Rockie's Vulcan Video Staff Picks #12
Rockie has 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 his recommendations have been shot down in flames, but the ones that hit always make it well worthwhile. For his Staff Picks, he has a few selections mined from the mighty Vulcan Video.
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011)
Actor Michael Rapaport came out of nowhere with an incredible documentary about one of the greatest Hip-Hop groups of all time. A Tribe Called Quest’s relevance to the music world is unfolded perfectly for anyone not in the know and does not skip on the dirt either. From breakups to makeups, all the joys and pains of making music are captured here with great detail. An absolute must see if you are a fan.
Talk about a creative gem in the played out zombie genre. In Pontypool, it’s an audio driven virus that causes people to turn, it actually makes language dangerous. Speak the wrong thing, you’re done for. Drawing its influence from the Orson Welles’ reading of War of the Worlds, here is a film that gets under your skin with wordplay. I’ve never seen anything like it frankly, and I will always have a special place in my heart for this brilliant spin on the zombie game.
An atom bomb of an animated feature. Check this premise: a priest learns about his sister's death, a pornstar named The Princess, and returns home to look after her 5-year-old daughter. Coupled with extreme guilt and a dash of blind rage, he goes on a brutal revenge streak in an effort to destroy all the pornography she made. Oh, and he still wears his priestly garb throughout all of this. Intense, graphic, and wholly original, Princess is a cartoon for adults that pulls zero punches.
My favorite summer blockbuster by a long shot because it’s so silly and yet looks absolutely stunning from front to back. Michael Bay can shoot an action picture and this is him going batshit with setups and great lighting. Deep Impact, released the same year, tried to go the dramatic route, but Bay said, "Fuck all that noise!", and made it fun with one huge dramatic beat in the film’s finale. As far as movies go, give me the dirty devils before the altruistic angels anyday. The concept is beyond stupid, but these characters are so loveable that you could care less that there are fireballs raging in space. Seek out the Criterion DVD and listen to that commentary. The internet is actually right about that one.
Class of 1984 (1982)
Director Mark L. Lester can go to the grave knowing he made the ultimate troubled youth film. Still a knockout all these years later, Class of 1984 has yet to be topped as far as punk kids ruining teachers' lives is concerned. It is well acted, well shot and balances extreme violence with its message perfectly. There is a scene in this film that always floors me with every revisit involving a punk student playing a piano flawlessly. That ray of hope in a bad kid shining through so much that it’s blinding. It all builds to a hardcore finale within the high school walls; Class of 1984 is timeless and should be checked off your must-see list.