My Video Journeys

Last night, I ran into my favorite video store Video Journeys in Silverlake to return a movie. As is often the case, I ended up in a conversation with one of the knowledgeable staff about the research I was doing for my rewrite of a Mississippi River adventure, and how few movies follow treks down river.

I walked out of the store with a copy of the under-rated The River Wild (good dialogue and a strong performance by Meryl Streep) as well as an even deeper appreciation for a small business that is fighting for its existence in the world of Netflix, Hulu and Redbox.

I first visited this store nearly twenty years before (when I still lived in San Francisco) visiting my friend Andy. We’d drive all the way from The Brewery in Lincoln Heights to browse through a seemingly endless selection of independent, foreign and animated films.

Before social media, this was the place local film nerds and movie buffs congregated, and I find myself wondering about how long it can fight to stay in business (recently it downsized to a space half its previous size).

As writers, we value these independent venues, but are sometimes just as lazy as others in getting our entertainment digitally. Who would have ever thought we would ever be able to stuff so much art in our pockets, and the impact to some of institutions: book stores, libraries, local theaters and video stores?

Before traveling to other countries, I have a longstanding habit to visit Video Journeys to rent films from the place I will be visiting, and I find myself hoping that this is something I will be able to do for another twenty (or more) years.

Martin Ott

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