Kim’s Mediapolis, meeting ground for Converse All-Stars of all colors, will be closing its French (New Wave) doors for good within the next month. Just “Kim’s” for those in the know, this video store was a Columbia institution – a place every student has been to at least once. It’s also a place every student has been criticized at least once. Below, a fondly recalled exchange from my freshman year:
“Do you guys have Boogie Nights? I couldn’t find it in the racks.”
“Hmm, let me think. Did you try looking under ‘P.T. Anderson’? That might be a good place to start, yeah?”
“Oh, so your movies are grouped by director. Okay, tha-”
“Directors that deserve the recognition, yeah. You’re not going to find, like, Spielberg shit over there.”
“Right.” I headed toward the rack again. Searching with all my mainstream might, I still couldn’t find the movie. I returned to the register slightly embarrassed.
“Still no luck. Is it out of stock?”
“Let’s look at the clues, shall we?” The guy started counting with his fingers.
“You didn’t see it under ‘P.T. Anderson’… and since we’re not idiots, we wouldn’t put it somewhere else…”
“Alright, thanks for your help.” I was now looking forward to leaving.
“Why would you want to buy that film, anyway?” he asked my back. “Boogie Nights is amateurish drivel.”
Verbatim, I swear. I kept going back, obviously, but armed with new tactical knowledge. After that first encounter I learned to keep entirely to myself in the store and avoid conversation with its douchebag employees at all costs. I found it best to just look away while being rung up, too – the threat of a full-body spasm from the cashier, reacting to the sight of Star Wars and Mystic River alike, was always in the air.
So yeah, the place was manned by complete tools. If you found them endearing in any way, I wouldn’t fret – they’ll all probably wind up working “ironically” at the Starbucks across the street when Kim’s closes. Have them scoff at your coffee order while they defend their green smocks as “post-modern.” Me? I really will miss their former employer. As in any conflicted relationship, there were always bright spots to cling to. Kim’s was the best source for expensive new Criterion DVDs and obscure Tawianese cinema. Besides Amazon, it was really the only place to satisfy my pretentious film tendencies. Where will I find my favorite Tsai Ming-liang movies now?
Anyone else want to share in this time of grieving?