Blu-ray News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $28.49 Last Price: $32.98 Buy now! 3rd Party 13.02 In Stock
Release Date: March 26th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2023

Everything to Entertain You: The Story of Video Headquarters

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
Before streaming services dominated the landscape, the local video rental shop was the cultural mecca for generations of film fans. Everything to Entertain You: The Story of Video Headquarters is a tribute to the greatest place you could go on a Friday night. The documentary chronicles the rise of this powerful independent rental shop, its impact on the industry, and its unfortunate closure. Great A/V supported by an excellent array of bonus features makes this a terrific title to call Highly Recommended

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free Blu-ray, This special limited edition slipcover is limited to 1,000 units
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/MPEG-4 AVC
Length:
60
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.78:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
March 26th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

It wasn’t that long ago when the local video store reigned supreme. Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, and your local mom-and-pop shop were the places to be on a Friday night. Whether you were hanging out with friends or family and had nothing to do - you could always stroll in and rent a movie or just hang out. A recent theatrical hit, direct-to-video sequel, or an old favorite was always there waiting for you on a shelf in all its chopped, reframed, pan-and-scan glory. If you couldn’t find a movie, a clerk or another film fiend was milling about ready to offer you a recommendation. 

One of the greatest video stores of this bygone age was Video Headquarters. Owned and operated by Ken McAleer, the shop had an incredible run from 1983 to 2015. In that time, it saw the rise of physical media formats VHS and Betamax, LaserDisc, DVD, and Blu-ray. But times changed and so too did the technology we watched our favorite films. At its peak, the store was a powerhouse, an industry standard-bearer that commanded the respect of the biggest studios. When it came time to close, it was a relic of a fading era of home media distribution.

Director Brantley C. Palmer’s documentary Everything to Entertain You is a loving tribute not only to this once-famed institution but also the culture of going to the video store. As the film tells the story of Video Headquarters, it highlights its impact on the local community. It didn’t just hire people, it brought people together. Throughout the film, we see numerous examples of people meeting their spouses and best friends. A rental store with thousands of titles was also a place that made families. 

As a video store brat myself, I was there at the end of Hollywood Video. The store I worked at was one of the “Library” locations and held north of 40,000 titles at its peak in every format from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray. We outlasted the local Blockbuster, but once Movie Gallery bought the chain, the writing was quickly etched on the wall. You know things are getting bad when they hire the recently fired CEO of a major convenience store chain to sacrifice floorspace and try selling frozen pizzas. 

As sad as it was to see it go, there were some happy days too. What was great about working those last weeks were the people who came in to say goodbye and take home a piece of the library. One older couple in particular took home nearly 1,000 DVDs! They were among our favorite regulars who would rent everything that came out and tell us all about how good or bad the movie was. As our treat to them, we hid everything they wanted up in the ceiling tiles for the last days we were open so they could score a great archive of movies for pennies.

Watching Everything to Entertain You felt like a nostalgic rush back to those good days and the sad days. I’m not someone who hates streaming, I subscribe to a few services, but I can’t help but feel like we lost something when stores like Video Headquarters close their doors for the last time. Some won’t understand that connection video stores held for a community, but for those of us who were there and remember, it was something special. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
You can permanently check out Everything to Entertain You on Blu-ray thanks to ETR Media and OCN Distribution. Pressed on a Region Free BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a clear case with alternate insert artwork. If you order from Vinegar Syndrome directly, you can pick up an exclusive slipcover. The disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

Presented in 1080p 1.78:1, the image quality for Everything to Entertain You is a bit of a mishmash. We have recently shot footage from around the store’s closing in 2015 to old VHS tape archive footage of the store and trade events. Overall this is a nice and appealing presentation. A simple documentary style for the face-to-face interview segments and nice handheld work for all of the crowd watching on the store’s final day. Not an overly complicated-looking film, nothing fancy, but right to the point and it never forgets to highlight the store and the people that made it what it was.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Given its style, the film scores nicely with an effective DTS-HD MA 2.0 track. As most of the soundscape is on-camera dialog, it’s not an overly aggressive or fancy mix, but it suits the film. Highlight activity for people milling about the shop or the ambient background footage of the tradeshow events give the tack some dimension. Music cues from Dustin Krefft are nice auditory accents and are well-prioritized without overpowering the other elements.

Special Features

Ranking:

In a nice run for this disc, there’s a very healthy assortment of extra features. On top of a solid commentary from director Brantley C. Palmer, there are extended and never-seen interviews and making-of materials. The audio commentary is a nice listen covering the making of the film; the director’s history working with the store and his clear obvious love for the shop. The featurettes about the titles and music are pretty neat looks at how they were made. The meatiest piece is the full hour-long interview with Video Headquarters owner KenMcAleer (which is as long as the film itself!) After that, there was a very cool and long zoom interview with three of the former workers Doug, Faulkner, and Dave. OCN’s Justin LaLiberty also drops by for a nice piece sharing his memories of the store. 

  • Audio Commentary featuring Brantley C. Palmer
  • Making Of Featurette (HD 14:42)
  • Composing The Music (HD 6:58)
  • Designing the Titles (HD 5:11)
  • Interview with Ken McAleer (HD 1:02:47)
  • Interview with Justin LaLiberty (HD 22:20)
  • Interview with Doug, Faulkner, Dave (HD 1:23:30)
  • Radio Interview
  • Trailer
  • Photo Gallery

Everything To Entertain You: The Story of Video Headquarters is a lovely piece of work dedicated to a staple of the home video entertainment world. The legendary store and the clout its owner held were a big reason why rental shops were so special. One of the last of its kind, but not forgotten, the store and other mom-and-pop shops live on thanks to this little documentary. Brantley Palmer’s film scores an excellent Blu-ray release packed with hours of bonus features. A treat for any physical media collection - Highly Recommended 

Order Your Copy of Everything to Entertain You on Blu-ray