As a 43 year old man I was around for the rise of Betamax then VHS then LaserDisc then DVD and then streaming. I was also a manager at a LaserDisc/DVD store from 1996 through 2004. Suffice it say I was looking forward to this as I knew it would bring back memories. And it sure did.
What I did not expect was the emotions it would stir in me. This is not merely a show about a video store anymore than Titanic is a movie about a boat. This is about human connection, community, dreams, love, and death. TJ Wortham’s choice to tell the story through the lens of 6 people over the course of 16 years in their lives, with a video store as merely the backdrop, has resulted in an inspired piece of work.
The video store was a lynch pin of these people’s lives. It enabled them to connect with people in ways they otherwise couldn’t. And it was easy to relate to because that was life for many of us for years. I fondly remember when we would say, “I’m making it a Blockbuster night”, the precursor to “Netflix and chill.” It was fun. We all miss it. I remember once joking recently with a woman I was dating about how I wish we could go to dinner, then go to a fake video store and pick out the movie we want to watch on Netflix and then go home and watch it, just to get that experience back. This show touches on why so many of us feel that way.
Kristin Morris delivers hilarious and ultimately touching work as Rachel, a young disabled girl with an obsession for movies. Aidan Rees plays a wonderful straight woman to Kristin’s sharp insults, but then shines with an understated performance of a young woman coming of age under difficult circumstances.
Misao McGregor delivers solid supporting work in a role that could and should be expanded if this gets a future run.
Angelique Maurnae and Antoine Dillard have a hilarious scene as a couple that we all know or at least have been a part of. And Dillard returns for a touching scene where he laments the passing of an era.
Jeff Coppage is superb as John, the owner of the video store. He’s the loving patriarch of this “family” and his obvious brotherly love for Leah make him a man you really root for. I related to much to his character in that he remembered his customers based on their movie tastes (we all did back in the day), like good bartenders remember their customers drink of choice.
Overall, just a wonderful tribute to love, loss, hopes, dreams, and days gone by.
What I didn't like
Maybe if ever granted a full run, a couple of more customer characters. This is just a fine piece of work.
My overall impression
A charming, touching and familiar story that is about a lot more than video stores. It’s a about human connection, pain, love and loss. A wonderful cast takes you on quite a delightful, bittersweet journey.