Volume D— D Is For Damn, This Is Issue Number 500 Of The VideoReport: The Movie
For the Week of 3/17/15
Videoport celebrates 500 issues of the VideoReport telling you how you can have a free movie every, single day. And calculates that, in its some 1,500 weeks of existence, Videoport has given the people of Portland approximately seventy-jillion free movies. Here—have a free movie.
Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!
>>> Videoport customer Jenny A. suggests Nightcrawler (in Mystery/Thriller). Because Videoport is awesome, they give you a free rental when you buy a used DVD. So I bought ‘Zodiac’ and rented ‘Nightcrawler,’ because I’m nothing if not thematic. A Jake G. fest! Don’t make me spell the last name*, G will suffice. How did I miss ‘Nightcrawler’ on the big screen? See it for Jake’s acting alone, he gives a singular performance. Has there ever been a repulsive, conniving character like Lou Bloom? From director Dan Gilroy’s comments, Lou represents the underemployed Millennial, desperate for options, raised on the internet, lacking human compassion, caring only for profit/success, thriving on gore and exploitation. It’s really a BIG statement film, hitting you over the head. Jake delivers incredibly intricate dialogue, nailing it down to punctuation. Sometimes it is too mannered (I’ve never known a psychopath *that* glib yet calculating), but that’s a tiny conceit to a staggering performance. Whereas Rene Russo as Nina, the ‘if it bleeds it leads’ TV news producer, gives an understated turn. Nina is almost reptilian, a long-time survivor of this sordid underworld. The characters are all using each other, for various selfish purposes. We spend a lot of time in Jake’s car, racing around nighttime LA. Some of the driving shots are money, which gives it the feel of a studio film, though it has indie film daring. I was glad to home-viewing, yelling at Jake, “Don’t do that! No! You psycho!” Any film you can yell at is a solid recommendation in my book. Thanks, Videoport, for the outstanding free rental, the excellent customer service, and for letting us blab on your movie blog.
*Editor’s note: It’s spelled “Gryffindor.”
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 $7.99!
>>>Dennis suggests 300 (in Action) and 200 Cigarettes (in Comedy). Okay, neither one of these movies is my favorite, but they add up to 500. I’m not a math guy. One of them would be free on Tuesday, what do you want from me? (500 issues is a lot, you guys.)
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 $7.99!
>>> Emily S. Customer suggests (500) Days Of Summer (in Comedy). Emily S. Customer suggests (500) Days of Summer… again! (originally appeared in VideoReport #350) The A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin coined the phrase “manic pixie dream girl” to describe the twinkling, whimsical girl-creature who scampers aimlessly and changelessly through romantic comedies with no raison d’etre beyond liberating the repressed, depressed, subjugated, or otherwise uptight male protagonist from his colorless world. Initially,(500) Days of Summer seems like a classic embodiment of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, but as the nonlinear timeline unfolds, it challenges the unthinkingly sexist assumptions of those narratives with witty ease. As the extremely personal opening disclaimer and Tom’s montaged blason of Summer’s beloved attributes suggest, 500 Days of Summer is all about Hipster Boy’s self-centered experience of Hipster Girl, not about Hipster Girl herself, a notion that’s highlighted throughout the film with its little asides of fantasies, ruminations on “dream girls,” and the explicitly staged split between reality and expectation. Though Rabin included the titular Summer (Zooey Dechanel) from 500 Days of Summer in his list of MPDGs, I’d argue that she’s exactly the opposite: Summer has her own goals and desires, as well as a clear and unambiguously expressed distaste for commitment and love, which directly conflicts with Tom’s (Joseph Gordon Leavitt) expectations of her, which she re-states emphatically as their romance picks up, which he agrees to over and over again, and which — of course — he manages to ignore completely his swoony romantic haze. Any manic pixie dust in 500 Days springs from the hopes and daydreams that Tom imposes upon the uncompromising and independent woman whom he’s woefully miscast as his plaint, ardent dream girl. Summer doesn’t usher him into any new vistas of imagination or ambition; she has her fun with him on her own terms without changing anything for him. It’s Tom’s rampant imagination that adds color and flash to his real-world routine, making 500 Days a mercurial mix of exuberant and mundane, but the only pixie here is Tom.
