Tag Archives: dvd

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.

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Bargain Bin(ge): The Exchange (Indianapolis, IN)

The Exchange is yet another regional chain of buy/sell/trade media stores, with locations throughout Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

indyexchange1On my way back from B-fest in Chicago this past weekend, I made a quick stop in Indianapolis to check out a handful of used media shops around the city. My first stop was at the 82nd Street location of The Exchange.

indyexchange3 indyexchange4The store has a nice look to it, but struck me more as a games and nerd paraphernalia shop than a place to do much movie hunting. Neither the deals nor the selection were super impressive to me, though I wound up with a ton of movies from picking up two collections on clearance for a dollar each. Here is what I ultimately came away with:

The Pack

To my immense displeasure, all of the horror movies in the store were held behind glass, which means I couldn’t do much reading into them until an attendant could open the case. I made a bit of a gamble on this one, crossing my fingers and hoping it was the Joe Don Baker movie from 1977. Unfortunately, this is not that movie. However, judging from its IMDb score, this 2010 french horror flick is still pretty terrible, and might be delightful serendipitous find.

Howling IV

This is a franchise that I really need to dig further into. As far as bad sequels go, The Howling has more than a handful of them out there.

The Eves

Moon Of The Wolf

Monsters In The Woods

Werewolf In A Girls’ Dormitory

Pelt

Dogman

Miami Magma

Firestorm: 72 Hours In Oakland

Countdown: Jerusalem

The President’s Plane Is Missing

Crash Dive

Death Flight

The Magnificent Seven

C’mon, it was a dollar. I am allowed to watch good movies sometimes. Also, I’m interested to run it back to back to back with Battle Beyond The Stars and Seven Samurai, in chronological order.

Bargain Bin(ge): Disc Replay (Skokie, IL)

Disc Replay is a small regional chain of buy/sell/trade stores, not unlike MovieStop or Replay’s that I have covered previously. Apparently Disc Replay’s primary stomping grounds are Illinois and Indiana, with a little bit of bleed-over into Iowa, Kentucky, and Michigan.

discreplayskokie1After leaving B-fest, I went to a hotel in Skokie, IL to get some sleep. Unfortunately, in spite it all, I was still very caffeinated, so I decided to scour the area for a media store before inevitably crashing for the evening. Sure enough, there was a Disc Replay within a couple of miles of the hotel.

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As it turns out, this was one of the best hauls I have had in a while, in terms of both the quality of the finds and the total price. Almost every standard DVD I saw was 3.99-5.99, and the store had a standing deal of “Buy 5, Get 1 Free” for DVDs. The selection was also fantastic, as I came across a number of movies that I hadn’t seen in any stores before. Below, you can check out the ones I walked away with.

Heartbeeps

You don’t hear a lot about this atrocious 1981 robot comedy these days, but Heartbeeps was a widely loathed film upon its release. The cast includes comedy legend Andy Kaufman, noted eccentric renegade Randy Quaid, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Guest, and cult favorite performers like Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, and Mary Woronov. I’ve never seen it before, so I am curious to see just how bad it is.

Inglorious Bastards

This is probably the most recognizable film by Enzo Castellari, thanks to Quentin Tarantino. I actually think I already have a copy of this somewhere, but for a couple of bucks, I could always give a spare away. I have definitely seen the movie before, but it has been a few years. After seeing 1990: The Bronx Warriors, The Last Shark, and The Shark Hunter, I’m definitely planning to dig further into his filmography, and giving this a rewatch is a necessity. As a bonus, the always fantastic Fred Williamson prominently features, which is always enough to get me invested.

Barb Wire

Barb Wire is an action movie starring Pamela Anderson. Apart from that, I know that it supposed to be a memorably terrible comic book adaptation. That’s more than enough justification for me to give it a shot: there’s just no way this could be good.

Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

This movie is best known for pioneering the most ridiculous possible sequel naming convention imaginable. This 1984 Cannon movie tells the tale of a group of break dancers battling against evil land developers, making it the most 1980s movie ever made. I’ve never seen this movie before, so I was super excited to actually find a DVD copy of it.

Ghost In The Machine

I first heard about this movie from We Hate Movies, when they did an episode on it some time ago. From what I understand, it is basically the same concept as Shocker, but worse all around. Cheesy, dated cyber-thrillers are usually a blast, so I’m eager to sink my teeth into this thing.

Bone

Bone is the first film by Larry Cohen, a b-movie master who I have covered a whole lot on the blog. It is apparently about as dark as a comedy can possibly get, and was mis-marketed as a thriller, which has kept it as little more than a footnote in Cohen’s career. I was shocked to find a DVD copy of it in the wild, and look forward to seeing what Cohen’s debut feature has to offer.

