May 29, 2013

Good Bye Filmzilla

Last night, Tim got a text from a friend expressing how bummed he was to hear Filmzilla had closed forever. Startled, Tim took to the internet and through some unexpectedly extensive digging, he discovered that yesterday as employees came into work, they were informed it was to be the last day for Filmzilla. There was no talk of closure, no rumors, no plan, just a notice to employees that they would be closed for ever at midnight that night. We discovered all of this at 11:15pm. Tim had to get up at 5:30 this morning and was already up too late, but we grabbed our coats and jumped into the van to scour the impeccably stocked shelves one last time.

Upon entering Filmzilla, we were greeted by a few groups of people waiting at the counter with stacks of movies to purchase and (to our surprise) rent. It was an even split of people who had never been through the door before, and people who were we were witnessing a place they loved be picked over by vultures. Appropriately, Clerks was playing on the TV behind the counter and when there were just 3 customers left the younger employee asked his manager if there were smoke detectors in the store. She told him she smoked in there all the time and he lit a cigarette purely to smoke inside while they were still open. As each customer was rang up they were asked if they had rented there before, but when it was our turn, we were met with "You've rented here before right?". I asked our clerk if we could have some of the empty DVD cases with the Filmzilla and Nicollet Village stickers on them, and she found some in the back for us.

Filmzilla was one of the last video rental stores in the Twin Cities that catered to a wide audience. There are still some specific language rental places, the county and city libraries, but nothing like the video stores we grew up with. Tim and I looked forward to, at least once a month, ordering take out from True Thai and while waiting for our order, venturing across the street to rent a stack of movies. It is something that we are going to miss, and likely something we won't find a substitute for.

Tim and I were the last customers in line, and the last customers to leave the store. We took photos of the outside of the place lit up one last time, and as we did the open sign was switched off, for the last time ever. It was a suddenly sad night, we're sorry to see Filmzilla go.

UPDATE: Investigate further, but I have heard rumors that they will be selling off their stock at the store until Friday this week. I can't find any evidence of this on the interwebs, but if you want hard to find DVDs at the lowest market price, head down there now!

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