Saturday, January 14, 2012
The King is Staying Alive
There's a video store near my house called Movies & More. Maybe the "more" is what's keeping it afloat, since most walk-in video stores are having a really hard time these days.
I've never been inside, but I walk by it when I go grocery shopping at the supermarket nearest my house.
In the front window there are six posters. Four flank the door, two on each side, and two are above door level, one each above the two pairs of lower posters.
Four of those posters you would expect. Two have no business being there whatsoever.
The four lower posters, right now, are Abuction, Conan the Barbarian, Final Destination 5 and Dolpin Tale. All movies that hit theaters in August or September, all movies that must have hit video in the past week or two. All movies you would expect to see there.
The two upper posters?
The King and Stay Alive.
The King was released in U.S. theaters on May 5, 2005. Stay Alive was released in U.S. theaters on March 24, 2006.
They say that the video store is a relic of yesteryear, but this is ridiculous.
The King is a title I vaguely remember. It probably caught my attention because it stars Gael Garcia Bernal. I now discover it was also directed by James Marsh, who has since gained a reputation as a successful documentarian (Man on Wire, Project Nim).
Stay Alive I remember as an anonymous slasher movie.
What in God's name either of these posters is still doing in the window of a video store is beyond me.
Why is Stay Alive still stayin' alive? Why is The King still king?
The only possible explanations I can imagine are:
1) The creative teams involved in these films have a personal relationship with the store's owners.
2) Being the two upper posters, they are somehow too difficult to reach.
The really funny thing to me is, it could be a case of false advertising. One of the knocks against brick-and-mortar video stores is that they have a finite amount of shelf space. As such, they must make decisions about what to stock and what not to stock based on potential profit. I remember one of my complaints about Blockbuster in the dwindling days of its dominance is that it stopped stocking even some titles that I thought would be slam dunks -- the specific example I wrote about at the time was The Full Monty. The explanation I got? "If it doesn't rent once in a year's time, we stop stocking it."
This may not be such an issue for the mom-and-pops, who don't have to devote an entire wall to copies of Transformers 3 when it comes out on video. But let's say they do follow the same guidelines. How many times could The King and Stay Alive possibly get rented in a year? Well, maybe more than otherwise since the damn posters are still up. But even then, it can't be much. What if I walked into that store and couldn't actually get either of those movies?
But as I said, I've never walked into that store. I probably should support the neighborhood video store, just because video stores are an institution I would not like to see vanish from the face of the earth. And by sticking with the giants (Netflix, Redbox), I am surely contributing to their demise.
What a shame that the most compelling reason for me to go inside that store is to scream:
"WHY THE HELL DO YOU HAVE POSTERS FOR TWO RANDOM MOVIES THAT ARE FIVE YEARS OLD IN YOUR WINDOW?"