VideoReport #408

Volume CDVIII- Indiana Jones and the Legend of Bagger Vance

For the Week of 6/11/13

Videoport will give you a free movie every day. We don’t like to brag, but that seems pretty nice of us.

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 John N. (sort of) suggests 10,000 BC (in Action/Adventure). Saw 10.000 BC. the best thing about it was the prehistoric duckling attack.

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 getting ready for the new Man Of Steel movie (in theaters) by NOT renting the worst superhero movies of all time (The Master List). Like all genres, the superhero movie oeuvre is filled with a few classics, a few crimes against humanity, and a whole lotta mediocrity. Here, then, is my mega-list of the superhero genre’s worst.

Catwoman: I want to sue this movie. Halle Berry is even worse here than in the X-Men movie (which are, apart from her, generally decent. Oh, except the third one)

Daredevil: I don’t hate Ben Affleck, honestly. (He’s turned into a very good director.) But I wanted to punch him even more than the late Michael Clarke Duncan’s Kingpin did. Oh and hey Hollywood—Daredevil didn’t become a costumed vigilante only so he could murder criminals he was too inept a lawyer to convict in court.

Batman and Robin: I’m on record as thinking that Tim Burton’s Batman movies are monumentally overrated, bordering on incompetent. That being said, the depths to which the film franchise sunk in this unforgivable crap-bomb cannot be overstated. Batsuit nipples.

Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer: wha? Huh? must have dozed off there for a second…

The Punisher (1989) and The Punisher (2004): The Punisher is a crap character, Marvel’s pandering to the 80’s Dirty Harry, Reagan era right wing thug mentality. While the latter film upgrades from Dolph Lundgren to the stolid but serviceable Tom Jane, the character’s just a generic dick. (Ray Stevenson’s performance keeps Punisher: War Journal off the list—barely)

Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Silly character, cheap effects, and Nicholas Cage at his Cage-iest.

Superman 3 and Superman 4: The Quest For Peace: Christopher Reeve was the perfect choice to play Superman—too bad his movies degenerated into unforgivable, jokey nonsense so quickly.

Elektra: Jennifer Garner reprises here supporting role in the god-awful Daredevil in a soporific sequel that’s somehow even worse. I’m pretty sure anyone who actually likes this movie is mentally ill.

Steel: Shaq. Let’s move on…

Constantine: Keanu Reeves as the quintessentially British, infinitely mysterious demon fighter? C’mon…

Captain America (1991): Fun fact- this cheapy flick stars J.D. Salinger’s son Matt as Cap. Not so fun fact- that’s the only interesting thing about this movie (which Videoport doesn’t carry anymore. You’re welcome…)

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!

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Election (both in Comedy.) Hey, y’all, it’s the 27th anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! (Just a heads-up: if you saw this in the theaters, you might not be young.) What better time to revisit the classic coming-of-age movie in which madcap suburban senior Ferris (Matthew Broderick) treats his game girlfriend Sloan (Mia Sara) and morose best buddy Cameron (Alan Ruck) to one last epic day skipping school before graduation. I’ll tell you the truth: I always felt a little wary of Ferris, who lies so fluently and frequently, who puts up a façade that appeals equally to almost everyone he encounters (“The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads — they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude”), who cheerfully and adamantly imposes his wishes even upon his reluctant best friend — through peer pressure, through guilt, through emotional manipulation, and even through trickery when necessary. Maybe that’s why, when I saw Election 22 years later, I immediately imagined Broderick’s suburban high-school teacher as Ferris Bueller all grown up. It’s easy to see, isn’t it? After high school, it’s harder and harder to skate by on charm and a handful of social tricks, and Ferris’ act would get a little stale. He’d have to buckle down and start working — really working — for the first time in his life. And if he ended up in a small-town teaching job instead of whatever grandiose, unfocused life plan he imagined, a character like Ferris would feel frustrated, stifled, and — above all — more than justified in trying to smite down ambitious junior Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon). She’s everything young Ferris wasn’t: diligent, studious, responsible, meticulous, and completely charmless. Witnessing this swotty little grind slog her way to middling success would pluck the last vestigial strands of Ferris’ long-dormant ambition and drive him to undermine her at all costs. It all makes sense, if you squint just right.

