Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movie, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend.

This week features a cursed trust fund baby, Matt Damon in a killer fedora, a gawky video rental store employee trying to get the girl, and Hunter S. Thompson in lizard form.

BLOOD OF BEASTS (2003)

Watch Instead of: BEASTLY

The Pitch: Sure, you could watch Beauty and the Beast and jam out to Angela Lansbury as a singing tea pot. You could also check out the brilliant Jean Cocteau version of the classic tale from 1946. However, since Beastly is the modern-day retelling of the weird story of a beautiful girl falling in love with her murderous kidnapper, it’s only fitting to check out the pure ridiculousness of setting the story in Viking times. Because that makes sense.

It doesn’t have any recognizable names to it (unless you’re a huge Color of Night fan), but Jane March does an immensely passable job at playing a version of Belle that gets to kick a little ass, fire a few arrows, and change a misunderstood monster. Plus, the guy who played Jimmy Olsen on Lois and Clark is in it, and the DVD cover art totally rips off Lord of the Rings. At any rate, it’s better than the current offering.

How to See It: Requires a rental

BLADE RUNNER (1982)

Double Feature With: THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

The Pitch: Phillip K. Dick is getting a bit of a revival that started with Minority Report, rocked straight through Paycheck (which seemed appropriately titled based on the performances), and sees theaters again this weekend. In the spirit of the forthcoming sequel/prequel/uninspiredoutofideashavetogobacktothewellquel for Blade Runner, why not watch the original? It’s a damned fine movie, Harrison Ford delivers some stellar action-based paranoia, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young are both equally creepy, and it never tries to hide its genre roots. We all love Dick (go and shout that out in your front yard right now), so it’s good to see his work getting further adapted, but it’s also good to go back in time without a time machine to see the first adaptation of his work (and perhaps the best).

Also, feel free to pour one out for Total Recall while you’re at it.

How to See It: Watch Instantly

THE SURE THING (1985)

Double Feature With: TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT

The Pitch: For the pure experiment of it all, you should watch the 80s done in the 80s followed by what production designers, writers and directors think of the 80s here in 2011. Rob Reiner takes some of the beats of When Harry Met Sally and enrolls them in college. John Cusack plays John Cusack In the 80s trying to score with a girl who is definitely, absolutely, done deal going to put out (sexually). He just has to get across the country with a girl he can’t stand played by Daphne Zuniga (she doesn’t look Druish in this either). It’s a great, light comedy and it should be a solid reference point for how well Topher Grace and team understand the Decade of Shoulder Pads.

How to See It: Requires a rental

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1968)

Double Feature With: RANGO

The Pitch: A non-animated play on the classic trope of the stranger who comes to town and becomes sheriff during a time of crisis, James Garner brings some Maverick swagger to the role of a Western hero who fights outlaws with sarcasm and bullets (the bullets are slightly more effective). It’s a hilarious movie that parodies the same Western themes that Rango takes on, and does it all without a Hawaiian shirt.

Make it a triple feature with Blazing Saddles, and really go for the gusto by watching The Searchers before you start on the comedies. It’s not like you have anything else to do today. Or tomorrow.

How to See It: Requires a rental

Come back next Friday for more alternative box office tips


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