votw ii.22: The Laserdisc Eidolon

Hey there, neighborinos. Hope you’re having a splendiferous week full of diferous ballyhoo. Me, I’m just splendin’ wit da roadies.

Hooray, I got my copy of Futurama’s Beast with a Billion Backs on DVD today! (And I bought it at Best Buy, earning me a free Coke. Can your Blockbuster do that? *Raspberries*) I would have watched it tonight — however, an impromptu birthday celebration erupted in honor of my aunt. So it goes. (And if you bear witness to MyMySpace, you know that out-of-the-blue birthday hooplas occur, oh, every eight hours.)

So instead of watching the luck of the Fryish, I spent the night trying to rob a bank in Grand Theft Auto IV (useless NPC allies!) and reminiscing the year 2003 with VH1’s I Love The New Millennium. That’s it, folks. They’ve done it. VH1 has finally managed to excavate the entirety of popular culture’s pop-culture. It all started innocently with I Love the ’80s, which I’m sure you were all addicted to, as I was. (Ten-hour marathon on New Year’s Day while trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube, FTW!) Then we had I Love the ’70s. Then I Love the ’80s: Strikes Back. I Love the ’90s. I Love the ’90s: Part Deux. I Love the ’80s: 3-D. I Love the Holidays. I Love Toys. I Love the ’70s: Volume 2. And now we’re exploring last freaking week.* Our memory is a strobe light flashing at the new pretty thing. Once the new pretty thing is over, the memory dies. “Oh, man, I remember ‘The Thong Song’!” I like it when the beat goes da na da na…

*Actually, we’ve always had Best Week Ever for that. And do I dare underestimate the necessity of I Love The New Millennium: Dos?

The sad thing is, everything I know about anything I learned from Video Hits 1. (Remember Behind the Music and Pop-Up Video? I don’t. Flavor Flaaaaav!) And it’s not like I watched the I Love episodes once. When they’re on, I have to watch, even if it’s just Michael Ian Black spitting on the Atari 2600 for the 109th time. And why don’t I recall I Love the Holidays very well? It should be tattooed on me brain! Where is my Sandy Claws?!

Enough ill-mannered praise, let’s get to the where’s the beef. I thought, how can I exploit casual strolls through memory lane? Well, God knows that I ain’t making a pence off this blog (boy, does He and my mother know), so I say, screw it, let’s talk about the DVDs I own. (What a segue!) So with much further ado, here’s a haphazard list of movie DVDs I legally own. (Someday, I might just make one dedicated to TV shows on DVD. Someday.)

Labyrinth: Anniversary Edition. The musical fairy tale of a beautifully young, friendless girl who finds herself in a maze filled with Muppets and David Bowie’s scrotum. I snagged this one on Black Friday, the whirlwind shopping day after Thanksgiving that begets madness the Holiday Shopping Season. (And by tricking the cashier, I managed to snag the $20 movie for five bucks. Ain’t I a frugal stinker?) I have the original DVD release of this beloved film, as well (to my knowledge, the Jim Henson Company has squeezed it on DVD with four different versions), but I somehow lost The Dark Crystal in the process of sharing movies with a friend.

Donnie Darko: Director’s Cut. Schizophrenic troubled youth sees a demonic bunny from a parallel universe foretell the Apocalypse, set to a breathtaking Post-Punk soundtrack. Unfortunately, I do not own the original version, which is vastly superior to this one. Why would you eliminate Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” from the opening shot? Why?

Duran Duran: Live In London, Deluxe Edition. Their London stop from the 2005 tour I went to see them on. This is the Fab Five. This is the Fab Five on drugs. *Shows you Timbaland*

a-ha: Live At Vallhall – Homecoming. Took me an awfully long time to sit down and watch this Xmas gift bestowed upon me by a converted friend. Never rewatched it.

Superbad: 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition. Turns out that the “unrated” version just gives you more menstrual cycle on pantaloons. Fun times.

Harry Potter Collection, Years 1 – 5. From Philosopher’s Sorcerer’s Stone to Order of the Phoenix. It’s about a lad who does not know his true lineage, but upon discovering his inborn powers, he and his ragtag band of friends must set out to destroy the evil he is intricately intertwined with over the course of an exhaustively milked-for-all-its-worth saga. Ladies and gentlemen, STAR WARS.

