Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Johnny California: How About a Record Store Day for Movies?

 by JB

Last Saturday was Record Store Day. It was two tons of fun. And it gave me an idea...

As one of those aging hipster doofuses who still listens to vinyl records, I look forward to Record Store Day (RSD) with excitement and excitement. Meant to bolster the fortunes of independent record stores (Are there really any other kind anymore?) RSD has grown into a twice-yearly ritual for the vinyl community. There’s an RSD in April and another one on the Black Friday after Thanksgiving.

This being my first year in California meant I had to find a new record store with new rules for RSD. This was easy because there are a lot more record stores here than there were near my previous address. My previous record store had a list of crazy, complicated, and arcane RSD rules as long as your arm, dreamt up by an owner with heavy OCD. How heavy? His record store day regimen involved fingerprinting customers and requesting a blood sample.

I kid.
When I arrived, bright and early, to stand in line for RSD last Saturday. I was reminded of several things that I often take for granted: 1) It is fun to be alive; 2) It is fun to leave the house; 3) It is fun to be outside when the weather is nice; 4) It is fun to be around other people with similar interests; 5) It is fun to buy things; and 6) It is especially fun if the things you are buying are vinyl records.

My new record store of choice (PLUG: Salzer’s Records on Valentine Road in Ventura) had a jiffy set up: I got in line at 8:00am, the doors opened at 9:00am, I was done by 10:00am and home by 10:30am. They had every exclusive RSD release I was looking for, which is something I could never say about any other record store I had ever visited on RSD, no fingerprint or blood sample required. I picked up exclusive, limited editions of some tasty discs by Paul McCartney, The Pogues, Tom Tom Club, and Phil Ochs. I was able to make Patrick’s KISS dreams come true with a limited-edition Eric Carr release, and I decided to surprise my son with a Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros reissue. My son also suffers from “the vinyl disease.”
As I drove home last Saturday morning, happy and broke, I began to wonder why there was no similar event for people who still collect movies on physical media. It seems like a no-brainer. Surely, music has changed in the last twenty years in ways similar to film. Both media went from a live event (concerts and movie theaters) and physical media (records, tapes, compact discs and VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray) space to the convenience and limitations of streaming. Yet, vinyl records and boutique video labels flourish. Why do vinyl records get a twice-yearly National Holiday, while movie collectors largely just order everything online?

We need an RSD for movies, God-damnit.

Call it Moving Picture Day (MPD) and stage it in abandoned Toys R Us stores, just like Spirit Halloween every October! Better yet, stage it in the very same independent record stores that host RSD; I’m sure these physical media believers would be glad to have another special event that brings hundreds of eager customers to their stores! Oh, and forget Best Buy; they got rid of their video departments, for all intents and purposes. Let them suffer the consequences of their actions!

Imagine if movie lovers had a real, honest-to-goodness, brick-and-mortar store to visit once a year, like a Brigadoon of the 20th century’s most important art form. I’m constantly seeing posts on the Instagram and Twitter machines playing on everyone’s supposed nostalgia for the late, lamented Suncoast Motion Picture Company. Think a Suncoast pop-up store would be popular among movie lovers of a certain age?
The Criterion Collection and boutique labels like AGFA, Arrow Video, Cohen Media Group, Film Detective, Imprint, Indicator, Kino-Lorber, Second Sight, Severin Films, Shout Factory, Vinegar Syndrome, and Warner Archive could all hold their biggest and best releases of the year for MPD. I can see dedicated cinephiles lining up outside of abandoned toy stores the night before, just to get their exclusive 4K copy of London After Midnight. I can imagine yearly, disc-only exclusives that aren’t streaming anywhere. This would be the day for obscurities! This would be a day for limited-run special editions. This would be a day for US.

Someone in a position of some authority needs to act on this NOW. I ain’t getting any younger.


  1. I'd be all for it, but there's no stores that would fit the bill around here. There are a couple of used book store that also sell DVDs and CDs, but that's pretty much it. sometimes i find good stuff.

    I miss shopping for movies in a real store

  2. Yes, once again, convenience has won out over charm.

  3. OMG....i would be SO there for it. i think you really nail it by calling out the boutique labels...they are really the current state of physical media. Thank goodness they are putting out super high quality transfers of flicks that are not mainstream. To have a bunch of their fairs available to peruse IN PERSON!? Twould be fun and dangerous (for the pocketbook). But also it might really expose a lot more people to their sites and services!