Ditties

Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir (2007, Shalom Auslander)

A special to the Stop Button

A non-­observant Orthodox Jew with a firm belief in his God lays bare the torture to which the true believer is subjected merely living his life. He grapples with the core of his religious upbringing and shares sometimes with almost unintended humor and sarcasm the twists and turns of fundamental belief.

For Auslander’s God is one who toys with us, deciding just what plague to subject us to–which way our God will kill us. There’s repetitive nature to the theme that God actually enjoys in some perverse way tormenting us so; pulling the rug from under us at the last possible moment.

His wife is pregnant with their first child and he lives braced for the tragedy that is sure to befall them. It’s his heritage, after all, to be beset with tragedies upon tragedies, as Job was.

But, does this lead him to lead a ‘good life’? Hardly. Auslander is in this way all of us–the most human of us… strong in intent, but weak in followthrough… Read that as the spirit is willing, but…. “Porno was my Isaac…” he postulates when as a child he can’t resist tabloid fleshy offerings of temptation… what young child could? And yet his punishment for indiscretion is certain, as day gives way to night… at least in his own mind.

Is he punished? He seems always to find some misfortune to connect with his transgressions and it gives him a sort of assurance and peace, the proof that his God is there….

There is a enough here for the non-Jew to identify with. Bring your own bagels.

Mid summer movie quiz

From Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. I read about the quiz at Tommy Salami’s Pluck You, Too!


  1. Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.
    • Barry Lyndon.
  2. Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil.
    • Evil – the superhero genre.
  3. Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?
    • I haven’t seen Bronco Billy, but I’m nearly positive I’d like it more than Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson.
  4. Best Film of 1949.
    • No idea. Maybe A Letter to Three Wives, even though I haven’t seen it in ten years.
  5. Joseph Tura (Jack Benny) or Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore)?
    • Not having seen either film in question, I’ll go with Barrymore.
  6. Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?
    • Yes.
  7. What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?
    • Does a dubbed Godzilla movie count?
  8. Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) or Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre)?
    • Haven’t seen any of either series.
  9. Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).
    • The Great Escape.
  10. Favorite animal movie star.
    • Asta.
  11. Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.
    • Tony Scott being employed as a director.
  12. Best Film of 1969.
    • They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  13. Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.
    • Theatrically, Moon. DVD, The Land that Time Forgot (2009).
  14. Second-favorite Robert Altman film.
    • MASH.
  15. What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print?
  16. Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji?
    • Angela Mao. If only because I saw Enter the Dragon.
  17. Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?
    • I haven’t seen My Cousin Vinny in years but I loathed Bullets Over Broadway so Marisa Tomei.
  18. Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.
    • East of Eden.
  19. Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.
    • Superman Returns.
  20. Favorite movie that is equal parts genre film and a deconstruction or consideration of that same genre.
    • Thief.
  21. Best Film of 1979.
    • All That Jazz.
  22. Most realistic and/or sincere depiction of small-town life in the movies.
    • The Best Years of Our Lives.
  23. Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).
    • The Thing.
  24. Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.
    • The Godfather.
  25. Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.
    • Running Scared.
  26. Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.
    • End credits of Carlito’s Way.
  27. Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.
    • No idea.
  28. Favorite Alan Smithee film.
    • Never seen one.
  29. Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?
    • Going with Morris because I loathe Bull Durham.
  30. Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.
    • Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
  31. Best Film of 1999.
    • Magnolia.
  32. Favorite movie tag line.
    • Superman, “You’ll believe a man can fly.”
  33. Favorite B-movie western.
    • Terror in a Texas Town. Sterling Hayden with a harpoon.
  34. Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of her or his work.
    • Stephen King. I’d never read one of his books but I occasionally see the movies.
  35. Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) or Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard)?
    • Susan Vance (Bringing Up Baby).
  36. Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.
    • That Clerks II thing.
  37. Bruno (the character, if you haven’t seen the movie, or the film, if you have): subversive satire or purveyor of stereotyping?
    • Haven’t seen it. Purveyor of stereotyping probably.
  38. Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet.
    • Steven Soderbergh, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, W.S. Van Dyke, Orson Welles.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985, Danny Steinmann)

Directed by Danny Steinmann; screenplay by Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen and Steinmann, based on a story by Kitrosser and Cohen and characters created by Victor Miller; director of photography, Stephen L. Posey; edited by Bruce Green; music by Harry Manfredini; production designer, Robert Howland; produced by Timothy Silver; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring John Shepherd (Tommy Jarvis), Melanie Kinnaman (Pam), Richard Young (Matt), Dick Wieand (Roy), Corey Feldman (Tommy at 12), Shavar Ross (Reggie), Jerry Pavlon (Jake), Dominic Brascia (Joey), Tiffany Helm (Violet), Carol Lacatell (Ethel), Ron Sloan (Junior) and Debi Sue Voorhees (Tina).


D: "It's a nightmare, Charlie Brown!"

A: Which is the one that starts with them in the graveyard, they bring him back to life with electricity?

D: I think it's VI or VII.

A: So Corey Feldman did return for a cameo. Or is he in the entire movie?

D: I get this one confused with another one.

« • »

D: Is this the one?

A: No.

D: It's like VI or VII where they did that.

A: I thought this was the one where they thought Tommy was the killer.

D: Yeah, I think this is that one.

(pause)

Ben Affleck?

(laughter)

Oh! Wait a minute. That was pretty quick, the machete and the screwdriver. I know he's Jason, but come on. That's Jet Li.

(laughter)

The thing about these movies, it's really simple not to get killed by Jason. Stay away from the lake.

A: I bet they filmed this one–this scene–at the same time they filmed the last movie.

D: Yeah. Look at that, looks like the same Jason.

« • »

A: "Fifteen years have passed."

D: Corey Feldman grew up to be Chad Lowe.

« • »

D: The New Beginning of the New Power Generation! Mancuso!

(laughter)

Shavar Ross? Wait a minute….

(laughter)

A: That's a good cast.

D: Special appearance by Corey Feldman.

(laughter)

Music recycled by….

A: Uh huh. (pause) I like the fades to white, it's very classy.

D: Pinehurst.

A: They must have renamed it.

D: Private drive.

(pause)

Oh, I remember this one. This one goes down. This one's great. This is the one–this one's great.

(pause)

She was on something too, right?

A: She doesn't look familiar.

D: What was she on? "Charles in Charge," I suppose.

A: (laughter)

« • »

A: Oh, he talks. (pause) Honor system?

D: "My left, right?"

« • »

D: Nice stock picture. No actual posed picture.

A: He has a knife!

D: "I ain't scared to use it, man. I'll cut you. I'm a Blade, man."

