Video World is like other movie rental stores. It's the best place in town to discover new films. It also went out of business. Documentary filmmaker Ben Churchill returns to his hometown ...
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Video World is like other movie rental stores. It's the best place in town to discover new films. It also went out of business. Documentary filmmaker Ben Churchill returns to his hometown of Woodbury, Connecticut to capture the store's final weeks and celebrate the dying culture of local video stores. Written by
It's both ironic and apt that this short documentary, which chronicles the last days of a town video rental shop, is only available online through a streaming service much like the ones that have contributed to the decline of traditional movie rental. Rental shops have become an obscurity; I haven't stepped foot in a real one in over a decade, but watching VIDEO WORLD immediately brought back memories of the one I visited so often years ago. I imagine that most people born between the early 80s and early-2000s will have at least some fond memories of these places, and this is a film for us.
Director Ben Churchill's 17-minute documentary is to-the-point and unpretentious. It's too short to be a cumulative narrative on the fall of the video industry (though I'd love to see him attempt such a film), and instead focuses almost exclusively on the insights of the people with the most intimate experiences: the customers, the ex-employees, and Ed Kaczynski, owner of the store since the 80s and who once believed that it would endure forever. Snippets of these personal interviews provide a platform to several amusing anecdotes and the opinions of people on the importance of the video store as a community staple. Joe Pantoliano makes a cameo appearance from out of nowhere, giving this one some unexpected star power.
Costing a dollar to rent on Amazon.com and hardly more to purchase in SD, I can heartily recommend this one. While the documentary is produced well enough to appeal to general viewers, its niche audience is clearly people who have had the video store experience and lamented having it taken away.
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