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

We know how it is: You’d like to go to the movies this weekend, but you still haven’t given up the search for WMDs in Iraq. But you can have a multiplex-like experience at home with a collection of the right DVDs. And when someone asks you on Monday, “Hey, did you see Green Zone this weekend?” you can reply, “No, I prefer my urban warfare when I can watch it from the safety of my sofa.”
INSTEAD OF: Green Zone, in which Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass reunite from the last two Jason Bourne movies to do more of the same running around, shooting at bad guys, and shouting in the search for WMDs in Iraq in 2003…

WATCH: The newly minted Oscar Best Picture, The Hurt Locker (2009), arguably the finest movie yet about Iraq, though it’s less about the war and more about what drives men to go to dangerous places, run around, shoot at bad guys, and shout. For another look at urban warfare like the kind Damon’s soldier engages in in Baghdad, see Enemy at the Gates (2001), in which Jude Law and Rachel Weisz are Russian fighters against the invading Germans in WWII’s siege of Stalingrad. Paul Greengrass’s best film may be the astonishing Bloody Sunday (2002), about the kind of urban warfare that occurs when British soldiers attack a civil rights march in Northern Ireland in 1972. For more of Matt Damon as a grunt, see him as the titular character in Saving Private Ryan (1998).

INSTEAD OF: Our Family Wedding, in which Carlos Mencia freaks out when his daughter, America Ferrera, announces that she intends to marry a black man (Lance Gross)… at the same time that Forest Whitaker freaks out when he learns his son intends to marry a Hispanic woman…

WATCH: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), the ultimate black-panic tale, back when it probably made a lot more sense, if of a sad sort, for white parents (Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) to freak out over their daughter’s choice of a black fiancé (Sidney Poitier). For more of panicking dads without the ethnic element, check out Father of the Bride (1950), in which Spencer Tracy’s parental unit (again!) moans and complains about the costs and agitta of his daughter’s (Elizabeth Taylor) wedding; or the 1991 remake, also called Father of the Bride, starring Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams, because 40 years later, fathers still hadn’t learned how to let their little girls grow up. For a wedding comedy that’s actually funny, see In and Out (1997), about Kevin Kline’s schoolteacher whose upcoming marriage is disrupted when he’s outed as gay… though he insists he isn’t.

INSTEAD OF: Remember Me, a story of young lovers (Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin) who overcome tragedy in their lives and move on together…

WATCH: Tristan & Isolde (2006), one of the classic stories of troubled young love; though somewhat Hollywoodized, James Franco and Sophia Myles create a touchingly believable couple onscreen. Or check out Before Sunrise (1995), in which Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are strangers on a Europe train whose entire relationship consists of one romantic night together exploring Vienna. If you need more mopey, moody Robert Pattinson, see How to Be (2008), in which he plays a directionless young musician who invites a self-help guru to help him. For more Emilie de Ravin, see the horrifying The Hills Have Eyes (2006): it’s not a romance, but she does get to wield an axe at a monster who deserves it.

INSTEAD OF: She’s Out of My League, in which dorky Jay Baruchel is stunned to find that hot babe Alice Eve actually wants to go out with him…

WATCH: The Girl Next Door (2004), in which dorky Emile Hirsch pursues his neighbor, Elisha Cuthbert, who happens to be a porn star. (Be sure you don’t end up with the 1999 movie of the same name, which is a quite sad documentary about an actual porn star.) If you want a dork-and-babe story with a classic sheen, you could try The Apartment (1960), that year’s Oscar-winning Best Picture, about a nebbishy office worker (Jack Lemmon) who lends out his pad to his superiors for trysts with their mistresses, one of whom (Shirley MacLaine) ends up hanging around. For another taste of raunchy genital-based humor such as League offers, see American Pie (1999), for the scene with the dessert that gave the movie its name. For a different comedic look at how men treat women differently based on their looks, check out Shallow Hal (2001), in which Jack Black doesn’t realize that his hot babe girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow) isn’t so “hot” after all.

Where to buy:
American Pie [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Apartment [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Before Sunrise [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Bloody Sunday [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Enemy at the Gates [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Father of the Bride (1950) [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Father of the Bride (1991) [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Girl Next Door [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Hills Have Eyes [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
How to Be [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Hurt Locker [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
In and Out [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Saving Private Ryan [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Shallow Hal [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Tristan and Isolde [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]

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Sat, Mar 13, 2010 9:31pm

But I saw Green Zone.

Sun, Mar 14, 2010 2:06pm

Still no review for ghost writer or 5000 days of summer? what are you waiting for?

Sun, Mar 14, 2010 5:32pm

To add to Kevin’s list… are you doing a review of The Last Station?

And wow – there really is nothing opening this weekend of interest, is there.