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Film

Lonely Hearts Club Video: Best Night Ever

Posted by Drew / February 3, 2006

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Dealing with the skeletal remains of a hungover-y headache and an enormous lack of sleep, I wonder for the millionth time why I cannot just leave a party at the respectable hour of 2:00 am.

All of which means one thing: tonight I’m renting videos.

But after wandering the aisles of Parc Avenue’s Videotron for what feels like 87 minutes I have to admit to myself that I have pretty much viewed their entire selection and that includes my darkest hour of despair, when in a panic I rented Coyote Ugly (2000). That would have been forgotten but for the fact that the clerk was a friend of my friend’s friend and our social relations from the day on were strained and have remained so ever since. (FYI: Coyote Ugly is not the worst movie you will ever see.)

I head down to Park Avenue’s Blockbuster, a space I usually avoid, less for any high-minded battle against, you know, moral values, than for the harsh, oh so harsh lighting which I find dementedly bright and physically repulsive.

By the by, I note that while couples can do many sorts of things with dignity intact, visiting a video rental outlet and making a selection is not one of those things. Really, only one of you should go. Really.

Long story short: due to the ingenious alphabetization of the Blockbuster New Releases, I rent Office Space (1999: I know, no brainer) and, this is where the alphabetization comes in, Odd Girl Out (2005), the film that is sitting directly above Office Space.

Then, and here things get strange-y. I go to the counter and am treated to possibly the most friendly, helpful and efficient service in the history of the humankind. Seriously. I’ve heard that Blockbuster is down and out these days financially speaking; I had no idea it was due to the exorbitant $87/ hour wages it pays its employees. It may be a form of mental illness, but this young man seemed genuinely happy to be working at the ol’BB and genuinely happy to be helping me out with my rental evening—what the fuck! I was so blown away by this chap’s stellar performance I even bought a freaking Blockbuster Video Passport book. I digress, but really, it was astonishing…check it out for yourself—Saturday night, Blockbuster on Parc

I wouldn’t say I’m missing it…
So, I know I am not blowing anybody’s mind by suggesting that Office Space is a modern classic of sorts. Much has been said of this magnificent masterpiece, I will add this:

1. My favorite touch is the odd grassy knoll the office employees have to walk through on their way back from coffee. The hilarious juxtaposition of this “natural” touch and the men’s dorkish office outfits and out-of-shape gaits economically sums up the ridiculousness of all that weird industrio-service space that takes up a goodly portion of North American cities.
2. What the hell ever happened to David Herman? That guy’s aces.

But the surprise is Odd Girl Out. A huge fan of the 90s teen film, I love a movie that includes the slow-mo, three or four girl strut down the school corridor. I am quickly won over. But moreso, this made for TV movie (Lifetime TV for god’s sake!) is one of the best teen flicks I’ve seen since the late-90s golden age of 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Jawbreaker (1999) and Bring It On (2000).
This is high school as a deadly Byzantine power ritual and the stylized sets may go overboard in their brooding, blue-lit institutional-corporate-gothic look, but isn’t that how we all remember it?
The actors, real teenagers playing, you know, real teenagers, are all great; by turns awkward, giddy, confused and cruel in the particular way that only teenagers can be. Indeed, the film completely nails its milieu and the emotional landscapes of adolescence, which makes up for some super cheese-y choices in other areas (Lifetime TV for god’s sake!). It had a great “after school special” sort of feel that I was loving, found it comforting, too.

Adult office-worker purgatory, followed by teenage high school hell. Does it get any better than this? Nope. No, it doesn’t.

Discussion

3 Comments

j mac / February 7, 2006 at 12:42 pm
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Too true about the grassy knolls. Which seemed more like drainage ditches to me, but, yeah. It seems like the kind of thing Judge would have insisted upon keeping in, as opposed to something they stumbled upon while shooting, i.e., a necessary component of suburban office life.

My other not-actually-favourite-but-still-favourite part of that film is when they're partying in Peter's apartment and Samir pulls a sick breakdancing move just as the shot ends.

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