Saturday, August 11, 2007

Crash on Tape

Remember a long time ago when I told you I saw the overrated Academy Award-winning movie Crash? I may have mentioned that I saw it on cable and not in the theater. That's sort of true, but it isn't the absolute truth, since what actually happened is it was on cable, but instead of watching it, I taped it so I could watch it later, at a time more convenient for me.

That should be of no interest to you, of course, and the only reason I brought it up is that a few weeks ago, a friend of mine who hadn't seen the movie asked me if I still had it on tape. I told her I wasn't sure -- I was pretty sure I'd recorded over it -- but that I'd look through the tapes to see if I still had it.

A few days later, I did just that. Crash wasn't on any of them, which means that I reused the tape to record something else, possibly something more interesting or less annoying or both. I don't actually know what I recorded, but that isn't the point. The point is that while looking for Crash, I found a lot of interesting movies that I hadn't seen in a long time.

Before I tell you what those movies are, I should explain something. When VCRs first became popular, a lot of people started building video libraries by recording things on TV. I never did that. I just recorded things if I wanted to watch them at a more convenient time. So I'd tape something, I'd watch it, and then I'd put the tape back with all the other tapes which I would eventually use to record something else. But since I have a lot of tapes, it might take a year or more before I get around to recording over something. So at any given time, I always have a lot of interesting things on tape but I never know what they are, since I never label the tapes. As a result, I have sort of a de facto video library, but it's constantly changing and I never know what it contains.

Anyway, here are some of the movies I discovered I'd taped while I was looking for Crash:

This is Spinal Tap: Everyone acknowledges that this is a great movie, but to be honest, I've probably seen it often enough that I don't have to ever see it again. So the next time I need to record something, I won't feel too bad about recording over it.

The Apostle and Rabbit-Proof Fence: I've lumped these two movies together because they're both very good, but I don't think I'll ever watch them again. I've seen The Apostle a few times already -- once in the theater and a couple of times on TV.

Clerks and Chasing Amy: The next time someone tells you that Kevin Smith is a film director without any real talent, mention these two movies.

Night on Earth: This movie may have the rare distinction of being the only Jim Jarmusch movie that isn't available on DVD. But it's going to be released next month. I don't know why it took so long. I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and on cable a few times after that. It's not a perfect move, but I'll never get tired of it.

The Secret of Roan Inish: This is a great movie by a great director. I don't think I'll buy the DVD, but I'm going to make sure I don't record over this movie for a while.

Your Friends and Neighbors: Remember a long time ago when Neil LaBute still made good movies? If you don't, you should watch this one.

Last Night: This is a great film by Don McKellar. He's directed a few films, but you're probably more familiar with him as an actor. He's been in a number of movies directed by Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg. Last Night is one of the few end-of-the-world movies worth watching. (Another one is Miracle Mile.)

My Dinner with Andre and Short Cuts: I saw both of these movies in the theater when they were released, and I've seen Short Cuts a few times on cable, but I hadn't seen My Dinner with Andre again until a few months ago. I liked it when it first came out, but when it was on cable, I was worried that I might think it was too self-indulgent. It wasn't. I should probably watch it again.

Seconds, State and Main, and Waking Life: I've lumped these movies together not only because they're great movies that I can watch over and over again, but because I eventually bought the DVD versions. So I can record over these tapes with no compunctions.

The Dark Backward: I saw this movie in the theater, but I may have been one of the few people who did. I saw it on cable a few times and I still don't understand why this movie isn't considered some sort of masterpiece.

And that's the end of the list. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I still had Series 7: The Contenders on tape, but either I recorded over it or I never recorded it in the first place. In either case, it's worth watching a couple of times, so the next time it's on cable, you should check it out.

As for my friend who wanted to see Crash, I never got around to telling her I no longer had it on tape, but I don't think she cared that much. It didn't seem like she was that interested in seeing it in the first place. It's not that great a movie.