(laughter)

"I'll sleep with it under my pillow."

« • »

A: Oh, my God!

D: Yeah.

(laughter)

This one goes down.

(laughter)

Dudley.

(laughter)

What? Right after Scrappy Doo.

(laughter)

A: Those are the same masks from the last one.

D: Uh huh. Kmart masks.

« • »

A: "I did."

D: (laughter)

"My grandaddy works here!"

A: They let kids hang out with dangerous psychopaths? What a great institution.

D: Yeah.

« • »

D: Matt Frewer?

« • »

A & D: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

Damn.

A: (laughter)

« • »

D: Here it comes.

(laughter)

A: (laughter)

D: It's summer, what's he chopping wood for?

« • »

D: Uh oh.

(laughter)

A: Are you serious?

D: (laughter)

« • »

D: Another homicide?

(laughter)

A: They shouldn't let the nutcases have axes.

« • »

A: What the hell was that all about?

D: Oh, that'll make sense later. You'll see.

A: This is getting boring. Why isn't anybody dying yet?

D: Why do they have a car, anyway?

« • »

A: (laughter)

« • »

A: What'd he wipe with?

D: Leaves?

(pause)

Are they going to a costume party?

« • »

A: "Was it him?"

« • »

A: I'd be haunted by Corey Feldman's voice too.

D: Yeah. "Die!"

I took too many pills, man.

A: I wouldn't be taking anything from any strange older men, Dudley.

D: "I said, we'll see, Reggie!"

(laughter)

"Let me tap dance for you."

A: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

"Let me sing you a little song."

A & D: (laughter)

D: Stock characters: Girl #1, Girl #2.

« • »

A: (laughter) (pause) Didn't they get Tommy?

D: Uh uh.

« • »

A: There he is. (pause) Why doesn't Tommy get to eat with them?

« • »

D: Ew.

A: (laughter)

A & D: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

A: (laughter)

« • »

D: (laughter)

"This month on the Disney Channel…"

A: What are they searching for–oh, okay.

« • »

A: I bet she dies.

D: Uh huh.

« • »

A: Huge cocaine problem in Crystal Lake.

« • »

A: Yep. Oh, it was a cat.

D: What the hell?

« • »

A: This movie's–okay.

D: (laughter)

« • »

A: The guy who directed this is no Joseph Zito.

D: No. No helicopter shots.

« • »

D: Once it took you too long to get out the door.

(laughter)

Wasn't that the cover of some movie?

A: Well, it can't be Tommy, because that'd just be so obvious.

D: Oh yeah, he's going to have visions of Jason.

A: There's that good Swamp Thing music.

D: (laughter)

A: You know how in Halloween, they took Michael Myers being scary seriously–did they ever take Jason seriously like that?

D: I don't know. Maybe Part 2. I remember Part 2, there was the chick trying to be psychological about it. I still say Friday the 13th Part 2 works. With the exception of the ending. The ending is what ruins it.

(laughter)

« • »

D: Is he the son of one of the Rat Packers?

A & D: (laughter)

D: Look at that dude's suit.

« • »

D: Oh, the great Debi Sue. Her last name is Voorhees. I think this is the biggest part she ever had.

A: Who is she?

D: Debi Sue Voorhees. For some reason she's big, I guess because of the next scene. I think that's why this one is so popular.

(pause)

Everybody gets so excited about this scene.

(pause)

Getting busy with the lead singer of A-ha.

A: At least it advocates safe sex.

D: So they're really going to die.

A: Oh, no, they're smoking pot. Never mind.

D: Uh huh. She looks kind of like–that's not the same girl who plays Veronica in the Archie movie, is it?

A: No. She looks kind of like her though.

D: Yeah. The girl from Once Bitten.

What a bad dub.

(laughter)

So, it obviously wasn't her acting….

(pause)

Very eighties.

(laughter)

Somewhere there's an uncut version of this.

(laughter)

A: (laughter) They don't know about any of the murders yet, right?

D: No, they don't.

A: Okay. Except the one kid.

D: Yeah.

(laughter)

A: We don't get a decapitated head shot, that's no fair.

D: No, wait.

« • »

D: (laughter)

Still breathing.

(laughter)

« • »

D: "These are good white people!"

« • »

D: (laughter)

"Leave me alone, all right?"

(laughter)

A: Now, why's it better he's a grown-up instead of little Corey Feldman again? So he could conceivably be the killer, even though he doesn't have big enough hands?

D: Probably. But, originally, it was going to be Corey Feldman. They said, "No, damn it, Corey's committed to Goonies… but we'll lend him out to you for his little cameo."

Terror Truck!

« • »

A: That's a trailer park, not a town.

D: (laughter)

A: Look at his hair.

D: A straight-up jheri curl.

(laughter)

"Where'd you get that!"

(laughter)

"Shh, don't tell everybody."

(laughter)

A & D: (laughter)

D: She's pigging out.

A & D: (laughter)

D: That could be a whole different movie.

« • »

A: What does he see in the sign….

D: (laughter)

« • »

D: (laughter)

A: Why did they teach the psychotic kid karate?

A & D: (laughter)

D: "Doctor David Banner…."

« • »

D: (laughter)

Damn.

A: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

A: (laughter)

D: Is that a "Thriller" jacket?

A: It is a "Thriller" jacket.

D: (laughter)

A: Why's she singing to him while he's going to the bathroom? That's kind of weird.

D: That is weird.

« • »

A: Isn't he going to wipe?

D: Ew.

(laughter)

"Do not write on walls."

(laughter)

A: Doesn't that say, "Be a Man?"

D: "Killroy."

(laughter)

So he didn't move, why?

« • »

D: The cast of Tom Sawyer.

(pause)

(laughter)

A: Oh, there's a shot; it's like Hitchcock.

« • »

A: What's she having for dinner?

D: What?

A: Can they just kill him soon?

D: I think so.

(pause)

Stew?

A: There's a decapitated head.

D: Right off the motorcycle.

A & D: (laughter)

D: Is that supposed to be 3-D? It's coming right at you.

« • »

A: How's she going to run around in those heels?

D: Mary Jane boots.

A: Oh, it's going to rain.

D: Yeah.

(laughter)

« • »

A: She looks sort of familiar. Like she was a visiting guest star on a show.

D: Yeah.

A: Like somebody's cousin, on for an episode.

D: The troubled cousin. "You stop gambling!"

A: I thought he stuttered.

D: I think he is.

A: What is that movie called?

D: Huh?

A: It's the one with Montgomery Clift–

D: Yeah, that is Monty Clift. And Shelley Winters.

