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Blockbuster Video from “The Holiday”

Dec 23rd, 2014 | By | Category: Movie Locations

The Holiday Blockbuster Video (3 of 13)

I cannot believe that Christmas is only two days away!  This whole month (year, in fact) has flown by!  Sadly, this will be my last post of the season (excluding one that will run on L.A. magazine’s website on Thursday).  I will be taking the rest of the week off to do some last-minute shopping and to celebrate Christmas with my family.  For my final holiday-themed post, I thought it would only be fitting to write about another The Holiday location – the Blockbuster Video featured in the 2006 romantic comedy.

I had read online a while back that the Blockbuster used in The Holiday was located somewhere in Brentwood, so I did a simple Google search for “Blockbuster” and “Brentwood” and was led to a former location of the once-popular video store chain at 11770 San Vicente Boulevard.  Today, the space houses a branch of the First Republic Bank, but thanks to the fact that several of its features have remained the same despite the change of hands, I was able to determine that it was the right spot.

The Holiday Blockbuster Video (12 of 13)

The Holiday Blockbuster Video (13 of 13)

First, I was able to match a tree located on San Vicente Boulevard across from First Republic Bank to the tree visible outside of the Blockbuster in the scene (though my photograph below was taken from a slightly different angle than that of the film).

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The Holiday Blockbuster Video (9 of 13)

For those who have never visited the area, San Vicente Boulevard is lined with a large central median that is dotted with numerous unusually-shaped trees, as you can see below.

The Holiday Blockbuster Video (2 of 13)

The Holiday Blockbuster Video (4 of 13)

Thanks to their highly unique formations, it was not hard for me to pinpoint the one featured in The Holiday.

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The store’s large three-paned windows (denoted with Christmas tree arrows below) also match what appeared onscreen.

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The Holiday Blockbuster Video (11 of 13)

The windowed corner doorway from the Blockbuster in the movie also correlates to that of First National Bank, although it has been altered slightly in order to make room for the addition of an ATM vestibule.

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The Holiday Blockbuster Video (10 of 13)

In The Holiday, Blockbuster is where Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) and Miles (Jack Black) shop for the next videos on their friend Arthur Abbot’s (Eli Wallach) list of movies featuring strong, gumption-filled female characters.  It’s funny to think about the fact that if the movie was being filmed today, only eight years after it was actually shot, this scene would be an impossibility considering the fact that video stores simply do not exist anymore – at least not in the L.A. area.  (Outside of Vidiots, that is.)  If The Holiday was shot today, Miles and Iris would instead have to peruse titles at a Redbox kiosk inside of a grocery store or online via the Netflix catalog, neither of which would have made for a very compelling scene.

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In the scene, Miles, a film scorer, walks around Blockbuster picking up various DVD titles and humming their theme songs loudly to Iris.  He happens to pick up The Graduate at one point and sings Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” at which time the camera pans over to reveal Dustin Hoffman perusing titles in a different part of the store.  Hoffman shakes his head and says, “Can’t go anywhere!”  Amazingly, that bit was not planned.  According to director Nancy Meyer’s DVD commentary, Dustin happened to be eating next door to the Brentwood Blockbuster at the time the scene was being filmed.  Upon leaving the restaurant, he noticed the film trucks and popped in to see what was being shot.  He knew Nancy and decided to hang out for a bit to watch.  When The Graduate portion of the scene was being filmed (the scene had been included in the original script and was not simply added because Hoffman was randomly on set), Dustin asked if he could make a cameo and Nancy, of course, said yes.  He then adlibbed the “Can’t go anywhere!” line.  Such a great story behind what turned out to be one of the movie’s funniest moments.

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You can watch Dustin’s cameo by clicking below.

While doing research for today’s post, I learned that the same retail complex that formerly housed the Blockbuster from The Holiday also once housed the infamous Mezzaluna restaurant, where Nicole Brown Simpson ate dinner the night of her murder and where Ronald Goldman worked as a waiter.  Today, that portion of the property is home to a Peet’s Coffee & Tea outpost.  You can check out a photo of what it looked like when Mezzaluna was still in operation here.

