Tuesday, February 13, 2007

They don't make 'em like they used to...

Since I've been doing cynical cinema, I have had a great supply of the old, classic movies I like. Zip.ca was was sponsoring the feature, and they are an internet company that mails you a DVD, then you mail it back and order online. So I like the classics. They were able to ship me all of those, but I didn't have terrific access to new releases, since they must have had huge demand for the new stuff and only a few copies.

Now Zip has cancelled their sponsorship, so I no longer have a membership. I thought this would be fine, since I could go to the local video store and rent what I wanted, although it would cost me a fair amount. At least I'd get the new movies to review.

But I went to that local video store yesterday, and I was enormously disappointed. Of course the new releases were there. But that's it! I was looking for six classics - the Marx Brothers' A Night At the Opera, Hitchcock's Notorious (with Ingrid Bergman) and Rebecca (with Laurence Olivier), From Here To Eternity (with Montgomery Clift) and two Katherine Hepburn films - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Philadelphia Story.

I bet you can't guess how many they had...that's right, zero. And it's not just that they had no copies for rent because they were all out, it's that they no longer carry those movies in any capacity! Apparently video rental stores have discontinued virtually all classic films, and they sold off all their old stock in the process!

So rental stores have decided that movie watchers are just a bunch of mindless sheep, who will enjoy whatever crap Hollywood wants to spoon feed them on any given week. And Hollywood obviously believes the same thing, because they no longer put any real thought into their movies. How many movies can they put out in the mold of Miami Vice and Pirates of the Carribean and All The Kings Men before people wise up? Apparently hundreds.

If a movie is not a remake of an old classic (The Manchurian Candidate) then it's a remake of an old bomb (The Italian Job). If it's neither of those, it's a sequel to a big hit movie (Ice Age 2). Or it's an adaptation of a comic book (Aeon Flux) or old TV show (Starsky and Hutch). Where are all the GOOD movies?

Well, for the most part, they are indies. Or really old. If you're someone who rents a movie a week, you will quickly run through the good titles on the racks, and be left with the latest Steven Seagal direct-to-DVD film or some serial killer you've never heard of, and with good reason. But no one who watches movies wants to see anything good, learn anything, or expand their scope. If it's not made in the last two years, it's pointless garbage. People who care about movies be damned! They will have to buy them.

Well, disliking the new system as I may, I certainly hope that a video store, or a place that sells movies, or something like that picks up the sponsorship soon, because otherwise I will begin to go through the movies in my own personal collection, which will make Jeff Brown fairly upset, I think. He loves it when I review Brazilian prison movies from the '90s and Japanese samurai movies from the '50s and James Cagney gangster movies from the '30s.

Up next, silent film classics like Nosferatu and Metropolis, Ingmar Bergman Swedish black and white movies, and Jean-Luc Godard's weird and disjointed French films like Weekend. And I will compare them all to Def Leppard.


  1. That's odd that they would cancel their sponsorship. It's not like it would have cost them a ton'o'cash. Or did it? How many movies DID you get? :)

  2. Why don't you just go to www.zip.ca and start up a membership....they have a 2-week free trial on right now..its great

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I'm doing a screenwriting course and I'm required to study "Butch and Sundance Kid", "Casanova", "Citizen Kane", "E.T." and "Fallen Angel."

    I've only been able to get E.T. and Citizen Kane. And they came from eBay.


  5. Zip was doing a country-wide advertising campaign with a set end date. We created the feature for them, but now their campaign is up. I can't get a membership myself because I don't have a credit card. Although it is a great service. I went through about 50 of their movies in the time they were sponsoring the feature. I picked up Butch Cassidy from CD Warehouse a while back, I can only assume they still have it. Hey - did you get the Citizen Kane DVD set with the documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane"? It's fantastic.

  6. Surely Doc has a credit card. Get him to sign up for you. :)

  7. You should get a credit card. Ask your bank for one and put a limit of $100 on it. (They'll keep increasing it but you just need to call up and ask for it to be lowered.) Alternatively get a Chargable credit card. You charge the card up with money before you can spend it.

  8. Thanks for the info on CD Warehouse and the new Citizen Kane DVD. Mucho appreciated dude.