Rockie’s Vulcan Video Staff Picks
I've been working at one of the last video stores standing, Vulcan Video in Austin, TX, for nearly a decade. The best part about working there is being able to share a recommendation with a customer. Sure, some of my recommendations have been shot down in flames, but the ones that hit always make it well worthwhile. Here are a few selections I've mined from the mighty Vulcan Video.
Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972)
My personal favorite Werner Herzog film. Here, both chasing the impossible and smashing into brick walls is the name of the game, figuratively. Klaus Kinski is a nuclear bomb, giving one of cinema's greatest performances. Kinski builds up the madness right up until the final shot, making this a total nightmare in the best way possible. Considering the well-known, behind-the-scenes battles between Herzog and Kinski, it's a miracle that Aguirre, Wrath of God exudes the director's voice loud and clear.
The films isn't available on any major streaming service. But it does have a Blu-ray release.
The Amazing Screw-On Head (2006)
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola's art animated into a TV pilot with a killer voice cast consisting of Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce and Molly Shannon? Sign me up! Although some of the animation is rough, the dry and very spastic sense of humor will charm you over. My biggest complaint is there's only this short 22-minute pilot to enjoy. Unfortunately, the TV show, which is based off Mignola's one-shot comic inspired by his obsession with action figures, didn't get a full season order. Seek The Amazing Screw-On Head out if you need a Mignola fix.
The TV pilot isn't available on any streaming service, but you can pick up a used DVD for cheap.
The Rock (1996)
How fun is this damn thing? Director Michael Bay just going bananas teaming Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery together in this fun summer blockbuster. I feel this film is the true introduction of the monster that is Michael Bay. A monster who has so many well-placed camera set-ups in his set pieces (and yes, with Armageddon he goes even nuttier) that you can't deny the craft. The color palette is gorgeous; something Bay strives at with his later films. The Rock is a reliably cool bit of popcorn cinema that I return to consistently. Also, I will always appreciate a movie that literally melts a man's face off within the first ten minutes.
The Rock isn't available on any streaming service, currently. You should own the Blu-ray anyway.
Muriel's Wedding (1994)
A perfect story about finding a true friend to comfort you in a crappy town, or an even crappier world. This was my first time seeing Toni Collette in a film and I've loved her since. A film that has the power to flow from a whimsical comedy to a dead-serious drama with ease and grace. It builds to an amazing, well-earned ending that is guaranteed to make you ugly cry. Muriel's Wedding will reaffirm your love for cinema, and maybe even life.
Police Story (1985)
I was bouncing off the walls when I first saw Police Story. This will help you reach Hard Boiled-levels of intoxication. The genius stunt work by director and star Jackie Chan inspired years of American action cinema imitators. Also, its premise was ripped off soon after its release (Tango & Cash). Chan showcases his brilliant slapstick comedy amongst the genius action sequences. The end credits outtakes montage will make you wince and be dazzled by the insanity all at once. Police Story is one for the ages; a mandatory viewing for action nuts.
Police Story isn't on any streaming service at the moment. But you can put down some money for a Police Story / Police Story II double feature.
Of course, you can rent these at your local video store, if you're so lucky!