For those who think the video-rental business is so last-century, Videotheque will change your mind. Founded in 2003 by Francophone Mark Wright, this brick-and-mortar indie is a highly curated and friendly space that offers many perks Netflix doesn't. Browsing the aisles, you'll rediscover the pleasure of physically perusing treasures such as imported DVDs, out-of-print VHS tapes, essential releases from the Warner Archive Collection and (when available) liner notes included with your rentals. The guidance of eager cinephiles at the register beats any computer algorithm, and the location is ideal — right on the Gold Line in South Pasadena's quaint Mission-West District, with nearby coffeehouses, gourmet food, cupcakes, books, antiques and a pleasant Thursday night farmers market. The store's seven-day rental plan makes weekend jaunts especially convenient. Videotheque caters to movie lovers so well, it's sure to remain a vital institution no matter how the industry morphs in the future. 1020 Mission St., Suite J, South Pasadena. (626) 403-6621,

—Doug Cummings

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