Seen on DVD: Almost Famous, Inland Empire, Love and Death

Traditional romantic comedies have never been a reflection of my relationship reality, which is why I’m grateful for 1991’s Addams Family. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston have a joyous chemistry in this film. Their Gomez and Morticia are a little left of quirky, whimsically macabre, but full of passion and love. They are a couple that finds joy in simply being together.  For my husband and me, it’s the ideal date movie.

Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous is a solid movie. It boasts stellar performances all around, with Jason Lee and Kate Hudson doing some of their best work. But I’m personally grateful for this movie because of one line of dialog. Hudson’s Penny Lane tells Patrick Fugit’s William Miller to “Just write.” Whenever I’m overthinking a project, I hear that line in my head. And I just write.  

  • The Addams Family (USA) 1991, Paramount
  • List Price: $14.98
  • Almost Famous (USA) 2000, Columbia Pictures
  • List Price: $12.99

David Lynch films are like a found box of assorted jigsaw pieces. Yet somehow these pieces wedge together into one grand, disturbing vision. Inland Empire is a dizzying Hollywood mystery of actresses, hookers, a pet monkey, and rabbit people! DVD bonuses include a brooding bit of noir with Lynch illuminating the fine art of cooking quinoa.

The Treasures of Long Gone John is a frenetic look at legendary “anti-mogul” Long Gone John, high school dropout, thief, one-man record label and toy producer. A lifelong outcast and collector of curious things, he became a significant art collector, started a record label in his living room, and discovered the White Stripes. The film moves fast with amazing art, interviews, and an awesome soundtrack. Featured is a tour through John’s home filled with a jaw-dropping hoard of art, curios, creepy dolls, records, and toys. It’s a housekeeper’s nightmare, but — wow — I want that stuff!

  • Inland Empire (USA) 2007, Absurda/Rhino
  • List price: $29.98 (two discs)
  • The Treasures of Long Gone John (USA) 2006, S’More Entertainment
  • List price: $19.98

I’m grateful for Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, probably my all-time favorite horror/humor movie. I loved how the juxtaposition of the Universal monsters worked so well with Bud and Lou. Each element stayed true to themselves: the monsters were scary and menacing and the boys were goofy and funny! I’m grateful that I originally saw Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein as a child. I loved monsters and comedy and this movie was an influence on my sensibilities.

I was in college when Woody Allen's Love and Death was released, and I went to see it out of curiosity of how a movie with such a somber title could be hailed as a comedy. I learned, much to my delight! Played straight, with plenty of literary and cinematic allusions, puns, absurd situations, and a wonderful soundtrack. Love and Death was an approach to comedy I found refreshing. Looking back, I can see the influence it had on my own work.

  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (USA) 1948, Universal
  • List price: $19.98
  • Love and Death (USA) 1975, MGM
  • List price: $29.99

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"Batton Lash." Best name since Geddy Lee.

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