VideoReport #366

Volume CCCLXVI-The Fast & the Furious: Driving Miss Daisy

For the Week of 8/21/12

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. If you have a problem with that, we suggest therapy…

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests The X-Files, S3 Ep4, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.” (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) “X-Files” episodes tended to get broken up into types: on any given show, you might get a riotously funny monster-of-the-week episode, a serving of dark perversity, an exposition-heavy segment of the mythology arc, or a slice of sentimentality. “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” manages to be one of the funniest, eeriest, and most winningly sentimental episodes of the entire nine-year run. Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein, Joe, Taxi Driver) won an Emmy for his poignant, wry portrayal of Clyde Bruckman, a regular joe cursed with a peculiar gift who reluctantly helps Mulder and Scully track a serial killer who targets psychics. Bruckman’s reticence and quiet insight contrast jarringly with fame-hungry charlatan Yappi (Japp Broeker), who blusters his overdramatic way into the police investigation making sweeping, fruitless predictions and mugging for the camera. The episode is a perfectly balanced jumble of light and dark, perverse and sweet, laugh-out-loud funny and lip-bitingly suspenseful. Above all, it’s sweet and tender without being sappy or saccharine. It’s utterly perfect.

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Andy presents his “List Of 13 Movies I Can’t Believe I Left Off My Other List” (a.k.a. “The ‘Hindsight is 20/20’ List). Clearly we’re going a little list-crazy here at Videoport. You could blame Entertainment Weekly for their list of “The 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen,” or you could blame Dennis for re-printing it and adding his own suggestions. But I just chalk it up to geeks being geeks. Put a bunch of us in a basement together and, well, lists will get made. Anyway, though I will stand by my list of “50 More Movies You Might Have Missed” (from Videoreport Vol. CCCLXIII), I’ve had several (roughly thirteen) of those head-slappy “How could I forget this movie?” moments in the last couple weeks. So here are the best thirteen movies that I stupidly forgot to put on my other list. Then, I promise, I will keep my lists to myself for a while.

1. Better Luck Tomorrow (in Feature/Drama)

2. Breach (in Mystery/Thriller)

3. Dummy (in Feature/Drama)

4. The Fourth Man (in Foreign Language)

5. Hideous Kinky (in Feature/Drama)

6. In My Skin (in Foreign Language)

7. Irina Palm (in Feature/Drama)

8. Married Life (in Mystery/Thriller)

9. Mister Foe (in Feature/Drama)

10. Not Quite Hollywood (in Documentary Arts)

11. Pumpkin (in Incredibly Strange)

12. The TV Set (in Comedy)

12. The United States of Leland (in Feature/Drama)

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Regan presents her “It’s My Turn! It’s My Turn!” List.

1. The Mother (in Drama)

2. Twist & Shout (Foreign)

3. Animal Kingdom (Mystery/Thriller)

4. Shoot the Moon (Drama)

5. Straight Time (Drama)

6. The Long Goodbye (Mystery/Thriller)

7. Goon (Comedy)

8. Miami Blues (Action)

9. Thumbsucker (Drama)

10. Adventureland (Comedy)

11. Gone Baby Gone (Drama)

12. The Lookout (Mystery/Thriller)

13. Door in the Floor (Drama)

14. Barney’s Version (Drama)

15. Frankenhooker (Horror)

16. Brewster McCloud (Drama)

17. Two Lane Blacktop (Criterion)

18. Sweet Movie (Criterion)

19. Frailty (Mystery/Thriller)

20. O.C. & Stiggs (Comedy)

21. The Girl Next Door (Comedy)

22. Fresh (Drama)

23. Flirting (Drama)

24. Children of Men (Sci Fi)

25. The Claim (Drama)

26. L.I.E. (Drama)

27. Telling Lies in America (Drama)

28. Bully (Drama)

29. This Is Not a Love Song (Drama)

30. Dedication (Drama)

31. Lovely & Amazing (Drama)

32. Laurel Canyon (Drama)

33. Me Without You (Drama)

34. Over the Edge (Drama)

35. Bound (Mystery/Thriller)

36. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Mystery/Thriller)

