Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Last Blockbuster

By Mike Ruffin I was a professor at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee in the 1990s. We had a university-wide faculty meeting just before the beginning of each new school year. The president of the university would address us. One year’”it was probably 1994 or 1995’”he said something like this: ‘Blockbuster Video is one of the great success stories of our time. And it will be gone in ten years.’ He said this would happen because people would get their movies by other means, such as through delivery to their computers. I don’t remember him using the word ‘streaming,’ but that’s what he was talking about. It took longer than he said it would, but he was right. In 1994, Blockbuster had about 4,500 stores in the United States. As of this writing, only one Blockbuster store remains. It’s in Bend, Oregon, and I suspect that if you want to see it, you’d better get out there as soon as possible. I hear Bend is a nice place to visit. What happened? Lots of things. Netflix’s movies by mail happened. So did Redbox’s movies by kiosk. And most recently, movies by streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. In short, change happened. It wasn’t that long ago that it was hard to imagine a world without Blockbuster. We’re now living in it. It’s not that watching movies at home has gone away. It’s just that methods of providing them for home viewing have evolved, and the evolution has left video stores in the graveyard of historical footnotes. It’s survival of the most convenient. But they still make movies, don’t they? Hollywood keeps churning them out, and people keep going to theaters to see them. There’s still nothing like seeing a good film on a big screen. So the fact that we’re down to the last Blockbuster doesn’t mean that we’re down to the last movie. Methods of home movie delivery come and go. But they still make movies and show them in theaters. There are different ways of doing church too. Some of them have stood the test of time, and the jury is still out on some. But all churches still worship the same God, follow the same Jesus, and read the same Bible that they have for almost two millennia. We may struggle over meanings, quibble over details, and argue over methods, but we all keep going back to the same sources. There are different ways of being American too. Different groups, movements, and individuals have different perspectives, approaches, and priorities that lead them to emphasize some ways other than or more than others. But we read the same Constitution we’ve been reading for well over two centuries now. We may struggle over meanings, quibble over details, and argue over methods, but we all keep going back to the same source. Video stores offered a very helpful way of bringing movies into our homes, but that way has now become extinct because better ways have been developed. Maybe we sometimes develop better ways of practicing faith or of exercising citizenship. But we keep going back to the movies. We keep going back to the Lord and to the Bible. We keep going back to the Constitution. As we continue moving forward, we need to keep looking back. As we go where we need to go, we need to remember where we come from.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by - Copyright 2021