VideoReport #429

Volume CDXXIX- Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery Of Who Thinks Touching The Shiny Side Of Our DVDs Doesn’t Make Them A Bad Person

 For the Week of 11/5/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Just think about that…

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!

Crow, Joel, Mike, Tom Servo—from Soultaker.

Crow, Joel, Mike, Tom Servo—from Soultaker.

>>>Dennis suggests Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in Incredibly Strange). Videoport now owns over 100 episodes of this show. Which you should all send us a little thank you note for, as it is one of the truest sources of joy in the universe. No, no I am not overstating that. The eccentric brainchild of a bunch o’ Midwestern comedians and assorted knuckleknobs, the premise was just simple enough to be brilliant—make fun of terrible movies. Sure, there’s a little more to it, with the premise further including the fact that a guy (first Joel, then Mike) was stranded on a satellite (quickly christened The Satellite Of Love in honor of the late, great Lou Reed) by some mad scientists. Oh, and that they intend to use this experiment to rule the world somehow. And that Joel invented a bunch of puppety robot pals to keep him company and help him make fun of the movies. Still—simple as pie. Anyway, the whole enterprise is just an excuse for the comedians involved to crack wise at the expense of some truly terrible flicks. The general consensus is that the worst movie they ever did was something called Manos: The Hands Of Fate, a bleak, dreary, distasteful devil worshiper flick that is, indeed, soul-crushingly abysmal. But the mysterious alchemy of the show could turn films of all manner of dreadful into he most hilariously entertaining experiences of all time. Introduced to MST3k soon after college, I’ve carried it with me for more than two decades (I may not be young), trotting it out whenever I need something to pick me up. What’s best about the show for a movie geek like me is the way it mirrors the immediate criticism gene when I’m watching a movie, but suddenly I’ve got a trio of funny, knowledgeable, (and equally weird) pals to bounce my goofy insults off of. There’s a neverending debate about who was the better host, Joel or Mike, but I think that’s irrelevant. Joel Hodgson has a unique, dreamy quality and a kinship with his ‘bot friends that often veered into loopy, eccentric riffs and sketches. Joel’s five seasons on the show were my entry point, and contains some of my most indelible memories. I’d recommend: Master Ninja I (the first, and still best I’ve ever seen), Mitchell, any of the Gamera movies, Pod People, Fugitive Alien, The Amazing Colossal Man, Attack Of The Giant Leeches, Bride Of The Monster, Warrior Of The Lost World, I Accuse My Parents, The Girl In Lover’s Lane, and, of course, Manos. When Mike took over after Joel left, his relationship with Tom and Crow was more on equal footing, meaning, they routinely made his life miserable (there’s still a lot of love there.) Sharper-edged than Joel, Mike (who was the series’ head writer all the way through) gave his episodes more of a zippy, joke-filled pace. It’s like comparing wacky apples with hilarious oranges, but there’s no wrong answer here. For the Mikes, I’d suggest: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Samson Vs. The Vampire Women, Night Of The Blood Beast, The Brute Man, Laserblast, Revenge Of The Creature, The Deadly Mantis, Hobgoblins, The Final Sacrifice (Rowsdower!—you’ll get it…), Devil Fish, Soultaker (containing the long-awaited Joel/Mike meet-up!), and Future War. Rent MST3k—it’ll just make you happy.

Editor’s note: MST3k cast members Mary Jo Pehl (aka Pearl Forrester), Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo), and Bill Corbett (Crow/Brain Guy) will be in Portland at the Coast City Comicon this week! I got to interview them for my other job, and they are as funny and warm, and wonderful as I could have ever dreamed. You should rent some MST3k and then go tell them how much they make you happy.