37. All the Real Girls (Drama)

38. To Die For (Comedy)

39. Slackers (Comedy)

40. Splendor (Incredibly Strange)

41. Bitter Moon (Mystery/Thriller)

42. Felicia’s Journey (Mystery/Thriller)

43. The Matchmaker (Comedy)

44. Star 80 (Drama)

45. Detroit Rock City (Comedy)

46. Simple Men (Comedy)

47. Home for the Holidays (Comedy)

48. Pieces of April (Drama)

49. Summer Hours (Foreign)

50. Mutual Appreciation (Comedy)

And!! 5ish Short Lived Shows!

1. The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman (Comedy)

2. Nighty Night (British Comedy)

3. Queer as Folk (the original British version, in Pride)

4. Primetime Glick/The Whitest Kids You Know (Comedy)

5. Sensitive Skin (British Comedy)

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests The Sopranos (in Feature Drama.) I noticed the prominence of cars in “The Sopranos” right away — how could ya not, the opening montage is entirely taken up with a drive from city to suburb. But it took three epic series-long viewings of the six-season show for me to see that metaphor with any clarity. Cars pop up over and over again throughout the show — as a way to mollify an unhappy wife or pander to a spoiled child, as a token of power and clout transferred from one mobster to another, and especially as a harbinger of doom. A body shop becomes the mechanism by which a one-time powerless and passive mob wife becomes a self-supporting, slick participant in Tony Soprano dirty, sprawling business. So very many of the deaths and disasters in the series take place in cars. At first, it seems like a practical reflection of modern life: car accidents destroy and disrupt lives. Cars are enshrined as convenient clandestine meeting places, offering as they do a mobile bubble of privacy in the public sphere. But when you start counting up the occurrences of collisions, slayings in or around cars, horrific or comical maimings from peculiar non-collision accidents — if you just count up how many characters get driven over — you see that the car is elemental in orchestrating the tragic and appalling events of these characters’ stories. And, oh, the stories themselves: these cycles of violence punctuated with gross indulgence — of lust for money, of lust for food and drink, of lust for shoes and furs and jewelry and suits, of just plain animal lust — that initially shock and transfix the audience but ultimately become numbingly repetitive, even banal. I haven’t quite put my finger on the theme that hides underneath all these cars and all this paralyzing repetition, but I think the credit sequence hints at something. In it, we see Tony driving away from the vital heart of New York City into New Jersey, past visibly active industrial parks, through the narrow streets of bustling districts bristling with independent storefronts, through bright and diverse neighborhoods of small-town Jersey, and finally arriving in the sterile neighborhood of McMansions that is his home. Perhaps the central message of “The Sopranos” is about the deadening effect of sprawl on the individual: how succumbing to the bland, beige, bourgeois allure of cookie-cutter suburbia can suffuse even the most vital — even the most violent — stories with a deadening sense of sameness.

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!

>>>It’s a free movie for kids. And kids at heart.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!

>>>For Saturday, Videoport Customer Nancy Rat Rat suggests Cecil B. Demented (in Incredibly Strange.) This is a movie about a team of guerilla filmmakers lead by Stephen Dorff who kidnap Hollywood star Honey Whitlock (played surprisingly kick-ass-ing-ly by Melane Griffith) and force her into their film. It’s filled with bumper-sticker dialogue, explosions, sex, drugs and body mutilation. It’s a flashy, colorful and attractive dive into the filthiness of John Waters. Any film where porno fans and kung-fu fans are called upon by a sex-craved starlet to help fight an angry mob of parents gets four stars in my book. Plus, it’s the most vindicating film for genre fans, as it reminds you that the most senseless porno fest or schlockiest kung fu movie still has more heart and style than the vast majorty of shite pumped out by major studios. And at the end, Melanie Griffith sets her own head on fire.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests ‘Sports Night’ & Broadcast News. Hey, have you been watching The Newsroom? (Oh, I’m sorry — I think there’s some legal requirement to refer to it as “Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom.”) Yeeeeeeah, I’m not gonna take up precious VideoReport column inches with the reasons why I’m disappointed in The Newsroom: instead, I’m recommending you settle back and enjoy the snappy wit and smart drama of James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News and Sorkin’s own “Sports Night.”

