Monday, March 5, 2012

DVDs at Big Lots = My Kind of Collection

The only use I've ever gotten out of the DVD aisles at Best Buy was last Thanksgiving Eve, when tents had sprouted next to the store in Valencia for Black Friday. In the ad of what was on sale, only valid until that evening I was there, I found that they were selling the DVD set of Married with Children: The Complete Series for $29.99. I despise the majority of those DVDs because Sony wasn't able to get the music rights to Frank Sinatra's "Love and Marriage" for the entire run of the series, so there's a crappy instrumental ditty in place of that, which has no relation to the twisted spirit of the show. "Love and Marriage" did because it was used ironically. I considered this for about 10 seconds and decided to buy it because first, it's never that cheap, and second, I'd rather have my favorite episode, season 7's "Movie Show," available to me whenever I want, and not only on the Tivo, where I had it until mid-January when I deleted it to make room for other shows.

Otherwise, Best Buy's DVD offerings are too slick for me. It doesn't have the feeling of discovering new movies to watch. There's no sense of excitement in seeing what they have. The same goes with Walmart, although it's a little more comfortable than Best Buy, but not by much. They've got those $5 DVD bins, which I've lately only found useful to skim the top, see what's there, dig a little bit below, and then give up. My last great find in one of those bins was Clerks II, nearly two years ago.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to Big Lots because for that day only: 20% off whatever you buy. Dad had collected five "20% off" coupons from school (Four for us and one extra in case we lost one), but it was apparently not needed because at the register, everything scanned 20% off. Dad wanted to find a well-fitting cell phone case, Mom and Meridith came to look around and see if there was anything I wanted, and I was of course there for the books and DVDs.

I love shopping for DVDs at Big Lots, even when I don't need them, even though I'm much more into books than DVDs now. But I still love movies. I always will, and eventually getting tired of writing reviews will never sour me on them.

At Big Lots, there's very few horror movies on DVD, which matches me, because I don't like horror movies, and I can submerge myself in memories by what I find. For example, there's still copies of Ringers: Lord of the Fans, of which I'm quoted on the front, the first and only DVD release by a major company that I was quoted on. I freaked out when I found that I was quoted on the front of the DVD box of the documentary Cinemania, my first one, but I'm especially proud of Ringers: Lord of the Fans, because I'd never, ever imagined being quoted on a Sony DVD release, and it kept to what I always hoped with being quoted on DVDs, that I would only be quoted on movies I passionately supported. That was one of them.

Big Lots also holds part of my own DVD collection. On one of the shelves of a four-sided display rack, I spotted Swing Vote, which I proudly own, and on one of the $5 two-sided display racks, I saw Brick, a modern-day high school-flavored film noir starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, that I bought again for my collection last year. But DVDs I wasn't even thinking of when I walked in are the ones that bring me further back in memory, and even further back still.

After I had an anxiety attack at a mall in Henderson in May 2010 that wasn't Galleria at Sunset (though I had one there too), brought on by being vastly overweight and having consumed far too much caffeine and not eating at all well while on that trip (Little sleep doesn't help either), I spent months over that summer not even trying to figure out what was wrong with me and what I needed to do to fix myself. I didn't even think of being overweight as being the trouble. Well, that and the caffeine. There were many, many days in which I watched endless hours of TV with no discernible goal toward anything. And I remember watching Star Trek: Generations on BBC America one Saturday in late summer, with no idea why. I had never been into Star Trek before, and I wonder if my brain had been twisted around during those anxiety attacks. Me and Star Trek? No. It didn't make any sense.

But I suppose it had to happen eventually. My favorite childhood movie was Flight of the Navigator, with that shiny, shape-shifting spaceship, and, living in Casselberry, we used to run out to the backyard whenever we heard on the radio that the space shuttle was lifting off, and it was so close to us that we could see clearly the American flag on the left wing, and "U.S.A." on the right.