A: He just killed her. It's A Place in the Sun. I think.

D: It's the end, right?

A: No, it's the middle. He goes on trial.

« • »

D: (laughter)

His hair.

A: She's mean.

D: (laughter)

A: "No handball playing."

D: (laughter)

« • »

D: There goes plan B.

(laughter)

A: He's pretty fast. He's faster than that car. (pause) They make Reggie sleep on the couch? (pause) She's covering him up, isn't that sweet? She's a sweet little psychotic.

« • »

D: There they go.

(laughter)

A: (laughter)

D: Well, well. She sleeps like that, huh? What if there's a fire or something?

A: She likes a breeze too.

D: (laughter)

A: Just die already. (laughter)

D: (laughter)

They do one of those a movie too.

A: It's the limo–it's the paramedic, isn't it?

D: Yeah. But at the end, it's like, huh, when they explain the whole thing. It's real "Scooby-Doo."

(laughter)

A: What?

D: (laughter)

Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.

A: "Where could he have gone?"

« • »

D: (laughter)

A: You know the reason this scene's so long is because they promised the band they'd play it for X amount of minutes.

D: Then, bam, it disappears.

A: Dudley's not going to die, is he?

D: Is he?

A: I don't know.

D: No, they'd don't kill Dudley.

A: Where's the doctor?

D: I think he died too.

A: Okay. I can't keep their names straight.

D: They don't even have names, most of them. Like who's the stuttering kid?

A: Rob.

D: Rob?

A: Rob. No, Don. Or Todd.

D: Rick.

A: Rick was in the last one. (pause) It's going to be Tommy's room. Something to make him suspicious.

D: Yeah, watch this… Thunder and lightning at the same time.

(laughter)

She looks like somebody.

(laughter)

Thank you convenient lightning.

A: She pushed him!

D: (laughter)

A: She pushed him!

D: (laughter)

Did he walk through the door or did the door explode?

A: Maybe he kicked it.

D: An unexpected Jaws: The Revenge explosion.

(laughter)

« • »

D: What?

(laughter)

Damn.

(pause)

"Run, Dudley, run."

A: (laughter) He ran away from her, what the hell?

D: (laughter)

Wow.

A: There he is.

D: So that leaves….

A: Tommy and… It's got to almost be over.

« • »

A: What the hell? She's really looking hard for him.

D: Wow.

A: Aw, poor Gramps.

D: Gramps.

(laughter)

A: Why'd she run out of the house? He's out of the house.

D: Gramps got it in the eyes like those kids who were doing it… who was Gramps doing?

(laughter)

A: Now, if it's not really Jason, why can't he run?

D: You know, got to keep the appearance. How does he know?

A: Has he got a bald cap on or something?

D: I think so.

A: Reggie to the rescue!

D: Oh! I forgot all about this.

(laughter)

A: Reggie the Reckless.

D: Ah.

A: Yeah. Well, hit him again! Stupid kid.

D: (laughter)

And he just knew how to work the tractor–bulldozer. Why do they have a bulldozer?

(laughter)

A: I think there was a–Why's she hugging him so hard?

D: It's a camp full of crazy kids. They've got axes, bulldozers and stuff.

A: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

A: I think I see the hair now. Was I supposed to see the hair? Oh, he's got Reggie! "Come here, Dudley!"

D: "I want to play Neptune."

« • »

A: Does Jason get the hockey mask at the end of 2 or just in III?

D: I think it was III, because at the end of 2, the sack comes off. And then in III, he's just unseen until he puts the mask on, which is weird. Half the movie, you don't actually see Jason–until he puts the mask on in Part III.

A: So they've got chainsaws there too.

D: (laughter)

Ow! Cut him!

A: Get him! Oh, no. Why isn't Jason rushing her right now?

D: Look at how slow he is.

A: Okay. Reggie the Reckless is not doing much to help. That didn't hit him.

D: (laughter)

A: It's Tommy Jarvis!

D: (laughter)

He should be able to tell it's not Jason by the mask anyway, right? That's a different one.

A: But don't the masks change from movie to movie?

D: They all kind of–I don't know. They're just altered versions of the same one.

(pause)

Don't!

A: What's he supposed to remember?

D: He still thinks that's really Jason.

(laughter)

"I'm going to cut you, man." Tommy's a Blade, man.

A: Oh, that's right.

D: Uh huh.

(laughter)

« • »

A: It doesn't even sound like him.

D: It's all ADR.

A & D: (laughter)

D: They keep pressing the button.

« • »

D: When do they kill him?

A: What's he hit him with?

D: Is that a–what is that?

« • »

A: Oh, he's not there.

D: (laughter)

Damn. Still?

A: Tommy's got to kill him.

D: Oh yeah.

« • »

D: Please do not reveal the ending to Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.

A: Those are press-on nails.

D: (laughter)

A: I'm sure Dudley liked that day of shooting.

D: (laughter)

That's why he's all curled up.

(laughter)

« • »

D: It's obvious, man.

(laughter)

"Which clearly makes him psychotic."

(pause)

"He just lost it."

(laughter)

Jason posed for a picture?

(laughter)

That wasn't an artist's interpretation.

A: Uh uh.

D: It was a picture of Jason.

(laughter)

A: What's she doing there?

D: They let her in the room.

A: This is very nice music.

D: (laughter)

A: I like me some Harry Manfredini.

« • »

D: Somebody's dreaming.

A: Oh, she didn't come to see him. Must suck for him. "Look at the camera, Tommy, look at the camera."

D: (laughter)

Rick Springfield, "Hard to Hold."

A: This one's really bad.

D: (laughter)

Ah! See, that's the real Jason mask.

A: How can Jason be back if he has to be resurrected in the next one?

D: I don't think that's him. Or is it? Does he attack him in the hospital? Damn.

« • »

A: Tommy made him disappear! (pause) He's ready to go!

D: (laughter)

"USA Up All Night!"

A: Oh, my God, it's the mask!

D: (laughter)

A: This is the same shot as before, just without the music. See how effective Harry Manfredini is? Totally different.

« • »

A: What?

D: All right, wake up.

A: So what happens to him in the next one?

D: What the hell?

(laughter)

A: Do they even mention him in the next one?

D: I think he is in the next one.

A: That was awesome.

