December 6, 2021

ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES: A Tale of Two Besties

ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES (Blu-ray Review)
1939 / 97 min

FROM WARNER ARCHIVE COLLECTION

Review by Mr. Paws😹

Classic crime films don’t get much better than this…

Raised in the slums, lifelong friends “Rocky” Sullivan & Jerry Connolly are a couple of streetwise kids who eventually end up on opposite sides of the law. As an adult, Rocky (James Cagney) becomes a powerful gangster. Returning to the old neighborhood after a stint in jail, he’s admired by many of the locals, especially a group of impressionable young hoods. Conversely, Jerry (Pat O’Brien) becomes a priest, remaining in the neighborhood as a mentor for troubled teens (including the same kids hoping to emulate Rocky’s quick road to riches).


Meanwhile, Rocky’s former partner, crooked lawyer Jim Frazier (Humphrey Bogart), has since hooked up with powerful mob boss Mac Keefer (George Bancroft). Both want Rocky eliminated, not just because of the money they owe him, but because he’s getting too big for his britches, blackmailing his way into a new partnership. However, the crux of the story is the relationship between the two friends. Though they’ve chosen different paths, these guys share mutual love and respect, even as Jerry tries to steer the kids clear of Rocky’s influence. Similarly, when Jerry leads a public anti-corruption campaign, Rocky won’t allow Keefer & Frazier to silence him, despite the immediate threat to their organization.


Apparently, Rocky enjoyed a burrito for his last meal.
Like the greatest epic crime sagas, Angels with Dirty Faces works on many levels. First, it’s a moving - ultimately poignant - tale of friendship. The complexity of Rocky & Jerry’s relationship is thoroughly explored, it’s stars providing extra punch with a couple of knock-out performances. Perhaps as a result of the burgeoning Hays Code, it’s also a cautionary tale of redemption, a theme punctuated by the stirring, intriguingly ambiguous final act (Rocky’s “death row” walk is arguably Cagney’s greatest screen moment).

But most importantly, the film remains massively entertaining all these years later. Director Michael Curtiz deftly juggles a compelling story, dynamic characters, hard-hitting action and an unforgettable climax, making Angels with Dirty Faces an undisputed classic. With an outstanding Blu-ray transfer and some great vintage bonus features, it’s a must-own for any self-respecting film fan.


EXTRA KIBBLES

WARNER NIGHT AT THE MOVIES - Leonard Maltin introduces a batch of vintage goodies that used to play in theaters before the feature, including a newsreel, “Out Where the Stars Begin” (musical short), “Porky and Daffy (cartoon short) and some trailers. Includes a ‘view all’ option.

ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES: WHADDYA HEAR? WHADDYA SAY? - Severa; historian discuss the film’s production and influence.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By historian Dana Polan.

LUX RADIO THEATER - An hour-long radio adaptation, featuring Cagney and O’Brien.


THE POOP SCOOP: New Year's Kibbles

LA DOLCE VITA on Blu-ray 2/8/22
Federico Fellini, the most popular Italian filmmaker of all time, had his biggest hit with LA DOLCE VITA, an exquisite meditation on personal morality, wealth and fame, societal decay, and the perpetual search for meaning.  Equal parts provocative and breathtaking, LA DOLCE VITA stands the test of time, remaining one of the most influential films in cinematic history more than 60 years after its debut. On February 8, 2022, Paramount Home Entertainment will release LA DOLCE VITA on Blu-ray for audiences to once again experience this compelling and engrossing masterpiece.  The release will include a brand-new introduction by renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who shares his thoughts on the film and its indelible impact on cinema. Both a critique of the culture of stardom and a look at the darkness beneath the seductive lifestyles of Rome’s rich, LA DOLCE VITA follows a notorious celebrity journalist over one crazy week.  Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée, and Yvonne Furneaux, the film is lauded for its complicated and rich story wrapped in extravagant visuals that have become as iconic as the film itself.

