September 15, 2020

ADVENTURES IN THE BUDGET BIN: The Palm Springs of Washington

Reported by Mr. Biscuits🐈

It’s a small world after all. 

It was slim pickings during my weekly stop at Big Lots the other day, but I did manage to nab an Oscar winner, a stone cold classic and a delirious dumpster fire. When I got to the check-out counter, the young clerk noticed my Full Metal Jacket t-shirt and said her best friend was the granddaughter of R. Lee Ermey, whom she met a few times. To any of you asking “Who’s R, Lee Ermey?”: You can just turn-in your cinephile card right now. 

She went on to explain that she grew up in Yakima, Washington, which is Ermey’s hometown. It’s also where I had the misfortune of living for over a decade. Euphemistically nicknamed ``The Palm Springs of Washington,” Yakima is a thoroughly unpleasant town...nasty winters, scorching summers, apples, cows and, since it squats in the middle of the state between Seattle and Spokane, a transfer point for lotsa drugs. Maybe it has changed since then, but I escaped 25 years ago and don’t ever plan to return for a trip down memory lane. To paraphrase Gunnery Sgt. Hartman himself, only two things come from Yakima...cattle and crack.

The young clerk said Ermey was a very nice man - contrary to his indelible image  - and we talked a bit about his movies while she rang up my purchases. Afterwards, I congratulated her for escaping Yakima alive (even if it was to work at a Big Lots store). She nodded with a knowing chuckle. I guess things haven’t changed all that much. 

Anyway, on this trip I found a copy of
Platoon ($5.00), made before director Oliver Stone fell in love with the smell of his own farts. Though it’s a tad overpraised - to say nothing of heavy-handed - it certainly deserved to beat the other contenders for Best Picture at the Oscars that year (in general, 1986 wasn’t a banner year for movies). Platoon also has the distinction of being the first and only time we ever took Charlie Sheen’s career seriously. 

Then I found a true treasure: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ($5.00). Sure, I already had two versions of the film on DVD, but’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on Blu-ray. I even considered buying two copies because it’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the greatest western of all time and anyone who disagrees can suck my cat’s fuzzy balls. My only beef is that it’s the Extended Cut, with inconsequential scenes restored, characters re-dubbed by noticeably-older Clint Eastwod and Eli Wallach, as well as some loser doing a piss poor Lee Van Cleef impression. Still, it’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and if it isn’t already part of your collection, you don’t have a collection.  

Finally, there’s Tim Burton’s jungle-rot remake of
Planet of the Apes ($5.00). While Burton should be commended to attempting something outside of his darkly-whimsical comfort zone, this film confirms he doesn’t have it in him. And fuck that ending. I have yet to hear or read any explanation that makes a lick o’ sense. But for five bucks, I’m willing to take another swing at it. Then again, Burton himself has previously said the ending wasn’t supposed to make any sense. Well, Tim...mission accomplished. You asshole.

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