I got bak into town late Thursday, and rolled into Reclaim Video after a morning of meetings to find the great Xander watching Alice in Wonderland on laserdisc. I appreciate how seriously he takes his job, and he only has one: watch awesome movies while working at Reclaim Video. He excels! He even alphabetized the over 900 laserdiscs he cataloged thus far 🙂
Friday afternoon we hung out with Ryan and went out later to get some dinner, but in the downtime i was able to pop in a laserdisc of Drugstore Cowboy (1989) I bought in Portland, Oregon in 2016 when Tim, Lauren, and I went there for the cPanel conference. Damn that movie holds up well, and Matt Dillon is so far away from his persona in The Flamingo Kid (1984) just four or five years earlier. I appreciate Matt Dillon’s peripatetic acting career—but this is arguably his greatest performance. I absolutely love the character of Bob in this movie, and no god damned hats on the bed!
After Drugstore Cowboy I switched medium from laserdisc to VHS, and watched a fairly recent film on VHS: Sexy Beast (2000). I saw this with Antonella in the theaters when we were living in NYC in 2001, and it blew my mind. Ben Kingsley is so insane in this film you simply need to watch it, but even beyond his brilliant performance the idea of a being pulled back into a life of crime married with a pretty gripping heist scene and you got yourself a formula for success. Plus the whole idea of calling the film Sexy Beast and starting it with a middle-aged Brit in a speedo is brilliant.
From there I woke up around 5 Am on Sunday morning and had no chance of going back to sleep, so I went to Reclaim Video and explored some early morning cartoons. I sat through an episode of the Hanna Barbera produced The Greatest Adventures: Stories from the Bible. It was pretty boring, I saw the episode titled “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” from 1986, and it made me long for the days of Davey and Goliath. I switched gears quickly and reached for the nearest VHS tape featuring Bugs Bunny, which was kindly donated by Alan Levine. That was much better, and even allowed for a bit of social media fun given the “tell me again about my eyes” bit in the spoof of the Goldie Locks episode is a line we like to throw at Tim after he does something awesome—which is on the regular.
Finally, I finished out my watching with Repo Man, an evergreen classic from the 1980s that for me epitomizes the magic of VHS culture. This is not a movie we would have caught in the theaters as a suburban Long Island kid, but it became a staple in our house, as did Clockwork Orange, Basketcase, Faces of Death, Suburbia, I Spit on Your Grave, Decline of Western Civilization, Dawn of the Dead, The Thing, Escape from New York, endless skateboard videos (homemade and local skate store bought), and much more. VHS was an opening to all kinds of strange narrative worlds—some better left unseen—but all the more an education for it. Repo Man occupies a special place in that it represented something else that what I had been watching before then, something a bit more cognizant and playful of the form, yet equally compelling and funny.
And that was it so far, what did you watch this week? And what format did you watch it on you Netflix zombies?! 🙂