D: (laughter)

With an ending almost as confusing as Part 2.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984, Joseph Zito)

Directed by Joseph Zito; screenplay by Barney Cohen, based on a story by Bruce Hidemi Sakow and on characters created by Martin Kitrosser, Ron Kurz, Victor Miller and Carol Watson; director of photography, João Fernandes; edited by Joel Goodman; production designer, Shelton H. Bishop; produced by Frank Mancuso Jr.; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Kimberly Beck (Trish Jarvis), Erich Anderson (Rob Dier), Corey Feldman (Tommy Jarvis), Barbara Howard (Sara), Peter Barton (Doug), Lawrence Monoson (Ted), Joan Freeman (Mrs. Jarvis), Crispin Glover (Jimmy), Clyde Hayes (Paul), Judie Aronson (Samantha), Camilla More (Tina), Carey More (Terri), Bruce Mahler (Axel), Lisa Freeman (Nurse Morgan), Wayne Grace (Officer Jamison), Antony Ponzini (Vincent) and Frankie Hill (Lainie).


A: The old logo was so much classier.

D: Yeah. It looked good on the big screen.

(pause)

Previously, in Friday the 13th parts one, two and three….

A: Do you ever see the town?

D: In Part 2. They go in town to go drinking.

(pause)

Actually, Part 2 is not bad at all. If they’d never made any more after Part 2… The only thing wrong with Part 2 is the ending.

« • »

D: (laughter)

Whack!

A: Is that actually how it plays in the original?

D: Kind of, except you see the extra scene with the hands.

« • »

D: (laughter)

« • »

D: See, that’s in the new movie.

(laughter)

« • »

A: How much screen time are they going to kill with this?

« • »

D: We have to remember, this one is supposed to be the last one.

(laughter)

Here we go again!

A & D: (laughter)

A: Peter Barton’s better than Corey Feldman, man.

D: (laughter)

Crispin Glover.

« • »

D: (laughter)

A: That’s a big cast.

D: Yeah… this one might have been the one with the most kills in it or something. There’s so many people in it.

A: Oh, it is Harry Manfredini. He’s the guy who did Swamp Thing. I’m thinking, “Oh, it sounds like the guy who did Swamp Thing.” Oh, Tom Savini did the special effects.

D: Manfredini did the exact same score for the original Hills Have Eyes Part II.

A: Yeah?

D: Have you ever seen that?

A: No.

D: Oh, God. That’s the one where the dog has a flashback.

(laughter)

A: (laughter)

D: And what’s-his-name is in it, Willard Pugh.

A: (laughter)

Certain characters.

D: And Penny Johnson.

A: Frank Mancuso Jr. He sucks.

(pause)

They can afford a helicopter anyways.

D: “Cops,” on location–Crystal Lake.

(laughter)

“We got a crime scene here!”

A: (laughter)

D: Wait a minute, is this a tracking shot?

A: Yeah, I know–it’s Steadicam. It’s a lot of movement, it’s pretty impressive. We picked a high brow one.

D: So it might have been directed after all.

A: That’s a decent length tracking shot. It’s got to be Steadicam.

D: (laughter)

They put an axe in a doggy bag.

A: Is this how the third one ended?

D: Yeah, III was 3-D. Yeah, she hit him in the head with the axe. Or something.

(laughter)

That was the one with the bikers.

« • »

A & D: (laughter)

A: She’s famous!

D: Yeah?

A: Isn’t she?

D: I’ve seen her in something. I don’t know who she is, but yeah. She’s somebody’s wife on something.

(laughter)

In you go! You crazy masked murder!

What’s with the helicopter?

A: It’s providing light.

Whoa, whoa. We’ve got a crane shot.

D: Right–put the budget to work.

« • »

D: “Into the night….”

(pause)

“I tell you, all those kids were dead!”

A: (laughter)

I thought something was going to happen there.

D: (laughter)

« • »

D: Is that from Jason’s point of view?

A: His feet’s.

D: (laughter)

Oh, that guy.

A: That guy’s from Police Academy.

D: Yeah, the glasses dude.

« • »

A: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

It’s the dude whose wife beat him up.

« • »

D: It's kind of weird how Friday the 13th: Part 4 took place in the hospital of Halloween II.

A: Their security ought to be better.

D: (laughter)

« • »

D: “You can do it, you can do the Pac-Man.”

« • »

A: They watch TV by the bodies?

D: You know… coroners are never sensitive. They’re always eating….

(laughter)

A: I like how they have–

D: The logos?

A: Yeah. A logo for Crystal Lake.

D: (laughter)

It’s hand-painted.

A: (laughter)

« • »

D: “I do have a Bozo haircut.”

« • »

A: So, in the eighties, the George Clooney at the hospital was that guy from Police Academy.

D: Yeah. That dude.

A: Him right there.

D: The guy who got his ass whipped by his wife.

(laughter)

I don’t know what’s dirtier.

(pause)

“Great Caesar’s ghost!”

(laughter)

Damn, Nightingale sucks.

A: (laughter)

This time when he comes in–when she senses somebody come in–it’s not going to be Axel. It’ll be Jason this time… because they’ve confused the audience.

D: (laughter)

Here it comes.

A: Okay, got to bend over to look for it.

D: Right when her back is turned.

(pause)

Wait, a minute, what?

A: I could be wrong.

D: Oh, this is the end to Deadly Friend.

A & D: (laughter)

D: The other thing is….

(laughter)

Whoa… nice segue.

« • »

A: They’re not actually jogging, they’re traipsing.

D: “Angels, I want you to go on assignment.”

A: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

« • »

A: This is kind of funny.

D: Yeah–“you take off that Corey Feldman mask now!”

« • »

A: I like how the mom just gave the son a knowing look that the daughter was a slut.

(laughter)

D: (laughter)

“You know your sister….”

« • »

A: I’ve actually seen him in something else.

D: Yeah, that’s–that sad movie. He wanted some girl in high school and she goes with his friend instead. Sometime during the movie she ends up getting pregnant and he helps her out–he pays for the abortion–and at the end, she goes back to the friend. It’s sad. What is it called? It’s old school. It’s around this time… TBS played it all the time. Last American Virgin.

A: That’s that?

D: That’s that.

A: That’s what’s-her-face.

D: Who?

A: Diane Franklin from–

D: Yeah.

A: Better Off Dead.

D: Yeah.

(pause)

It’s sad. I can’t watch that movie.

« • »

A: Crispin Glover should have been Spider-Man in the eighties.

D: You think?

A: Yeah.

D: Maybe. If not, the Scarecrow.

A: Well, no, because he could have done that whole thing–you know how Peter Parker is Jewish even though Marvel would never say it. Crispin Glover could be the white Jewish guy.

D: Yeah.

A: Why’s the grave stone at the road side? Oh, that’s a dude! I thought that was a woman.

D: The one with the glasses?

A: No, the other one.

D: The other one?

A: The hair.

