VideoReport #379

Volume CCCLXXIX- The Thankening

For the Week of 11/20/12

Happy Turkey Day! (Bonus recommendation-this is a good little indie comedy…)

Videoport gives thanks for all of you out there who continue to support a local, independent video store that cares about movies rather than some faceless, soulless corporation. Now have a free movie on us every day, you crazy kids…

 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!

>>> Videoport customer Jenny suggests The Mist (in Horror.) Stephen King fans may want to give Frank Darabont’s “The Mist” another viewing, especially his black & white ‘director’s vision’. Darabont made changes to King’s popular novella (in its entirety in the “Dark Forces” anthology; edited in “Skeleton Crew”), to the consternation of some fans. It’s also unusually grim for a quasi-mainstream flick. The b&w version’s superior to the theatrical release. The film’s subject & visuals are suited to black & white – monsters, paranoia, military tests, an old supermarket -and its use brings an eerie timelessness. It’s an effective, unsettling, nerve-jangly creepfest with a great cast that Darabont went on to use again in “The Walking Dead.”

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!

>>>Dennis suggests some Turkey Day MST3k! Carrying over from a Thanksgiving tradition from its Comedy Central days, the big day at the house of Ms. Emily S. Customer and myself mark our Thanksgiving food-fest with a concurrent Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon. You guys know the drill on this, the funniest show ever, right? It’s basically a giant goofabout with a guy and two robots (they look like puppets, but they’re robots, get it?) making fun of some of the worst movies ever made. At its best, the show is a peerless exercise in perfectly paced, nonstop hilarity. At its worst, it’s just funny. If you’re asking for my picks of the funniest episodes Videoport’s got, well, you’ll have to fight me for ‘em, but I’d make a beeline for the following: Mitchell, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, The Final Sacrifice, Night of the Blood Beast, Master Ninja I, Invasion of the Neptune Men, Space Mutiny, any of the Gamera movies, or Devil Fish. Guaranteed yuks all around.

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!

>>>Videoport customer Crys suggests ‘Red Dwarf’ (in British Comedy). I am a BBC fan. I admit it. Despite being American & growing up in Maine, I love all things BBC. This refers mostly to classics though: Are You Being Served?, Faulty Towers, Monty Python, Chef!, Coupling, As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances, and Queer as Folk to name a few. Yet of all the wondrous things BBC gives us, most recent obsession being Top Gear, my heart belongs to Red Dwarf. When I first saw it on PBS, it seemed so old, visually at least. But listening to it on Saturday nights, up until my weekend bedtime of 11PM, I found the jokes all made sense. The characters and interpersonal play made sense. While the setting was unlikely, it didn’t bother me any more than Star Trek or Star Wars. So it was a ship 3 million years into deep space because it suffered a radiation leak and only one guy survived because he was in stasis. The kind of base, gallows humor it allowed for spoke volumes to me. I now own all the series available on a DVD director’s cut collector set. I plan on getting the newest series soon. (It only just finished airing in the UK and Australia.) These discs shed light on my early views about the show however. Turns out Craig Charles (Lister) and Chris Barrie (Rimmer) honestly hated each other those first seasons. Their characters were meant to hate each other, while needing each other to go on; same as the actors. In that same time frame, my dad was working at Videoport. I decided to get my own account, just so I could rent Red Dwarf from the foreign VHS collection. If you love England, the BBC, space comedies, short shows (27 mins), or accents even; Red Dwarf is worth the time and worth your consideration.

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!

