Category Archives: Bargain Bin(ge)

Bargain Bin DVDs and places from whence they came

Bargain Bin(ge): Basement Records (Knoxville, TN)

Knoxville, Tennessee is a lovely city in East Tennessee, famous for being the home of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee. It is also only a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

knox5Recently, I took a trip to the area, and my route took me right through the heart of Knoxville. As always, I decided to take some time to check out a record store in town. In this case, I spent a little portion of my trip digging around in a shop called Basement Records.

knox6 knox3Basement Records is, to start off with, a cool little shop. The folks working the front also seemed like pretty cool people, which is a boon for a little shop like this if you ask me. It is adorned with all sorts of posters and playbills that cover seemingly every inch of wall space, and boxes of records sit everywhere you look. An entire row of boxes are dedicated to soundtracks, which is always cool to see. There were also a handful of DVDs and VHSs in the shop, but they were primarily concerts, performances, and music documentaries. For those that weren’t, the price just wasn’t right for me. As I recall, DVDs were $4 a pop, which is pretty far from a steal for older, used stuff. Still, it made for some fun sifting, even if I didn’t ultimately walk away with any movies.

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However, digging through the soundtrack selection yielded some interesting and off-the-wall stuff, as you can see below.

Cobra

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I have a full feature written and queued up about this cult classic Sylvester Stallone flick, so I won’t go into too much detail here. However, I will say that I recommend checking it out. Also, it has an interesting soundtrack that varies in style, and hybridizes pop music of the 1970s and 1980s. It features artists like Miami Sound Machine, Gary Wright, and Gladys Knight, just to name a few. The score was composed by Sylvester Levay, who wrote the 1975 hit single “Fly Robin Fly,” and also composed music for Mannequin and Hot Shots.

1941

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1941 is regarded as one of the few career missteps of Steven Spielberg, and has a place etched in cinema history because of it. In spite of an all-star ensemble cast, the movie is incredibly uneven, and lacks the comedic core necessary to hold it together. I did a whole write-up on it some time ago that goes into a lot of detail on it if you are curious. However, it notably features a score by the legendary film composer John Williams, and it is a damn good one. I remember playing the memorable march from the movie with my high school symphonic band, and the whole score is really worth a listen for people who like wind ensemble and marching band style music. If that is your bag, you have to check it out.

They Call It An Accident

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They Call It An Accident is apparently a French movie from 1982 that was written, directed, and prominently stars French actress Nathalie Delon, but good luck finding out anything else about it. At this time, it has a whopping 7 total user reviews on IMDb. Despite that, the movie’s soundtrack boasts the likes of U2, Steve Winwood, and Wally Badarou, which is really something for a movie that apparently no one has ever seen. My girlfriend is the one who pointed this one out to me from the stacks, mostly because of the strange album art. Despite my best efforts at this point, I still have no idea what this movie is about, or how someone could get a hold of it.

Every Which Way But Loose

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Every Which Way But Loose is a Clint Eastwood action/comedy movie that co-stars an orangutan. It is kind of like a combination of Over The Top and Road House, but with an orangutan thrown comedically into the mix. 1978 was a weird time for the world.

The primary reason that this particular soundtrack stood out to me is because I have heard the film’s theme song, which is way catchier than it should be.

The music for the movie was conducted and mostly composed by Steve Dorff, whose mixture of pop country music and television score writing has earned him a handful of Grammy and Emmy nominations. He has also done a fair bit of film scoring, such as for Dudley Do-Right, Pink Cadillac, and Pure Country. He is also interestingly the father of actor Stephen Dorff.

 

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Bargain Bin(ge): The Rhythm Section (Gatlinburg, TN)

This past weekend, I took a trip with my family to spend Thanksgiving in the tourist destination of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, right in the midst of the Smoky Mountains.

