The documentary on Blockbuster Video Stores, The Last Blockbuster will be finding its way onto Netflix after a PVOD debut earlier this year. Here’s what you need to know and we managed to gain some insights from the creators of the documentary too.
Directed by Taylor Morden and Zeke Kamm, the documentary seeks to tell recap the story of Blockbuster Video and take a look at one of the last remaining Blockbuster stores in the world.
The documentary arrives on Netflix in the United States (other regions availability unknown right now) on March 15th, 20201 as part of Netflix’s strong documentary line-up for the month.
Lauren Lapkus narrates the documentary with many famous faces featuring throughout including interviews with Adam Brody, Kevin Smith, Ione Skye, Jamie Kennedy, Brian Posehn, Samm Levine, Paul Scheer and James Arnold Taylor.
As we mentioned above, we managed to grab a quick interview with two of the people behind the documentary via email and asked them about their time on the project, how remaining Blockbuster store is doing in COVID-19 times and what fate could lie in wait for Netflix and its surviving DVD service.
WoN: can you walk us through who you are and your role on the documentary?
T: My Name is Taylor Morden, I was the ‘director’ of The Last Blockbuster, but on a movie this size with a crew as small as ours (some days just two people) we all ended up doing a lot of jobs.
Z: My name’s Zeke Kamm. I’ve been a writer, TV development executive, show runner, and director my whole life. A quick look at the credits reveals Taylor and I wore lots of hats. I was the writer / producer on the film but depending on the day I would also DP, direct a location shoot, work camera or sound. Whatever was needed to get the shot. When you’re making a film for the love of the subject, digging in and getting your hands dirty is half the fun.
WoN: How did you decide to license the documentary to Netflix?
T: It was always in the back of our minds that it would be the perfect “ironic” place for this movie to end up. Netflix is almost like a character in the movie. If The Last Blockbuster is the hero, the Netflix is kind of like the villain. So it was always our first choice. When people started to be interested in putting it on streaming platforms late last year and we saw Netflix was on the list of potential places it was the obvious choice.
Z: The first day we started working on the doc, we thought it would be a beautiful irony if we could get it on to Netflix. It seemed like the perfect fit considering the history between the two companies.
WoN: Have you spoke to the folks at Blockbuster recently? How has the pandemic played a role in the survival of the store?
T: Like any brick and mortar store they are having to adapt to the way the world is operating now, thankfully they have a robust online store that offers a lot of fun Blockbuster memorabilia including our movie on DVD/Bluray combo – that has really helped keep them afloat during this crazy time.
Z: I talk to Sandi every chance I get. She’s such a great person and has become a good friend. They are weathering the pandemic much like they’ve weathered everything else that’s been thrown at them. They are still standing.
WoN: Do you ever think streaming services could go the same way as Blockbuster did?
T: I never thought Blockbuster would go away, or Toys R Us, or Circuit City. After making a movie about how one of the biggest companies in the world went away, I am fairly convinced it could happen to any company. Nothing lasts forever.
Z: Sure. It could happen. Who knows what the next incarnation of entertainment will be?
WoN: What are your best memories of making the documentary?
T: The first day I got to meet Sandi and hear the story of this one little store and how it went from a mom and pop local video store called Pacific Video to being a Blockbuster Franchise. That’s when we knew we had a movie. Also getting to spend a day with one of my all time favorite movie makers Kevin Smith, talking about movies, that was a real treat for an indie filmmaker like myself.
Z: I think the day Doug Benson came to visit the store. He’s such a great guy, so nice, so funny. And he’s spent so much of his life on the road at Blockbusters around the country, he was genuinely happy to be there – it embodied how we felt about the store.
WoN: What’s your thoughts on the future of Netflix’s own DVD platform that still has 2 million subscribers?
T: I hope that hangs on, I have really fond memories of getting those red envelopes in the mail.
Z: I think it’s great! Something gets lost when you move from physical media to digital. Not in the movie itself, but in the experience. I watch most content on streaming, but there is something about grabbing a DVD from my collection and going through the process of watching a film that way.