>>>Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Secretary (in Incredibly Strange.) I have not read the series 50 Shades of Grey even though it is considered quite emphatically to be my genre. My genre of choice being smutty trashy romance novels with smutty trashy smutty smut, but it’s almost BECAUSE these books are my genre that I don’t want to read them. Everyone keeps thinking they’re the bee’s knees or, as Dennis once called me and I adored being called, the wasp’s elbows. They’re not! I’m a pretty avid reader, what I lack in quality reading I make up for in quantity reading and let me tell you kinky smutty trash novels are all over the place and have been for a while! I swear many of them are actually even well written, so I don’t know what all the hubbub is about. Plus every time someone describes this book all I can think of is Secretary which is a fan-f*cking-tastic movie (I think that was a pun. If it was I assure you it was intended). This fan-f*cking-tastic movie is not for everyone! I can’t emphasize that one enough!  I tried recommending this back in my Videoport days and was thoroughly chastised by a livid renter who was shocked, appalled, and disgusted by my audacity to recommend this film. Secretary deals with some pretty risqué spicy sex topics that can hit an uncomfortable nerve with large masses of the population. To help you figure out if this is the right movie for you answer the following question: How do you feel when I say the words “spanky bottom time”? If the answer was anything along the lines of: Awesome, frisky, happy, intrigued, tingly, curious, or no thank you but I respect anyone’s choice to do anything that makes them winky face happy as long as it is safe, sane, and consensual – then I maintain my recommendation of this movie and it may very well be to your liking! Personally I think this movie treats its topic and lead characters with respect and is done quite tastefully. I do not agree with said livid renter who accused of me of supporting domestic violence. No. If you get that from this movie then I would argue you didn’t fully follow this movie. It’s a beautiful romance, albeit non-traditional, to satisfy my every romance novel reading fancy. Oh, and Maggie Gylenhaal is hot.

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

>>> A free movie for the kids! Because we love ‘em!

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests two Thanksgiving episodes of The West Wing (in Drama.) The Indians in the Lobby,” S3 disc 1. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and everyone at the West Wing has their feathers a little bit ruffled. President Bartlet, who lovvvvvvves Thanksgiving, is peeved that the First Lady swapped their trip to the Bartlett’s New Hampshire farm for a quick jaunt to Camp David. The First Lady is secretly peeved right back because she made the change… FOR REASONS. Josh is chasing down an Italian diplomat, hoping to extradite a teenaged murder suspect whose rich parents shipped him off on a luxurious European voyage rather than turn him over to the police. C.J. is trying to avoid — or to postpone, blow off, or otherwise dismiss — two representatives of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, who after many, many, many delays and deferrals are patiently biding their time in the West Wing lobby, planting themselves until they can get someone — almost anyone — from the federal government to keep their scheduled appointment. (When C.J. explains that they can’t wait in the lobby, Jack Lonefeather calmly remarks “Then you can forcibly remove us…. I’ve noticed that correspondents from The Times, Reuters, CNN, and The Miami Herald are here.” His companion adds “And The Washington Post is on speed dial.” Getting two cordial, non-violent representatives of a federally recognized Native American group bounced on the day before Thanksgiving? Not great press, C.J., especially when it gives them a platform from which to discuss the Feds’ decade-long failure to honor their obligations.) It sounds pretty dire but as always, “The West Wing” balances serious with silly. A shining example in this episode: President Bartlet calls the Butterball Hotline to confirm his own pet theories about turkey-roasting. When the hotline operator recognizes his voice, he realizes mid-call that he prob’ly ought not to admit that the President of the United States spends his free time making calls about stuffing, and his head speechwriter and bodyman scramble to help him cover on the fly. The next three minutes stand up to repeated watching as well as any Laurel & Hardy routine, and have become traditional holiday viewing ’round these parts. Join us in making Bartlet’s Butterball Phonecall a Thanksgiving tradition!

Shibboleth, S2 disc 2b. While everyone in the West Wing is getting ready for the big feast, President Bartlet faces a grim echo of his own ancestors’ search for religious freedom in a new land: he has to decide whether a group of Chinese refugees smuggled to the U.S. in a small shipping container purportedly to escape religious persecution are deserving of asylum. Toby and Leo are defending a candidate for recess appointee against a committee of religious leaders and politicians. The candidate: a widely-published Doctor of Education, a long-time educator and administrator, a notable Democrat, and a board member of her church. She’s also Leo’s sister, and a vigorous opponent of prayer in public schools. Uh-oh. Meanwhile, press secretary C.J. Cregg, who was home with a nasty flu during the administrations first Thanksgiving week, is just learning about the less august duties of her post: leading a chorus of kids in song on national television, which would be perfectly dignified if, y’know, she knew any Thanksgiving songs, and overseeing the annual Presidential pardoning of the turkey, which would also be perfectly dignified if… Well, see: the turkey farm offered two turkeys so C.J. could choose which was more photogenic. And then she got to know the turkeys. So now it’s not so much pardoning the first turkey as, y’know, sending the second turkey off to his immediate and certain doom, which is not sitting well with C.J. If you have ever seen Allison Janney performing physical comedy, you have seen slapstick the way it’s meant to be seen. Now picture that but with turkeys. You’re welcome!

