Quentin Tarantino believes in the power of a good recommendation. And back-of-box marketing materials. He also believes in one’s sense of ownership and pride when it comes to the long-gone days of renting videos at a store. Thanks to Netflix and the general streaming video boom that’s left consumers with an overwhelming amount of content to explore, it’s far too easy to move on from a piece of entertainment that doesn’t engage you in the first 20 minutes as you’re possibly staring at your phone/doing the dishes/chasing the dog. People these days simply aren’t invested in their temporary entertainment, and QT knows why.
Yellow King Film Boy, aggregator of interesting filmmaker discussions, stumbled upon this fascinating little aside by Tarantino in which he breaks down Netflix killing off the video store and the knowledge that’s delivered in its hallowed aisles.
“It’s very sad to me. It’s very, very sad to me. And I’m a little surprised how quickly it happened, and I’m a little surprised at how the public has moved on, and no one’s looking back, and they don’t really care. And it’s not just out of the nostalgia. I’m not on Netflix so I can’t even tell you exactly how that works. Even if you just have all the movie channels in your [cable] package, and that’s something I do have, you hit the guide, and you go down the list and you…watch something or you tape something and maybe you never get around to watching it or you actually do watch it, and [you decide], ‘Nah, I’m not really into this. That’s kind of where we’ve fallen into.
However, there was a different quality to the video store. You looked around, you picked up boxes, you read the back of the boxes. You made a choice, and maybe you talked to the guy behind the counter, and maybe he pointed you toward something. And he didn’t just put something in your hand, he gave you a little bit of a sales pitch on it to some degree or another. And so the point being is, you were kind of invested, in a way that you’re not invested with electronic technology when it comes to the movies. Now, of course, we all rented three movies and didn’t get around to watching the third one, but there was more of a commitment to what you ended up getting. And maybe you went down to the store to get Top Gun, and that’s what you wanted, and you got “Top Gun,” but then you picked up something you never heard about before, just because you wanted something more than Top Gun. And maybe it’s something that caught your eye, you didn’t know anything about it, and you took a chance. But you rented it, so you actually wanted to try and watch it some degree or another. And that’s what’s really lost — in a weird way, what’s lost is commitment.”
Tarantino’s legendary knowledge of obscure films comes in part from his days working as a video store clerk before he made Reservoir Dogs. But, perhaps the future holds a reference-heavy filmmaker with a knack for dialogue and gore that will take the industry by storm and thank a streaming service’s “recommended for you” algorithm during an awards acceptance speech.
Until that day comes, there is a Blockbuster still operating in Alaska (and possibly Indiana), but it’s unknown if Tarantino has ever made the trip for further enlightenment.