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Looking at Where We Watch

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 27, 2006 2:57PM


Now that it's winter -- err, autumn -- we'll be staying inside and watching movies and TV-on-DVD more often. We'll have some freshly popped Newman's Own Movie Butter Boom and a precious bottle of Bell's Two-Hearted by our side. And of course a round shiny disc or two. But where to rent from? In our search for the golden choice, let's lay out some options:

SPECIALITY VIDEO, various locations
Pros: great variety, helpful employees; locally owned
Cons: not as many copies available of new releases; narrow aisles for browsing

NATIONWIDE VIDEO, various locations
Pros: usually on the way to the El; massive porn selection; locally owned
Cons: mediocre selection; weird pay-when-you-return system

BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO, various locations
Pros: gazillions of copies of the most popular new releases; efficient service; late hours
Cons: sterile environment; if it's an obscure title, fuhgettaboutit; evil corporate empire

HOLLYWOOD VIDEO, various locations
Pros: surprisingly deep catalog is great for treasure hunting; still plenty of VHS choices; also rents video games
Cons: appallingly indifferent customer service; annoying clientele; semi-evil corporate empire

FACETS, 1517 W. Fullerton
Pros: largest catalog on earth: if they don't have it, it probably doesn't exist; insanely knowledgable staff; locally owned
Cons: only one location (though they also offer rent-by-mail); limited hours

Pros: huge selection; quick delivery
Cons: semi-evil corporate empire run by people who don't really care about film; semi-confusing search engine; online rental stifles viewer's spontaneity

Pros: best online rental selection anywhere for obscure titles, indie, documentary, and anime; run by cinephiles for cinephiles; lively discussion boards and an awesome blog
Cons: slower shipping (they're based out of San Francisco); online rental stifles spontaneity

WALGREENS, various locations
Pros: they're freakin' everywhere; some locations open 24/7
Cons: a few dozen titles to choose from; do you really want to be known as the kind of person who rents movies from Walgreens?

We've only scratched the surface here (and left out some choices to the south and west). So we'll pose the question to you: where do you rent?