April 8, 2021


Reported by Mr. Biscuits🐈

My local Big Lots store sucks. It used to be a pretty cool place because they carried plenty of my favorite impulse buys: scented candles and budget-priced Blu-rays. But now practically half the store is housewares, the other half is seasonal stuff like yard accessories and holiday decorations. It seems like they start hauling out Christmas trees, string lights and inflatable snowmen earlier every year. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas as much as the next guy, but can at-least we get the fucking 4th of July out of the way?

The store near my house doesn’t carry many movies anymore. It used to be that I’d always find something that - even if not quite classic - was at-least worth throwing in the cart with the solar-lighted bird-bath my wife just had to own. What few flicks they carry right now is the same shit that’s been sitting there for over a month, almost as if they’re saying, “Sure, Dave, we’ll restock the shelf...after you buy some of these Steven Seagal flicks no one wants. If nothing else, they make great coasters.”

Yeah? Well, fuck you, Big Lots. I ain’t falling for your trickery. No Steven Seagal movie is worth three bucks and I already made a nice set of coasters from my Zack Snyder collection.

But again, this is just the Big Lots near my house. The one closer to town is a lot better, at least on the day my wife and I happened to be driving by and I insisted we stop. The big steal was a Blu-ray copy of
The Ruins ($3.00), a nasty little horror gem no one really talks about. On paper, the premise sounds utterly stupid: Four vacationing college kids who wander into the South American jungle and run-across ravenous, invasive killer plants. But it’s suspenseful, smartly-written and features above-average performances for a horror film. After a relatively dull first act, things get really bleak and disturbing, with some scenes of body-horror - and outstanding gore effects - that are absolutely butt-puckering. Great stuff!

The same stop yielded Patriot Games & Clear and Present Danger ($5.00 each), the second and third films in the Jack Ryan series when Harrison Ford took over the role. Neither film holds a candle to The Hunt for Red October and Alec Baldwin was a more convincing Jack Ryan...so was Ben Affleck, for that matter. That ain’t a knock on Ford, either. A few pooches like Cowboys vs. Aliens notwithstanding, I’ve always enjoyed his movies and these are no exception. But when it comes to action, Ford pretty-much always plays the same guy...an earnest, determined, righteous hero who always looks like a man without a plan. While there’s nothing wrong with that, what made Jack Ryan endearing in Red October and The Sum of All Fears was that he never felt comfortable as a man of action. Here, Ryan always seems ready to kick-ass. Of these two films, Clear and Present Danger is the better one because at-least the story shares some of Red October’s complexities. 

On the way home, we made our weekly stop at 7-Eleven to buy lottery tickets for investment purposes, where I nabbed a Blu-ray copy of
Lights Out ($3.99). Some of you might recall this one, adapted from a scary-as-fuck one-minute short that went viral a few years back and opened doors for its director, David F. Sandberg. For his feature debut, he takes the same concept and pads it out to 80 minutes. Like adding water to Jack Daniels, the horror is diluted, but Sandberg displays enough visual flair to justify why he was later tapped to direct Annabelle: Creation and Shazam!

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