June 12: DVD alternatives to this weekend’s multiplex offerings

We all know how it is. You’d like to get out to see a new movie this weekend, but you’ve been stuck on a hijacked subway train too many times to find any cinematic amusement in that scenario. But you can have something close to that blockbuster experience at home with the proper application of DVDs. In fact, you might even be able to one-up everyone else at the watercooler come Monday, because while they’re saying, “Hey, did you see that remake The Taking of Pelham 123?” you can respond, “No, I saw the classic movie that was the real inspiration for it.”
INSTEAD OF: Imagine That, in which Eddie Murphy discovers how to be a better corporate employee by spending more time with his cute little daughter and indulging her imagination…

WATCH: Bedtime Stories, featuring the fantasies of little children springing to life and harassing Adam Sandler, which teaches him how to be a better Adam Sandler. For another look at a rare cinematic pairup of a father and his young daughter, try Nicolas Cage in The Weather Man, a more morose take on the relationship. For another spunky, persistent little girl, check out Little Miss Sunshine, one of the best portraits of adorably aggressive preteen femininity. For one of the best movies about the power of imagination, don’t miss Bridge to Terabithia, in which the friendship of two young teens is bolstered by their shared storytelling.

INSTEAD OF: The Taking of Pelham 123, in which John Travolta demands ten meeellion dollars in exchange for the New York City subway car and its passengers he’s captured…

WATCH: The 1974 original, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which answers the question, “How is Walter Matthau like Denzel Washington?” If you need another felonious subway fix, you could watch Woody Harrelson try to steal all fare takings in Money Train. If you think hijacking a subway train is setting one’s sights too low, try Air Force One, in which the president’s plane is taken over by terrorists. Or just go straight to the most direct inspiration for director Tony Scott and watch Die Hard for Alan Rickman’s heist of a Los Angeles office tower.

INSTEAD OF: Away We Go, Sam Mendes’ charming dramedy about a happy couple — played by Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski — facing a crisis when they discover they’re going to have a baby…

WATCH: For baby-causing consternation, Juno is a sweet treat. Or check out Mendes’ last film, Revolutionary Road, for a look at a couple (Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio) who are decidedly not happy. But try finding a movie about a happy couple, and you’ll be confounded: perhaps the closest we can get is with Jerry Maguire, which features more ups and downs for Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger than Away We Go’s lovers even deal with, but which at least approximates the same kind of enduring love by its ending.

INSTEAD OF: Moon, in which Sam Rockwell’s solitary astronaut mans an isolated mining outpost on that airless rock and maybe starts to go a little crazy…

WATCH: 2001: A Space Odyssey, for a similar psychological adventure for a lonely spaceman. The recent remake of Solaris puts George Clooney in a position to question his sanity, too. Thematically and narratively it’s very different, but Primer is another excellent example of low-budget science fiction. If you’re all about Sam Rockwell, don’t miss Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which he plays Gong Show host and secret CIA assassin Chuck Barris — sanity may be an issue here, too.

Where to buy:

Air Force One [Region 1] [Region 2]
Bedtime Stories [Region 1] [Region 2]
Bridge to Terabithia [Region 1] [Region 2]
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind [Region 1] [Region 2]
Die Hard [Region 1] [Region 2]
Jerry Maguire [Region 1] [Region 2]
Juno [Region 1] [Region 2]
Little Miss Sunshine [Region 1] [Region 2]
Money Train [Region 1] [Region 2]
Primer [Region 1] [Region 2]
Revolutionary Road [Region 1] [Region 2]
Solaris [Region 1] [Region 2]
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three [Region 1]
2001: A Space Odyssey [Region 1] [Region 2]
The Weather Man [Region 1] [Region 2]

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