We all know how it is. You’d like to get out to see a new movie this weekend, but frankly, after how you’re planning to party on Friday night, you’ll be as hung over as the guys in that new Vegas movie on Saturday night and in no shape to go out. But you can have something close to that blockbuster experience at home with the proper application of rental 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 The Hangover?” you can respond, “No, I saw an even better movie about a bachelor party gone wrong instead.”
INSTEAD OF: The Hangover, in which three groomsmen lose their memories — and the groom — on the eve of his wedding after their stag night in Sin City goes bad…
RENT: Very Bad Things, Peter Berg’s 1998 black comedy about a bachelor party gone really wrong, and then Christian Slater makes it even wronger. I cannot stress this enough: It’s sort of adorable how The Hangover thinks it’s naughty — it’s just like how a toddler shouts “poopy!” because it thinks it can get some attention that way. Berg’s beautifully ugly movie is the movie The Hangover doesn’t dare be, as much as it pretends to. Or you don’t want dark, flip right over to the other side of the wedding and join Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker for 1992’s Honeymoon in Vegas.
INSTEAD OF: My Life in Ruins, in which American Nia Vardalos journeys to Greece in the hopes of finding her mojo, or kefi…
RENT: Shirley Valentine, the 1989 comedy in which a disaffected housewife (Pauline Collins) takes off on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Greece and rediscovers herself. It’s a far more feminist take on the same story. Or, if you must, revisit Vardalos’ breakout hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding, from 2002, for a reminder of why we fell in love with her in the first place, and why this outing is so disappointing.
INSTEAD OF: Land of the Lost, which takes the broadest tropes of the crafty sci-fi kiddie show from the 1970s and throws Will Ferrell against them, hoping he’ll stick…
RENT: Land of the Lost: The Complete Series, just out on DVD. Whether your fond memories of getting your mind blown as an eight-year-old are reinforced or trashed, it cannot possibly be more unsatisfying than the new movie is. If you need a Will Ferrell-as-a-childish-moron fix, he’s at his juvenile best in last year’s Step Brothers. If you need a dinosaur fix, you can never go wrong with 1993’s Jurassic Park, still the best cinematic lesson in extinct megafauna ever.
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