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!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests some sweet, sweet Chiwitel Ejiofor goodness! Chiwitel Ejiofor is finally getting the world-wide recognition he’s long deserved, thanks to a tour de force performance in Twelve Years a Slave (currently in theaters, and Videoport will have it the moment it’s available on DVD). Ejiofor won British Independent Film’s Best Actor award for his role as Okwe in 2002 thriller Dirty Pretty Things, was nominated Best Actor for both the Golden Globes and the BIF for his lead in Kinky Boots, won the hearts of Whedonverse geeks everywhere (including your editor, Mr. Jones himself) in 2005’s Serenity, was part of a SAG-nominated Best Ensemble for American Gangster, and was nominated for yet another Golden Globe for 2009’s Endgame, which is doubly meaningful when you consider they nominated him against co-star William Hurt. How is this guy not a household name already? And I’ll throw this one in just for kicks: if anyone can take your eyes off charismatic Det. Frazier (Denzel Washington) in Inside Man, it’s his bright-eyed and breezy partner, Det. Mitchell (Chiwitel Ejiofor, of course).

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!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests the roles of Philip Baker Hall. He’s a hard-nosed hard-bitten no-nonsense type who won’t stand for your tomfoolery, see? The kind of guy you call “sir,” partly because you respect him and partly because you’re a tiiiiiiny bit afraid of what he’d do if you didn’t. Maybe you know him from Paul Thomas Anderson’s oeuvre: as Floyd Gondolli, the shrewd porn producer who pegged videotape as the wave fo the future – and the death of art – in Boogie Nights; as Jimmy Gator, the jovial host of popular children’s game show “What Do Kids Know?” and father of twitchy, depressed adult daughter Claudia (played with heartbreaking skill by Melora Walters); as professional gambler Sydney who takes novice John (John C. Reilly) under his wing in the Vegas casinos in Hard Eight. Or in Robert Altman’s Secret Honor, in which Hall delivers a masterful one-man performance as the now-disgraced Richard Nixon, alone in his home office with his whiskey, his handgun, and his memories. But to a generation of TV viewers, he’ll always be Mister Bookman from “Seinfeld” episode “The Library (S3, ep5), the library cop who tracks down Jerry for a decades-overdue copy of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and barks out retorts like “ ‘No hard feelings’?! What do you know about hard feelings? Ya ever have a man die in your arms? Ya ever kill a man?” No, he has not, sir. No, sir.

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 you become intolerable, like she is! Sometimes, elements of TV and film dialogue spills over the boundaries of its narrow world and seeps into our household lexicon irretrievably. Here’s a handful of the tiny pop-culture tidbits peppering our viewing time*. 1. After the hipster horrors of Cloverfield’s kaiju, it has become de rigueur chez nous** to nod or point at any television or film appearance of the Brooklyn Bridge and announce blandly “Cloverfield monster.”

2. Description of a good (or, more specifically, delicious) place is, of course, greeted with Liz Lemon’s dreamy “I want to go to there!” 3. Whenever a TV or movie detective runs a blurry photograph through the impossibly advances Blurry Photo Phixer machine, one of us pipes up with Blade Runner Rick Deckard’s monotone “Enhance. Enhance. Enhance.” * I should emphasize: this only happens when we’re home alone together, not when we have guests. Mostly. **We’re very fancy.

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

>>>It’s a free movie! You get it! And you don’t have to rent anything else! It would be weird to complain about that!