During the time that we were there, a small fire in Chimney Tops burned in relative containment in a section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just a few miles away from the city. We even drove past it on Saturday, and took photos of the smoke from a nearby park road, assuming it was essentially under control. Less than 24 hours after we left Gatlinburg to go home on Sunday, extreme wind gusts spread the fire rapidly through the dry forest, and brought the blaze into the town at an unprecedented speed. At the time of this writing, I have seen a handful of images and videos of the damage done to Gatlinburg, but the real extent of the fire isn’t entirely clear. Currently, there are 3 confirmed deaths in association with the fire.

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This is what the Chimney Tops fire looked like when I saw it on Nov 26

Before this tragedy erupted, I did the same thing that I do with any location I visit: I stopped by a local record store to take a look at their movie and soundtrack selections. In the case of Gatlinburg, I was a little surprised to find a little shop called The Rhythm Section. The town itself is quite small, so I assume this little spot has survived on the heavy tourism traffic in the area as opposed to consistent local patronage. In any case, the shop is as charming as it is compact, and might be the most space-utilitarian record store I have seen.

rhythm3Unfortunately, the shop has a specific policy banning photography in the store, so I don’t have my usual photographic coverage for this post.  However, I will say that the selection of posters, buttons, t-shirts, and other miscellaneous items was off the charts, even if the selection of records wasn’t as fleshed out. The DVD selection was also pretty impressive: there were a fair number of cult and foreign flicks in their stacks, including a mixture of Hesei and Showa Godzilla features that you wouldn’t stumble across terribly often.

rhythm2However, as the name suggests, The Rhythm Section is definitely a music-first shop. If that is your passion, then this is a place that deserves some dedicated time. For movie fans, their selection is interesting and entertaining, but not terribly deep or thrifty. I’d still recommend picking up something, even just a patch or a button, because the place is just such a welcome sight among a plethora of cheap, confederate flag peddling junk stores.

rhythm1In the wake of the fires that have done such immense damage to the region, and Gatlinburg in particular, I’m sending all my best to the folks at The Rhythm Section, and the other residents of the impacted area. If you want to help, I’ve seen some recommendations to support the organization Friends of the Smokies.

Bargain (Bin)ge: Finders Records (Bowling Green, OH)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

On the way up to Detroit, I took a quick detour based on my girlfriend’s recommendation. Bowling Green, OH, known for being the home of Bowling Green State University, has quite the local record shop: Finders Records.

finder15 finder16Finders Records is almost the perfect platonic ideal of a record store. It has a massive selection of both used and new vinyl, and the atmosphere and decor are easily unparalleled. It consists of three large rooms, each roughly the size of your typical record store, and they are all absolutely packed with media. The vibe of the place had me wondering if Liv Tyler or John Cusack would wander in the front door with some sort of angsty life problem.

finder17 finder14 finder13 finder12Unfortunately, as with many record stores, the DVDs were limited to concerts and music documentaries. However, the soundtrack selection was pretty stellar. Plus, there was a small buy/sell/trade down the block with a decent enough selection of movies and video games, though it wasn’t terribly much to write home about.

finder11 finder10 finder9 finder1 finder2 finder3 finder4 finder5 finder6 finder7 finder8If you happen to find yourself around Toledo/Bowling Green in Northwest Ohio, you need to do yourself a favor and check out the impressive Finders Records.

Bargain (Bin)ge: Dr. Disc (Windsor, ON)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

At one point over the weekend, my girlfriend and I took the scenic jaunt across the Detroit river into cheery old Windsor, Ontario, Canada. From what I saw, there isn’t much to the town, but there is a little two-story record shop called Dr. Disc.

8 7 1 6According to their website, Dr. Disc traces its lineage in Windsor back to 1982, which is pretty impressive. The space itself is quite cool, and decorated with everything from independent movie posters to a fishing net lined with vinyl records. There is another shop in Hamilton, ON with the same name and apparent branding, but they appear to be totally independent of each other. Maybe there used to be a chain of these at some point, and these are the last two survivors? Who knows?

