Blockbuster Video from “The Holiday”Dec 23rd, 2014 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
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.
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).
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.
Thanks to their highly unique formations, it was not hard for me to pinpoint the one featured in The Holiday.
The store’s large three-paned windows (denoted with Christmas tree arrows below) also match what appeared onscreen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
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.