He does remember that most of us were going to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video or some other awful video store which carried 50 copies of the latest blockbuster (with a little b) and maybe one copy of Gone With the Wind, if you were lucky? Right?
I mean, growing up in Raleigh, we didn't have a trendy place like Kim's Video to go to. My video store never even carried a copy of The Taking of Pelham 123.
Corliss is right that wait times suck, and Netflix's recommendation software isn't as good as a knowledgeable video clerk. But then again, in my memories of Blockbuster, you were lucky if there were two guys on register on a Friday night and a third person working the floor. That's awful customer service. Good luck getting out in 10 minutes with the movie you wanted, let alone getting recommendations!
I don't want to just snark Mr. Corliss. There are probably some cool video stores driven out of business by Netflix. But 99% of the places were crappy, ill-stocked chains that wanted to sell you over-priced popcorn and never carried a video that wasn't put out by a major studio.
And the thing is, I've been learning a lot about movies from the film blogosphere, by people not motivated by the urge to move product, who aren't in a hurry to get me out so they can serve someone else. Most of the people who blog about movies that I read care about more than the latest blockbuster and they want to have a conversation. Isn't that the kind of community that Richard Corliss misses?