Rob Harmon’s recommendation 11/26/13


Rob_Harmon_image_for_picksIT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE…AT BEST VIDEO!

…So my pick this week is… everything at Best Video.

“Wait,” you may say, “Isn’t that a bit broad? Shouldn’t this column be about recommending specific titles?””

Allow me to explain.

On a recent Sunday night, my mind naturally began to wander as I straightened out the shelves and put away movies. Perhaps it was the late hour or the quiet before the impending holiday season but I found myself wondering – as in that beloved Frank Capra-directed classic of small-town resilience IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE –  “What would a world without Best Video look like?”

I imagined such a frightening scenario: Nothing in Hamden and the Greater New Haven area but forgettable and *blah* movies available to stream online, or watch on demand or—as far as rental goes—only that coldly glowing red vending machine dispensing inane entertainment in the dead of night. It was an eerie landscape, a veritable ghost town for movies. Where would one go to speak to an accomplished staff—or anyone human, for that matter!—about recommendations or help in tracking down rare or hard-to-find movies? Where, indeed, would the community gathering place be if not at its locally-owned video store?

The thought made me shudder and brought me shooting back to reality. I see the looks of wonder on the faces of children as they enter Best Video: many have never been inside a video store before and they roam about with their mouths agape. I remember the sense of wonder myself and I still feel it, even after working here for three-and-a-half years. We are, indeed, lucky to have this resource in our community.

The Christmas season is upon us and Best Video needs your support now more than at any other time during the year. As you go about your holiday shopping please remember the brick-and-mortar store with its 50,000 thousand titles which has been an anchor here in the Spring Glen neighborhood since first opening its doors in 1985 with a simple premise: to rent and sell the movies that we love to our customers who are precisely in the mood or need for them. Remember that dollars spent here in Hamden stay in Hamden and aid our continuing development as both a community cultural center and a neighborhood crossroads.

Remember that Best Video is the last remaining video store in the New Haven, for many a continued survival in today’s media climate against the non-personal, non-interactive trends of the day. Remember that—like the Bailey Building & Loan of It’s a Wonderful Life—Best Video is your last line of defense, against a world of Redboxes and red Netflix envelopes and log-in screens. Remember the impact that this one store has had in the life of this community: like George Bailey, who stood by his hometown and fought the “Battle of Bedford Falls,” Best Video’s owner Hank Paper and its two managers, Richard Brown and Hank Hoffman, have similarly fought the “Battle of Hamden, CT,” staying true to the store’s original mission while remaining relevant by adding a café and wine bar and a performance space in recent years.

And, yet, all of this does not come free: we need your business this holiday season; we need it as never before! Here is how you can help:

• RENT — This is the easiest and most fundamental way in which you can help Best Video! Do you have lists of “movies to watch” tucked away somewhere? Thinking of a holiday movie marathon? Best Video is your one-stop destination! With the cold weather here again what could be better than an armload of movies or TV shows to snuggle up with?

• BUY — In addition to the movies, TV shows, and assorted box sets on DVD and Blu-ray—both new and used—which we have available for sale we are capable of ordering thousands more titles besides, including CDs, for your purchase, which are here at the store in just a matter of days. Our prices are competitive: 10% off of list price and 20% off of titles pre-ordered before street date, and our turnaround for special orders is swift – just a day or two. Why do your holiday shopping anywhere else when you can do it here at Best Video? And, if you have no idea what to get that certain movie lover on your list there is the ever-reliable Best Video gift certificate!

• EAT and DRINK at our café and wine bar — We have an excellent variety of coffees, teas, hot chocolate, bagels, muffins, scones, as well as holiday-themed drinks and treats to start your day and keep it going strong; and, after a hectic day of shopping and visiting, we have our peerless selection of beers and wines to enjoy with family and friends!

• ATTEND A PERFORMANCE in our performance space — We have hosted a wide variety of events since the inception of our performance space, everything from rock music to jazz to classical, from movie screenings with moderated Q&A’s to wine tastings and poetry readings. The performance space and café —with its intimate atmosphere, PA system, and large projection screen—is even available for rental for your holiday party, book club meeting, art reception, PowerPoint seminar, or other events!

• DONATE your used DVDs for us to sell!

• SPREAD THE WORD about Best Video to anyone and everyone you know – We started out 28 years ago as a neighborhood store and we are still a neighborhood store today!

Many customers express gratitude to us for still being here and—trust me—we are glad to be here, too! But what better way could there be to show your thanks than with your business this holiday season?

So, for this week only….

Recommended: Everything, every damn movie in the store – from AMOUR and ARGO to ZARDOZ and ZORBA THE GREEK, from ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and 2 GUNS to THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T and MILLION DOLLAR BABY, and from FIRST BLOOD to THE LAST EMPEROR!

Let’s ensure that this is a great holiday season and that Best Video is here for many more to come! Happy Thanksgiving and thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support throughout the years: we truly would not be here without you!

“You see, George, you really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?” – It’s a Wonderful Life

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