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook, exclusively at Best Buy 1/18
One of the most powerful psychological films ever made, Requiem For A Dream arrives January 18th on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook from Lionsgate, exclusively at Best Buy. From Academy Award®-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (2010, Best Director, Black Swan), the critically acclaimed film features cinematography by two-time Academy Award® nominee Matthew Libatique (2010, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Black Swan; 2018, Best Achievement in Cinematography, A Star is Born), music by Golden Globe nominee Clint Mansell (2006, Best Original Score, The Fountain), and stars Academy Award® winners Ellen Burstyn (1974, Best Actress, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Jared Leto (2013, Best Supporting Actor, Dallas Buyers Club), and Jennifer Connelly (2001, Best Supporting Actress, A Beautiful Mind), as well as Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie franchise, White Chicks). Featuring all new artwork from Vance Kelly, Requiem For A Dream will be available on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook at Best Buy.

 

THE SUPERDEEP - Available on VOD, Digital HD, DVD & Blu-ray 1/4/22
RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, has picked up select rights to THE SUPERDEEP from Shudder, AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural. THE SUPERDEEP will be available on January 4, 2022 on VOD, Digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray. Directed by Arseniy Sukhin (Lockout), written by Victor Bondaryuk (Deadly Still), and inspired by true events, THE SUPERDEEP stars Milena Radulovic (The Balkan Line), Nikita Dyuvbanov (Abigail), Kirill Kovbas (Ikariya), Vadim Demchog (Son of a Rich) and Sergey Ivanyuk (Z’olushka). In THE SUPERDEEP, the Russian Kola Superdeep Borehole is the largest drilling project in the world, attempting to drill as far as possible into the Earth’s crust. After reaching depths of nearly seven miles below the surface, unexplained sounds resembling the screams and moans of numerous people were reported and the borehole was shut down. But when a small team of scientists and military personnel set out to unearth the source of the strange sounds, they end up discovering the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced.

 

JOHN CARPENTER’S ESCAPE FROM L.A. arrives on 4K Ultra HD 2/22/22
Snake Plissken is back in the high-octane thrill-ride JOHN CARPENTER’S ESCAPE FROM L.A., arriving on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever February 22, 2022 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Released in 1996, JOHN CARPENTER’S ESCAPE FROM L.A. was the highly anticipated follow up to the fan-favorite hit Escape from New York.  Kurt Russell returns as anti-hero Snake Plissken, who is called upon to save the world from a doomsday device after a 9.6 quake levels most of Los Angeles. Experience every outrageous and eye-popping moment of the post-apocalyptic classic in stunning 4K Ultra HD, including Snake surfing Wilshire Blvd., shooting hoops at the Coliseum, and dive bombing the Happy Kingdom theme park.  The film also features a wild assortment of friends, fiends and foes from a supporting cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier, Stacy Keach, Cliff Robertson and Bruce Campbell. The 4K Ultra HD release features exceptional picture quality with Dolby Vision and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The disc also includes access to a Digital copy of the film and the original theatrical trailer.

December 5, 2021

CRY MACHO: The Energizer Bunny & the Chicken

CRY MACHO (Blu-ray Review)
2021 / 104 min

FROM WARNER BROS

Review by Stinky the Destroyer😼

#InPartnershipwithWB

Every time Clint Eastwood comes out with a new movie - whether he’s directing, starring, or both - I always wonder if it’ll be his last. The guy’s remained relevant my entire life (I won’t disclose how long that is). Surely, he’s bound to run out of gas eventually. But like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going.

Clint spends more time behind the camera these days, but when he does choose to act, he has the good sense to cast himself in roles reflective of his age. Once again, he’s doing double duty in Cry Macho, and if this one ends up being his last, at least he’s going out with quiet dignity.


The ‘macho’ of the title refers to the film's overall theme (the definition of which has probably changed for Eastwood himself over the years). At the behest of his former boss, Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam), retired & widowed ex-rodeo star Mike Milo (Eastwood) agrees to drive to Mexico and bring back Polk’s 13-year-old son, Rafael (Eduardo Minett). Living down there with his unloving, indifferent mother, Leta (Fernanda Urrejola), Rafael is involved in a variety of illegal activities he considers ‘macho,’ such as boosting cars and entering his rooster in cockfighting contests. 


