A posthumous farewell to HMV Canada

Dear HMV Canada,

My dearest love, you were worth more to me than the $39 million dollars you had in debt before shutting down your stores, and your movies kept me going when I was too lazy to browse through Netflix. You gave my disposable income meaning and you gave me an excuse to look through countless movies for hours on end.

Consider this to be a coping mechanism of my sadness and disappointment now that you’ve disappeared forever. My, it’s been a fun time, eh? You’ve been an indelible part of my life since I was but a young lad. I can’t believe you were around for 31 years, yet it’s only after eight months that I realize what you’ve done for me. You were practically my only home video store in all of Canada after Blockbuster. 95 per cent of my video library is from HMV. In some respects, you were my gateway drug into following movies as a mainstay passion.

You were the only place where I could find the latest blockbusters, foreign movies, and classic and contemporary arthouse flicks. With a simple glance of the eyes, you could take me from the cinematic excellence of Rashomon to the blockbuster quality of Back to the Future to the baffling horrendousness of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to the cult classic of Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. You had everything I could want in superheroes, aliens, wars, robots, giant monsters, DeLorean time machines — and that’s not even counting the rows of boxed collections or Blu-Rays for sale. While I was there, I could always look forward to building up my library and my Christmas wishlist. In fact, at that time in my life I’m not sure I had any discernible personality aside from my passions in movies or video games.

However, you were not without your faults. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what your rewards program was worth, since every time I visited your website, it was nothing but uninteresting curios and posters of bands I never listened to or bad movies that nobody remembers. I really wanted you to have statuettes and collectibles from movies and pop culture as a whole, like a 10-inch statue of Mal Reynolds or the Iron Giant so I could incubate myself in childhood nostalgia. Sure, nobody but film nerds want to have reproductions of still frames from Taxi Driver, but I would’ve scooped that shit up in seconds. If you had more worthwhile material, like more books, graphic novels, apparel, and memorabilia, then you could’ve been my own personal mecca.

I’ve almost managed to cope with you leaving me, and my cinephilic lust has drawn me astray to the vertical slice of American dystopia known as Wal-Mart. I almost never go there unless I have to, entering the nightmare of overpriced movies with non-existent employees and messy layouts. Sunrise Records is my sloppy seconds. They may look the same and feel the same, but underneath their vinyl facade, I can only feel traces of the deep and sensual bond that we shared with your bargain bins and bundle sales. The flame may have dimmed, but the fire within burns on.

Despite all that, I still miss you, HMV. You opened my eyes and my wallet to good cinema like nothing else has. Other ladies may have moved in and filled the DVD-shaped hole in my heart, but I’ll never forget my first love. You were my first, you were my all, you are my only.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

Hugs n kisses,

Nicholas Villeneuve

RIP HMV Canada (1986-2017)

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