D: The Osmond?

(laughter)

A: (laughter)

What?

D: A hippie? In the eighties?

A: (laughter)

D: What?

A: (laughter)

D: Like she already had her signs made. What is she, Wile E. Coyote?

A: (laughter)

D: (groan)

King Kong Lives.

(laughter)

A: (laughter)

A & D: (laughter)

D: Still sipping that lemonade.

A: (laughter)

D: (laughter)

That’s some drink.

(pause)

What?

A: I missed that. Apparently Corey Feldman’s being molested by his mother and sister.

D: So that’s where it started.

A: Oh, we’ve got a look at the kids.

D: Beer or Coca-Cola?

A: It’s Tab, man.

D: (laughter)

“This is how we get down!”

(laughter)

After school special–Girl With the Reputation.

(laughter)

These folks weren’t in anything.

A: No, they might have guest-starred on “Night Court.”

D: (laughter)

“Knots Landing.”

(laughter)

“If I could think of any of my greatest cinematic achievements, it’d probably have to be in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.”

(pause)

It looks like Bachelor Party’s playing on cable.

A: (laughter)

What’s funny is he’s way too young for this, so it’s creepy.

D: Yeah. Still wearing a baseball pajama outfit. He’s what, twelve?

A: Oh, it’s going to be awful if she watches. Oh, she doesn’t. Damn.

D: “Damn that Joey and Dawson!”

« • »

D: Lock the door, dummy.

(laughter)

Eddie Lives, man.

A: (laughter)

D: That really is Crispin Glover, isn’t it?

A: Yep.

D: (laughter)

Damn.

(laughter)

Doublemint!

(pause)

The Doublemint Twins meet the Goonies.

A: Where’s she going?

D: Back to the house or car?

(laughter)

A: Jack Tripper shorts!

D: Yeah.

(pause)

Okay, who’s going to jump out and scare her?

A: They’re in the forest, it could be an animal.

D: “Stay on the trail!”

« • »

A & D: (laughter)

D: He’s all happy. “All right!”

« • »

A: Aren’t these people scared of Jason though? In general?

D: They don’t know.

(pause)

Bridge to Terabithia, the uncut version.

(laughter)

A: (laughter)

“Can’t I just?”

(laughter)

D: “You’re square!”

(pause)

Who?

A: Corey Feldman’s too good for this movie.

D: Well, yeah. He was the kid then. He was the it kid. This is before he was even a name really.

A: Yep.

D: The Feldman kid.

(pause)

“Come on, find your motivation, kid. Hold it.”

A: Swamp Thing music.

D: (laughter)

Yeah, it is Swamp Thing music.

« • »

A: She’s going to die!

D: Huh?

A: She’s going under–to do something. Jason can kill her and she’ll get worried because–see?

D: “Listen, the scary music’s playing.”

« • »

D: Ew.

A: I know.

D: Wow.

(laughter)

A: That’s really gross.

« • »

D: Some guard dog. Any real dog would have been out of the car.

« • »

D: He’s got Rick Dees’s hair.

« • »

D: Feldman looks like Damien.

(laughter)

A: He’s a Jason-hunter!

D: (laughter)

D: Fluke Duke. The lost Duke cousin.

(pause)

It’s the family car. Dad must have been Shaft.

A & D: (laughter)

D: Is that the set to “Growing Pains?”

A: I think he was a racist patrolman on “Hill Street Blues.”

D: If not that, one of those shows. What used to run back then? “Hill Street.”

A: Yeah, “Hill Street.”

D: “Law & Order.”

A: No, not yet.

D: “LA Law.”

A: Not yet.

D: Was it just “Hill Street?”

A: Yeah.

D: Yeah, “Hill Street.” Because it wasn’t “Crime Story.”

(laughter)

A: Nope. Or “Night Heat.”

A & D: (laughter)

D: Old school Canadian. “Night Heat.”

(laughter)

Yeah, the Transformers soundtrack!

(laughter)

A: I wonder if Crispin Glover can still dance like that.

D: (laughter)

« • »

A: Poor Teddy.

D: Still The Last American Virgin.

(laughter)

« • »

D: (laughter)

Out here… in the middle of nowhere.

A: It seems like he’s creeped out by her.

D: Yeah, see that?

« • »

D: “If I don’t get with her, Michael J. Fox won’t exist!”

(laughter)

That’s a button-fly. Wow.

A: That was actually funny. Crispin Glover had a punch line there.

D: Uh huh.

« • »

D: Why’s she dressed like Jem and the Holograms?

« • »

A & D: (laughter)

D: Uh oh.

A: (laughter)

D: “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

« • »

D: This is where the killing starts.

(pause)

Yeah, this is a Jason movie.

A: I thought his name was Bob.

D: Swimming buck naked in a swamp.

(laughter)

A: “Oh, there’s a raft. I’ll get in there, it’s safe.”

D: In the middle of a swamp.

A: There’s a body! Oh… no.

D: Plop.

(pause)

I bet he gets her right through the raft.

(pause)

The Jaws scene.

A: It’d be cool if he came up under the water and got her.

D: Uh huh.

« • »

D: (laughter)

A: That was pretty close.

D: Uh huh.

(laughter)

« • »

A: Look at those shorts!

D: (laughter)

Jack Tripper.

A: What was that? He looks like Hart Bochner.

D: (laughter)

A: Like a chubby-faced Hart Bochner.

« • »

A: It looks like her ears are fake.

D: Those Captain America mask ears.

A: Oh, yeah.

(pause)

Maybe Jason’s going to cut her ear off and they just left the fake ear on because they’re cheap.

D: “Stay gold, Pony Boy!”

A & D: (laughter)

D: What?

A: He’s prancing. He is, he’s prancing–wait, he’s got shoes on. I think they’re high heels.

D: (laughter)

A: That’s really gross.

D: It’s the thing from the lake in Creepshow 2.

(pause)

That’s got to be some dirty water.

A: That was a long shot too.

D: Yeah, from right before he got in the water.

A: Yeah.

(pause)

A: Is Jason there or is he scared? Yeah, he’s scared.

D: Did he even look at her?

A: He didn’t notice anything.

D: He just screamed.

A: That’s pretty funny–he’s got his knife.

D: “Jason, I hear you. I can smell you.”

A: That’s a sword.

D: That’s the Jason sword.

A: Is it a Jason sword? Oh… he’s got a backstory, his sister was killed out there.

D: Right. Yeah.

(laughter)

So he went and got a Jason sword.

A: Maybe it was the sword that killed her.

D: Uh huh, yeah. “Nobody ever found the evidence!”