Bargain Bin(ge): Cincinnati

This past weekend, I found myself in Cincinnati, OH for HorrorHound Weekend. I had a little bit of free time to kill on Sunday, so I went on a good ol’ fashioned DVD hunt around the city.

Buybacks

Buybacks is a chain of buy/sell/trades that sits on the lower end of the quality scale, and often has comparatively significantly higher prices than competitors in my experience. Regardless, I figured I would give it a shot.

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I’m sure the 6.99 one is far better than the 4.99 one.

 

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For those who can’t read the tags, these children’s instructional DVDs about heavy machinery run you about $10 each.
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A “Santo” movie. Don’t see those every day.

As far as the stuff I actually did walk away with, I came out with a handful of films that I’m interested to give a second look.

Inspector Clouseau

Alan Arkin takes over Peter Sellers’s famous role as Clouseau in this much-maligned and often-unacknowledged entry into the “Pink Panther” franchise. I’m interested to see how Arkin is in the role, and whether the negative reception was more knee-jerk to the casting or legitimately founded.

Reindeer Games

The early 2000s were a dark time for Ben Affleck. “Reindeer Games” came ahead of “Gigli,” “Jersey Girl,” and “Daredevil,” but it has still received a fair amount of flak from folks like How Did This Get Made?

I have never much minded Affleck’s acting, and this film has always struck me as having an interesting concept behind it. I’m interested to see how it is.

Last Man Standing

This is an updated, prohibition-set adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” with a 1996 Bruce Willis in the lead. I’ve never seen it, but it sounds intriguing to me, particularly given an accessory cast featuring Christopher Walken and Bruce Dern.

The Quick and The Dead

“The Quick and The Dead” is Sam Raimi’s take on the western, and features one hell of a cast. I liked this movie when I first saw it, but it has been a very long time since then. Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, Gene Hackman, and Lance Henriksen are all hanging out in this flick, and there a ton of memorable gun fights throughout the run time as I recall.

 

CD/Game Exchange

CD/Game Exchange seems to be a local Cincinnati shop, but it looks like it might have more than 1 location (or the internet has lots of old information). The one I went to sat a couple of blocks off from the University of Cincinnati campus, in a bit of a run-down strip.

As far as selection, prices, and ambiance go, it was hard to beat.

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There were a few things I found that I decided to leave on the shelf, most notably a copy of “Deadly Friend,” a Wes Craven killer robot movie. However, I did come away with quite a haul:

God Told Me To

Larry Cohen is one of my favorite B-movie directors, and this is one of his that I have not seen. By all accounts, it is also one of the strangest (and best) movies he has ever made. I am very much on board, and was excited to even find a DVD copy of this thing.

Blacula

It’s “Blacula.” What do I need to explain? I haven’t seen it in years, but it is a classic.

Joint Security Area

I love this movie, and did not own a copy of it. The director has done a bunch of other acclaimed movies like “Oldboy” and “I’m a Cyborg, And That’s Ok,” but this is my favorite of his, and I hate that it gets overlooked. It manages to capture the tension of the 38th parallel and the social anxieties of a divided Korea incredibly well through its portrayal of a tragic group of border guards.

John Carpenter’s Vampires

John Carpenter was well into a down slide by the time “Vampires” came around, wedged between “Escape From LA” and “Ghosts of Mars” in his filmography. I haven’t seen it though, and I typically like James Woods in stuff. There’s also a Baldwin brother floating around in there, so I suppose we’ll see how that is.

Stroker Ace

We Hate Movies did an episode on this a while back that peaked my interest. Sounds like a pretty awful attempt to bottle the charm of “Smokey & The Bandit.”

Curse of the Komodo

One of the countless movies directed by Jim Wynorski of “Chopping Mall” fame. I’m sure that it is absolutely awful.

Chains of Gold

This was John Travolta just before his career was revived by Quentin Tarantino, which is a weird black hole in his filmography. Apparently he is the highlight here, so I’ll be interested to see how he is.

Exorcist II

This has to be one of the most hated movies of all time, and I have never gotten around to watching it. So, that’s going to be happening sooner rather than later.

 

Bargain Bin(ge): Washington D.C.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of doing some travel around the country for work. Whenever I get the opportunity, I love to dig around in new locales and find their local used DVD shops, and see what specific cities have to offer. In fact, I have done enough of this recently that the activity inspired this specific section of the blog. I started the “Bargain Bin(ge)” feature in order to spotlight local physical DVD shops and the hauls I pick up from them, particularly in the aftermath of the fall of BlockBuster Video.

