Q: With Blockbuster Video closing its remaining stores in January, the video-store era is drawing to a close, but for most critics they were an essential part of learning to love movies. What was the video store that changed your life?

I used to live in Pasadena and in the neighboring city, La Cañada, is a small video store, tucked in a very small strip mall. The parking lot is so narrow, you can only go one way and the video store is at the very end where everyone must exit.

I first discovered La Cañada Video while I was doing research as a theater critic. The owner is named “Hamlet,” and is modest and helpful. He carries a wide variety of movies, including foreign films and classics. On Yelp, he has 17 reviews and a five-star rating.

This is a man who loves movies, really loves movies and not just blockbusters. Sometimes the best discoveries are made, not through Netflix suggestions, but by merely browsing through the stacks. When I was a kid, that’s how I discovered so many new and wonderful stories in the library, by wandering through the stacks and getting lost  in the possibilities.

La Cañada Video is located at:

  • 520 Foothill Blvd.
  • La Cañada Flintridge, CA.

 

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