Monday, April 12, 2010

"Kid in Candy Store"

Saturday I was a "kid in a candy store" when I found out they were closing our local Hollywood Video store here in Medford. My wife and I were out shopping at Fred Mayer when I saw the sign over at Hollywood Video which said "store closing" and another sign that said "all DVDs $5.99." I said to my wife let's go, and she knowing it would be a long long visit said: "you can take me home first." So after we finished our planed visit to the library I took her home and raced back to the video store. When I got to the store they were in fact closing the store and everything except some new Blu-rays and some very new DVDs were on sale. All of their regular used inventory of DVDs used for rental and classified under "Drama", "Action" "Comedy" etc. were on sale for $5.99 each OR 3 for $15.00. Newer rentals were 3 for $20.00. However I was looking for the old classics. Unfortunately they had stacked many DVDs three deep and not in alphabetical order. I went through every DVD in "Drama" and "Action and spent a lot of time in the comedy section. I found and purchased the following "gems:"

"Avalon"***** (1990)Barry Levinson's semi autobiographical story about a Jewish immigrant family in 1940's/50's Baltimore by the same director who did "Dinner." I watched it last night and even though my family is not Jewish I really identified with the family and what it was like growing up in the 1950's with a family who's father owned owned a TV store. The movie dramatically and lovingly shows the disintegration of the large extended family in America and what we have lost as we moved to the suburbs and built our lives around television.

"The Man Who Would be King"**** (1975) film adapted from the Rudyard Kipling short story of the same title. It was adapted and directed by John Huston and starred Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey, and Christopher Plummer as Kipling (giving a name to the short story's anonymous narrator).
The film follows two rogue ex-non-commissioned officers of the British Raj who set off from 19th century British India in search of adventure and end up as kings of Kafiristan.(from Wikipedia)

DC 9/11: Time of Crisis***** (2003) Is a made for television movie which re-enacts the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks as seen from the point of view of the President of the United States and his staff. It was directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and starred Timothy Bottoms as President George W. Bush.The film opens on the morning of September 11, 2001. United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is hosting a breakfast for a number of members of the United States Congress. The purpose of the breakfast was to procure an increase to the defense budget, with Rumsfeld claiming they will soon need the money as something big is likely to occur soon given the rise of Islamic Extremism against the United States.

While the aircraft have been crashed into the World Trade Center, President Bush is at Emma E. Booker Elementary school in Florida. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs Bush that "a second plane has hit the second tower, America is under attack!". After 8 - 11 Minutes President Bush prepares to leave the school, he interrupts a reporters question so as to not alarm to school children as to the events unfolding in New York City.

Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice in the PEOC, are informed that a rogue plane is headed for Camp David President Bush orders Rumsfeld to take the nation to Defcon 3 and put the military in high alert. He discusses the situation with Vice President Cheney and order the grounding of all Civil aviation. He leaves Florida on Air Force One headed for Washington DC. While in the air, Naval Intelligence uncovers a credible threat against "Angel" (the days codeword for Air Force One). The President escort Fighter wing is notified to be on the highest possible alert status.

The United States Secret Service is evacuating all non-essential personnel, While Cabinet members are escorted to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. Vice-President Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice are informed that there is an unresponsive aircraft headed for Camp David. Cheney orders the fighters to attempt contact, however if the plane doesn't respond or turn around it is to be shot down. The plane disappears off radar with Cheney assuming he has ordered the deaths if 200 or more US Citizens. President Bush is apprised of the situation and is told reports from the FAA are suggesting that the Air Force didn't shoot down the plane but a group of passengers learned of the event in New York and took matters into their own hands. President Bush wants to be back in Washington DC, and after conferencing with the DCI and other members of his cabinet, he orders the Secret Service to fly him home immediately.

President Bush arrives at the White House that evening and addresses the nation, informing them that they are now in a war on terror. Over the next hours and days, Bush meets countless times with his cabinet to determine an appropriate response, which ultimately lead to his declaration of "if you're not with us, you're against us" and the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.(from Wikipedia)

Charles Krauthamer, Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracky are listed as advisers. I was expecting a cheaply made for TV movie and was very moved by the movie. I miss George W Bush!

"World War II When Lions Roared"****(1994) This is a three hour TV miniseries about the relationship between Winston Churchill (Bob Hoskins),FDR (John Lithgow) and Stalin (Michael Cain) during World War II. The production values are minimum but it is very interesting for World War II history buffs and the acting is outstanding. Deals primarily with the correspondence and meeting between the three "lions."

"Shag the Movie"****(1989)is a comedy film starring Bridget Fonda, Phoebe Cates, Annabeth Gish, Jeff Yagher and Scott Coffey.The movie takes place in the late summer of 1963 and is a combination of "American Graffiti" and Where the Boys Are."The film is a lighthearted story of four teenage girlfriends of various temperaments who escape their parents for a few days in 1963 for adventure in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where they meet boys. The trip is spurred by the upcoming marriage of one of the girls, Carson. Their story chronicles their last good-bye to girlhood, and entree into womanhood. Filmed primarily in Wilmington, North Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with a scene filmed at the late Skyview Drive-In located in Florence, South Carolina.Though it was not a big hit when initially released, in recent years it has become something of a cult film to fans of beach music and the Carolina Shag. (from Wikipeda)

Helen of Troy(1956) A Warner Bros. epic film, based on Homer's Iliad. It was directed by Robert Wise. I picked out this movie for sentimental reasons. As a kid,I saw this movie in 1956 with my parents and two of their friends, at the ADA Theater in Boise Idaho. It's one of the few indoor movies I saw with my father. It was one of the first, if not the first, of the large spectacular movies with a cast of thousands made in the 1950's in glorious color to get people away from their TV sets. Warner Brothers also promoted the movie heavily on their TV shows.Better movies on this subject have been made but you always remember the first.

I am sorry that Hollywood Video is closing but the last few times I have been there the place was dirty and run down. About two years ago they closed the Blockbuster store nearby. We rarely rent DVDs at stores anymore since we signed up for Netflix and since the sale of DVDs has become relatively inexpensive. We must not be alone.

My DVD collection is now somewhere over 700. Just think, in the 1950's only "Movie Moguls" who owned studios had collections this large. To see my movie collection click on the title above for a link