last picture show

Today’s the day: Videoport closes its doors, and Emily S. Customer has one last recommendation for you.

The VideoReport has done a lot for me. In its infancy, I wrote thumbnail reviews as an excuse to flirt with the fella I’d been dating, and — because then as now, he did the bulk of the writing every week — every review I submitted freed him up for more smoochin’. A few years later (almost exactly six years ago today as I write this), I presented Dennis with a week’s worth of reviews, written in secret during spare minutes here and there, so he could take off the week of our wedding and not worry about turning out a half-dozen reviews on top of everything else. (Thanks, Andy, for guest-editing that edition of the VideoReport.)

The backlog of reviews and reflections we’ve both (but mostly your unfailing editor, Videoport Jones, a.k.a., Pancakes W. Meat, a.k.a., Dennis Perkins, freelance writer, true cinemaphile*, and swell guy) accumulated, years and years of writing for free, gave us each a springboard into professional reviewing. I’ll always be thankful for that.

But neither of us did it for that reason. We wrote, and write, for the VideoReport, because we believe in independent cinema, in local business, in the virtue of a video library not restricted by transnational corporations’ backroom deals, in the delight of walking into a real brick-and-mortar video store and having a conversation with a movie lover who can steer you to some unexpected treasure.

Videoport has been a haven for me, for lots of movie-lovers like me and movie-lovers nothing like me, for decades. It’s been a gift to Portland. I’m grateful for all it’s given me, and us — us the couple, us the city, us the loyal supporters of indie everything.

Goodbye, Videoport, and thank you for your gifts.

*After an interview, Malcolm McDowell called Dennis that, and the compliment buoyed him for weeks. Mr. McDowell, you don’t know how right you were. 

That last recommendation I promised: The Last Picture Show. Peter Bogdanovich’s tribute to the great Westerns of years gone by, this black-and-white 1971 masterpiece was nominated for eight Academy Awards. In a dusty Texas town, the local movie theater, the site of a lot of memories and fumblings in the dark, of dreams and desires onscreen and off, is closing down. A handful of friends — including Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, all achingly young and lovely, all already looking back over their past with the keen combination of nostalgia, pleasure, and grief we all know too well — gather for a last hurray. It’ll break your heart, and it should.

glory

This is one of my favorite pieces, springing unexpectedly from my A.V. Club assignment to review the bawdy, sometimes brutal, sensitively balanced Review, starring Andy Daly.

I didn’t expect my review of the season two premiere to delve into how Forrest MacNeil (Daly) uses his job reviewing life experiences as a pretext for escaping his own life, abdicating decisions and destiny both to the hands of random viewers, boxing off his actions from their consequences. Review allows Forrest to pursue adventures and debauchery without acknowledging how his own desires drive his behavior or how his detachment from his own culpability puts walls between him and the people he loves. Review lets Forrest put his life in a box… or, in this episode, in a hole.

Suzanne, Forrest's ex-wife (Jessica St. Clair) [Comedy Central]

Suzanne, Forrest’s ex-wife (Jessica St. Clair) [Comedy Central]

Forrest is right about one thing: It’s possible to find meaning in the most unexpected places, and in assignments that sometimes seem random.

tumbled to the fact

You know what's in my Tumblr?

me: … so I put it on my Tumblr and—

The Fella: You don’t have a Tumblr.

me: I do have a Tumblr.

The Fella:

me: I’ve had a Tumblr for, like, a year and a half.

The Fella: You have a WordPress.

me: And I have a Tumblr. So I wrote it up on WordPress, then added it to my Tumblr and linked the Tumblr entry to the WordPress entry. And I should probably link the Tumblr entry back to the WordPress to close the loop.

The Fella: You have a Tumblr?

me: I have a Tumblr. I sometimes link my articles there, but I mostly use it for Social Justice Warrior stuff and cat gifs.

The Fella: You have a Tumblr.

me: I have a Tumblr. All those times I showed you silly cat videos from my Tumblr feed, you thought…?

The Fella: I thought you went to Tumblr.

me: Yeah, I have a Tumblr.

The corker: This conversation was about a post in which I made fun of men who don’t know women lead independent existences. If you’d like to know more about my independent existence, see my contact info on my about me page.

"Regret."

wink

True Detective, S 2

True Detective, S3 (Rachel McAdams, Sabrina Grdevich, Slings & Arrows, Acorn Media)

I’m now working on a female-centered version of True Detective, which I will produce under the name Chick Titzolotto.

Just as the first season was preoccupied with cisgender white men’s desires and the second is preoccupied with their potency, the third season will center around cisgender white women’s bodies, featuring pervasive and powerful vaginal imagery; unsurprisingly, it will take place in the vast subterranean subway system of a major metropolitan center.

The central mystery of Chick Titzolotto’s True Detective S3: Do women exist when men aren’t looking, or do we wink out like a fridge light when you close the door?

[SCENE: A DARK BEDROOM. FEMALE LEAD lies in bed, staring moodily out a window at a light in the distance. Her male companion, whose name is not important, lies propped up on his elbow next to her, listening in attentive silence. She does not look at him.]

FEMALE LEAD: It’s all so uncertain. It’s like particle physics, or like a refrigerator light. It’s all so uncertain. It’s all so uncertain. It’s all so uncertain. Am I a particle or a wave? Do you know where I am, or what, or when? If you stop looking, do I still light up? Or do I just… wink out, like the light in the fridge?

[The distant light goes out. FEMALE LEAD exhales gustily, closes eyes. AND SCENE]

Thanks in advance for the Emmys.

note: Dennis Perkins gets a contributing creator credit on this project, but only under the stipulation that he’s credited as Penis Derkins.

“We’re on kind of a mission”

localhero

Over at The VideoReport, fearless leader Bill Duggan has an announcement to make, former VideoReporters of years past have some memories to share, your tireless editor keeps on highlighting new releases, and I have one last recommendation for a free rental that will break your heart, and it should.

I’ve been trying to count up how many friendships, marriages, partnerships, and careers Videoport nurtured in that cool, well-stocked cellar, and I can’t even begin to tally ’em all up. Thank you, Videoport, for everything — for even more than the movies, when just the movies would have been gift enough.