Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DVD Bargain Bin Report

I love DVDs. But more than that, I love cheap DVDs. So naturally I'm drawn to Big Lots like a moth to flame, or anywhere else that stocks cheap DVDs for that matter - with the exception of Wal-Mart. The less time I spend at Wally World, the better off and happier I am.

Anyway, digging through used DVDs is always fun, because you often find movies you meant to see when they came out and missed, or movies you've heard about but never seen. Sometimes you find a treasure, and other times you find yet another copy of Wild, Wild West, but you don't know until you look, and that's the fun. So for no particular reason, I thought I would go through and summarize some of my recent thoughts on a few cheap DVDs I've recently watched to see if I found some winners.

Mean Streets: Found at Big Lots for $3. Anyone with a passing interest in mob films has probably heard of this one, but I had never seen it - the first entry of the DeNiro-Scorsese canon. Honestly, it was not what I expected. This is a very non-traditional film - there's not really an arc, and there's no character to get behind - these are scumbags and we're getting a fly on the wall type look at them. Something like should be right up my alley, but for whatever reason it just didn't click for me. I was enraptured throughout the opening but at some point it kind of lost me and it never found me. I'll have to watch it again sometime.

Raging Bull: Found at the Imaginarium for $2.50. This was a great deal - it was the two-disc special edition so there's a bunch of extras to delve into at some point. Unlike Mean Streets, I enjoyed this DeNiro-Scorsese team-up quite a bit. I absolutely love the Rocky films, but while this is the anti-Rocky, I still enjoyed it. Similar to Mean Streets in that there are no heroes, the more direct narrative makes this one easier to get into. Joe Pesci stole the show for me as the main character's brother. That said, Rocky remains my favorite fight film. But now I'm prepared to see the Rocky-Raging Bull square off in the upcoming Grudge Match.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Body Of Science

Body of Science by Jeremy Morong
Landon always took pride in getting early to work. Every job he held was filled with those sad sacks that rolled in ten minutes late only to head straight to the coffee pot. But Landon was never that way, except, for, well, when things spiraled out of control.
But now he was back in control. He had been clean since he got out, and he would stay that way. He had no choice.
Still, when he showed up early today, he was not the first one. Not even close. Twenty minutes before opening and he was fifteen back in line. Fifteen! Who knew that donating plasma was such a popular life decision.
Fifteen back meant he was behind a bunch of scumbags, drug addicts, and alcoholics. In other words, people just like him. He wished he could be anywhere else, but he needed the fifty a week. Stocking shelves at Dollar Tree twenty hours a week just didn't cut it by itself.
He glanced at his watch – five minutes left to opening. He looked back to find that he was still last in line, but his eyes made contact with a young man holding a clipboard. He had long hair that crawled out from underneath a beat-up trucker hat. A hipster. And as soon as Landon made eye contact, the hipster started coming his way, wearing a broad grin on his face.
“What's up, man?” The hipster asked. “You donating today?”
Landon could feel the shame rising in his face. “Yeah,” he mumbled. He wished this guy would leave him alone.
“Cool, man. Right on,” the hipster said. “You gotta do what you gotta do, right?”
“Yeah,” Landon replied.
“Well, check it man. I've got something better than donating plasma. You got a few seconds?”
Landon cringed. What was this clown selling? But what could he say – he was fifteen deep in a plasma line. He had a few seconds. He had many few seconds.
He was trapped.
“Yeah, you could say I've got a few seconds,” he said dryly.
The hipster laughed, way too enthusiastically. Landon was certain he was an Amway salesman.
“Yeah, bro, I can see that!” he said. Landon cringed. He hated being called bro. But the hipster took no notice and continued. “Look man, my name is Steve.”
He stuck out his hand, which Landon shook. “Landon.”
“Landon, good to meet you, bro. Listen, I know you're busy but I kind of wanted to talk to you about something. See, I'm with this company. . .”
Landon cut him off. “Amway, right? I've heard the pitch, man. It's not for me. But thanks.”
“No. No, bro! Nothing like that! No, listen to me. Times are tough right now, I get it. I know! But listen. I have a way to make you the easiest $5000 you'll ever see. One hour, boom, five grand. You interested?”