BEST VIDEO RENTAL (2001)
An old champ retains the title here, but in a split decision as close as the one that favored Apollo Creed over the Italian Stallion in the first Rocky. (And you know what happened in Rocky II.) Given the punch that DVDs can pack, not to mention the new format's sizable cheering section, the challenger to Discount's championship belt is any metro-area store that can put together a bulky batch of foreign and cult-oriented titles for rent on disc; assuming they maintain a middleweight VHS library, of course. (Robbinsdale's 15-year-old Video Universe comes closest, its 2,200 rental DVDs including a growing subset of essential cinephilic pleasures such as Peeping Tom and The Last Picture Show.) As it stands, Discount's die-hard tapeheads have ventured to lend only five DVDs (including Caligula!), with no current plans to expand the collection. Oh, well. In terms of cassette rental, Discount remains a peerless purveyor of esoterica. Its "Cult Movies" section in particular is to die for, and its user-friendly Web site (listing all 13,500 titles) offsets our frustration over the store's defiantly unalphabetized holdings. All it has to do to keep our love from here to eternity is change with the times.
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