(pause)

“E.T., is that you?”

(laughter)

A: Oh, it’s the blonde. Oh, no, it’s not. Oh, wow.

D: Whoa.

A: It was Jason.

D: Did they even know?

A: It was Jason, he broke my gun.

D: Now you only have a machete, ha ha ha.

A: Where’s this? We’ve never seen this ornate blue house before.

D: It’s brand new stock footage of wherever they’re at.

(laughter)

A: Whose house is this that they have this crap?

D: It must have been Bing Crosby or somebody… She’s so not having it.

(pause)

It’s not even funny.

(pause)

“Get out!” Since when did they get an accent?

A: They’ve had it.

D: Really?

A: Yeah.

D: No.

A: Yeah, they’re like Australian.

D: Really?

A: I think so. We never established where they live though.

D: No, they just came along.

A: Can Jason drive?

D: No, that’s Michael Myers.

A: Well, that car’s ominous.

D: No, that was the car they came in.

A: I know, but still….

D: Yeah.

(laughter)

A: Steadicam.

D: There you go.

A: Not bad.

D: (laughter)

Didn’t anybody hear that?

(laughter)

A: He looks like Meg from “Family Guy” without her glasses on. Meg’s putting the moves on the girl.

D: (laughter)

No, it’s Donny Osmond.

A: Hold on, you missed it. That was smart.

D: That was a slick move.

A: Yeah. Who’s going to die first, her or him?

D: “You crazy kids.”

« • »

D: That’s right, the mom has to get it too.

A: Uh huh.

D: She’s gonna just disappear.

(pause)

Get out of the house.

(laughter)

A: Yeah, dog, where’s the kid?

D: Yeah, where’s the dog, man?

A: That dog better not be dead.

D: If they killed the dog, man….

A: Uh oh.

D: Get out of the house. All right, this is where she gets it anyway.

(laughter)

A: That’s some good lighting.

D: (laughter)

Lightning and thunder at the same time.

« • »

D: Whoa–what? Did it already go down?

A: No, she’s getting ready for him.

D: Oh.

A: She brought that silk nightgown with her? What a tramp.

D: (laughter)

A: “But Mom is dead.”

D: See, the lights don’t work. Where is the dog?

A: Was the mom out for a jog in the rain? Don’t they have two cars?

D: I guess she was. She had on the outfit.

A: Why are they the only people that live out there?

D: It’s the middle of nowhere.

A: But why do they want to live out there?

D: I don’t know.

A: Oh, that is scary.

D: (laughter)

« • »

A: You’ve been in one room!

D: That’s Zack Morris’s bedroom.

A: How’s that kid going to fix the lights?

D: He’s Corey Feldman.

A: He is smart–he’s Brain.

D: He’s Corey Feldman.

A: Isn’t he Brain? Is that Brain?

D: I think so.

(pause)

He’s Corey Feldman with glasses on, he can do anything.

« • »

A: Why did she run out looking for the mom?

D: It’s not really Jason, right?

A: No.

« • »

D: (laughter)

“What are you doing!”

(laughter)

Wow. “I don’t know, it’s the machete, man.”

A: Look at that cowlick.

D: “It makes me crazy, man.”

(pause)

Again and again with crazy Crispin Glover.

« • »

D: “Are you happy now?”

A: He’s a lover, not a fighter.

D: “You morose son of a bitch, are you happy now?”

A: No, she won’t. She’s going to die.

D: Yeah.

(pause)

There he is again with the computer line.

A: Oh, he’s going to die.

D: Yeah. Uh oh. Right there.

A: Yeah, he’s going to find out.

D: Wow.

(laughter)

A: She’s going to see dead sister. No, the bikes… that’s pretty slick.

« • »

A: How come the car blew out before she hit it?

D: Yeah, it did, didn’t it?

A: It did.

D: It caved in.

(laughter)

« • »

D: You dummy.

A: She’s not worried about her mom anymore though.

D: Uh uh.

A: So The Final Chapter part has nothing to do with the actual plot until the end? It’s just how they advertised it?

D: This was supposed to be the last one. They kind of try to kill Jason definitively in this one. Which is why the next one, 5, is–let’s watch 5 too.

A: We’re going to watch 5.

(pause)

Were the Nightmare on Elm Streets more gory than this?

D: More creative, I guess you could say, with the kills.

A: Right.

D: Nightmare on Elm Street was more suited for Fangoria.

(laughter)

The missing member of Sha Na Na remembers the good old days.

A: Oh, man, Jason should have stabbed him through the screen.

D: I think he is.

A: Well, how would he have gotten from over there to over there?

D: He’s Jason, man.

A: Yeah.

D: (laughter)

Another dead teenager.

A: Hmm… what wasn’t in her contract?

D: Yeah.

(pause)

Donny Osmond, down and funky.

(pause)

What?

(laughter)

A: So, she lost her virginity standing up in the shower?

D: Eh.

A: Okay.

D: That’s how they do it.

A: He’s going to die next.

D: Those crazy kids.

A: Or is she next?

D: “Have some dignity.”

A & D: (laughter)

D: “You’re no daughter of mine!”

A: Look at the film stock change.

D: Uh huh.

(laughter)

A: This is the Steadicam.

D: That’s grainy.

(laughter)

A: The eight millimeter Steadicam.

D: That looks like Psycho 2.

A: He’s dead, right?

D: Who?

A: Paul. There were a lot of people.

D: Oh!

A: That is gross.

D: Big Frankenstein hands.

A: Her hair’s still wet.

D: Yeah. She’s going back for more shower loving…. “I don’t like you anymore.”

A: Oh, no! That’s the first time anybody’s ever discovered a body, right?

D: I think so.

A: And nobody else in the house is alive anymore.

D: Not that door.

(laughter)

A: I really thought she was going to make it longer than that.

D: (laughter)

How’d he know she’d be right exactly there?

A: Oh, Gordon, man! Nope, that’s not Gordon.

D: What the hell? Did they even open the door?

A: No.

(pause)

The phone lines will soon be dead. How does Jason know what a phone box is?

D: Yeah, he’s supposed to be mentally retarded.

(pause)

“Look, I’m a Jason-hunter!”

A: There’s nobody left alive to kill him.

D: No. Where’d the dog come from all of a sudden?

A: Remember, he’s their dog.

D: I thought he’s been missing for like–

A: It’s in the director’s cut. Joseph Zito’s director’s cut is from Gordon’s point of view.

D: Right.

A: “Take it, take the machete.”

D: (laughter)

He opened the door with the knob.

(pause)

That’s right, he’s still in the house somewhere. Remember the Nintendo game?