Clash of the Titans. I saw this fantasy romp in the Wal-Mart bargain bin but haven’t popped it in to the old Xbox 360. Claymation pwns your soul.

Batman Begins: 2-Disc Deluxe Edition. The Dark Knight in his darkest, most vulnerable incarnation. Finally, the supporting characters (Alfred, the Commish) get the justice they truly deserve. I heard something about a sequel.

Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. This straight-to-DVD adventure follows the British-twanged baby in search of his real dada. This movie really is just three regular episodes stitched together — nowhere as epic as the first Futurama movie, I’ll tell you that much. For now, Family Guy need not stray from FOX on Sunday nights. (Except for when it’s on Comedy Central. And TBS. And your local syndicated showtimes.) (But only then.)

The Last Kiss. Scrubs‘ Zach Braff in the bargain bin. Should watch it sometime.

Superman Volumes 1 & 2. For a measly 100 cents, I picked up this dynamic collection of Max Fleischer theatrical animated shorts from the 1940s. They’re flashy and full of post-war nostalgia, and they really bring back memories of my childhood. (Vote yes on treasured VHS tapes.) “This looks like a job for the man who can’t possibly be Clark Kent.” *Sly wink at camera*

Flight 93: The Movie. A made-for-TV reenactment of September 11. Why my brother scooped it up from the depths of Wal-Mart cheapness is beyond me.

Just Friends. I really should stop visiting Wal-Mart altogether. Anyway, the rage this movie instills in me with its name alone does not allow me to watch it. The NERVE!!!

Return To Oz. Dorothy finds herself subjected to shock therapy. To escape, she finds the Yellow Brick Road in shambles, headless witches governing Oz, deathly Wheelers, and a transvestite pretender to the throne made of pebbles. Yeah, this movie rocks your stupid little red slippers off.

Evil Dead Collection. My friend lent it to me to watch. I haven’t. Maybe he wants the set back.

Futurama: Bender’s Big Score and The Beast with a Million Backs. Watch the series ad nauseum for 9 years, then watch these amazing feature-length continuations.

Batman: The Movie. Probably my best bargain bin purchase. What can be more droll than Adam West waxing poetic about that conniving Catwoman or that plundering Penguin? Holy running around with a bomb over your head, Batman!

Gordon: Could be any one of them, but which one? W— which ones?
O’Hara: [gasps]
Batman: Pretty fishy what happened to me on that ladder.
Gordon: You mean, where there’s a fish, there could be a Penguin.
Robin: But wait! It happened at sea! See? “C” for Catwoman!
Batman: Yet…an exploding shark was pulling my leg!
Gordon: The Joker!
O’Hara: [It] all adds up to a sinister riddle. Riddle-er. Riddler?
Gordon: Oh! A thought strikes me! So dreadful I scarcely dare give it utterance.
Batman: The four of them. Their forces combined
Robin: Holy nightmare!
Commissioner Gordon: Penguin, Joker, Riddler…and Catwoman, too! The sum of the angles of that rectangle is too monstrous to contemplate!

☼☼☼

Back to the Future Trilogy. “Are you telling me that you built a time machine…out of a DeLorean?” The first Back to the Future was my favorite movie growing up. How many times did I watch the incest between Marty McFly and Lorraine Baines McFly? Oh, many times, my memory is telling me. After that, it became a sprawling sci-fi epic about paradoxes, retro cafes in 2015, manure, and the one toy still on everyone’s wish list, the Hover Board. So why did they go with Michael J. Fox instead of the original actor? Because you’re the doc, Doc.

☼☼☼

TMNT. The Heroes In A Half-Shell burst out from my dreams the sewers and back onto movie screens in 2007. It wasn’t the perfect incarnation of the Toitles (perhaps the 2003 series everyone seems to ignore can claim that title), and it wasn’t as fun as the original toon (perhaps the cheesiest anything ever put in a cereal box), and it didn’t kick as much shell as the 1990 movie (Casey Jones, you masked badass), but it did what it needed to do: tell the kids my age that, yeah, they’re still alive and kicking. Unfortunately, it looks like a sequel won’t be happening with the original studio. But if there’s one thing a true ninja has, it’s patience. (Never mind that the Ninja Turtles practice the shell out of the Samurai Code.)