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 $7.99!
>>> Emily S. Customer suggests How I Met Your Mother (in Comedy). “I would walk 500 miles…” In “Arrivederci, Fiero” (S2ep17), Marshall’s Fiero — the car passed down from his big (and I meanbig) brothers, the car that saw him through high school college, and into adulthood, all with a Proclaimers record stuck in the deck, the freakin’ Giving Tree of cars — is about to hit 200,000 miles… or is it? In “Duel Citizenship” (S5ep5), while Robin tries to avoid deportation to Canada, Ted looks forward to refreshing his bond to Marshall with a road trip… but Marshall has a surprise, and it’s not a big bag of GORP for the road. In “The Lighthouse” (S8ep9), over their wedding weekend, Barney tries not to pick sides between his feuding mother and bride, while Marshall shares a rental car with a stranger (Sherri Shepherd) headed in the same direction. “Mom and Dad” (S9ep10) has Barney and his half-brother James bickering over whose dad will reunite with their mother, and Ted ruins Barney’s wedding gift for Robin.
>>>And Emily S. Customer keeps the whole ‘500’ theme rolling with Identity Thief (in Comedy). “… And I would walk 500 more…” There’s a reason HIMYM uses The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” as the show’s iconic road-trip song, and that’s because (brace yourselves) it’s an iconic road-trip song, and like a companion on on a road trip, by the time it’s over, you’ll either be thoroughly sick of it or weirdly attached to it.
Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!
>>> It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!
Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!
>>> For Saturday, Emily S. Customer’s not done yet, with her review of Grey’s Anatomy (in Feature Drama). “… Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door.” “He says he feels like his heart is going to burst,” the EMT tells April as she wheels over a patient in “Readiness is All,” S9ep23. And he’s not the only one. If you’ve seen the show, you remember this, and if you didn’t, telling you any more would ruin a lovely surprise. But I’ll say this: it doesn’t seem like a sensible use of the ambulance arrival zone.
>>>For Sunday, Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Top Five (Chris Rock once again attempts to translate his undeniable standup comedy genius to the big screen, writing and directing this comedy about a coasting comedy movie star who finds himself reevaluating his career while being interviewed for a single day by fetching and intelligent reporter Rosario Dawson), Annie (The musical remake of the musical with those chirpy, chipper songs your little sister wouldn’t stop singing while you were growing up, no matter how many times you stuck your fingers in your ears and ran around screaming for her to stop. Starring the adorable, Oscar-nominated Quvenzhané Wallis from Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and an orphanage just brimming with adorable, singing moppets!), Song Of The Sea (From the makers of the delightful and lovely Secret Of Kells comes another lovely animated Irish fable, this time about selkies, the legendary mermaid women who sometimes fall in love with human men), Exodus: Gods And Kings (Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, and a whole lot of other white people get suntans to play Moses, Ramses, and a huge cast of suspiciously pale Biblical characters in Ridley Scott’s typically sprawling, effects-laden Sunday school lesson/disaster movie), Turn- season 1 (Jamie “Billy Elliot” Bell stars in this period spy series from AMC about the Culper Ring, arguably America’s first spies, as they fight the British in the Revolutionary War), Parts Per Billion (A good cast, including old pros Gena Rowlands and Frank Langella star in this necessarily heartbreaking end-of-the-world drama about three couples coping with humanity’s lingering death from a mysterious, devastating plague. Fun times!), Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife (A good cast, Donald Faison, Scott Foley, Patrick Wilson, Angel’s Amy Acker star in this dark comedy about a group of friends who decide to help out a pal through the questionable titular actions), Veronika Decides To Die (Former Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in this adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s inspirational novel about a young woman who ends up in an asylum after a suicide attempt, only to learn life-affirming lessons from the other inmates.), Vice (Professional rent-a-former-stars Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane lend their evaporating marketability to this low budget sci-fi/action Westword ripoff about a future resort city where rich jerks can essentially play live-action Grand Theft Auto by murdering and/or sexing robot people. When a sexy robot refuses her nightly memory-wipe and goes rogue, things start going all Itchy and Scratchyland up in there), Son Of A Gun (Cool-looking action thriller starring Ewan McGregor as a notorious bank robber who escapes from prison with a young inmate in tow, only to draw the youngster into his latest criminal scheme), The Penguins Of Madagascar (After three movies-worth of wacky, penguin hijinks in those Madagascar movies, everyone’s apparently favorite supporting flightless seabirds get their own movie! It’s a cartoon! Kids will laugh and get all riled up! Penguins!), Listen Up Philip (Jason Schwartzman plays a great creep, never better than in this dark indie comedy about an egocentric novelist who flees the hoopla surrounding the publication of his second novel to the country home of mentor Jonathan Pryce. Also starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as his long-suffering girlfriend)
New Arrivals On Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: Night at The Museum 3
Free parking at Videoport!
