When I need rides to appointments, or to get some groceries, I have to rely on the good graces of friends and family. This almost always means I’ll have a lot of time to wander around while they finish doing whatever it was they needed to get done. So I’ll hangout in bookstores, or the movie section at an electronics store while I wait.
On Friday I was in the next town over so I could print off photos of my girlfriend and her son for her Mother’s day gift, which took ten minutes… so I had 2.5 hours to blow off while my own mother went to her workout and took her mother out for a hearing test.
You can buy movies pretty much anywhere now. Even the gas station down the street has a large selection of used DVD’s, and I’ve found some of my favourites in there… like “Mississippi Burning” and “The Station Agent”.
So while I waited for mom, I wandered between the movie sections of two large box stores trying to find the coolest possible movies for the lowest possible price.
And I found a bunch of them… most stores selling movies today have different price-points, and their systems always seem totally arbitrary. Like one store was selling John Woo’s “Windtalkers”, one of the worst movies of all time, for $10, meanwhile “The Kid Stays In The Picture”, the critically acclaimed documentary about legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans could have been mine for $2.99.
I didn’t get it though. Next time, there were a lot of copies.
“Laws Of Attraction”, with Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, as well as “The Ladykillers”, starring Tom Hanks, were also available for ten bucks. It’s like the price scale was inverse to the movie’s goodness.
I even found a copy of “Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed”, an excellent documentary about Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, and the first African-American to be on the ballot as a candidate for President of the United States. For $2.99 it could have been mine.
This has to be the most obscure and out-of-place film I’ve found in this area. Until now I thought “Pi”, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” and “Reefer Madness” would stand up as the movies I’ve found in the strangest places, but a documentary about an American black woman who ran for public office 37-years ago winding up in the electronics section of a Zellers in a 99.99% white, 90% French speaking region, with a 35% illiteracy rate, is just off the freaking hook.
Who possibly would have made that call? Who called the distributer and, in French, said they just had to have that documentary about Shirley Chisholm?
I should have bought it… but I was on a budget, and there were at least ten copies so I think it’ll be there the next time I can get a ride.
The movies I did end up buying were all in the $4.99 range, and at least two of them would rank pretty high on the “obscurity scale”.
Logan’s Run (1976) (Michael York, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov) Based on the 1967 science-fiction novel written by William Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. The first two times I saw this movie the television station didn’t “modify the movie” so it would fit the TV screen, so everyone and everything was stretched and at least a third of the action happened off screen, but I still loved it. Probably because of Farrah at first, but I was in my really early teens so chances are I just really liked the idea of everyone over thirty being killed off.
The Day After (1983) (Jason Robards, Steve Guttenberg, JoBeth Williams) Probably one of the most influential movies of all time… and it stars Steve Guttenberg. Which is just bizarre. It was originally a TV event movie, and showed — in graphic detail — what would happen the day after a nuclear exchange between America and the USSR. Basically, hot shot, in thirty minutes the missiles land… after that everything’s glass. What do you do? What do you do?
“The Day After” actually influenced USA v. USSR nuclear policy, including the signing of treaties banning several types of missiles. The unofficial sequel meanwhile, the godawful “The Day After Tomorrow”, sucked donkey balls.
…there was a book published a year earlier I’ve been searching for called “This is the way the world will end, this is the way you will end, unless…” which scientifically documents the effects of a nuclear bomb landing on New York, London, Paris and Moscow. If you’ve got it, and you’d be willing to part with it, let me know.
Heaven’s Burning (1997) (Russell Crowe, His Sideburns, Youki Kudoh) I don’t know much about this movie. I’ve only seen a few ten minute chunks of it over one evening, and without the sound. But it looked cool. It’s basically a chase movie through the back country of Australia… it didn’t do so well in the reviews. But there are loud cars, lots of guns and Russell Crowe’s insane sideburns.
A bar I used to frequent in Toronto, the Bovine Sex Club, had two televisions over the bar, and they’d have theme nights. So one night they had “Romper Stomper” on one TV, and Heaven’s Burning on the other.
I believe the theme that night was Australian Ultra Violence. Cool bar. At least until they hired the doormen.
I haven’t had many chances recently to see new releases, but I do love movies… I wrote a post two years ago about my favourite twenty-five movies. It’s still pretty accurate… you know, if you wanted to take a look. There’s pie.
I also picked up a game for my PS3 called “Motor Storm”. My girlfriend mentioned last week she likes the racing games, and this is one of the better ones. It’s pretty violent as well, so that should be good.
After buying my girlfriend her Mother’s Day gifts — a large six-photo frame, thirty photos I’ve taken of her and her son, a cool little photo album, and an ultra-violent video game — I was supposed to meet my mom at McDonald’s.
I was trapped in an area where the only lunch options were an overpriced box store restaurant and McDee’s. So I ordered my first Big Mac in over a year… maybe two. And it tasted exactly the same as the very first one I had when I was eight. Remarkable.
I’m not sure if it’s because of a new law, but McDonald’s is finally publishing the nutritional content of their food… at least in Canada. It’s on the back of the placemat… and I kept mine if anyone’s interested in counting McCalorie’s. Mine’s in French of course, but from what I can make out my Big Mac had 540 calories, the medium fries had 360, my medium Diet Coke had one and my small chocolate milkshake came in at 560.
So my least satisfying meal in years came in at 1461 calories… if I had any idea what that meant I think I’d be astonished.
No wonder they never wanted to publish this stuff.