The Last Blockbuster
Docu about only remaining video store; some language.
No reviews yet.Add your rating
No reviews yet.Add your rating
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
The Last Blockbuster
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Last Blockbuster is a documentary about the only remaining video brick-and-mortar store remaining in this digital age, from the empire that once had 9,000 stores. There's a long list factors that brought down the large company, from corporate mismanagement and bad luck, to a worldwide financial crisis. The remaining store's stellar manager is featured, as are some of her happy employees. Language includes "s--t," "ass," and "scumbag. Sex is mentioned with respect to the role that Blockbuster has played in the hope of intimacy on movie date nights. Adults drink beer. Doug Benson, a comedian who made a movie about smoking marijuana, is a featured interviewee. He displays the DVD of his movie.
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
We learn in THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER how the video store came to exist, an idea spawned by the shortsightedness of movie studios that originally priced videos for home use at around $100 per movie. Someone figured out that buying a bunch and renting them to consumers for far less would be a sustainable business. Soon that model became the studios' biggest source of revenue. Blockbuster became the dominant purveyor, so Sumner Redstone, billionaire Viacom mogul, bought it in 1994 for $8.45 billion. Not long after, the upstart Netflix reportedly proposed teaming up with Blockbuster for a mere $50 million, but was turned down. (Netflix was worth around $194 billion in 2020). Blockbuster continued to ignore the future of entertainment tech, and in 2011 Redstone sold the company, saddled with debt, to Dish Network for $320 million. Blockbuster quickly lost its market, going from 9,000 stores to a single location today in Bend, Oregon, situated near a cannabis retailer and a pet cremation service (as of 2019). Interviewees include film director Kevin Smith, whose black-and-white movie Clerks was about young slackers working in a video/convenience store. This movie's true star is Sandi Harding, the long-time manager of the company's last store, an open-hearted member of the community who employed many grateful residents back when they were in high school. Harding is lauded by former employees, a crowd of enthusiastic fans who sing her praises and all seem to have remained friends with her long after leaving the job.
Is It Any Good?
This is really several movies rolled into one, all of them engaging, but a bit longer than necessary. The primary story of corporate stupidity and bad decision-making in The Last Blockbuster is possibly the most interesting one. The second story is about the general public's alleged longing for the return of an American entertainment delivery system that has been absent from the scene on a large scale only since 2014. It's a stretch to consider a time period of less than a decade as the basis for nostalgia. The interviews in this part of the movie meander, with too many speakers saying the same things over and over.
The third story, however, is a sweet one, featuring Sandi Harding, long-time manager of the only remaining store on earth. Based on her warm camera presence and testimonials from former employees, there is every indication that she's the best, kindest, and most supportive manager who ever lived. When we learn that the corporation that now owns her Blockbuster is renewing the license to operate for another year, we are relieved for her and wish her and all her employees and family members and every Blockbuster customer in Bend all the best, for many years into the future.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what nostalgia means. What are some things from the past that you yearn for?
The movie celebrates an increasingly disappearing era of formerly tangible consumer objects that have become digital, underscoring the difference between a videotape and a streaming video. Which do you prefer, and why?
What are some lessons that can be learned from the mistakes the Blockbuster corporate leaders made?
- In theaters: December 15, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: March 1, 2021
- Director: Taylor Morden
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Documentary
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 17, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
The Social Dilemma
Eye-opening docu charts social media dangers, offers advice.
Terms and Conditions May Apply
Important docu about how digital companies use private data.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Subtitled docu about sushi chef inspires and enlightens.
Bold docu explores Edward Snowden's controversial actions.
For kids who love documentaries
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate