‘The Final Blockbuster’ Evaluation: All of the Nostalgia, With No Late Charges


Have you ever heard of the guy who asked about “Of Human Bondage” at the video store and was told to go to the “Adults” section? I’ve seen it. In the 80s. A lot of “The Last Blockbuster,” a documentary about video rental stores – and especially a store, as the title suggests – spends a lot of time with Gen X folks who have not dissimilar memories.

Directed by Taylor Morden and narrated with gripping energy by actress Lauren Lapkus (“Orange Is The New Black”, “The Big Bang Theory”), the film’s nostalgic appeal goes a little beyond its subject. His talking heads – including director Kevin Smith; actors Jamie Kennedy and Ione Skye; comedians Brian Posehn and Doug Benson; and members of the music groups Savage Garden and Smashmouth – let the documentary feel like an oversized episode of the old VH1 show “Best Week Ever”. Coincidentally, VH1 and Blockbuster Video once had the same parent company, Viacom.

The film explains well the basics of the video business as a business and how corporate manipulation over debt and capital led to the downfall of the blockbuster chain. As conventional wisdom says, was it Netflix that killed blockbusters? The answer is both “no” and “somehow”.

As the narrative of this pleasant, but ultimately inconsequential, film thins out, it is emphasized again and again that there is only one blockbuster place in the world right now. Fortunately, the owner is the warm and flattering Sandi Harding, who believes that by now she has given almost every teenager in the town of Bend, Ore, a job to run the business. She calls herself a “blockbuster mom”.

The last blockbuster
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 24 minutes. Rent or buy from Amazon, Apple TV, and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators.