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December 9, 2016

My wife and I often like to watch a movie on a weekend evening, particularly during the cold weather months when we can curl up in front of the wood burning stove.


My wife and I often like to watch a movie on a weekend evening, particularly during the cold weather months when we can curl up in front of the wood burning stove. She prefers glacially paced English murder mysteries or horror films while I prefer science fiction or something with a touch more action or comedy. We do not have cable but get three over-the-air television channels and have two paid internet subscription services.


One would think that with all these offerings, we would be able to find movies that would meet our interests. Sadly, that is often not the case. It seems that we spend half out time scrolling through long lists of direct to DVD movies that we have never heard of or turn out to be only very marginally related to our search terms. We recently searched for “romantic comedies”.

The first night we saw about half of a film that had to do with humans quickly and sequentially losing all their physical senses. Another night we managed to get through a film about two completely repressed adults dealing with parents who had died of cancer. These were not comedies and hardly romantic. I know it sounds terribly old school these days but thank goodness that there is at least one video store in Vermont.  As reported in The Wall Street Journal, few video stores exist in the United States anymore. Most people have streaming services or if they want to rent a DVD or Blu-Ray they go to a machine outside a grocery store that has selections that disappeared from movie theaters a few months ago. 

A video store is a bit different though. To survive, they have had to specialize, that is offer things that cannot easily be found on the major streaming services. That includes recent movies as well as obscure niche films. Amazingly, the other day I could rent a recent release DVD for a few dollars but if I wanted to see it streaming, I would have had to pay $19.99. When one of my sons comes to visit, I can pick up a collection from his favorite director-- few of which I can find on line. 

I also like the fact that the person behind the desk can actually answer my questions and knows everything about almost any genre or movie I name. So, I know the future is on-demand streaming content. However, I still enjoy the conversation and the choices that can be found in a brick and mortar store.

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