Recently, I read an article titled “For One Last Night, Make It a Blockbuster Night”. Justin Heckert from The Ringer chronicles the final days of Blockbuster video rental stores in one of the last states to enjoy their services: Alaska. This was not only one of the best articles I’ve read this year, but it was also the saddest movie related article I’ve read this year. As I read paragraph after paragraph, I found myself crying as some loyal customers, as well as employees, bittersweetly shared what they would miss the most about Blockbuster. In the article, some of the issues that Alaskans face were weak internet service, winters that kept neighbors stuck inside their homes, and the ways of viewing movies becoming much more limited. When I read this article, I felt really bad for these Blockbuster customers and wanted to do something to help them. However, I quickly realized that this particular problem, about one of Alaska’s movie viewing options going away forever, was too great for an individual blogger like me to attempt to solve.
As the creator and author of 18 Cinema Lane, I’ve always had the best intentions whenever I review a movie or talk about a piece of movie news. A “standing ovation” is something I try to give a movie or movie related topic that I feel deserves it. So, reading about Alaskans losing a component to their movie going experience made me feel like what I was doing wasn’t good enough. Every time I review a movie, I try to select films that most people can easily watch, stream, rent, or purchase. When I talk about movie news, I always make sure to include sources and give credit where it’s due. But I just felt so powerless as I read about how the magic of movies is slipping out of Alaskans’ hands like sand. As a movie blogger, I also felt guilty when I read about how Alaskans have to deal with weak or no internet service. Like I mentioned before, I try to make things easier for my readers and followers, especially with the movies and topics I discuss. But because so much of my movie related discussions take place on the internet, I felt like I wasn’t really doing much to help Alaska’s movie viewing problem.
As I look back and reflect on Justin’s article, I know that it was not meant to make a movie blogger like me feel bad about Alaska’s Blockbuster situation. It could have been the way Justin wove humanity and a human voice into this particular story that caused me to feel any spark of emotion. Maybe it’s because of how much I love the movie going experience and how much I want others to find the same amount of joy that I do when watching movies. Whatever is the case, I just hope the people of Alaska can find a way to still enjoy the magic and wonder of the movies. I know I don’t write heartfelt posts like this often, but I promise that my next post will be happier and more light-hearted. Talking about this particular article is something I wanted to do because most of us can relate to watching movies outside of a theater and with the people we care about. Recommending movies and engaging in cinematic discussions (which, according to the article, is something that Alaskans like to do face-to-face) is one of the best parts of belonging to the movie blogging community. The only thing that I can do is try to make 18 Cinema Lane as enjoyable for every reader and follower as possible.
If you want to read Justin’s article, here is the link: https://www.theringer.com/movies/2018/7/19/17588856/blockbuster-alaska-rental-netflix-soldotna-anchorage (just to let you know, there is some swearing and one inappropriate comment about a movie memorabilia item featured in this article)
Have fun at the movies!
3 thoughts on “Blockbuster leaving Alaska; the Saddest Movie Related Article I’ve Read This Year”
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Lovely post, reading it brought back memories of The Palace Theatre in the town where I live. I really miss that huge, glorious, single-screen cinema, with seats in the balcony and an interval for refreshments. Sadly nobody seems to really notice or care that it’s gone.
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Thanks for sharing your interest in this editorial, Paul S! Whenever I hear about closed down or demolished theaters, it always breaks my heart. The worst is when theaters like yours aren’t used to their full potential. These days, movie theaters are not made like the movie palaces of yesteryear. While today’s theaters have cool designs and amenities, they don’t have the character or history like theaters from decades past.