Lion King 1 1/2. To say that this is the worst of the trio of Simba films would be simplifying it — it’s also a lot worse than than the Timon & Pumbaa animated series from the mid-’90s, as well as the video game of the lordly original. This movie should not exist. Why do I have it in my collection? Disney deserves to die for their incessant rape crimes against our childhood, what with their sequels upon sequels of movies that were released decades before the lucrative straight-to-DVD market. Eisner, you damnable drunken genius.

Star Wars Trilogy. My third boxset of the original trilogy (after two VHS collections, including the Special Editions). How does George Lucas get me every time? I mean, all he does is desecrate Han shooting first at Greedo. Whatever, the world without Star Wars is like a fat girl without bacon in the folds of her navel: it’s possible, sure, but why would you want to do that to us Star Wars freaks and those ungodly fatass broads? (By the by, Jabba says you look good, hunny.)

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Some glitzy anime about a half-vampire someone left at my house. If you ask me, they should have left the original ’80s movie instead.

Halloweentown I, II & Halloweentown High. I did not purchase these. I found them in the parking lot of a Best Buy. Some poor kid must have been so sad that October. Anyway, those movies were great back in the day — the first two, anyway. The third one was very meh, and the fourth one was very wrong. Shame on you, Disney Channel. And while you’re shaming yourself, bring back Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire. (No, I did not just reveal myself…)

Hocus Pocus. Anyone my age grew up with these hags. This DVD came with the Halloweentown movies. Shrinkwrap on all of them still.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. It seems as though clones have the tendency to attack. Lucky for us, Jedi have the Force and the acting abilities of a walnut to keep the dastardly clones at bay. Giggle at the sight of Yoda on a trampoline! (Stupid, the clones weren’t the baddies of this movie!)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The cleverest title since Revenge of the Jedi, surely. The (seemingly) last Star Wars flick was the one we were all waiting for. One thing that still bothers me, though: Padme, in all her broken-hearted misery, fished out the names Leia and Luke from out of the blue. Hell, even Jar Jar and Jango would have been more relevant names.

Oh, yeah, I don’t have The Phantom Menace on DVD. Let’s see someone try to change that.

Rudolph & The Island of Misfit Toys. Something I enjoy to death: holiday movies. If you’re a careful reader, you’ll know I watch an average of 600 hours of fuzzy-hearted, snow-washed goodness every December. Of all my many favorites, the stop-motion animation movies from Rankin/Bass (think Rudolph and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town) reign above all (even you, The Santa Clause 2). This one (bargain bin at Sears?!) is an updated, computer-generated neo-“classic.” Keep it in the shrinkwrap, Santa, you discriminating fat man, you.

Ewok Adventures – Caravan of Courage/Battle For Endor. After Return of the Jedi, someone thought it would be a good idea to release a movie about Ewoks. After he was fired, someone else thought it would be a good idea to release two movies about Ewoks. And thus these bargain bin good-for-nothings have never been watched.

Studio Ghibli Collection. The same friend who lent me the Evil Dead movies also had the asinine idea to lend me these anime films by Hayao Miyazaki, the grandest director in the realm of Japanese animation. The standouts (read: the ones I’ve actually watched) are the excitingly nature-biased Princess Mononoke and the sweetly sublime Spirited Away, which is one of the best animated fantasies, well, ever. Go fetch. NOW.

From Russia With Love. I somehow acquired the second James Bond film on DVD. My second DVD ever, if I recall correctly. In this one, Bond meets Q and faces off against the notorious S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Not my fave Connery outing.

Moonraker. It’s OO7! In Star Wars! The biggest Bond up until the 1990s might also be the one that panders the most to the popcorn-stuffers. You have the late ’70s, laser beams, Rio de Janeiro, a woman mauled by dogs, Jaws (greatest henchman ever), and James Bond, the first fornicator in outer space. (“I believe he’s attempting re-entry.” !) This was the first movie I ever bought for a stand-alone DVD, around 1998. Yup, in front of the curve, biznatches.

