Wed. Dec 8th, 2021
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“The documentary covers the extraordinary history of Blockbuster but neglects to mention other specifics.”

Hello again, fellow moviegoers, I’m here to review another film on Cinema Perception. In this review, I will be discussing Netflix’s 2020 documentary film “The Last Blockbuster.” Prior to reading this review, this is a spoiler alert to those that don’t know about Blockbuster’s fate. 

Anyway, for those who want to know, this documentary film discusses the rise and fall of Blockbuster and the general importance of the last Blockbuster in Oregon. There is no acting involved in this documentary; the film centralizes on real life people and their experiences at Blockbuster.

Prior to seeing this documentary, the word “Blockbuster” reminded me of my childhood days growing up in Pottstown. Around the 2000s to early 2010s, my family and I would often go to any video store for films. When I entered Blockbuster, rows of videos greeted me wherever I went and as I went around the store, more videos appeared out of thin air. Not only were there various films around the area, but there was candy and selective treats to lighten the mood of the actual moviegoer. As Blockbuster disappeared from Pottstown and reappeared briefly near Glocker Way, I went to that location to relive the nostalgia of walking around the store and gawking at the latest films. Though most of the video stores are long gone, there is a deeper sense of nostalgia that I consistently long for in a world filled with digitalization. 

After watching the documentary, I found this film to have many positive elements. For one, the film captivates some sense of nostalgia of the glory days of video stores. Personally, some of my memories of what I experienced back in the past reverberated into this film. During one scene, I was very moved when I saw the actual logo outside of Oregon’s Blockbuster. Another positive of the documentary is the general story of Blockbuster. At one point, I was in complete surprise when I heard that Blockbuster almost had an opportunity to make a deal with Netflix, yet chose the alternative. In addition to its story, a third positive element of the film are  the well-known celebrities included. I found it interesting to see Kevin James speaking out about Blockbuster since the only role that I knew he played was Silent Bob. Along with having this film on Netflix, there was no worry of paying a rental fee. The last positive feature of the film is the runtime. 

Though the documentary has several positive traits, there are some flaws that the documentary neglects to address. The first flaw is that there is no focus of a particular person throughout the film. Another flaw that the documentary neglects to include more information about was the last Blockbuster in Oregon. It is true that the documentary does mention Oregon as having the last Blockbuster, but it never really goes into further discussion about Oregon’s Blockbuster, but rather Blockbuster in general. The third flaw is the lack of an antagonist. On one hand, it’s believable to think that Blockbuster’s general management ideas were the main problem, but on the other hand, digitalization was the looming antagonist that morphed out of 2010s and into the present. 

Despite its flaws, “The Last Blockbuster” captivated my attention in wanting to watch, and probably go to, the last Blockbuster on Earth. With that said, I would give this documentary film a four out of five stars for its nostalgia and historical reflection of Blockbuster’s past. ‘Till next issue, this is Nicholas Bartelmo signing out on Cinema Perception.


Nicholas Bartelmo is a fourth-year History major. NB790429@wcupa.edu

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