>>>Videoport Customer Nancy Rat Rat suggests The Apartment (in Classics.) This is the greatest and smartest love story I have ever seen. For awhile, my go-to recommendation for a movie to make you giggle with romantic glee was It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. That’s filled to the brim with cute lines, charming moments and va-va-voom. But The Apartment is a touch smarter, a touch sadder and way more realistic. It deals with love, but it also deals with real-life concerns that are inter-mingled with love – your career, your home, your space. And that makes all the whimsical winks and grand romantic gestures that much more charming. I’m always amazed by how much this movie notices the little details – about how if you don’t have a place where you can relax in at the end of the day, you kind of become a cranky bastard. Or how if you don’t have a pasta strainer handy, you kind of have to use a tennis racket. Obviously. Also, as an aside, my friend pointed out to me the other day that in this film, it is just deemed acceptable and in fact even makes sense to suddenly kill yourself because you got dumped. “Oh, you tried to kill yourself today?” “Yeah, I got dumped.” “Aw, that’s a shame. Okay, I’ll keep an eye on you. We’ve all tried to kill ourselves because we got dumped at one point or another because that’s just what grown-ups do.” And that’s wicked hilarious.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Bernie (indie god director Richard Linklatter [Slacker, Dazed & Confused, Waking Life] is back with this dark comedy about a beloved funeral director [Jack Black] charged with the murder of his small Texas town’s eccentric elder citizen [Shirley MacLaine]), The Dictator (Sacha Baron Cohen is back with this typically outrageous comedy about the titular despot of a fictitious country whose sojourn in America results in some seriously borderline offensive shenanigans), A Separation (Iranian winner of 2011’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this film follows the tortured family life of a couple attempting to cope with their various familial problems in the face of repressive government policies), Weekend (the Criterion Collection grants its imprimatur to this erotic British drama about two men whose one night stand turns, possibly, into something more), Virginia (Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris star in this drama about a mentally unstable woman whose 20 year affair with a married sheriff causes some serious issues when her daughter goes looking for answers), ‘National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers’- season 1 (series examines the “seemingly ordinary Americans” who’re stockpiling, arming, and tunneling in preparation for the end of the world), Bonsai (Spanish indie comedy about a struggling writer trying to write his new novel and his life with a series of lies), Hide Away (Josh Lucas stars in this drama about a broken man who tries to rebuild an old sailboat, and his life), Payback (author Margaret Atwood writes this documentary meditation on the concept of debt, in all its forms), Shuffle (mind-twisting thriller about a man trying to solve his wife’s murder as he wakes up every day not knowing what age of his life he’ll be in), ‘The Indian Doctor’- season 1 (BBC series about the titular physician whose move to a 1963 Welsh mining village brings some serious culture shock), Ticked Off Trannies With Knives (check the Incredibly Strange section for this British horror revenge comedy about the titular gang of cross dressers out to avenge their abuse by some gay bashing thugs), Big Easy Express (concert film starring, among others, Mumford and Sons- you know the ones who mildly inconvenienced you last month!), ‘The Closer’- season 7 (Kyra Sedgewick is back, solvin’ crimes and smilin’ that weird smile!), ‘House’- season 8 (the brilliant and talented Hugh Laurie finally gets to do something more interesting after this, the last season of his medical Sherlock Holmes finishes up.)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Fat City (finally on DVD, Videoport brings in this 1972 boxing drama from director John Huston about two brothers [Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges] whose fighting careers are going in the opposite direction; costarring the Coach from Cheers!),

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Dictator, The Sting, Jaws, The Double, Big Easy Express.

Get free money at Videoport! $20 buys you $25 in rental credit, and $30 buys you $40 in rental credit. That’s what you call free money.

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