This is essentially a road movie where, predictably, Mike and Rafael initially do not get along, but eventually form a close bond as they develop mutual respect. We learn much about their pasts after they become stranded in a small Mexican village. Rafael has been subjected to abuse by some of Leta’s various ‘uncles’ - most of whom are criminals themselves - while Mike eventually reveals he was a husband & father himself, but lost both in a car accident. During this time, they also befriend some of the locals and Mike teaches the kid how to ride a horse. Meanwhile, Leta wants her son back, sending henchmen to track the pair down. It turns out she and Howard are simply both using Rafael as a bargaining chip to get a financial advantage over the other.


An Oscar-worthy performance. Eastwood's pretty good, too.
Such external conflict, however,  is minimal and usually resolved in a scene or two. Cry Macho is mostly about the growth of its two main characters. As such, the film moves in fits and starts. Sometimes it’s engaging and sweet-natured, other times too languidly paced for its own good. Eastwood is suitably laconic, delivering an affecting, low-key performance, which adds a lot of charm to the romantic subplot between Mike and kindly restaurant owner Marta (Natalia Traven). Conversely, Minett is distractingly drab as Rafael, exacerbated by the abundant amount of screen time he shares with Eastwood. A few other ineffective supporting performances range from overwrought (Urrejola) to downright lazy (Yoakam).

By the way, ‘macho’ also refers to the name of Rafael’s rooster who comes along for the ride. Whether seated with them at a diner, riding shotgun with Clint or - in one instance - saving the day, Macho steals every scene he’s in. Chickens are inherently funny creatures and how he endears himself to Mike is quietly amusing.


Clint Eastwood’s glory days as both an actor and director are likely behind him, but he seems comfortable with that. While Cry Macho offers no real narrative surprises, watching him more-or-less play an extension of his own aging persona is fairly enjoyable. The pace and tone may be off-putting to some, but for those who’ve watched Clint evolve from iconic anti-hero to Hollywood’s elder statesman, it’s somewhat reassuring that he can still carry a film…even when being occasionally upstaged by a chicken.


EXTRA KIBBLES

FEATURETTES - “Back in the Saddle: The Making of Cry Macho”; “Macho and the Mustangs” 

DIGITAL COPY

December 4, 2021

WEREWOLVES WITHIN: A Hairy Whodunit

WEREWOLVES WITHIN (Blu-ray Review)
2020 / 96 min

FROM RLJ ENTERTAINMENT

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

Recently dumped by his girlfriend, congenial forest ranger Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) relocates to the small town of Beaverfield. On his very first day, he meets an interesting assortment of oddballs, as well as perky mail carrier Cecily Moore (Milana Vayntrub), who shows him around town and brings him up to speed on everyone’s eccentricities. They also appear a bit smitten with each other.

His second day, however, is more of a challenge. Someone is brutally killed. Worse yet, a snowstorm cuts off the entire town from the outside world. Wheeler and most of the characters we met during the first act converge in the local resort lodge. At first, everyone believes the murderer might be Emerson Flint (Glenn Fleshler), a gun-toting recluse who threatens anyone setting foot on his property. But it soon becomes apparent that one of them is a werewolf.


Apparently, juggling axes isn't Finn's forte.

As horror-comedies go, Werewolves Within ain’t bad. The characters and dialogue provide most of the humor, which is mildly amusing as opposed to laugh-out-loud funny, but at least isn’t heavy-handed or juvenile. The film is never particularly scary, but the whodunit aspects keep things interesting. We’re made to suspect almost everyone at one point or another. Not everyone is one they initially seem to be, which sets up a few genuine surprises during the climax, without any pesky red herrings crashing the party.


Anchored by earnest performances, a likable protagonist and a well-crafted story, Werewolves Within is unassumingly entertaining. It isn’t likely to resonate much once the end credits roll, but it’s certainly enjoyable in the moment.

December 2, 2021

MALIGNANT: James Wan Unchained

MALIGNANT (Blu-ray Review)
2021 / 111 min.

FROM WARNER BROS

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

#InPartnershipwithWB

If nothing else, director James Wan’s first horror film in several years is certainly audacious.

