times in theatres.

Another big part of my childhood was the video store, something today's kids don't know much about. In my neighbourhood, there was a mom and pop shop named Varsity Video which existed in one form or another until this past year. It was there that I met an employee by the name of Mike who was just awesome. He was always so friendly when my mom or dad would take me in, and when An American Tail was released on VHS, he saved me a poster and standee. It was so awesome.

Video stores would change over the years. Along with the Blockbusters and Video Updates came the rise of DVDs and video games, and at some point Mike moved on. But the idea of going to a store and having access to walls of choice was amazing. This is something that's lost on this current generation.

Sure, Netflix and iTunes have more movies than most video stores could have ever hoped to, but I could wander a store for an hour and just be lost -- to the point of excitement -- in the sheer number of options. I took some chances. Sometimes I won, and other times I lost. Video stores are a dying breed in the last few years -- Blockbuster has gone bankrupt and only exists in some 30 locations in the U.S., when there used to be that many in Metro Vancouver alone.

Save the Video Store is an entry in the Telus Storyhive contest, a Vancouver-based contest for aspiring web series creators. It's shot on location at Langley's Willow Video, which unlike so many video stores these days is itself inot in danger of closing. However, the trailer for the series really speaks to the all-too-common situation, and for that reason alone it's worth seeing. It reminded me of my love of video stores, movies, and how much I loved Empire Records (a movie with a similar comedic tone dealing with a record store).

Do yourself a service and check out the trailer below, and of course VOTE VOTE VOTE (before December 1) so that we can have the chance to see more of this story.

Tags: video stores, retro, comedy, movies, videos, An American Tale

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Mark McLeod has always loved film. In addition to his roles with ShowbizMonkeys.com, Mark also works on many film promotion projects in Vancouver, BC, through his company, Mark McLeod PR.

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