We know how it is: You’d like to go to the movies this weekend, but you can’t remember where you hid all those Easter eggs and you’ve gotten find ’em before they start to stink. But you can have a multiplex-like experience from the comfort of your own sofa with a collection of the right DVDs. And when someone asks you on Monday, “Hey, did you see Clash of the Titans this weekend?” you can reply, “No, I took a few other magical mystery tours through the ancient world instead.”
INSTEAD OF: Clash of the Titans, the reboot of the 1981 classic of cheese about the adventures of Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson)…
WATCH: Hercules (1997), the animated Disney riff on the gods of old (and on Disney’s own merchandising efforts, which are being mirrored for this new Titans, too). Or go for a true classic with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), the first of the Sinbad fantasies FX master Ray Harryhausen worked on (his stop-motion technique for creating fantastical creatures was last used on the 1981 Titans). If you like your ancient drama serious (so serious it’s turgid, in fact, just like the new Titans), you can’t go wrong with Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004), in which Colin Farrell’s boy warrior-king pouts his way across Asia. For ancient fun, don’t miss the wonderfully goofy The Scorpion King (2002), starring The Rock as a bad-ass but snarky mercenary hired to kill a sorcerer.
INSTEAD OF: The Last Song, in which Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth fall in the most perfect love ever, until it ends tragically, or something else that Nicholas Sparks (who wrote the novel upon which this is based) considers appropriately sentimental and weepie…
WATCH: Miley Cyrus as a barely disguised version of herself as well as her pop star alter ego in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009), in which no one, apparently, can tell that the brunette Miley and the blond Hannah are the same girl. Just as Miley’s Song character is sent away to live with her father (Greg Kinnear) for a summer, so is Hayden Christensen’s rebellious teen forced to contend with his estranged father (Kevin Kline) in Life as a House (2001). For more pop-star doomed romance fantasy that induces sighs in 13-year-old girl, check out A Walk to Remember (2002) — also based on a Sparks novel — in which bookish Mandy Moore and bad boy Shane West blah blah blah. For a more solemn (but ultimately just as ridiculous) exploration of young love, see Crazy/Beautiful (2001), for the poor boy-rich girl pairing of Jay Hernandez and Kirsten Dunst as the doomed couple.
INSTEAD OF: Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too, the latest grabbag of over-the-top melodrama and juvenile comedy — with just a touch of preaching of the actual religious type thrown in — about a group of couples facing marital issues as they vacation together…
WATCH: Almost any Tyler Perry film will do, if all you need is that grabbag, but why not start with Why Did I Get Married? (2007), which is about the same couples having the same problems they’re still having in the sequel. For a honeymoon with a couple doomed to soon be asking why they got married, see — if you can bear it — Just Married (2003) in which Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy are two idiots abroad and in love… but only with fantasies of each other, not the real person their spouse actually is. For more vacation shenanigans and less romantic angst, see Club Paradise (1986), in which Robin Williams opens a tropical resort and comic misadventures — some of the sex-chasing variety — ensue. For a genuinely funny midlife-crisis, can-this-marriage-be-saved comedy, don’t miss City Slickers (1991), in which Billy Crystal and fellow New York pals head to cattle country for horseback adventure and to reconsider their relationships with their wives.
Where to buy:
Alexander [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
City Slickers [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Club Paradise [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Crazy/Beautiful [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Hannah Montana: The Movie [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Hercules [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Just Married [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Life as a House [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Scorpion King [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.]
A Walk to Remember [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Why Did I Get Married? [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.]