>>>Dennis suggests Hooper (in Comedy.) Someone just donated this 1978 Burt Reynolds stuntman flick to Videoport (okay, it was me). Directed by former stuntman turned director Hal Needham (Cannonball Run), this is one of Burt’s best from his “redneck drivin’ cars fast an makin’ wisecracks” era, a funny, fast-moving love letter to the roughnecks who make all of our action movie jollies possible. Burt plays the slightly-aging stuntguy Hooper whose accumulating injuries and old school ethics clash with the new breed of slick stunt-fellows [like Jan-Michael Vincent] and a-hole directors willing to sacrifice safety for the one big stunt. It’s a loving, lunkheaded paean to the hard-livin’ stuntman tradition, allowing Burt to engage in his trademark, gum-chewing snarkiness—and it’s damned entertaining along then way, with plenty of chances for Burt (and the army of actual stuntmen given a chance to show their stuff in front of the camera) to drive fast, jump off buildings, and have one king-hell of a bar fight. Costarring Sally Field as Burt’s enduring love interest, Brian Keith as the venerable stuntman representing the dying breed, and The Dukes Of Hazzard’s James Best, funny and touching as Hooper’s long-suffering trainer (and painkiller dispenser.) Hooper’s a hoot.

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!

>>> Dennis suggests Community (in Comedy.) One of the worst things about the substandard season four of Community is that it’s allowed the uninformed to cast aspersions on the first three seasons of what is one of the best sitcoms in TV history. (Yeah—I said it.) But now daddy’s home! Yup, series creator Dan Harmon, unceremoniously sh*tcanned at the end of season three has been unprecedentedly rehired to helm season five! Seriously, this has never happened before. And as cynical and jaded as I am, the return of Harmon to right the ship he created fills me with an unalloyed glee. So rent the first three seasons of Community, watch the fourth when it comes out to recognize what was lost when soulless, dimwit corporate suits decided to meddle with it, and then get ready to see what Harmon can do when he sweeps in to the show he clearly loves. As do I. Do it—it’ll make you happy.

>>>Dennis suggests Little Big League (in Comedy.) As the dufus you see wearing baseball jerseys every day here at Videoport, you might guess that I have high standards when it comes to baseball movies. So it might surprise you that I love this kiddie-looking baseball flick about a 12 year old who, inheriting the Minnesota Twins from his beloved grandfather, decides to install himself as the team’s manager. Still, this is one of the rare movies that actually pays its dues when it comes to baseball knowledge and, filled with good character actors and a solid balance of comedy, drama, and baseball action, it’s my pick for the most underrated baseball movie of all time.

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

>>>You can just come in and get a free movie from the kids section–no other rental necessary. Because of loving the kids.

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

>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer suggests Mr. Show (in Comedy.) In an interview this week, Michael McKean described David Cross & Bob Odenkirk’s “Mr. Show” as “the high-water mark for sketch comedy on TV.” That’s high praise indeed, especially coming from a veteran of Christopher Guest improv-comedy tour de forces like This is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. The show (that’s MISTER show to plebs like you and me) is famously low-budget, which allowed Cross and Odenkirk the freedom to do their thing — and their thing is very loosey-goosey conceptual comedy with no holds barred.

