RIP Applause Videos

Well, as I posted on my other blog, it is another sad day as the video store I used to work at, Applause Videos, has closed. I only worked there for about 6 months, but it definitely rivals BMW as my favorite job ever. It was not rocket science by any means, but I loved opening the store every morning and just sorting through movies and having people come in and talk about movies, and basically just living in a world completely submersed in movies from all over the world and spanning the last century.

Part of the reason I even began this blog was inspired by the concept of the "staff picks" section of video stores, and when I got my OWN shelf at Applause I was so exhilarated and put a lot of thought and energy into what to put up there! It was always exciting when people would take your recommendations and rent something from you shelf. There are just gazillions of wonderful movies old and new that get lost in the shuffle. I was recently listening to an interview with Roger Ebert where he sort of lamented the fact that he sat through soooo many films in his life. His point being, life is precious and short, and there is so much crap out there, that in a way it is kind of tragic when you sit through a terrible film for 2 hours that you will never get back! Now I'm not claiming that all of the movies I recommend people will enjoy, but I don't know, I feel some sort of responsibility to pass on great things I have come across.

And that is something that I think we lose when you no longer have to go into a store and speak to someone. Part of the appeal of video stores, for me, was just being in there surrounded by shelves and shelves. It was the browsing that was interesting and I could literally spend hours in a store just reading the back of boxes. And while the internet (see: this blog! ha ha) is a great resource, and indeed a resource I use constantly to inform myself, there is that disconnectivity. While iTunes, or Amazon, or Netflix, or wherever you get your media, can recommend things to you, it is more often than not based on genres, tags, keywords, ratings, or even things previously bought by people who also looked at the title you are looking at. There isn't the same emotion of being in a store and wandering around, flipping through the action section, or the classic section, or (if you were lucky) the Criterion section, smiling at the sun-bleached James Bond section, and hearing the sounds of both fellow customers murmuring about films they had recently seen or read about, and whatever film the clerk was playing on the little TV hanging in the corner of the store.

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