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Headless Icons and Gina Gershon

April 18, 2008 - Wes Burns
Interactive menus are not a viable “special feature” on a DVD. If the thing didn't have menus how would I be able to watch the movie? And what untold horror is the non-interactive menu? Some technological Greek tragedy where a DVD may have beautiful menus yet no man may make a selection? “Interactive menus” is the only special feature that I'm willing to rank even lower than the much reviled “production stills”.

My hatred for studio filler special features was at the forefront of my mind late on Tuesday night. As anyone who has worked retail video, been an avid movie fan, or suffered an extended period of unemployment can tell you stores stock new videos on Tuesdays. This was my reason for a late night excursion to the greater Wal-Mart area of Marshalltown. If you could live in the building I'm pretty sure the Wal-Mart would classify as a suburb.

I understand that there are a lot of arguments to be made against shopping at Wal-Mart. Corporate business pushing out the smaller industries, anti-union sentiment and questionable international relations. There are a lot of allegations, to which I have only three words: $5 DVDs. (the dollar sign counts as a word) I love the $5 DVD section. Without the $5 selections I would never have seen “Category 7: End of the World!” This is the unrequested sequel to the unseen “Category 6: Day of Destruction”; concluding where “Cat 6” left off, only this time the star is Gina Gershon.

For only $5 I can own a feature film with a budget of literally thousands of dollars AND it stars the girl from “Showgirls” that wasn't in “Saved by the Bell?” Thanks again Wal-Mart!

As of late I have become a bit disillusioned with the $5 DVDs as Wal-Mart has decided to stack them in racks as if they were regular, full price movies. For shame. Cheap DVDs, perhaps even more so than any product before, deserves to be in a bin. Just a large bin filled to the brim with sequels starring none of the original cast, USA Network original movies, and just about anything featuring teenage girls and their horses.

My repeated attempts to unearth the greatest of all cheap DVD movies continues (Series 7: The Contenders? Just maybe) to this day. In fact it was as a result of my passion for economical cinema that led me see a sight most unseemly at our local super center.

It seems that in their continuing march to idolize the man until his ascension to Mt. Olympus Subway has placed another round of cut outs of the man known as Jared. You know him, I know him, and apparently he used to be really fat then he ate some sandwiches. Great.

As I continually check for the finest in discount movies I see this cardboard likeness of the Patron Saint of the Six-Inch Turkey quite often. The week previous it was brought to my attention that some merry prankster had drawn a mustache on the slender icon. A bit of a tired move but funny all the same.

The real hilarity only started last week when I noticed management's reaction to the mustache fiasco. Rather than replace the cut out or even simply remove it all together the decision was made to simply obscure the face. Now the cut out exists only as the body of Jared holding his trademark “large pants” with his face callously jammed behind a pylon, removing it from public view.

I had no problem with a stop gap solution devised to deal with a nonsense issue; those are common place. The problem is with the execution of said plan. I marvel at what the Jared cut out has become; once a flat, vapid reminder that buying sandwiches is better than buying fried chicken has become this decapitated body holding what appears to be the lower half of a stranger, all with fresh bread baking in the background. I couldn't help but laugh.

With the Louis XVI of sandwich shops behind me I once again made my way to the cheap DVDs but could find nothing to quench my sudden thirst for a horror movie. Something along the lines of “Reanimator” or even “Highlander 2: Renegade Edition”. Perhaps next Tuesday.


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