As Netflix Tries to Fry Blockbuster's Canadian Bacon, a Former Observer-er Pens An Adios

Blockbuster continues to insist it ain't going nowhere -- even as 24/7 Wall Street puts the downtown-based company on its death-watch list (one of three locals to make the list, actually, and not the first time someone has predicted Blockbuster's inevitable demise). But just in case it goes, my long-ago Observer cubicle-mate Matt Zoller Seitz writes for Salon today a fare-thee-well: "What I'll miss about Blockbuster." No, not the late fees, but the human touch that comes with wandering the aisles in search of the overlooked something that brightens up a Saturday night:

I have many fond memories of roaming the aisles with my friends, arguing about which titles to rent, calling out to each other from across the store when we found something interesting, perusing the fine print on video boxes and discovering odd, marginal credits. (Did you know that the legendary jazz saxophonist Stan Getz had a special music credit on the awful 1980 vigilante film The Exterminator? I saw that on the box and rented the movie; turns out Getz also has a brief cameo as himself.) I had some involved, sometimes pivotal conversations while loitering in the aisles at the Blockbuster near my school or apartment or workplace, including one in which my best friend helped me talk myself into breaking up with a girl I was dating who was beautiful and charming but not remotely interested in any film released before the year of her birth. She fell asleep during Dr. Strangelove.

And while the company's demise isn't inevitable, Fast Company today says if and when it does go, look no further than Canada -- which Netflix said today it'll invade this fall with a streaming-only service. Because till now, Blockbuster's best biz has been in the Great White North. But if I recall correctly, in order to secure that 28-day window it's finally advertising, Blockbuster had to cede the first lien of its Canadian assets to Sony and Twentieth Century Fox. Uh-boy.

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