Randall Park is a freshly minted cinephile.
The “Fresh Off the Boat” actor credited upcoming Netflix sitcom “Blockbuster” for introducing him to new films. Park plays store manager Timmy Yoon at the last Blockbuster in the world, located in Bend, Oregon. While the real-life store was the subject of 2020 documentary “The Last Blockbuster,” Netflix took a fictionalized approach for a sitcom about a failing business.
“My initial hesitation was, ‘Oh, it’s about Blockbuster, is it just gonna be like a pure kind of nostalgia play?’” Park told Screenrant about signing on to the series, streaming November 3.
Yet “Blockbuster” turned out to be film school 101 for Park.
“I know nothing compared to [my character] Timmy,” Park said of his movie knowledge. “Timmy is like a cinephile, a true cinephile. I actually watched a lot of movies based on the recommendations that Timmy would give to other characters, and I discovered some really great movies because of Timmy. But yeah, I know nothing compared to him.”
The Blockbuster video rental chain once had more than 9,000 stores across America. The chain filed for bankruptcy in 2010 following the rise of streaming services and mail-in DVDs like Netflix.
Park recalled visiting his local Blockbuster in an interview with Popsugar, saying he would rent “the classics” like “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “The Godfather.”
“A lot of what Timmy goes through, it was very resonant to me,” Park said. “My dad owned a one-hour photo store, which is another industry that kind of saw its demise due to the digital age. I would go there and help him out at the store, and I’d just see over time how much of a struggle it was to keep that store afloat. It feels very real to me, this desire and struggle to keep something alive, even though you know it’s going to end. There is beauty in just the effort to keep it going.”
“Blockbuster” comes from “Superstore” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” writer Vanessa Ramos, who created the series. Per the official synopsis, Timmy (Park) and his staff employees, including his long-time crush, Eliza (Melissa Fumero), must fight to stay relevant. The only way to succeed is to remind their community that they provide something big corporations can’t: human connection.
Head of comedy at Netflix Tracey Pakosta described the series as “ultimately the story of a dedicated group of co-workers, with a lot of heart.”
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