Video Universe

"Worth the drive," claims the ad. And it is, particularly if you like to rent DVDs, and not just the blockbusters like Pearl Harbor. Located in an unassuming Robbinsdale strip mall about 10 or 12 minutes from downtown Minneapolis (just take 394 West to 100 North and make a right on County Road 81), Video Universe got in early on the DVD craze and has amassed an impressive rental library of more than 2,400 discs. But it's the quality of titles that matters here. Video Universe stocks a wide variety of essential fringe material: everything from Brief Encounter and Grand Illusion to The Big Heat and The Bad and the Beautiful, King Kong and Mommie Dearest, Yi Yi and Lagaan--not to mention collected episodes of The Sopranos, All in the Family, and Queer as Folk. There are also three entire shelves devoted to foreign anime. (The older, more distinctive discs rent for three bucks apiece for three days, while new releases cost $3.49 per night.) Our guess is that, as DVDs become more popular, this modest outlet will find it hard to remain competitive against the chains. But for now, the title is theirs.


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