Veni, Vici, Vidiots

Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgensten on the end of a video store institution

Another bricks-and-mortar video store has been conquered.

And although it’s no surprise that April will mark the end of Vidiots, a friendly destination for LA westside residents and familiar sight to many more zooming off the 10 Freeway past the Pico Blvd. storefront, it’s news that still stings. Last night, Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern, who has relied many times at deadline on the inventory of Vidiots and expertise of store staff, blogged about what is truly being lost:

High on the list of losses is something that a young clerk at Vidiots referred to in a conversation a few months ago. “I know places like this are doomed,” he said, “and there’s no way to stop progress. But it’s so great when someone comes in without a clue what he wants to rent, and I can suggest half-a-dozen terrific films he’d enjoy. I wonder where people will go for advice like that in the future.” I wonder too.

The Web is awash with user comments, of course, and endless lists of best this-and-thats. But it’s not the same as walking into a neighborhood shop you know and trust, and talking to a curator who calls himself a clerk.

Indeed. Last year, Morgenstern hosted a couple of Q&As at Vidiots with filmmakers Anjelica Huston and Nicole Holofcener. He writes that even then, folks in attendance knew the end was near. The silver lining: Vidiots’ owners, rather than selling their collection for pennies on the dollar, are hoping to pass on the inventory to an organization-individuals that can continue to make the titles available somehow.

Update (January 30):
A rep for Larry Ellison’s daughter Megan has confirmed to our sister publication THR that the wealthy film producer will be acting as a benefactor to Vidiots, in order to keep the doors open past the initially planned April 2015 closure. Morgenstern, you’re back in business!

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@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.