In Malignant, Annabelle Wallis plays Madison, who’s pregnant but miscarries after her abusive husband slams her against a wall. Later that night, he’s brutally murdered by a shadowiy figure that entered their house. With the help of her younger sister, Sydney (Maddie Hasson), she tries to put her life back together while coming to terms with losing another child (she has miscarried several times before). Concurrently, the shadow figure slaughters a few other victims, which Madison is able to visualize as they’re occurring. 


At first, I was briefly reminded of The Eyes of Laura Mars, which had a similar premise. But then, the film takes more than a few wild narrative turns, some of which would spoil the party if elaborated here. Of course, the police suspect Madison is the killer, especially after the investigation reveals her connection to the victims. As a child, Madison was a mental patient at a psychiatric hospital, sent there after her birth mother gave up custody. Learning why is one of the film’s gruesome surprises, but it has something to do with Madison’s nasty "imaginary friend," Gabriel, who’d coerce her into doing terrible things.


As you might have guessed, this scene was directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Presently, the shadowy killer appears to be Gabriel, who not only has the ability to manipulate electricity, but communicate with her through phones and radios. One needlessly stupid cop, Detective Moss (Michole Briana White) thinks she’s nuts, while the other, Detective Kekoa Shaw (George Young) learns the hard way that Gabriel - or at least someone claiming to be - is definitely real. Doing some investigating of her own, Sydney uncovers horrific information about Madison and Gabriel’s connection to each other, as well as the horrors she experienced as a child at the hands of the doctors charged with treating her.

Malignant has Wan throwing caution to the wind with a wild, fast-paced and unapologetically gory story that may not be as chilling or atmospheric as his more lauded horror films (i.e. Insidious, The Conjuring), but is a hell of a lot of fun. Considering Wan has lately been transitioning to other genres, one gets the impression that he’s trying to get what's left of those horror urges out of his system in one fell swoop. If that’s the case...well, mission accomplished. 


Punctuated by (mostly) solid performances and a cleverly-rendered antagonist, Malignant is no masterpiece, nor is it particularly scary (despite an abundance of familiar jump scares). However, the film is entertaining, uninhibited and culminates in a bonkers final act that - whether one finds it thrilling or ridiculous - is certainly memorable. 


EXTRA KIBBLES

MALIGNANT: JAMES WAN’S VISIONS - Pretty interesting 15 minute interview with director/co-writer James Wan and other cast & crew, as well as behind-the-scenes footage.

DIGITAL COPY

November 30, 2021

CREEPSHOW: SEASON 2: Good News & Bad News

CREEPSHOW: SEASON 2 (Blu-ray Review)
2020 / 230 min

FROM RLJE FILMS 

Review by Carl, the Coach Potato🙀

First, the bad news...Season Two of Creepshow consists of only five episodes and nine stories. Not only that, this set contains fewer bonus features, something that added a substantial amount of fun to Season 1’s 3-disc set (especially the guide to all the Easter Eggs).

However, the good news outweighs the bad. Season 2 doesn’t have as many episodes, but overall, it’s more entertainingly consistent. Every story not-only retains the comic book tone and aesthetic of the original film, they’re well-conceived and - as usual - cryptically funny. Even the technical aspects are generally an improvement. 


If forced to choose, I’d say the stand-out episodes are “The Right Snuff,” about an astronaut’s self-centered obsession with escaping his legendary father’s shadow (with a great surprise ending), “Pesticide,” a surreal tale of an unscrupulous exterminator’s descent into madness, and “Night of the Living Late Show,” where an inventor creates a VR machine that places the users right in the middle of any movie they wish; in this case, it’s the classic, Horror Express.


"Forget it, Harlan...it's my turn to drive."
All the stories are entertaining, with plenty of Easter eggs spread throughout for sharp-eyed horror fans. There are also clever narrative homages to the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, The Evil Dead and the original Creepshow, as well as its two creators (Stephen King & George A. Romero). The icing on the cake are the two Creepshow specials which streamed on Shudder, but not as part of the regular series. The indisputable highlight of the Animated Special is “Survivor Type,” based on King's most gruesome short story, while the Christmas Special features “Shapeshifters Anonymous,” which is as funny as it is bonkers.

