Growing up in Metropolitan Atlanta, I was raised on chains and corporations. There was McDonald’s for hamburgers and Blockbuster for movies.
While attending college in Tallahassee, Florida, I began to frequent the local Mom and Pop stores. There was Super Perros for Hamburgers and Video 21 for movies.
Now that I have graduated and temporarily moved back to Atlanta, I miss Video 21 the most…
Video 21 is a place where everyone knows my name. It is my Cheers. It is a place where I could lose a couple hours talking cinema and then lose a few more watching a film recommended to me from that conversation. I met Directors like Frederico Fellini, Francois Truffant, Wong Kar-Wai, and Jim Jarmusch at this store. I was introduced to films like Buffalo 66, Street Trash, and Husbands. Video 21 is more than a movie store, it is my private airport. The store’s Foreign Films were my plane tickets out of the Sunshine State when I could no longer stand its “southern charm.”
On my recent trip back to Tallahassee, I stopped by Video 21 and ran into my friend and store clerk Paul. After catching up and talking cinema, Paul said something that has stuck with me since. “Netflicks is trying to kill Independent Film stores.”
I immediately thought of the repercussions… Would Video 21 be open the next time I came back to Tallahassee?
In Atlanta, I have Videodrome. Although It isn’t close to my soul like Video 21, they have a lot of film’s Video 21 does not… Competition aside, what makes Tallahassee unique is Video 21 and what makes Atlanta unique is Videodrome.
What would life be like if these stores were driven out of business?
These independent stores are cultural hubs for a city’s musicians, artists, and writers. Without these stores, the cinema experience becomes impersonal. Whether you want to talk cinema or want a recommendation, the store is a gumbo of ideas and inspiration. There is nothing like meeting a store clerk who has similar taste in films and all you have to do is walk in and ask him what to rent. If you feel uncomfortable with nagging the store clerk, you can always look out for the “Don’t Miss” or “Must Watch” stickers on the DVD cases that past and present clerks have placed on some of their favorite films. Besides, there is nothing like the immediacy of going to a film store and picking up a film that you want to see rather than waiting for it in the mail…