Vidiots: 302 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405 – 310-392-8508
What’s a Vidiot? From their website I
learned Vidiot is derived from “Vidiots’ Delight”: someone who loves the
pleasure of a prolonged movie trance.
Do you lust after movies? I found the best Video & DVD store I’ve ever been to: Vidiots. I can’t believe they’ve been opened since 1985. Where have I been? Their film selection (more than 45,000 titles – specializing in foreign, documentary, independent and rare out of print titles) is so vast and eclectic, you can find that Jean-Luc Godard or Akira Kurosawa film you’ve been searching for. Or you might stumble upon a Frank Zappa video you never knew existed. And then you may just get so excited to discover this film-nirvana that you’ll join other new Vidiots and spontaneously tear up your Blockbuster card. I was told people did this so often upon discovering Vidiots, there used to be a wall covered in shredded blue, white and yellow plastic.
Here’s a secret! I discovered this while fondling the foreign films and drooling over documentaries – Vidiots is having a sale, half-off membership (lifetime and annual), now through August 15, 2009. Check out the regular membership prices on their site. Yep, those prices will be cut in half! Also, if you stop into Vidiots anytime until July 31st and say, “Summer”, you’ll receive a free rental with another rental (limit one per customer).
Vidiots and the Film Industry
If the amount of titles is a bit overwhelming Vidiots’ employees are all so passionate and knowledgeable, they’ll be able to give you great recommendations. They even help film production companies with research, rent to film critics and host in-store appearances by Angelica Huston, Wes Craven, Oliver Stone, Callie Khouri, Kenneth Anger and other biggies in the film industry.
Vidiots film collection is so large it’s divided into very specific sections: English Language Directors and Foreign Directors, for example. These sections make an impact. Director Nicolas Roeg came to Vidiots to have his photo taken in front of his film section. And some Directors have been known to get insulted if they don’t have their own section; one Director even had a letter sent to Vidiots asking why his section was so small.
Vidiots, what a huge selection you have!
A few other sections are: Cult films (Betty Page, Mexican wrestling, etc.); Noir; Vintage Comedies; British TV; Silent; A documentary section so large it’s broken down into many areas, including – Beats, Space, Philosophy, Americana, World History, etc., And the Music area is sectioned into types (Funk & Soul, Gospel & A Capella, etc.) and Artists area, such as Elvis and Les Banks. They’ve got things you’ve been searching for and things you may have never imagined existed - even a DVD titled “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” with this review: “Unintentionally hilarious.”
Vidiots' owners, Cathy Tauber and Patty Polinger, grew up in West LA, and have been friends since they were three years old. Cathy used to work as an office manager for late musical genius/rocker Frank Zappa and Patty worked for MGM/UA in foreign distribution. They were frustrated film-lovers who could never find the movies they wanted at video stores. After reading an Esquire magazine article about a few unique video stores in other states that specialized in independent films and such, Cathy and Patty got the idea to open Vidiots. They started with only 800 titles.
Things Happen at Vidiots!!
24 years later, they’re still in business and have experienced nearly everything: The ’94 earthquake, fire, floods, Elvis impersonators, people disrobing, girl fights, women flashing boobs to have them signed by Russ Meyer (Director of “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”). Director Henry Jaglom, at one of the Vidiots' events, hired a guy on the spot, after he raised his hand and asked how to get into the industry. Jaglom's answer, "You've got a job." Then there are the various animals and reptiles that’ve escaped from the pet store next-door, and have been found amongst the aisles and up in the rafters: An Australian Monitor lizard and three boa constrictors; the last snake – a white boa – was given away to a customer, after many warnings to the pet store owner. (photo of Australian monitor lizard taken by Maureen)
Become a Vidiot, too!
So film-freaks and cinephiles, instead of depending on the artificial intelligence of computer generated film recommendations, or rather than aimlessly drifting through the drab aisles of those boring chain video stores, have an experience! Walk past the brightly painted windows (painted by assistant manager and artist Patrick McGilligan) and into the doorway of Vidiots. You’ll discover a film nirvana, a place where vintage film favorites of your past sit beside those until-now undiscovered film rarities. If you’re like me, you’ll become a Vidiot, too.
Hey check Vidiots out here on Youtube with Michael Cera. Vidiots appears at 5:45 on the video.