10As far as selection goes, there’s a little bit of everything at Dr. Disc. There are obviously tons of records and CDs, but there’s also a good number of DVDs and Blu-Rays. Most interesting of all, though, was the tucked away corner of VHS tapes on the second story.

9 5 4 Proving without a doubt that Windsor is, indeed, Canadian, I saw more Don Cherry tapes and DVDs than I actually thought existed in the entire world. I’ve always known about him from being a hockey fan, but I had no idea that the tacky-suited loudmouth hockey commentator had an extensive line of DVDs and VHSs. On top of that, there were a handful of non-Cherry hockey blooper tapes that go back to the age of the Quebec Nordiques, OG Winnipeg Jets, and green-trimmed New Jersey Devils.

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Bargain (Bin)ge: People’s Records (Detroit, MI)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

The first place I want to spotlight is People’s Records, which has been around in Detroit at one location or another for well over a decade. The vibe of the place definitely reflects Detroit itself: it is artistic, creative, grungy, and worn. I absolutely dug it.

peoples3 peoples4 peoples1Unfortunately for me, this is a pretty pure record shop, and there were no tagalong VHS tapes or DVDs to be found. However, there was quite an eclectic selection of soundtracks on vinyl, which I can always appreciate.

Specifically, I came out with a couple of soundtrack records which I was delighted to pick up.

Iron Eagle

peoples5Ah, Iron Eagle. I haven’t thought about this flick in quite a while, but I couldn’t help but jump at the opportunity to have the vinyl soundtrack. Not only does this have tracks from Queen and George Clinton, but it also has the King Cobra theme song, which boasts one of the most 1980s music videos imaginable.

Tilt

peoples6I had no idea what this movie was, but I couldn’t very well *not* buy this album. Just look at that cover art! I did a little bit of digging, and it appears that this was a very early Brooke Shields movie from 1979. It is a teen-focused flick that I initially assumed was trying to co-opt the popularity of the film version of Tommy, but it was behind the curve if that was the intention.

Bargain Bin(ge): Movie Exchange (Houston, TX)

Movie Exchange is a local buy/sell/trade media chain with six locations around the Houston, TX metropolitan area. Like many other similar stores around the country, it has a selection that includes DVDs, Blu-rays, and a smattering of video games, but also notably still has a significant stock of VHS, which is rapidly becoming a rarity.

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The deals on movies were generally pretty good, but I was much more enthralled with the selection of more rare and off-the-wall features (which ultimately comprised most of my haul). Just check out some of the BBC DVDs of old school Doctor Who features below.

2 3Likewise, I was surprised to see a copy of Lucio Fulci’s The New York Ripper, which isn’t a DVD that you would casually stumble upon every day.
6Anyway, on to the handful of movies I actually walked away from Movie Exchange with:

The Changeling

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The Changeling stars George C. Scott (of Patton and Dr. Strangelove) in one of the most memorable haunted house movies you’ll ever come across, or so I’m told. I’ve never actually seen this movie, nor have I ever come across a DVD copy of it in my travels. I’m a big fan of horror movies that are done well, so I am eager to give this a shot.

Straw Dogs

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Straw Dogs is probably the most controversial movie in Sam Peckinpah’s notoriously violent filmography, and that is really saying something. Dustin Hoffman and Susan George star as a couple who are new residents in a small town, and rapidly become the targets of intense harassment from a gang of vicious locals. This movie taps into a fear that I don’t think it used enough these days in features: the sinister potential of the every-man. Your neighbors, if they were so inclined, could turn your life into a living hell in a mere instant. I can certainly say that Straw Dogs makes a compelling case to avoid the remote countryside at the very least.