And of course, it wouldn’t be Creepshow without The Creep to introduce each tale. He’s creatively rendered in a variety of styles, from puppetry to traditional & CG animation. All told, it’s another great batch of episodes. I only wish they'd make the seasons longer.


EXTRA KIBBLES

CREEPSHOW ANIMATED SPECIAL - “Survivor Type” & “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead”

CREEPSHOW CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - “Shapeshifters Anonymous.”

WONDERCON@HOME INTERVIEW - With writer/director/exec-producer Greg Nictotero. Includes clips.

HOW IT WAS MADE: “NIGHT OF THE LIVING LATE SHOW” - How actors were composited into the film, Horror Express.

BEHIND THE SOUND - Bare Knuckles’ Chris Nicholson discusses re-mixing the sound effects & music.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES RAW FOOTAGE - Runs about 5 minutes.

4 PHOTO GALLERIES

REVERSIBLE COVER

November 29, 2021

THE POOP SCOOP: Classics & New Classics

DUNE on Digital 12/3 and 4K, Blu-ray & DVD 1/11/22
Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive. Embark on a mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey when Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ Dune arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home on December 3. The critically acclaimed film was directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, based on the seminal bestselling novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert. Dune stars Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson), Oscar Isaac (the “Star Wars” franchise), Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa and Oscar winner Javier Bardem. The film will also be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on January 11.

Finally...the Cult Classic, ALLIGATOR, on 4K/Blu-ray 2/22/22 
From director Lewis Teague (Cujo) and screenwriter John Sayles (The Howling) comes an unstoppable thriller with bite. A family returning from Florida decides their pet baby alligator is too much to handle and flushes him down the toilet. Meanwhile, Slade Laboratories is conducting secret experiments with animals and disposing of them in the sewer. The alligator, fending for itself, begins to feed on the dead animals, and grows. Now, twelve years later, after several mysterious murders, David Madison (Robert Forster, Jackie Brown) is on the case to find out who ... or what ... is killing people. According to Scream Factory, 3-Disc Set will include a 4K Blu-ray and two Blu-rays. The 4K Blu-ray and first Blu-ray will both feature the original theatrical cut of the film and the additional Blu-ray disc will have the rare television version of the film with alternate scenes. A complete list of all special features and technical specs will be revealed as the street date approaches.

 

THE RED SHOES in 4K Coming 12/14
The Red Shoes, the singular fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is cinema's quintessential backstage drama, as well as one of the most glorious Technicolor feasts ever concocted for the screen. Moira Shearer is a rising star ballerina torn between an idealistic composer and a ruthless impresario intent on perfection. Featuring outstanding performances, blazingly beautiful cinematography by Jack Cardiff, Oscar-winning sets and music, and an unforgettable, hallucinatory central dance sequence, this beloved classic, dazzlingly restored, stands as an enthralling tribute to the life of the artist. FEATURES A 4K TRANSFER OF THE 2009 RESTORATION with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION; 4K/BLU-RAY COMBO; numerous supplemental features. 

 

Dario Argento’s PHENOMENA (aka “Creepers”) on 4K Blu-ray 3/8/22
Synapse Films, in conjunction with Arrow Films, brings one of Italian filmmaker Dario Argento's most shocking and fantastic films to 4K Blu-ray in the U.S. in a two-disc Limited Edition boxed set, which includes 2 cuts of the film, double-sided poster, lobby card replicas and a collector’s booklet! Released in the U.S. as Creepers by New Line Cinema, 1985's Phenomena has long been one of Argento's most discussed and debated films by fans and scholars. The young Jennifer Corvino (played by Oscar-winner, Jennifer Connelly) is sent to a private Swiss academy for girls where a vicious killer is on the loose. Jennifer has the unique ability to telepathically communicate with insects and an entomologist, Dr. John McGregor (Donald Pleasence, John Carpenter's Halloween; Escape from New York), enlists her help in locating the murderer. As the mystery unfolds, they find themselves in a bizarre murder plot with maggots, mutants and razor-wielding chimpanzee mayhem! Can Jennifer uncover the killer's identity before becoming a victim herself?

