Casa Video: A Tucson Treasure

logoWith Blockbusters going out of business and Netflix becoming increasingly more popular, it’s nice to see a family owned video store in Tucson maintain success.

Casa Video is probably one of the best mom-and-pop video stores in existence. The movie industry has struggled long before the economic recession. People have always been trying to pirate films, and new technological advances have made this easier. It’s possible to watch new theatrical releases on the internet. Even Netflix users have been known to rent a DVD and burn it so the movie has basically become their own for a cheap price. Some of my friends laugh when they find out that I still purchase movies the old, honest way.

In spite of the competition, Casa Video seems to be a successful source for renting movies. The owner has gone the extra mile to keep his store in business. Everyone who walks into Casa Video can pick up a free bag of buttered popcorn. Then, they’re welcome to browse the immense store, which has every film you can possibly imagine. Judging by the dark atmosphere reminiscent of a movie theater projection room, it’s clear that Casa Video has been around for many years, and there’s a lot of character to each section of the store.

Last year, my Shakespeare professor repeatedly mentioned that Casa Video has the greatest film selection in Tucson. I was told to watch 12 specific French films before my summer abroad trip this May. As to be expected, the French department did not enforce a DVD return policy, so I was unable to see all the required films for my summer class.

Thankfully, Casa Video had the movies I needed to watch, among thousands of other foreign films. Casa Video also has an interactive website that allows users to check film availability and if all copies are rented or in store. Casa Video can even mail-order movies to customers.

Employees have even taken to writing blog entries about new and old movies on the website. Three-day rentals are $3.50 and due back at the store by 1 a.m. on the fourth day as opposed to Blockbuster’s $4.50 price for 2-day rentals due back at noon on the third. You can get some films for as low as $2. Casa Video is open from 9 a.m.-1 a.m. every day, unlike Blockbuster, which closes at 10 p.m. on weeknights in most locations.

Best of all, Casa Video has a collection of VHS tapes if you’re into that sort of thing. Even though times are changing, it’s really nice to step into a large video store. It gives me hope for other venues such as used and new bookstores, even. I really hope Casa Video stays in business for a very long time, even though technological advancements will make it even easier for everyone to get movies in an alternative way.

On the “Twilight” Midnight DVD Release Party

In my earlier post, I said I was going to attend the Twilight midnight DVD release party. I just got back, and I’m currently watching the film.

One of the best things about living in a small city is that few people go out at night. I didn’t have to wait in a long line to pick up my Twilight DVD at Border’s, but I did have some interesting conversations with people in line.

“You know what? Twilight is way funnier than people realize,” I said, referring to the intense over earnestness of the film.

“Why do you think it’s funny?” a girl asked, sounding way too serious.

I went on to say I think it’s over-dramatic, hence, I enjoy the film for a good laugh and reminder of my own high school persona and experience. I can never refuse an opportunity to crack up.

Having been to numerous Harry Potter book/film/dvd premieres, the Santa Cruz Twilight atmosphere was pretty tame. I walked into the store right at midnight, and an employee at the door asked, “Twilight, right?” I nodded, and he directed me to the end of an impressive long line, which looped around a few aisles of books.

I’m pretty sure I was the oldest person in line, but I’m not embarrassed about my dynamic affinity for Twilight. As soon as a Border’s worker said it was 12:01 a.m., Blue Foundation’s “Eyes on Fire” played throughout the store. As a proud owner of the Twilight soundtrack, I immediately recognized the song as track nine.

“Oh my God, it’s from the movie!” the girl in front of me said.

“Really? It’s been playing for five seconds, how do you know this?” one guy asked.

“DO NOT EVER DOUBT MY TWILIGHT KNOWLEDGE! I’M RIGHT!”

Indeed she was, and I started my long strand of laughter that night. I talked to more people in front of me, and behind me, and I seemed to be the only one uninterested in buying the Three-Disk Special Edition Twilight DVD, which cost $32.99. I was perfectly fine getting the $22 Special Edition, which comes with more than enough special features that I won’t watch, anyway. I’m content with the movie itself.

After picking up a copy, one girl tenderly nuzzled her Three-Disk DVD case across her cheeks, smiling. As I weaved through the line, I noticed several Twilight specialized books scattered in bookshelves. Everyone wanted entertainment as they impatiently awaited the DVD release.

I bought my DVD, and then I found my mom in the Cooking section of the store. We stayed until someone said over the loudspeaker, “If you’ve already purchased your DVD, please leave the store.” The employees removed the caution tape, which served as aisle barriers so no one could cut through any lines.

A few girls huddled by Twilight merchandise by the front door, and an employee decked out in Twilight attire told them that they could not make any more purchases.

The Santa Cruzian workers must have wanted to get home from work. I don’t blame them. It’s a good thing I don’t live in L.A., where there are more people and bigger Twilight release gatherings.

Overall, the experience was valuable, as most experiences are. The girls at the front of the line wore Twilight themed clothing, but they were relatively moderate fans from what I’ve seen. As much as I appreciate how fun the movie can be, I could never bring myself to buy a TEAM EDWARD t-shirt, which refers to a popular character in the book/movie.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish my movie.