>>>For Sunday, Former Videoporter Stockman suggests ‘Cougar Town’ (in Comedy). I’ve recommended it before and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recommend it again – watch Cougar Town. Unfortunately you should stick to the first two seasons of Cougar Town as the show is now sadly kinda sorta sub-par, but it wasn’t always. Both of the first two seasons are stellar examples of comedy. It’s the same dude who did Scrubs, so if you liked Scrubs at all then you should triple double absolutely watch Cougar Town. Cougar Town doesn’t really play the Christmas episode card, or at least it hasn’t yet. It went full on balls to the wall Thanksgiving episode style with “Here Comes My Girl” from Season 1 and “When the Time Comes” from Season 2. I’m going to watch them tonight to put me in a warm fuzzy Thanksgiving mood!

So, so leathery…

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Expendables 2 (Sylvester Stallone calls everyone he knows in the sequel to his “call us has-beens and we’ll totally beat you up” action orgy extravaganzas; this time out, Sly’s got Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold, Chuck Norris, and possibly the reanimated remains of Bruce Lee), They’re Out of the Business (Eric Schaeffer and Donal Lardner Ward reteam as Splick and Jason, their wannabe filmmaker characters from their 1993 indie comedy My Life’s In Turnaround; [cricket sound]; well, I’m excited about it- and so is former Videoporter MacMillan, so that’s two; oh and MLIT is out of print- but MacMillan and I are planning a double feature at my place…), Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (I refuse to write about this…), The Dust Bowl (documentary machine Ken Burns brings out this PBS examination of how pig-ignorant Americans heedless of the environmental repercussions of their actions caused a natural disaster that nearly destroyed the country; whew-thank goodness that’ll never happen again…), Dust Up(Videoport’s second dust release of the week! As if the cool cheesy cover art and the description “A former vigilante who has embraced his peaceful nature comes to the aid of a young mother in trouble with a

Amber Benson, people!

cannibalistic drug lord” aren’t enough to get you to rent this one, it also stars Amber Benson (aka Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)!), Echotone (acclaimed rockumentary about the vibrant indie music scene in Austin, Texas), Dragons: Riders of Berk (this direct to DVD sequel to How to Train Your Dragon brings back star Jay Baruchel and, of course, tons o’dragons!)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Heaven’s Gate (far be it from me to question the cinema overlords at the Criterion Collection who are bringing out the director’s cut of this infamous 1982 Western flop, but perhaps the secret to improving the thing was not to make it longer…), Daddy’s Dyin’…Who’s Got the Will? (the most 1990 cast ever [Judge Reinhold, Beau Bridges, Tess Harper, Beverly D’Angelo] star in this dark comedy about a scheming family trying to uncover their rich dad’s last will in order to get all his moolah)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Expendables 2

Videoport gives you things to be Thankful for!

1. Free rentals! You get one every day with our daily specials. Also, you get one any time you purchase a movie from Videoport (and not some hideous corporate website that charges you shipping- seriously, keep this in mind for the holiday gift-buying onslaught right around the corner).

2. Free money! Videoport payment deals give you free money just for spending money at Videoport. Look, you’re gonna rent movies here anyway, so why not do this: pre-pay for $20 in rentals, and Videoport gives you $25 worth of rental credit. Or pre-pay $30 and Videoport gives you $40 worth of rental credit. The money just sits on your account all safe and snuggly until you decide to use it. That’s five or ten free bucks just for doing what you were going to do in the first place. If there’s a flaw in this plan, I have yet to discover it.

3. Free parking! Just pull into any downtown parking garage (the courthouse garage is literally a two minute walk away) and ask for a Park&Shop sticker at Videoport. Viola-a free hour of parking! (And, of course, the lot behind the building is open after 5pm weekdays and all weekend!)

4. Littlelad’s Popcorn. Seriously-have you tried this stuff?

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