The parking lot behind the building is open for customer parking after 5 PM weekdays and all day on the weekends! And Videoport can get you a free hour of parking at any parking garage in town (including the courthouse garage, one minute away!) And Videoport has a drop-off box right on the sidewalk on the corner of Pearl and Newbury Streets if you don’t want to come in and rent more movies. But, you know, come in and rent some more movies.
Whew. 500 issues. That’s a lot of issues.
So here we are, gang. 500 weekly VideoReports. That’s 9.61 years worth of VideoReports. Former Videoporter JackieO and I started this thing on a whim in 2005-ish or so (I’m to tired to look it up) as a way to bring business to Videoport by getting customers invested in the store. Also as a way to keep our underemployed, overeducated minds from turning to beery mush. Jackie bailed pretty early on—mainly because he got one of those life things and had better stuff to do. But I just kept doing the thing—on paper first, then online after a few years once I got that fancy Internet and a super-fast dialup connection. (Seriously, I want the months back I cumulatively spent waiting for damned movie posters to load.) Along the way, customers did come—and go, sending in their reviews from time to time. Employees, too. (Everyone had those life things, I guess.) So I just kept doing it and, before the pity party gets out of hand, this scrappy, ramshackle enterprise has brought me a lot of great things. The great Justin Ellis (formerly of the Press Herald, now a big deal at Harvard) reached out and I wrote with him in the paper of record. Then the paper actually started paying me to write about movies—they still do, even. Then local writer (for the Onion A.V. Club) Zack Handlen told me about an opening, and I got hired to write there, too. And, honestly, none of that would have happened without the experience and confidence I got from writing here, for free, for the VideoReport. So thanks to all of you for reading what started out (and mostly remains) a goofy whim indulged by Videoport owner Bill. Thanks to Bill, then. Thanks to everyone who’s ever contributed to the VideoReport—they know who they are—but especially to the lovely Ms. Emily S. Customer, who has been the most consistent and brilliant contributor. Especially since she married me somewhere along the line and saw the exhausted, empty look in my eyes at 1AM on nights when the thing wasn’t done and wrote amazing reviews so I didn’t have to scrape an entire week’s worth together. Of course, since the whole purpose behind this thing (apart from avoiding brain-mush) was to bring the customers of Videoport in to the store to, you know, rent movies and stuff, thanks to all of you reading this. We love movies—we writing and you reading—and we love Videoport, one of the few remaining (and best) video stores in the world. 500 issues is a lot of writing. It works out to an estimated 1,250,000 words in nine-plus years. (I may have had to have a sit down after figuring that out.) If any of that stuff has given you any pleasure at all, then here’s the thing—rent at Videoport. Honestly, if you want there to be a VideoReport #600 (or more, or a lot less) only your conscious choice to rent at a local, independent video store that loves and cares about movies and has the best selection of movies anywhere can make that happen. Another thing you can do—share this message. If you’re reading this online, share it via Facebook, or Twitter, or some other cool Internet thing I’m not cool enough to know about. If you’re reading this on a paper copy, I dunno—leave it in a Laundromat, or a public bathroom. Those people need something to read. Regardless, thanks for reading. Videoport is the place where people who love movies do that sort of thing.
Here’s to another 500.
Dennis (a.k.a “Videoport Jones”)