>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests The X Files (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) While we’re talking about Michael McKean [see above], it’s a good time to revisit two of my favorite X-Files episodes: Dreamland & Dreamland II, S6 ep4 & S6 ep5. When an insider tip brings Mulder (David Duchovny) & Scully (Gillian Anderson) to Area 51, you just know some spaceman shenanigans are afoot, so it should come as no surprise (okay, some surprise… okay, plenty of surprise!) when Mulder and their antagonist-of-the-week (Michael McKean as Morris Fletcher, a Salaryman In Black) suddenly experience an inexplicable body-swap. [Side note: why do we always call it “body-swapping” when clearly it’s the minds that are swapping? C’mon: the bodies stay put, or everyone around would notice.] The two men go their separate ways, no one around them the wiser about their plight, and we get to watch them trying (with varying degrees of success) to fit into each others’ lives. The double episode features great sleight-of-hand filming, allowing us to see Mulder as Morris and Morris as Mulder, and some delightful physical comedy (including a mirror sequence that tips its hat to The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup), but I treasure it for the perspective it gives the viewer on Mulder’s private life, which is by turns sweet-and-sour, and for the immortal sequence when Scully visits Mulder at home. Do not miss it.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Hansel and Gretel: With Hunters (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Aterton star as the grown-up, jazzed-up fairytale siblings whose experience in the gingerbread house has inspired them to dress in tight leather, pack heat, and go all CGI vengeance on any witch they can find), Oz The Great And Powerful (the always-cool Sam Raimi has the brass huevos to helm this sort-of prequel to The Wizard Of Oz, with James Franco revealing how a charlatan magician became the great and powerful Oz), The Newsroom- season 1 (The newest series from West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, about the behind the scenes doin’s at a network news the+newsroom+postershow, has divided the bejeezus out of critics; great cast, smarter and more ambitious than 90% of anything else on TV— watch it and make up your own mind…), Snitch (when his son is arrested for drugs, a devoted father agrees to go undercover to infiltrate the cartel responsible for the whole mess; starring Dwayne “Mr. The Rock” Johnson as the one father you do NOT want to mess with), House Of Cards- season 1 (Kevin Spacey stars in this cable series about an unscrupulous politician clawing his way up the American political ladder; a remake of a the excellent BBC series [check the Mystery/Thriller section for House of Cards, To Play the King, and The Final Cut], this series debuted on some second-rate internet concern— but don’t let that prejudice you against it. Videoport will have it forever…), Killing Lincoln (Tom Hanks inexplicably lends his “most trusted man in America” gravitas to this docudrama, narrating the final days of Abraham Lincoln in a cheapjack adaptation of the widely-ridiculed “nonfiction” book by right wing nimrod Bill O’Reilly; you guys have fun, though…), Wrong (the most recent exercise in psycho weirdness from director Quentin Depieux [Rubber] follows downtrodden everyman Jack Plotnick as his search for his missing dog leads to a series of increasingly hallucinatory encounters), Wedding Band- season 1 (Brian Austin Green and Lost’s Harold Perrineau Jr star as members of the titular musical group in this comedy series), Mosquita & Mari (when two Chicana high schoolers are assigned as lab partners, their bond gradually becomes more than they bargained for in this coming of age tale), A Portrait Of James Dean: Joshua Tree 1951 (biopic about the legendary, and legendarily short-lived movie icon on the cusp of his stardom), Borgen- season 1 (Videoport brings you the finest in foreign TV with this acclaimed Danish political drama about the first female Prime Minister of Denmark), The Numbers Station (John Cusack straps on his grim face for this thriller about a government agent assigned to protect a beautiful lady [Children’s Hospital’s Malin Akerman] who holds the secret to a top secret code), It’s A Disaster (an awkward couple’s dinner turns even more uncomfortable when the couples start gradually suspecting that the end of the world is nigh in this indie comedy starring David Cross, America Ferrera, and Julia Stiles), I Want My Name Back (weird biopic about two founding members of pioneering rap group The Sugarhill Gang and their attempt to get recognition…for the rap)

New Arrivals This Week At Videoport: Hooper (Burt Reynolds is a hard-drinkin’ stunt man fighting to stay in the biz in this rollicking 1978 action comedy that’s really great— no, I’m serious!), Little Big League (when his mogul grandfather [Jason Robards] dies, a baseball-savvy kid is bequeathed the Minnesota Twins and makes himself manager in this baseball comedy that’s actually not bad at all—no, I’m serious!)

New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Oz The Great And Powerful, Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters, House Of Cards- season 1

Get yourself some free money at Videoport! As if you needed another reason to rent here, Videoport has these deals which just plain give you free money. Check it out: pay 20 bucks up front on your rental account, and we turn that into 25 dollars worth of rental credit. Do the same thing but with 30 dollars, and we give you 40 dollars worth of store credit. That’s either five or ten free bucks, which you were going to spend here anyway eventually. So why wouldn’t you go for this deal? Um–you hate deals maybe? I’m not your psychiatrist…

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