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

>>>For Saturday, You get a third movie for free. That ain’t bad.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer gives you the rundown on the Rips and the Rod. Rip Torn, Rip Taylor, Rod Taylor. They’re three quite different actors, and one of them is fascinating. Confuse them at your peril! Rip Torn is the irascible loon who debuted in 1956’s Baby Doll, and went on to become the stuff of legend after, for example, Dennis Hopper defamed him by claiming Torn was ousted from Easy Rider after pulling a knife on Hopper (two courts decreed that Hopper pay Torn just almost a cool ninety thou in damages for the slander, btw). Check him out as the power-hungry confidante to space alien David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, Heartland, as high-sorcery priest villian Maax (the extra “a” is for “AAAAAAAAH!”) in The Beastmaster, as Being From A Higher Plane/lawyer in Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life, as Being From A Higher Plane/supervisor Zed in Men in Black, and as gladhanding producer Artie on “The Larry Sanders Show.” Rip Taylor in the mustachio’d confetti-pelting jokester perhaps best known for his madcap appearances on “The Match Game” and “The Gong Show,” but you can get a sense of his, um, act from his cameo in the roast scene in Amazon Women on the Moon. Rod Taylor is the underseasoned slab of actor-meat who plodded stalwartly through The Birds, y’know, the guy you kinda remember standing in between Tippi Hedren and Jessica Tandy.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Mad Men- season 6 (look, I don’t have to say anything here—you and I both know you’re gonna rent the hell out of the new season of this, one of the best TV shows ever. So I’ll just save my breath, except to suggest that you call 773-1999 to reserve your copies. Videoport’s got a lot of ‘em, but you wanna be the early worm on this one…), White House Down (terrorists take over the White House! Again! Yup—the second movie of the year with the same premise comes out this week; at least this one has a cool, Obama-esque prez [Jamie Foxx], and the surprisingly entertaining Channing Tatum instead of human scowl Gerard Butler), Grown Ups 2 (Adam Sandler calls all his best pals again for another piece of low-hanging comedic fruit with he, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, and Rob Schneider falling into pools, and making boob jokes and such), Parkland (Paul Giamatti, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Zac Efron, and more star in this drama about the reactions of a cast-ful of regular folks to the JFK assassination), Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried stars as legendary porn star Linda Lovelace in this biopic which, shockingly, suggests that the star of Deep Throat did not have a happy experience), Under The Dome- season 1 (one of those Stephen King-y small Maine towns finds itself trapped under one of those Simpsons-esque impenetrable, transparent domes you read about in this Stephen King adaptation—about a dome!), Passion (director Brian De Palma is back, doing his super-stylized sex and violence thing on this tale of two sexy [and probably violent] corporate execs [Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace] whose ambition might turn a little…stabby), Girl Most Likely (Kristen Wiig stars in this good-looking indie about a once-hot playwright trying to cope with her career’s decline; costarring the likes of Matt Dillon, Annette Bening, Bob Balaban, and Natasha Lyonne), The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (writer/director/star Ed Burns [The Brothers McMullen, etc] keeps churning out indie dramedies, which is admirable, I suppose; this time, he’s one of the titular adult siblings preparing for their first holiday with the father who abandoned them decades before; Connie Britton and the late, great Ed Lauter are in it, so that’s something…), Clear History (Larry David writes and stars in this HBO comedy movie about an embittered former exec [David, duh] trying to get back at his former partner [Jon Hamm] who made millions from their idea for an electric car), As I Lay Dying (James Franco continues his career as professional overachiever, writing, directing, and starring in this adaptation of the seemingly-unfilmable William Faulkner novel about a poor family escorting their dead mother’s body for burial; costarring Tim Blake Nelson and Danny McBride), Syrup (a slacker invents something but has to learn to trust the sexy corporate lady who’s in charge in this comedy based on the novel by Max Barry; starring Amber Heard, and some guy from Twilight), The Painting (French animated film about the three classes of people in an unfinished painting), Renoir (biopic about Jean Renoir, legendary film director and son of the even more legendary Impressionist painter as he recuperates upon his return from WWI alongside a mysterious, gorgeous woman; I hear that helps…), Damnationland 2013 (former Videoporter Allen Baldwin produces this series of Maine-made horror anthologies; this one scared the pants off of audiences around the state this Halloween—come gets the rest of your clothes scared off…at Videoport!)

New Arrivals at Videoport: The Four Seasons (Alan Alda wrote and directed this 1981 comedy about a trio of middle aged couples whose longstanding friendship is thrown into comic upheaval when one gets a divorce; costarring Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Bess Armstrong, and Sandy Dennis), The Devil At 4 O’Clock (Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra costarred in this 1961 disaster drama about a crusty priest and an escaped convict trying to save an isalnd leper colony from an erupting volcano!), Kung Fu: The Movie (David Carradine returned to the most famous role he ever stole from Bruce Lee in this TV movie where his Kung Fu character mentors…Bruce Lee’s son Brandon!?!? Awkward…), Damnationland 2012 (Allen hooked us up with last year’s Maine horror anthology as well! Check out all four in the Horror section at Videoport!)

New Releases on Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: The Painting, Grown Ups 2, White House Down

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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