A: Yeah.

(pause)

So we think he went back in the house?

D: Yeah, he’s got to be in the house. Wherever they’re at.

(pause)

That isn’t a real dog, a real dog would–

A: Whoa, whoa, whoa. He’s got the knife?

D: Yeah, where–

A: He gave her the machete.

D: What an ass.

A: Is that a hook on the wall?

D: No.

A: Okay. Oh, a rat.

(pause)

Gordon’s scared, she’s an idiot.

D: (laughter)

What the hell?

A: He’s trying to escape.

D: (laughter)

Wait a minute.

A: He’s a good guard dog. He didn’t attack Jason, he ran.

D: (laughter)

Wow.

(laughter)

« • »

A: Why’s she looking around?

D: Stupid. Didn’t she see her dog jump out the window?

A: Jason’s been back.

D: Yeah.

A: What did he do with the bodies?

(pause)

Where’s the machete?

« • »

D: “He’s killing me!”

(laughter)

“He’s killing me!”

(laughter)

A: Why’s she going back?

D: “He’s killing me!”

(laughter)

Same trip. She fell over it twice.

A: How’d she miss it on the way down?

(pause)

Where’d he get all the knives from?

D: He has all that on.

(pause)

Didn’t he break the door–the window? The window in the door?

A: Yeah.

D: What door was that?

A: Side door.

D: No, it was the front door.

A: Why’d he put them up if he was just going to deface them?

D: He’s determined.

(laughter)

A: Yeah, because he can’t break through the windows.

D: There he goes. “Here’s your boyfriend!”

« • »

A: You can tell they got movement artists to portray Jason.

D: Uh uh.

A: They’re idiots.

(pause)

They’re right in front of the window?

(pause)

Okay, if he pushes hard enough, it’ll move the bookcase, the way they’ve got it.

« • »

A: Are you sleeping?

D: No.

(laughter)

“It’s either this or be doomed to a career of Corey Haim movies.”

(pause)

Jason was a Conehead?

(laughter)

Wow, he’s running. Jason? What the hell?

A: Yeah.

D: Jason doesn’t run.

A: He’s running again.

D: This is where the budget went.

(laughter)

A: Oh, she’s really alive!

D: Wow.

A: But Jason knows she’s alive.

(pause)

What’s he doing that for?

D: Oh, yeah. He’s going to psych out Jason.

A: But will he do it in time to save his sister?

D: Damn it. Here we go again.

(laughter)

« • »

D: “Huh? Who is that?”

A: Oh, we knew the face shot.

D: Uh oh.

(laughter)

Does he have regular eyes then?

A: He had one regular eye. This slow motion’s real effective.

(pause)

Wow. That was gross.

(pause)

Is he dead, really?

D: As far as this one’s concerned.

A: Nope.

D: No, watch.

« • »

A: Were they able to make these movies without Steadicams?

D: I don’t know. Every movie seemed to have its own style though. This one here kind of just looks like a movie.

A: “Be scary, Corey, be scary!”

(pause)

Oh, wow, that is awesome.

D: What?

A: They have to credit everybody who appeared in the flashback. No Kevin Bacon though. He mustn’t have signed a release, because he would have hit the big time by now.

(pause)

Wow. Good stuff.

The Stop Button receives a Dardos Award

T.S. over at Screen Savour gave the Stop Button a Dardos Award.

What’s a Dardos Award:

“The Dardos Award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”

Having received the award, I’m supposed to go one and give it to five other, similarly deserving blogs. I don’t think I can give T.S. an award (from what I can tell, he’s already received three), so consider this mention an honorary award–for people looking for good film blogs, Screen Savour provides a perfect mix–there’s T.S.’s own posts (he’s doing a 2008 in review series and a wonderful Hitchcock emphasis), but he also provides his Sunday Matinee feature, where he links to things he’s found online. It’s a fantastic blog. My Instapaper is full of his Hitchcock posts.

Now, on to my own Dardos awarding.

  1. Cinemachine. He’s my Alan Smithee Podcast co-host, just to disclose, but Matt does great work on his blog. He spends a lot of time–or he makes it seem like he spends a lot of time–on his posts. The topics are (rarely) pop movie news and (usually) something obscure and cultish. But he brings a universal film knowledge into the discussion, which means–if you read the site–you end up renting something you otherwise wouldn’t. (Phantasm in my case, just for starters).
  2. This Distracted Globe. Joe does a once a week (it seems like once a week) post about a film, going from production to release, discussing contemporary response and the current thinking. He also has a feature where he covers character actors of note (I don’t think he’s done Ed Lauter, but then Ed gets so little love). Joe puts a lot of work into his posts and it shows.
  3. Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot. I discovered Marty’s blog after he left a comment on the Stop Button. He discusses B-movies a lot–well, if Bloodfist III even makes it to the B standard–with a lot of thoughtfulness, but my favorite part of his blog are the posts about the gas station paperbacks of the 1970s and 1980s. These are the paperbacks with the aliens on the covers and whatnot. It’s a great read, always entertaining–it reminds me of that Tarantino/Helgeland interview where Tarantino can’t shut up about movie novelizations.
  4. From the Cheap Seats. John hasn’t posted in a month or so, which is too bad, since his film blog is such a rarity. He’s UK-based, I think, so he discusses not just UK films, but also their DVD releases, which differ a great deal from Region 1 at times. It’s a fine blog–I think everyone on this list works a lot harder on their posts than I work on Stop Button responses and it doubles as something of a UK DVD release newsletter.
  5. Tongue Thrust. Another disclosure–I went to grad school with the author, but (so I’ve been told) she didn’t like me (until my last semester, I’m guessing) and once corrected me for smacking my gum (but I told her Clint Eastwood said it was okay). Hers is the only personal blog–she occasionally puts up original writing–I read. I have lots of other ones bookmarked and subscribed, but hers is the only I actually take the time of reading line-by-line. I’m fairly sure she’s never talked about movies (I do remember she mentioned talking during movies once at school… shudder).

That list took a lot longer than I thought it would, but all five (six with Screen Savour) are worthwhile blogs.

R.I.P. VHS

It’s hard to imagine anyone fetishizing DVDs, though I’m sure some must. Someone out there knows each and every day he or she bought a different release of Army of Darkness. Someone out there sleeps with their Necronomicon case from The Evil Dead–didn’t it smell too? The initial Anchor Bay release (remember when Anchor Bay meant something? That was 1999, right?), not the second one. Actually, maybe someone could fetishize the early days of DVD, hunting the Internet for the best coupon–or when you could sign up for Netflix for free, over and over again, before they started the whole queue thing. I can’t even remember the names of all the places I used to buy DVDs. Now it’s Amazon, nowhere else for in print, R1 titles. Who else misses Xploited Cinema?