November 28, 2021

ADVENTURES IN THE BUDGET BIN: The Wicked Old Time Thief


Report by MR. BISCUITS🐈

I frequent my local Dollar Tree enough to realize that shopping there requires a different approach than visiting other stores. I understand that there will never be anything on those shelves I actually need, nothing that’ll improve my quality of life and certainly nothing worth waiting in line for.

Which means whenever there’s only one open checkstand, gridlocked with a line of other shoppers impatiently waiting on an underpaid teenage clerk to give a shit about expedience, I usually decide the bag of ‘Onyums’ in my hand ain’t worth it. I do make exceptions when my local Dollar Tree chooses to stock movies, which is infrequently. Even when they do, it’s often crap I’ve never heard of, random episodes of old TV shows or made-for-TV cheapies starring Dean Cain. 


Last time, however, I caught them on a good day, finding Blu-rays of
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek Generations. And wasn’t that a copy of Black Hawk Down tucked behind a Lindsay Lohan shitfest? Hell, yeah! All four were worth the Blu-ray upgrade, especially for a grand total of four bucks. I celebrated my good fortune by grabbing the Onyums I put back last time (maybe even the same bag, since I’m pretty sure I’m the only one buying them).

The check-out line didn’t seem too bad, at least until the elderly woman in front of me - with a cache of doo-dads, knick-knacks and trinkets - started unloading her shopping cart. She must have had 30 items, but that wasn’t what brought the line to a screeching halt. What ultimately forced everyone behind her - most importantly, me - to spend more time at Dollar Tree than the Surgeon General recommends is the fact she insisted that each item be rung-up separately, along with individual receipts.


“These are Christmas gifts,” she explained to the stonefaced clerk. “I want people to be able to return or exchange them.”


What. The. Actual. Fuck.


Has anyone ever actually needed one of these?

I’m not passing judgment on the lady’s decision to do her Christmas shopping here. If I had a large family, most of my in-laws would certainly be treated to the best Dollar Tree had to offer (meaning Onyums for all). But come on...who the fuck ever takes the time & trouble to return something to a dollar store? It ain’t like taking a Saint Laurent cardigan back to Sak’s Fifth Avenue so you can afford a luxury suite at the next Super Bowl.

The lucky recipients of this lady’s Christmas spirit would literally spend more on gas driving to Dollar Tree than the trinket is worth. They’d be better off throwing it away, using it as a clay pigeon, or better yet, regifting it back to her next year (along with the same receipt).


But more importantly, she wasn’t just burdening her friends and family...she was forcing me, the other customers and the hapless clerk - undoubtedly questioning her life choices - to put all of our lives on hold. She even had the nerve to use this time as a social opportunity, striking up casual banter with the clerk, slowing her progress to a crawl. After what felt like an eternity, the manager opened another register, but everyone behind me jumped there before I could react. Crafty bastards. I figured I might as well stay put. After all, how much longer could this take? 


That rhetorical question was answered. The lady insisted on bagging everything herself, carefully inspecting each purchase before trying to Tetris them into two bags.


“I’m walking with these,” she offered matter-of-factly. “The fewer bags, the better.”


Oh, by the way, did I mention she was maskless? So not only was this woman oblivious to how her actions were affecting others, she was a COVIDidiot.


Like the clerk, I was now questioning my own life choices, wondering if the four movies and bag o’ Onyums in my hand were worth the eons this lady has so-far stolen from my life. After all, I did already have them on DVD. But dammit, I just knew Black Hawk Down would look awesome on Blu-ray.

Ultimately, my quandary was solved when the manager waved me over to his checkstand. He quickly rang-up my purchases and sent me on my way while this Wicked Old Time Thief was still bagging her shit.


Look, I get it...learning basic public etiquette takes a supreme amount of cognitive effort. I mean, who hasn’t turned the simple act of achieving the posted speed limit into a long-term project? And of course, the middle of a grocery store aisle is the perfect place to stop and yack on your phone. After all, it’s everyone else’s job to put their lives on hold for you to bask in the smell of your own farts. 


But hey, nobody needs gift receipts from Dollar Tree, especially 30 of ‘em. Your friends and family will resent you for it, as will the strangers in the store who’ll be howling for your blood.