Thanks Again Technology! Maine Loses Videoport
Today it was finally announced that one of Portland's legendary business will be closing it's doors. Let's just say you probably won't be able to find that cool Steve McQueen movie anymore.
Day by day we're losing out.
The sad thing is most people don't even realize what we're really losing.
A Portland landmark is closing it's doors. Videoport has been a movie fan's dream spot since the early 90's! It's in a dream spot too! Here in Portland on Middle Street you walk downstairs and you hit up Videoport, then walk over to Bull Moose to see if there was any cool new music. (or the other way around).
Even thought I didn't go there as much as I'd like to have over the years; when I needed something or knew I might have a hard time finding something, Videoport was the first call and visit. Going through with friends talking movies as we walked by the cases and helping them pick out stuff, always was a blast.
You know that foreign film that was kinda hot that your girlfriend found out about in college and she wants to watch it with you this weekend? Videoport has it! Old punk rock concerts only ever available on VHS still to this day? Videport has those too! In August, we'll be losing a place that shelves a lot more than Twilight and whatever comic book block bluster just came out. They had it all. The hard to find, obscure and the classics we love that aren't necessarily being shown on TBS this weekend with 147 commercial interruptions.
Yes, we lose that. We lose access to neighbors behind the counter with a wealth of knowledge and love for movies that runs deeper than most of us. People you can walk into and say, "I'm looking for that movie with Winona Rider... it's and old one with her when she was younger... maybe like 17 or 18 yrs old... she was an awkward lost kid...she had a kooky name. I can't remember the dude that was in it who liked her, but her dad is the guy in that new show, The Newsroom. He was the blonde guy in Dumb and Dumber too. She wasn't dating the singer from Soul Asylum yet though..." and then they walk you over to the letter "W" in the drama section and hand you "Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael". Those kind of people.
We lose that, yes. We lose their suggestions when we want more from Orson Welles than just Citizen Kane. Or you just LOVE Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, but didn't know about Dr. Strangelove or Being There or The Party. Can you go on-line and read about this stuff from a fake Wikipedia page or some freak who hasn't left his parent's basement in Boise for 17 years but would love to give you a conspiracy theory breakdown of every movie you might be interested in? Want that type of feedback? Or would you rather talk face to face with someone from your own town who can give you a human answer? And follow up answers? And gladly offers suggestions next time you come in looking for film noir stuff without asking them?
We lose that. What we really lose too though is being closer to everything that loves movies. We lose connecting with people. Getting off of the friggin couch! If you love movies and want to find more great movies you connect with others. You chat about things. Conversation is good. Typing leads to carpal tunnel. Fresh air is good. We've seen this with record stores. People stay on-line and order their music to float in the air and they miss out on a lot. I've banged that drum plenty though.
Netflix! Yeah! 97% of the movies that you really don't care about. 2% you do care about, but have seen and 1% you want to actually see. That buzz wore off after a weekend for me. They add maybe 3 "decent new movies" every 5 months. I mean when you have to act all fired up cause you can binge on the entire Columbo TV series, then you might have some inventory concerns. Netflix and Amazon Prime, etc. they aren't as cool as we'd like them to be. They're just easier. That's all. That's what all this is; getting stuff easier. Big whoop.
There was a part of the fun on a Friday that was "going to get a movie". All the choices right in front of you. People there to steer you in the right direction and hey, are you gonna be able to rip open a pack of Twizzlers sitting on your ass at home, not leaving? Video stores had the candy thing down cold. Think of how some accidental pizzas got added to movie night cause the place was close by like Anthony's is to Videoport. That spur of the moment addition. It made the night a little more exciting and loose. Simple pleasures. And if they were out of your movie, there was that acceptable danger of the replacement title that could have even turned out better. Who knew?! You took that chance and you loved it.
I hate to see record stores and video stores like Videoport go away. I'm not ignoring technology or refusing to get all wired up and digital. I live with plenty gadgets so no worry there, but the more and more as we progress into the future technology is forcing us to stay home, stay in front of computers, scroll and stay away from each other. That can't be a good thing. We don't HAVE to answer to technology everytime you know. We could keep stores like Videoport open. If we have the appreciation and the interest to truly enjoy our Friday nights.
Be kind and rewind every now and then and enjoy things a little bit more.