The Dream of the ’90s Video Store Is Alive Onscreen, but Making It Happen Is Hard Work

IndieWire | 4/6/2019 | Staff
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“The neighborhood of 2,800 to 3,000.” That’s how many VHS tapes production designer David DiGiacomo needed to bring together while creating the set for the Season 5 premiere of “You’re the Worst,” largely located in a ’90s-era video store.

The Legacy of 'You're the Worst' -- or How a Cult Favorite Lives on in the Age of 'Too Much TV'

Worst - Project - Spring - Species - Outlet

“You’re the Worst” wasn’t the only project this spring to feature an endangered species of retail outlet — the Marvel blockbuster “Captain Marvel” included a short but memorable scene in which its own ’90s superhero crash-lands into a period-accurate recreation of a Blockbuster Video.

According to “Captain Marvel” production designer Andy Nicholson, “in some of our early concept art, she landed outside the Blockbuster, past a billboard. We spent ages choosing what that billboard could be. But then we decided to get rid of that as an idea and she just goes through the roof. It’s just more direct.”

Worst - Captain - Marvel - Briefly - Public

Both “You’re the Worst” and “Captain Marvel,” however briefly, drew upon the public’s latent memory of a time when, in order to watch a movie at home, you had to travel to a physical location and acquire a VHS tape. And doing so was a production challenge that caught at least one of the creators off guard.

As DiGiacomo put it: “I would tell anyone else trying to do it, it’s not for the faint of heart.”

Video - Cassettes

“You Can’t Do That With Video Cassettes”

In “You’re the Worst,” the (fictional) video store Video King is central to an elaborate lie being told by Gretchen and Jimmy about their origin story, which depicts their love as being born between film nerds in search of an unfindable film.

Creator - Stephen - Falk - Writers - Idea

And when creator Stephen Falk and the writers came up with the idea for “The Intransigence of Love,” they didn’t know at that...
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