Discount DVDs

Ever since I started earning my own spending money, I’ve shopped the bargain bins at the record stores. My collections of Elvis Costello and Jethro Tull cassettes come courtesy of the $3.99 section of my local Sam Goody store. Sure, you’ve got to wade through a lot of crap, but there are definitely some undervalued gems to be had if you know what to look for.

Lately, I’ve taken to perusing the low-price DVD racks at Target and Walmart. No, I’m not crazy like some people I know, who buy up DVDs from their local dollar store. I value my marriage too much to bring home movies I’ll never watch to clutter up the DVD shelf (even if they are just a dollar — fifty cents for the double features!). But I did succumb twice last month to the siren call of the under $8.00 movie.

Home Fries — $5.50 at Walmart. I’m not sure why I rented this movie years back, but it is one of our favorite all-time underappreciated flicks. Starring Drew Barrymore, Luke Wilson, Jake Busey, and Catherine O’Hara, and written by Vince Gilligan, who wrote many of the best X-Files episodes (the plot of the movie feels a little like one of those classic X-Files episodes). Drew Barrymore plays Sally, a sweet girl pregnant with her married ex-lover’s baby who overhears some suspicious activity over her headset while working at the drive-thru at the local Burger-Matic. Luke Wilson and Jake Busey are brothers who are responsible for said suspicious activity, and who are trying desperately to discover exactly how much Sally knows. Catherine O’Hara is divine as the scheming, manipulative mother of the two boys, who oozes evil from every pore behind an innocuous smile while masterfully maintaining plausible deniability in all of her schemes.

Joe Versus the Volcano — $7.50 at Target. The movie that started it all between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Would we have had Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail without this quirky story of a man hired to fling himself into a volcano to appease an island of half-Jewish, half-Celtic Polynesians with an unusual fondness for orange soda? Maybe, but even so, Joe Versus the Volcano deserves a spot on your shelf. Full of quotable lines from the pen of John Patrick Shanley (who also wrote Moonstruck, which is also available for under $8.00) such as, “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” and “I have no response to that.” Buy it today!


10 thoughts on “Discount DVDs

  1. Hah! I have Joe on dvd and vcr.

    The best score of cheap music I’ve made recntly is the Best of Guess Who at a store in Provo while we were visiting there. I am amazed at how many good songs there are on that one cd.

  2. My brother-in-law was down at a Blockbuster one day and noticed they were throwing out a bunch of empty DVD cases, so he thought he’d pick some up. You never know when you’ll need empty DVD cases, right? Anyways, he opened one up and lo and behold there was a copy of Road to Perdition in it. He gave it to me. Yay, free stuff! I like the movie too. Very nicely shot.

  3. I do not think that Joe vs. the Volcano, which is an excellent movie, should be held responsible for Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail, which are Ephronia (ie. absolute crap).

  4. Last time I watched Joe vs the Volcano, which was years ago, I thought it was really boring. I might like it now. I’ll watch it just because it’s filmed in Hawaii, though.

    I pretty much only buy music from the cheap used bin. I’ll go through the whole thing and grab everything I want, then sort through them and decide which are the ones I want the most. Other than that I usually buy music at shows. Occasionally I’ll buy something new but not very often.

    I don’t bother buying dvds much. Just not that into movies anymore.

  5. My wife’s mother was just telling me a few weeks ago that Joe vs. the Volcanoe is one of her favorite movies. I decided I better see it based on that recommendation. Apparently most of you agree with her so that adds to my determination to finally see the film…

  6. I bought a cheapie copy of Donnie Darko at Target, and my only regret is not holding out for the special edition. Otherwise, you can find occasional gems. I saw the Ghostbusters I & II special edition set for $10, that’s worth it for the 1st movie alone.

  7. Just in case someone is interested, here’s a little information: Joe vs. the Volcano was written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, who won the Pulitzer Prize this year for his current play, Doubt.

  8. Steve, my understanding is that deleted scenes on the cheapo copy (which is the one I own) are the added material in the SE.

    Personally, I think the initial cut is better because it’s more ambiguous. Don’t care for the new cut.

  9. I enjoyed the new cut of Donnie Darko, but no more than the first cut. It’s a rather different movie in new cut. My major complaint is that the new cut opens with “Never Tear Us Apart” instead of “The Killing Moon”–which I guess was Kelly’s original choice, but the studio wouldn’t pay for “Never Tear Us Apart.” Sometimes art and commerce intersect for good, because opening with “The Killing Moon” is much stronger and more meaningful. In the new cut “The Killing Moon” is relegated to background music at a party. Sad.

    The one thing I like about the Special Edition DVD is the audio commentary. Not because of Kelly (he reveals too much), but because of Kevin Smith who tweaks Kelly throughout the commentary. When Kelly veers towards the pretentious (which is often), Smith is there to quickly deflate him, frequently by exposing Kelly’s lack of comic book knowledge (which wouldn’t be a problem except that Kelly continually says he’s making a comic book movie or using a “comic book image.”) It’s pretty amusing stuff.

    Anyway, great movie in either cut.

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