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One of the areas that I hit on this most recent trip was Washington, D.C.: the U.S. Capital, and one of the major metropolitan areas in the states.

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Given the size and population of the DC Metro area, I expected to find a wealth of used DVD and physical media stores. Unfortunately, this was not at all the case. While my initial Google-ing yielded a number of results, it didn’t take long for me to find that almost all of them had closed. In particular, I found out that the DC area was once home to an expansive local video rental chain called “Potomac Video”, which only shut its doors in May of this year.

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That really is a shame, because it looked like quite a fantastic place from all of the pictures that I have seen.

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I am curious as to what became of the extensive stock of these Potomac Video stores, as it doesn’t seem that any heirs have popped up in the area. I have noticed that a number of thrift stores bought out the stocks of local BlockBusters as they fell, and I can’t help but wonder if that may have been the same case here. In any case, I didn’t find any promising DVD shops in the DC Metro area, which I was really disappointed by.

On a whim, I decided to check out a record shop in Arlington, VA on my way out of town. I have noticed that record shops will sometimes carry a decent stock of DVDs, but it is never really a sure thing. Luckily, in this case, CD Cellar had a small, eclectic collection of cult movies and rare finds.

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One of the coolest finds here was a copy of Larry Cohen’s early mob feature “Black Caesar”, starring Fred Williamson. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. I think it far surpasses “Scarface” (1983) on just about every level while dealing with similar themes, and it predates that film by a whole decade. It might be my favorite movie to chronicle the rise and fall of a gangster, and that is saying something for this low-budget feature. It is worth noting that this was the first time, outside of Atlanta’s rental location “Videodrome”, that I have found a physical copy of this movie.

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Apart from “Black Caesar”, there were some great cult deep cuts like “Head of the Family”, “The Ice Cream Man”, and “The Mangler” that don’t make your typical DVD store catalog.  That said, the prices were far from stellar, but I wasn’t particularly surprised by that. I still walked out with a few DVDs, even though none of them were what I consider “bargains” (most DVDs were 6 dollars and up, a handful got down to 4). Regardless, I was happy to not leave the DC area completely empty-handed.

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I am hoping that perhaps MovieStop or another chain will make its way to the area before long to pick up the slack in the wake of Potomac Video, or maybe someone else will get something started locally. I’m sure that DC could use a reasonably priced movie shop, or even a eclectic video rental shop along the lines of Atlanta’s Videodrome or Seattle’s Scarecrow Video. As for right now though, the area is regrettably a desert for people looking for bargain DVD shops.

 

 

 

Bargain Bin(ge): MovieStop

MovieStop has got to be my favorite location for digging up DVDs. It doesn’t have the local charm of a lot of places, but they make up with it with their massive stock. I’m never quite sure what I’ve going to find in a MovieStop, but I always know that I am going to dig up something excellent / obscure (and that I’m not going to injure my wallet in the process).

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As you might gather, MovieStop is essentially a GameStop for movies. It was, in fact,  previously run under the same company, but has since branched out into independent operations. And personally, I’d say the service you find at MovieStops is far and away better than what you would find at your average GameStop.

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Based out of Atlanta, the company has already done a lot of expanding in the Southeast. I have actually been to just about every MovieStop in the region through my travels, and they have been pretty consistently impressive. Currently, they are still only operating out of 10 states, but I have seen (and heard) every indication that further expansion is just around the corner.

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Ever since I have been going to my local MovieStop in Huntsville, AL, they have been running a bargain bin sale: movies on the rack are 2.99, and ‘buy one get one free’. Rarely can one find a better deal than that. I have picked up a ton of features for this blog through that sale alone, and have quite the impressive backlog because of it.  (Also, MovieStops consistently have used BibleMan DVDs in stock. Except for the Huntsville, AL one, because I bought them all)

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Last but not least, MovieStop stores are almost always pretty. Most DVD spots are usually run down and dingy, sometimes even located next to sex shops…
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…or tagged as a juggalo hangouts.

store4So, MovieStops kind of nicely break up the typical pattern.  They even go above and beyond on some of the design and frills in the stores:

moviestop5 moviestop7So, if you are ever traveling through (or live in) an area with a MovieStop, I highly recommend checking them out. They are not all equal in quality (the Tuscaloosa, AL one is particularly disappointing), but in general they are great places to find movies: obscure foreign films, classic B-movies, indies from the 90s, current Blu-ray releases, and just about anything else you might be looking for.

