Sure you've got your Netflixes and Amazon Primes and Hululululululus. Sorry... I leaned on my keyboard too much.. "Hulu" is what that should be. Then your second-tier, niche streaming services like FilmStruck, ShoutFactory and ScreamBox. There are plenty of streaming options for movies and TV shows. And I have several of them. But going to the video store still holds a wonderful fascination for me, the movie lover, and if you haven't been to your local video store (in our case, Family Video) lately, you really should check it out. Here's why:

1 - Unbeatable Selection


Literally every movie that is released in a given week hits the New Releases wall at Family Video. With streaming services, you have to find out which studio has what kind of deal with which platform, or if the studio who released a certain movie even has a streaming deal somewhere. At the video store, it's all there. Let's face it, it's rough being an avid movie watcher in a small(ish) Midwest town. A lot of the indies and smaller releases don't make it to our cinemas. So I have to rely on the video store to play catch-up on movies I miss through out the year. It's not uncommon for me to spend almost $20 on one trip to the video store.

2 - Cinematic Discovery

Sony / Universal / Relativity / Fox Searchlight

Netflix and Amazon can tout their recommendation algorithms and categories and sub-categories and sub-sub-categories all they want. And for the most part, that's really cool. "Hey, you liked this Julianne Moore film. You should watch all these other Julianne Moore films." I like Julianne Moore... she's a delight. But video stores are straight forward. Here's the new releases, here's the not-quite-new, the classics, the favorites, and everything else we've got. All in alphabetical order. So you can wander through, browse everything, see something that catches your eye, "Oh, I think I heard of this one! I'll get it!" or "Hmmmm, this looks interesting." It's like a surprise gift.

3 - The Staff

Danny Strong is an Emmy Award winning writer. He's written on TV Shows, mini-series, TV Movies, even co-wrote the last two Hunger Games films. And he got his love of movies from visiting a video store and hearing the clerk talk about great films and recommend great films. That clerk (and this is a true story from Danny Strong's own mouth, if you didn't watch the video above) was a young Quentin Tarantino. Academy Award winner Quentin Tarantino, who has made some of the best films of the past 25 years. What I'm saying is video stores tend to attract young film lovers to work there. So if you're having trouble finding a movie, the staff is solid for a recommendation.

4 - The Snacks

clf, Flickr

All the snacks you love at the concession stand at the movie theatre? They're there at the video store, at a fraction of the multi-plex mark-up (not to knock them for that mark-up, I know that's where theatres make their money, since they don't see much from ticket sales). A box of M&Ms, a thing of pop-corn and some soda. It's all right there. So you can recreate the movie going experience on the relative cheap.

5 - Inventory Clearance

John Moore, Getty Images

If you like having a physical copy of movies, like I do for some things, their inventory clearance sales are amazing. See, when they first get a movie, especially a big movie like Star Wars or Avengers, they will have entire sections devoted to the film. Ten across, ten shelves, multiple copies behind each case. They need to make sure they have enough for the rush on Wonder Woman or Finding Dory. After a few months, or even weeks, they'll start selling off their inventory to make room for the next big releases. They no longer need 100 copies of Guardians of the Galaxy. So you can pick up your very own copy on the relatively cheap. Sure, some are "Rental Only" which only have the film and no special features, but are you really watching the features? Really?