Tomorrow Never Dies. Ah, the first DVD I ever got. You see, before we had a set-top player, we purchased a DVD player for my computer, way, way back in early 1998. So we hooked that bad boy up from my bedroom to the big screen TV in the living room and watched as Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond buddied up with a Chinese counterpart that was not Jackie Chan, surprisingly. Y sabes que? I haven’t seen this movie since then, either.

Die Another Day. James Bond, in an invisible car. Need I say more? Yes, I do. James Bond — IN AN INVISIBLE CAR. 40 years of bonding with protection-less promiscuity, all down the toilet. Taste the sad.

Casino Royale. The best James Bond in over 10 years? Boy, you said it. Daniel Craig brought the OO7 back — it’s a codename for stealth, espionage, clandestine intrigue, and, if necessary, cold-blooded murder. Licence to kill or be killed, after all. The glorious revamp sees its sequel later this year. (Oh, my God! I just thought of the most awesome blog idea! But do I dare…)

Bond Girls Are Forever. This was a bonus disc offered at Best Buy with the (unfortunate) purchase of Die Another Day. It’s a scantily-clad retrospective that follows The Living Daylightswashed-up Bond girl in the search for what it means to be a Bond girl. Hate to break it to ya: pretty teeth and perfect breasteses.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Special Extended Editions Boxset. I could only end this poking-of-heads-through-my-drawers with the greatest masterpiece ever set to Digital Versatile Disc, natch. This collection has it all: not only do you get over half-a-day’s worth of hobbit-on-hobbit action, but you also get 37 days’ worth of bonus features. Gasp as you follow the key grip around on his daily duties on the 179th day of shooting. Ever wonder where the pebbles under Legolas’ feet from Scene 81 in The Two Towers come from? You have to stop and wonder: what’s more taxing, watching the bonus features or the actual epic? Well, if I have to listen to Treebeard go on about his stupid Ent women for one more gloriously uncut minute, then it’s a very easy choice. Food for thought: Orcs — gay or not gay?

So while I wait for Blu-ray to dominate the market (which, by my reasoning, will put every DVD ever in the bargain bin, but it seems that you comformers won’t embrace the technology until 2019), I might as well just give you this week’s a-ha music for the masses.

Oh, but the original version of “Take On Me” didn’t reach the masses, did it? No, what has been termed as “Take On Me Blue” was really just the Windows 3.1 of the Hunting High And Low era. According to legend, the Norwedes released the original “Take On Me” to no fanfare, even though they managed to make this da ba dee video of ballerinas hopping. So they went back into the studio, recut the song, got Steve Barron to direct the video in the rotoscope style of some art student’s project (which would later become “Train Of Thought”) — and there you have it, the ephemeral Number One phenom that was 1985’s “Take On Me.”

I just heard the 12″ version of “Take On Me” from 1984 for the first time. I have a plethora of other versions, but not this one. Someone, ‘splain!

So I’m here to celebrate the one that failed so utterly. “Take On Me Blue,” with your terrible direction, your foot-tapping, and your shoddy VHS transfer, I salute you.

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~ by Alfredeus on June 25, 2008.

2 Responses to “votw ii.22: The Laserdisc Eidolon”

  1. I’ve actually seen that Batman episode you quoted from. What are the fucking odds? I can’t have ever seen more than 3 episodes of that damned show. And what the hell is with the super subtle calling cards/clues of the villains? How on earth did they train a shark to pull on a leg at will? Seriously, if they would spend less time and effort on such BULLSHIT, maybe they could beat the dynamic duo… what a pathetic group of human beings.

  2. so many comments to make, i don’t know where to begin. blockbuster gave me 2 for $4 dibs, and the movie was free. can your best buy rewards card do that? i think not. hocus pocus kicks halloweentown butt, and the highlight of my seventh grade english class may have been watching clash of the titans in lieu of reading any mythology. i have the star wars trilogy on vhs, and no vcr to play it on… time to upgrade to the latest limited edition dvd release. hm. have i left anything out? of course, but it’s enough to be getting on with. i also need you to post a blog about beast with a billion backs, i need to know how to feel about it. haha.

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