And Then There Was One: There’s Now Only One Blockbuster Store Left in the World

iStock.com/mrtom-uk
iStock.com/mrtom-uk

It’s nearly the end of an era. A Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon—the last U.S.-based survivor of the video rental chain—is about to become the last Blockbuster store in the entire world, CNN reports.

The news comes as the Blockbuster Morley store, located in Western Australia, announced it would be closing at the end of this month. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 but continued to license its logo to individual franchises across America. However, due to the lure of affordable streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, the stores began to shut down one by one.

The Bend store became the last remaining Blockbuster in the United States in summer 2018, when two Blockbuster stores in Alaska finally shut their doors for good. "If you'd asked me 14 years ago, there's no way I'd thought we'd be the last one," Sandi Harding, the general manager of the Oregon store, told Engadget at the time. "It just seems a little crazy.”

While lamenting the demise of other Blockbuster stores last year, staff at Bend's Blockbuster also celebrated their survival by selling T-shirts and hats. They even collaborated with a local brewery to create a limited-release beer called The Last Blockbuster, which was launched during a party at the video store. If they were going to go out, they were going to go out in style.

And yet the store, which has been open for more than 20 years, still manages to attract business—and not just from visitors from who want to relive a nostalgic experience. Although it offers newer movies, Harding says their older, classic titles are the real selling point. “You can go to Redbox and you can get the new titles, but they don't have the older ones," she told CNN. "Netflix and Amazon don't have everything, either."

[h/t CNN]

George R.R. Martin Doesn't Think Game of Thrones Was 'Very Good' For His Writing Process

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

No one seems to have escaped the fan fury over the finals season of Game of Thrones. While likely no one got it quite as bad as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, even author George R.R. Martin—who wrote A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the show is based, faced backlash surrounding the HBO hit. The volatile reaction from fans has apparently taken a toll on both Martin's writing and personal life.

In an interview with The Guardian, the acclaimed author said he's sticking with his original plan for the last two books, explaining that the show will not impact them. “You can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself,” he stated.

He went on to explain how even his personal life has taken a negative turn because of the show. “I can’t go into a bookstore any more, and that used to be my favorite thing to do in the world,” Martin said. “To go in and wander from stack to stack, take down some books, read a little, leave with a big stack of things I’d never heard of when I came in. Now when I go to a bookstore, I get recognized within 10 minutes and there’s a crowd around me. So you gain a lot but you also lose things.”

While fans of the book series are fully aware of the author's struggle to finish the final two installments, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, Martin admitted that part of the delay has been a result of the HBO series, and fans' reaction to it.

“I don’t think [the series] was very good for me,” Martin said. “The very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day … I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.'"

Still, Martin has sworn that the books will get finished ... he just won't promise when.

[h/t The Guardian]

Attention Movie Geeks: Cinephile Is the Card Game You Need Right Now

Cinephile/Amazon
Cinephile/Amazon

If you’ve got decades worth of movie trivia up in your head but nowhere to show it off, Cinephile: A Card Game just may be your perfect outlet. Created by writer, art director, and movie expert Cory Everett, with illustrations by Steve Isaacs, this game aims to test the mettle of any film aficionado with five different play types that are designed for different skill and difficulty levels.

For players looking for a more casual experience, Cinephile offers a game variety called Filmography, where you simply have to name more movies that a given actor has appeared in than your opponent. For those who really want to test their knowledge of the silver screen, there’s the most challenging game type, Six Degrees, which plays like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, with the player who finds the fewest number of degrees between two actors getting the win.

When you choose actors for Six Degrees, you’ll do so using the beautifully illustrated cards that come with the game, featuring Hollywood A-listers past and present in some of their most memorable roles. You’ve got no-brainers like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (2003) and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (1990) alongside cult favorites like Bill Murray from 2004's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Jeff Goldblum in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984). Of course, being a game designed for the true film buff, you’ll also get some deeper cuts like Helen Mirren from 1990’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Sean Connery in 1974's Zardoz. There are 150 cards in all, with expansion packs on the way.

Cinephile is a labor of love for Everett and Isaacs, who originally got this project off the ground via Kickstarter, where they raised more than $20,000. Now it’s being published on a wider scale by Clarkson Potter, a Penguin Random House group. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon now for $20 before its August 27 release date.

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