Targets

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This movie kick-started the feature film-making career of one of the New Hollywood luminaries: Peter Bogdanovich. While his career has been one with pronounced highs and lows, his first Roger Corman produced b-movie influenced the future of the entire horror film genre by shaking it to the core. It may not be the pinnacle of his career, but I’d dare say that Targets has has about as much influence on film as a whole as any of his later features. This has been a movie on my list to dig up for a long time, and I can’t describe how thrilled I was to finally find a copy of it out in the wild. Keep your eyes peeled, because it will wind up back on the blog before too long.

Zeus and Roxanne

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Look, I don’t really have much to say about this. I honestly felt like I had to leave the store with something at least a little light-hearted after picking up Straw Dogs, The Changeling, and Targets. I mean, that is one hell of a trio of dark violence and depression. So, here is a Steve Guttenberg movie about a cross-species relationship between a dog and a dolphin. If that doesn’t sound like a winner, I don’t know what does.

Bargain Bin(ge): McKay Used Books (Chattanooga, TN)

Ah, McKay Used Books. I covered the Nashville location a while back, but this time my travels took me to the Chattanooga location of the immense media store.

mckay10The chain is very small, with only three locations throughout Tennessee. It is distantly related to the similarly-titled Edward McKay Used Books chain in North Carolina, though the connection is apparently tenuous and ancient at this point.

McKay is distinguished both by its immense size and low prices: all of the locations are two stories, and packed to the gills with used media of every fashion. The bargain section for DVDs even features massive laundry bins filled with movies on sale for less than $2, which is about as good as a deal is going to get.

mckay8 mckay9As always, I came away from McKay’s with a nice little haul of movies:

Death Race 2000

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Death Race 2000, for those not familiar with it, is one of the key Roger Corman classics. It includes an early appearance of Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine in top form, and some social commentary scattered amid the gory action. There was a remake in 2008 by Paul W.S. Anderson that wasn’t entirely terrible, but missed the oddball tone of the original. If you haven’t seen it, definitely give it a shot.

Fortress 2

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Fortress 2 is a sequel to Stuart Gordon’s Fortress, which I covered a while back. I don’t know anything specific about it, though apparently the premise is that the jail is in space this time. I can only hope that things careen into something resembling an episode of Superjail!

Kingdom of the Spiders

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This is another off-the-wall find. Kingdom of the Spiders is a little cult classic creature feature starring William Shatner just before Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I regard it as the middle ground between “young” Shatner and “old” Shatner, like the missing link in the evolution of Captain Kirk. Also, the movie features a boatload of live tarantulas acting as the monsters. No camera trickery or rubber suits here.

The Mangler Reborn

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At first, I assumed that this was the sequel to The Mangler, the infamous tale of a murderous laundry folding machine. Unfortunately, this is actually the third movie in the series, and rounds out the inexplicable Mangler trilogy. I may have to dig up a copy of Mangler 2 before I give this one a watch. I mean, what if I miss some important plot information?

Assault on Precinct 13

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I absolutely love this movie, and it has proven to be a surprisingly difficult DVD to dig up. This was regarded as the professional debut of John Carpenter, who wound up conquering the late 1970s and 1980s with highly-regarded cult movies like Halloween, They Live, Christine, Escape From New York, and The Thing. However, the shock of Assault On Precinct 13 is what launched him into notoriety. This movie is high tension action at its best, capturing the menace and claustrophobia of a modern siege situation like no other movie has. Also, the soundtrack is fucking awesome.

Pocket Ninjas

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Pocket Ninjas is regarded as one of Robert Z’Dar’s most terrible movies, and that is saying a lot for a guy who made an impressive career exclusively out of being in shit movies. I haven’t seen it, but I am expecting something nearly unwatchable if the IMDb rating of 1.5 is to be believed.

Jack Brooks Monster Slayer

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Jack Brooks Monster Slayer is a horror comedy that I know nothing about, but apparently Robert Englund shows up in it at some point. I could see this going in a lot of different directions in regards to quality, but I figured that it was worth the gamble.