But this post isn’t about DVDs, it’s supposed to be about VHS. VHS is–for anyone paying attention–dead. It’s not a violent death or even an audible one. The measure for VHS’s death is something silly, like the last supplier ceasing to carry them. And I don’t think it was a first run supplier, I think it was a remainder supplier. I could be wrong. I read the article, but I didn’t pay much attention. Well, I did, actually; I did not, however, pay much attention to why VHS was all of a sudden declared dead in 2008. Declaring VHS dead–it’s been on life support since the last major release… A History of Violence, I think–is like those guys who announce, after a year of research, a recession started a year ago. I wish I could remember the name of the organization–NPR talked about them a while ago. Maybe right after gas prices fell so much.

VHS is easy to fetishize. How many different kinds of boxes did VHS tapes come in? Every video store had a slightly different box–except the cheap clear cases, which Phar-Mor started in Evanston (with the squeeze bottoms). Lots of places eventually got the cheap clear cases. A friend of mine’s supermarket had a VHS rental section–this was in Michigan, I don’t think any of the supermarkets in Evanston ever got a rental section while I was there–they had clear cases. They might have been a little different, but it’s the same principal. With the clear case, the customer also takes the cover art. It saves both shelf space and money–the cover art takes up room–even Blockbusters eventually pulled cover boxes of old titles to make room. Remember when Blockbusters first opened? It was a sea of movies you’d never seen in a regular, mainstream video store. Not just the T&A–and did the DTV T&A in the 1990s get big because Blockbuster wouldn’t carry X-rated–but the crappy horror movies, the ancient SP release of that last original Godzilla movie, the one with him and the other monster on the World Trade Center for the box art. The closest I ever came to repeating that experience of the first Blockbuster (it wasn’t until looking around one realizes there’s no point in renting most of those movies) was at DJ’s Video in Ashland, OR. That place was and might still be–but I don’t think so, because they now have a crappy website and don’t appear to rent The Legend of the Lone Ranger anymore–an amazing place.

So there were the side opening boxes, for your recordable VHS, there were the clear plastic, take the box art with you boxes, there were the black clamshell boxes, looked like a library would have them, there were the regular VHS boxes, there were the Disney-esque clamshell, which other kids’ releases later picked up, or the modified clamshell studios used for special releases (I think Anchor Bay’s VHS arm used them too). There were even the big boxes, for the older, early VHS releases.

No one fetishizes about Warner’s stupid snapper DVD cases or that weird one Fargo came in the first time it was on DVD. Or maybe someone does. Just not someone who would understand what I’m talking about here.

DVD offers anyone the opportunity to appreciate good cinema. Only a small number of significant films aren’t available widescreen–Warner and Star 80, I’m talking about you. Anyone can pop a DVD into his or her player or laptop or whatever and get a full experience of, say, Once Upon a Time in the West. That film was pan and scan on tape. I think I had the laserdisc–how did Paramount go from being a top laserdisc company to a crappy DVD company? Laserdisc also offered anyone the opportunity to appreciate good cinema. VHS offered it–except, what, Manhattan, Innerspace and The Insider–for titles shot in Academy Ratio… though, as Leonard Maltin points out, films shot 1.66:1 didn’t suffer too much. And then there was open matte to think about, so it’s hard to say how much one missed when watching 1.85:1 films on VHS. It was a case to case–I know Back to the Future was open matte 4:3, but were Super 35 films too? The non-Cameron ones?

The point.

Sorry, forgot about the point for a second.

VHS is the reason I love movies. It’s not the reason I appreciate good cinema. It’s the reason I know what The Thin Man is and Die Hard and Star Trek II (remember when you realize Khan is really a great film, not just a good Star Trek movie). I watched American Graffiti on tape, Citizen Kane, The Searchers, Manhunter, Thief (the non-director’s cut). I watched Monster Squad on VHS and Iron Eagle and Highlander and Predator 2. I used to buy used VHS tapes at my video store, used to get on a list for a used copy.

“Be Kind Rewind.” “One dollar rewind charge.”

VHS rewinding. The tape coming out of the machine when something went really, really wrong. The security stickers. The worn out labels. Cracked cases–the glass part where you saw through to the tape. Dusty VHS tapes, not kept in their proper boxes. The little tab you broke out to make sure it was write-protected. The difference between SP, LP, EP, SLP. Super-VHS. I loved my Super-VHS player (and still do today). DVHS. I remember when I heard about DVHS. I wanted one of the recorders. How did Tivo beat DVHS? Doesn’t anyone want to save something they record off of TCM. I still have tapes from AMC, back before they sucked, of things no one else has shown. I saw Wild River on tape (from AMC). But this post isn’t an AMC eulogy.

I don’t think growing up on DVD someone can really love movies. I think they can like them, maybe be an enthusiast, but not really love them. There’s no exploring anymore–Netflix fixed that problem. You can’t search for an old VHS tape at a video store ten miles away–I didn’t see the 1976 King Kong for years because our video store didn’t carry it. When we did find it, the store had a two tape set. Two tape sets… I loved two tape sets.

Loving movies means participating. It means pouring over movie guides–do they even publish Maltin anymore… probably. But they don’t put out the Blockbuster guide, I’m sure. IMDb fixes that one. (No, I won’t insert an absurdist Amazon owns IMDb conspiracy against movie guides here).

Swamp Thing came in a big clamshell! So did Supergirl.

Obviously, there are exceptions–I am ranting, after all. I’m sure there are a hundred kids out there who love movies because of DVD, though I don’t know how it’s possible, given how comparatively crappy DVD selection is to what VHS was–I mean, where’s The Magnificent Ambersons, Warner?

Maybe ninety-eight.

But much like declaring VHS dead in 2008, I’m a little late here. The last teenager who would have grown up in a VHS, video store, movie guide culture would have done so in 2001. I think I knew that kid–I was working at a video store in 2001. And I’m sure there are some stragglers, but by now, as we approach Odyssey Two (or is it going to be The Year We Make Contact next year?), it’s got to be over.

I mean, is it possible to really love movies if you haven’t sat through a pan-and-scan Jaws or a stretched up Die Hard? I’d hazard a guess most people–movie-watching folk–don’t know the week’s DVD releases. There are usually a couple hundred. The Blockbuster I go to only lists like seven things for each week. Back in the VHS days, people couldn’t wait for movies to come out. Reservation lists. Wait lists. Late fees. Tracking.

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