Remember sparring with your siblings over who got to pick the three weeklies for $7? Would it be the direct-to-DVD sixteenth instalment in the Bring It On franchise, or the M15+ horror flick you'd promised your schoolmates for the Saturday night sleepover?
As a kid, my trips to Jerrabomberra's Video Ezy were an adventure. Friday afternoons would stretch out before me and my little sisters, dazzling us with the promise of new movies, old classics, pizza and snacks. These were times when mum reigned supreme, her generosity dictating the quality of the weekend ahead.
It was a special time, a purer time when our movies and TV shows weren't flickering away on a laptop screen in the background. They were the main event.
Since Netflix launched in Australia in March 2015, it has gained more than seven million subscribers nationally.
Even in the United States, the home of Hollywood, only a single Blockbuster video remains. Video rental stores have become a relic. And not in a kitschy way that's able to survive through a nostalgic client base. The doors are shut.
Online streaming undoubtedly offers more than rental stores ever could. Value for money, access without having to clothe/bathe yourself for public consumption and the ability to reinvent your identity to gain as many free trial months as possible.
But these days, is there any situation where a video rental shop has a rightful home? Is it in a rural Australian town where internet speeds can scarcely load a tweet, or where residents simply don't have access to computers, smartphones or tablets.
For Canberra's last remaining video rental store, Network Video Charnwood, they see between 450 and 550 members a week. Some visit from as far as Goulburn.
About 10 new accounts are opened each week.
"Our members are young and old, and we still sign up plenty of newly 18-year-olds. But I think some of them do it because they're old enough to sign up for things," manager Josh Mudford said.
He's been running Network Video Charnwood for over a decade, but it has operated under different store names and owners from the mid-1980s.
I ask Mudford the obvious question. It's you vs. the internet, how are you still operating?
Well, online streaming sites aren't solely to blame. Free-to-air TV, social media, public libraries expanding their DVD collections and hard-drives of pirated content being swapped among friends are all factors Mudford credits.
"Business has certainly slowed down, but we're still able to pay the bills. This means we can stay here for the customers who still need us. Not everyone wants to pay a monthly subscription."
While he's clearly a cinephile - his favourite film being V For Vendetta - he's also there for his customers.
The shop is open seven days a week. He works six days and his sister works the other day he's not in.
"There are plenty of people who come in just to interact and seek recommendations. Some locals even come in and see another person they know and spend the next half hour talking to them."
As social media has stripped away the need for us to leave our home and habits to socialise, so too has Netflix and other video-on-demand services. History's largest shift in the home movie market has steered us on an antisocial course. Or a course that's less conventionally sociable.
In the 2017 Online & On Demand survey, 58 per cent of respondents admitted they watched “more screen content by myself than I used to.” 75 per cent of respondents also said they watched online streaming services “on my own if others in my household are not interested”.
The mass closure of video rental stores has meant there are significantly less accessible spots where viewers can drop in to discover and discuss titles with film-lovers rich in recommendations.
Googling a film's Rotten Tomatoes score, or eyeing an undoubtedly inflated Netflix star rating, is a far more solitary exercise.
While Netflix might appeal to viewers with its range of new releases and originals such as To All The Boys I've Loved Before and Stranger Things, they're missing something. The classics.
Searching Dr. Strangelove, The Graduate, Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, and even Titanic will only yield recommendations of second-rate titles.
Network Video Charnwood, however, has all of these.
"In the past year, I've got in three extra copies of Titanic because of the number of people who come in here asking for it," said Mudford.
"A lot of parents want their kids to see it because they grew up with it, and their kids are getting to an age where they can start enjoying the same films that their parents enjoy. They just want something to bond over."
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