During those listless months in which I felt like I was in a prison inside my head, I also watched a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, not paying much attention to them because neither my body nor my head felt right. I spent a lot of time in self-pity.

Late last year, I decided to try a few episodes of TNG again, and I like it. My answer to the question of Star Wars or Star Trek is Star Trek, because it seems to encompass an expansive universe that has a lot to explore. I also saw the new Star Trek movie when it was theaters, after going nuts over the trailer and watching it close to 70 times, and I loved it, so that must have triggered something.

I don't think I could ever be an out-and-out Trekkie, though, arguing the fine points of Star Trek lore, debating characters, loudly proclaiming a certain episode or movie to be the best one. I wander around in my own good time, seeing what I like, what more I want to explore.

I found Star Trek: Generations on DVD at Big Lots. $5. The last time we were at Big Lots, I found Star Trek: Insurrection and bought that, disappointed to find that the special collector's edition of Star Trek: First Contact was gone, which I was thinking of buying on the visit before the purchase of Insurrection, but decided to hold off until I learned more about the Star Trek universe. I should have snapped it up.

I seem to want to know more and more about science fiction now, especially in light of a time-travel idea I have for a novel. I want to explore these different worlds, see what fits me, and keep following that path. Star Trek might very well be one, and it's fortunate I found both those movies for cheap at Big Lots so there's no pricey regret if I decide not to keep them. I still regret not buying First Contact. $5 for that double-disc set was a lot better than $11.75 on Amazon. And I would have had it right away.

In one of the $5 racks, I found In the Line of Fire, which will forever have John Malkovich's creepy, disturbing performance as its main attraction. If the space shuttle launches and Flight of the Navigator were what propelled me to exploration of all things Star Trek, then there are so many explanations for why we are the way we are, in everything we do. In the Line of Fire has been with me since July 1993, when I was 9 years old. Every summer, my mom, my sister and I went every week to the morning summer movie program GCC Coral Square 8 had. I think admission cost a few dollars, but not as much as regular admission. I don't remember the movie we saw that week after In the Line of Fire, but when we walked out of the theater, I looked at the lighted paper sign between both doors of that theater, which had the In the Line of Fire logo to indicate that that's what was playing inside that theater, and I wondered what it was about. But since I was 9, and it was rated "R," there was no way I was going to be able to see it. I had no idea who John Malkovich was, then, and it was only after I saw him in Of Mice and Men in 10th grade English class, when he had become one of my favorite actors, that I finally saw In the Line of Fire. I really like it on its own merits, and I bought it at Big Lots for my collection.

I also bought That Championship Season (curious to see how another play is adapted into a movie), Lonely Hearts (Australian movie that I've always been curious about), Shaft (1971) (It may go into my collection because I admire how director Gordon Parks keeps everything street-level and real enough, a product of his masterful, stunning photography decades before), and That's Entertainment (I love the contrast of clips of beautifully-designed movie musicals, and introductions by actors against backdrops of a crumbling MGM that had already been sold at the time of filming), which went into my collection because I love a great many of those musical sequences.

I like Big Lots because it's open to everyone. Best Buy feels like you have to have at least $200 in your checking account and if you don't, all the flatscreen TVs are going to glare at you. Whereas in Big Lots, you just walk in, see what suits you, and most of the time, you'll find something you want. What you find feels like it had been waiting for you, like the diecast model of the presidential limo that I found for $9. There's always something there that is uniquely you.

1 comment:

  1. Love "In the Line of Fire"... Malkovich was terrific. I try to watch that film every year, if possible.

    Not sure if you've heard of "Plinkett" and his site "Red Letter Media" before, but he does great (though odd) movie reviews. He's most famous for his relentless (and smart) dissection of the Star Wars prequels... but he also has many reviews of Star Trek films over on his website that are funny (and crude) and interesting, because he seems to really know what he's talking about, though he presents himself in a humorous style. Might be worth a look, if you're bored, since you're tracking with Star Trek now.

    Anyway, hope you're doing well.