A real, true movie fan knows – there is more to life than streaming. It’s bad enough that our local video shops are dropping (correction: have dropped) like flies and that we are left to scavenge the frozen tundra and pillage across land and sea to finally score that hard to find classic for the weekend, or a staff recommended blu-ray in all of it’s pristine “oh yeah, wow, nothing beats putting it directly in the blu-ray player and I forgot how much better that looks” glory. Video stores (and music stores, for that matter) still should have a place in society and our hearts, even if the alternatives are more convenient.
It’s hard to tell if the bloodletting is over or if more closures are coming. I remember when the Blockbusters and Hollywood Videos closed down years ago (and still, to this day, nothing has filled the old Blockbuster space in my local neighborhood of St Johns). Slowly but surely, the others followed. I thought for sure the St Johns Videorama location would survive, what with it’s “get a movie after working out at our gym” business model that always seemed to have some partakers perusing the aisles. Nope! Eventually that corner of the space occupied by the video store shuttered. Apparently it was occupying prime real estate better served by more treadmills and ellipticals. And then the one further down on Lombard (near Interstate) closed. I don’t even know where my current “regional” video store is right now – I think a few neighborhoods over in Alberta but they may have closed that one, too. I can’t keep up.
We’re all in the same boat unless you happen to live down the street from one of the few/far between survivors. But throughout, one light remained in this cavernous valley of darkness: Movie Madness. Part video store, part museum, 100% gold.
As with any video store worth it’s weight – you want it, they got it. Shelves from floor to ceiling filled with all the good stuff, and most importantly sorted by how you choose a video. Not just alphabetical – collected by actor, by director. Curated. Surrounded by a collection of movie artifacts from days of old. I’m not telling anyone anything they didn’t know already. If you’re a fan of film in PDX, ya been there.
The march of time has led owner Mike Clark to consider options heading into retirement. The best path forward, by far, would see control of the store handed over to the brain trust at the Hollywood Theatre and assimilated into their unique non-profit structure. “Unique” as a movie theater that operates for the greater good. And now adding a like-minded video store? It’s almost too perfect.
Non-profit status should cement and enshrine things nicely, and provide some interesting cross pollination with the rest of the Hollywood Theatre portfolio. In ways we haven’t even realized yet! If we could only get a glimpse of what the future holds in an upcoming Rick & Morty episode, I’m sure we will all be pleased and bathe in the proverbial Szechuan synergy sauce that this non-profit partnership will provide. Dare I say, this idea might actually take something that was already amazing by any measure, and make it better.
If this doesn’t happen, I shudder to think of another owner being able to keep this delicate treasure above water. And I can’t imagine a Portland without Movie Madness. Rally around what Mike and the Hollywood Theatre are trying to do – head on over to the kickstarter page now and pledge your support for the future of the best video store on the planet*.
*to my knowledge.
Update: Movie Madness – saved! Now comes the real fun and the adding of stretch goals. Stay tuned.