Editor’s Note: This article was part of our April Fools 2010 project, in which our site was transported back to April 1, 1980. To see all of the retro articles written for this event, please visit our April Fools 2010 Homepage.

Rob Hunter loves movies. He also thinks the 80s are going to be the best decade ever in the world of film. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to rent more movies on VHS. So join us each week as he takes a look at new VHS releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth RENTing and which movies should be AVOIDed at all costs.

VIDEOS I’D RENT

Alien

Pitch: A spaceship crew discovers there are worse things to find inside eggs than beaks and bloody albumen…

Why Rent? Director Ridley Scott’s debut film, The Duellists, did not prepare us for this. Alien is a masterpiece of terror and claustrophobia, and Scott’s entry into the horror genre already marks him as a master with a long career ahead of him in the scare business. Sadly, it appears he may be moving on to more traditional science fiction next with his planned adaptation of Philip K Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” starring Dustin Hoffman. Sounds terrible doesn’t it? With any luck the deal will fall through and Scott can focus on what he obviously does best… pure horror.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? Yes

Dawn Of The Dead

Pitch: Mall-shopping has become a blood sport…

Why Rent? George Romero is no stranger to social commentary in the guise of horror. Night of the Living Dead mixed flesh-eating zombies with race relations, and he’s returned ten years later to highlight another aspect of human behavior… rampant consumerism. He’s also ramped up the visceral effect and bloody trail his undead leave in their wake. Trust me, you’ve never seen zombie carnage like this before. Intestines and other innards spill from body cavities like so much bloody pasta, and it is a thing of beauty.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? No

F.I.S.T.

Pitch: From the boxing ring to the picket line to the Academy Awards. Again…

Why Rent? I’m probably getting ahead of myself here, but Sylvester Stallone’s nomination for Best Actor in the film Rocky was not a fluke. F.I.S.T. continues his rise to the upper echelon of actors, and I predict he’ll be walking the red carpet again soon. Stallone stars as a man who joins the Teamsters in the early thirties and finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a shady and corrupt system. Peter Boyle and Rod Steiger also star in this eye-opening drama.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? No

The Lord of the Rings

Pitch: Dwarfs, elves, wizards, and hobbits embark on a grand quest to Mount Doom. And no one asks the giant eagles to just fly them there…

Why Rent? This is the best possible representation of JRR Tolkien’s world and possibly the most epic fantasy film we’ll ever get to see. There are certain things that can only be brought to life via animation (although rumors are next year’s Dragonslayer raises the bar on fantasy films even further). Middle Earth is a completely new world though, one that no actor could ever inhabit, but one look at the beauty and majesty inherent in Ralph Bakshi’s masterful interpretation of Tolkien’s work and you’ll feel like you’re actually there.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? Yes

Love At First Bite

Pitch: Please tell me this vampire trend in movies will die soon…

Why Rent? So if I don’t like vampires why am I recommending this movie? Simple. George Hamilton is a comedic genius. His take on the Dracula legend is hilarious as the Count is brought to modern day New York City in search of his bride-to-be. His charm, wit, and perfect comedic timing makes you forget you’re watching another damn movie about vampires. The future of comedy is in good hands if Hamilton continues on this path, and early word about his follow up film is encouraging… he’ll be bringing his talents and machismo to the story of Zorro.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? No

Superman

Pitch: Just may be the first and last time you’ll see a comic book character’s penis on the big screen…

Why Rent? The world’s greatest superhero comes to life in Richard Donner’s action-packed movie that hits all the right buttons. Fantastic effects, engaging story, sexy female lead, and an incredible story all come together in what I can only hope is the first of many Superman films. In fact, hopefully the success of the movie leads to more superheroes on the big screen. Can you imagine seeing two superhero movies in the same year?!?

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? Yes

The Warriors

Pitch: These warriors come out to play. On your face…

Why Rent? Prepare yourself for a stunningly accurate portrait of inner city gang life. Brian Salisbury would have you catch this at the drive-in, but I suggest actually watching it instead of just making out. Walter Hill’s film follows a group of urban thugs as they make their way through the enemy territory of several other gang’s hoods. It puts a face to the punks who walk the streets at night in their leather vests and baseball uniforms threatening bystanders for their wallets and dignity. And keep an eye on the break-out performance by bad guy David Patrick Kelly. I guarantee he’ll haunt the landscape of your dreams for years to come.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? Yes

VIDEOS I’D AVOID

1941

Pitch: A year that will live in mediocrity…

Why Avoid? Steven Spielberg had seemed like someone with obvious talent to spare after the sheer perfection of Jaws and undeniable beauty of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so it’s anyone’s guess what the hell happened here. My guess is Spielberg does best when he works on a relatively limited budget, so hopefully no studio will ever hand him the keys to the vault. A big budget has resulted in a bloated and unfunny “comedy” about a small town reacting to rumors of an impending Japanese invasion. Not even John Belushi can save this mess, and odds are he’s still drowning his embarrassment over the film in a bowlful of cocaine.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? Yes

The Concorde: Airport ’79

Pitch: A sleeker, faster, British disaster film doesn’t necessarily make for a better one…

Why Avoid? Disaster flicks have to have run their course by this point. How many more times can we ride along with a group of disparate and desperate people as they face possible death at 40,000 feet? Someone really needs to make fun of this overdone genre with a spoof or parody of some sort. Nuclear bombs, aerial disasters, George Kennedy, and the French military? Hmm, maybe the spoofs have already started.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? No

The Deer Hunter

Pitch: Diddy mao. Diddy mao. Diddy mao!! Okay, your turn…

Why Avoid? When will Hollywood learn that people don’t want to see films about damaged veterans of war? Treat these men like the heroes they are dammit! At least this time the film has the decency to toss some incredibly talented actors into the mix. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, Meryl Streep, and George Dzundza are all names you’ll be seeing for the next few decades. It’s just a shame they’re all collected here in the service of a bleak, depressing, and offensive film.

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? Yes

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Pitch: In space, no one wants to watch TV characters…

Why Avoid? So a show no one watched was given another chance at finding an audience, and once again it’s been rejected. The response to this boring and pointless undertaking will surely be the end of the franchise. Terrible space effects, bland characters, and a glacier-like pace all make for a forgettable exercise. Can we consider this franchise officially dead now? Please?

Betamax? No

Laserdisc? Yes

What videos are you renting this week? Do you rent your VCR or own it?


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