While it seemed inevitable in the days of Redbox and digital streaming, it still comes as a bit of a sad shock to hear that our beloved Old Port institution, Videoport, will be closing its doors in August.
For the uninitiated, Videoport has always been more than just a place to rent videos, and later, DVDs. It bonds movie lovers together into a kind of loose family, or at least a cool club with its headquarters located in a subterranean basement lair. Videoport is for everyone – from families looking to rent the latest blockbuster, to film geeks tracking down obscure Japanese anime, or a long-lost movie by a grade Z director that maybe should have stayed lost. The staff are dedicated film fans and happy to talk movies and make recommendations. They support local filmmaking too. I doubt Maine director Kyle Rankin’s (Night of the Living Deb, Project Greenlight) movies were sitting on the shelf at Blockbuster, but Videoport has them.
I still remember how exciting it was when Videoport began adding DVDs to their shelves in the late 90s, and just had one small section of about 50 movies near the register. Oops, I never DID get around to renting, The Quiet Man. My bad. The organization by genre could sometimes be confusing (is the movie I’m looking for a Drama or Action? Comedy or Classic?), but it also helped me find many hidden gems I might otherwise have overlooked. As a recent college graduate with a degree in film, I felt like I had found nirvana when I discovered Videoport a few weeks after moving to Portland. It quickly became a regular stop for me, even when I moved out to the burbs for a while.
Goodbye Videoport. You were a true gift to the city of Portland and you will be missed by many.