Bargain Bin(ge) III

Bargain Bin(ge) Part 1
Bargain Bin(ge) Part 2

Shark Week

This is a shark movie from The Asylum. It is pretty hard to go wrong there. The Asylum makes their money doing two things: making CGI shark movies, and ripping off current blockbusters. I’m not expecting something on the level of “Sharknado”, but this one does seem to have a dumb plot to contend with the best of them. There’s a cheesy villain as well, and that is pretty much all I need to justify the one dollar I spent on this.

CyberTracker

This looks like a pretty promising B movie to me. However, the Red Letter Media folks apparently found it to be incredibly boring on “Best of the Worst”. This might be one of those cases where the trailer is crafted in such a way that it can fool you, but I am really curious to try this one out for myself. At the very least, I can see how my tolerance stacks up against the Red Letter Media crowd. I also love that the super cyborg prototype looks like the evil robot version of Sonic the Hedgehog in “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”.

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Judgment

Oh my. I can’t express how excited I am to watch this movie. Not only is there a silly plot about our dark future of christian persecution, but this stars both Mr. T and one of my favorite overactors, Corbin Bernsen. “The Dentist” is still one of my favorite underrated shitty movies, and Corbin Bersen tears up his gums throughout that piece of trash from gnawing on all of the scenery. This trailer has me even more giddy about getting to this one, because the dialogue sounds just awful. I particularly like the line “I call to the stand…Jesus Christ”. That’s just gold.

Shredder

I remember watching this movie on FearNet a number of years ago. It is a pretty run-of-the-mill slasher movie, apart from the snowboarding focus. I do seem to recall a semi-interesting twist/whodunit plot that set it somewhat apart from the pack, but overall it was your typical gory slasher movie. Again, it has been a number of years, so I am interested to see how much I might have forgotten.

Thunderpants

This is a movie about a farting child. It co-stars Rupert Grint of “Harry Potter” film franchise fame, and the marketing unsurprisingly focuses squarely around him. His involvement is probably the only reason this has as wide of a DVD release as it does, hoping to cash in his popularity. It seems similar to how recent releases of “Mazes and Monsters” really emphasize the fact that it stars Tom Hanks, even though no one knew who he was then. In any case, this is a family-friendly movie about farts, so that’s pretty much what I am going to expect to see here. Lots of fart jokes.

Bigfoot

Danny Bonaduce starring in a movie is pretty hard to believe, but that is an easier pill to swallow than the CGI on the supersized Bigfoot here. Why did they feel the need to make Bigfoot so large for this anyway? I expected more of a typical Sasquatch movie, but this is pushing more into King Kong territory. In any case, I’m looking forward to the typical monster movie cheese here. I’m also curious if they push the environmental message to “Birdemic” levels, and if they will find some way to make destroying Mt. Rushmore interesting.

Mazes and Monsters

This movie will make you wonder how Tom Hanks ever wound up with a career. This absolute stinker of a movie plays off of the paranoia surrounding the popularity of “Dungeons and Dragons” back in the day, and comes out somehow more nauseating than the classic Jack Chick tract on the subject. Tom Hanks hams it up throughout the movie as the lead character, and has a number of notable scenes in this one that are hard to forget. All of the dialogue in the movie is atrocious from what I have seen in reviews, but I haven’t actually sat through this monster myself. I’m looking forward to rolling the dice on this one.

Slipstream (2007)

I mentioned in a previous Bargain Bin(ge) that there are a number of shitty movies out there with the title “Slipstream”. As luck would have it, I have now found the other two movies with the title (there is a fourth as well according to IMDb, but I don’t think any copies actually exist).

This one seems to me to be Anthony Hopkins’s dream project. Anytime someone writes/directs/stars, you have to wonder if they might have too much invested in the movie to cut at it objectively. Some people apparently really appreciated this as a surreal film, but the general consensus is that it doesn’t quite hit the mark, and is just a confusing and jumbled mess. I am really curious about it myself. The concept sounds really cool, and the cast is all pretty competent (maybe not Slater), but I could see how it could trip over itself.

Slipstream (1989)

Another “Slipstream”! This one is more of a straight B-movie than the previously mentioned films of the same name. This one features Bill Paxton and Mark Hamill in a futuristic wasteland, and strikes me initially as being a pretty interesting movie. The chemistry between Paxton and Hamill seems pretty solid from the trailer, and I like how this movie seems to be drawing from multiple genres for inspiration. I am pretty surprised I hadn’t heard of this one, because it looks like it has some great potential for unintentional entertainment at the very least.

She Gods of Shark Reef

I’ve never caught this one before, but it looks like more or less the usual Roger Corman fare. I actually found this the day after I watched the above commentary by Corman on this film’s trailer. There isn’t a whole lot of information about the film revealed in there, but it is nice to know that Corman enjoyed his time filming in Hawaii. I am curious exactly how one “controls” a shark, though.