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On a side-note – The Grim Cheaper and I have recently become obsessed with the new podcast Serial.  We are currently in the midst of listening to Episode 6: The Case Against Adnan Syed, so, please, no spoilers from those who have finished the series!  Sarah Koenig, the podcast’s host, reminds me quite a bit of myself when it comes to doing research.  Her investigation into the existence of a payphone at the Security Boulevard Best Buy in Baltimore, Maryland was exactly on par with many of the location hunts I have been a part of over the years.  Speaking of the payphone mystery, I am absolutely fascinated by it!  It is the one detail of the story that remains constantly stuck in my head and I am convinced that my friend Owen, of the When Write Is Wrong blog, and I could get to the bottom of the whole thing and prove once and for all whether or not the Best Buy in question ever had a payphone on the premises.  Are you listening, Owen?  Let’s get on this!

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Los Angeles magazine online.

The Holiday Blockbuster Video (3 of 13)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Blockbuster Video from The Holiday was formerly located at 11770 San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood.  Today, the site houses a branch of First Republic Bank.  Pete’s Coffee & Tea, the former site of Mezzaluna restaurant, is located at the opposite end of the same shopping complex at 11750 San Vicente.

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7 comments

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  1. Good this is something I was looking for…..and you also captured a pic of another former video store across the street at the eyesight location…11777 San Vicente Blvd suite 130, Los Angeles, CA 90049…it was a video store back around 1987 for Death Wish 4……might have been a fake store, I cain’t get a name for it yet….something to add to you collection or pass along…..I have been putting them in my list Ghek Remembers Video Stores and their Employees in movies http://www.imdb.com/list/ls058196561

  2. Ashley says:

    Sigh, I really miss video stores! Loved Serial so much and never really put it together but it definitely had a lot to do with the researchiness that you & I both go so nuts over! I agree that if anyone could find out about the payphone, it’s you & your team! 😀

  3. Becky says:

    Hey Lindsay! Hope you had a Merry Christmas! I was just watching The Holiday, and decided to check your blog for places to stalk related to the film when I go to LA on Sunday. How funny to see this post! I’m with Owen – I seriously miss the Blockbuster type of video rental stores. Some of my favorite movies I found by accident by perusing the aisles of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. It’s so sad to me that those days are gone forever. Redbox is cool for new releases, but how will the next generations stumble across amazing B films and classics now? Sigh. Anyway… I’ll let you know if Shika and I stalk any of these sites from The Holiday. Your blog is the best! Cheers!

  4. Jeff says:

    If you like Serial, did you happen to catch Saturday Night Live this past weekend? Amy Adams was the host. They did a spot-on parody of Serial, really good. You can probably catch a video of it online somewhere.

  5. Her mom says:

    Owen, you are such a special person. Loved your response! We love you. Merry Christmas

    • Owen says:

      If Owen is special, it’s in the same sense as Ed. (Look at Owen, talking in the third person! Owen is strange like that.) Still, I appreciate the love and deliver those warm feelings back to my West Coast Mom and her family. I hope they arrive by Thursday. Mele Kalikimaka!

  6. Owen says:

    Two things: 1. Of course I’m listening, and of course I’d help you, um, chew on some Serial. I could be the Watson to your Holmes. 2. Today’s post made me nostalgic … and melancholy. Those adjectives often go hand in hand for me. I know I’m old-fashioned and in the minority, but I miss Blockbuster and its ilk. I can’t be the only one who used to go there on a whim with a date or a spouse, perusing the shelves. The act of finding the perfect video was often more enjoyable than watching the movie. My date and I would spend quite some time — too much, at times — roaming the aisles, beginning along the “New Releases” wall before venturing to the older titles. We’d point out the classics, mock the B movies, gaze adoringly at the videos and DVDs that had Love Hewitt on the cover (OK, that was just me), discover new titles and veto choices until we found that evening’s holy grail. I miss that. It just isn’t the same in this age of Netflix/Redbox/Hulu/et al. That bums me out. So, in honor of the season, I say … Bah, humbug!


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