There’s nothing like the off season for justifying laziness. Snow flurries and spring showers, haphazardly intermixed with occasional days of sun, seem to give permission to anyone wanting to indulge in the couch-potato lifestyle.
And where there’s a couch potato, there’s someone in need of entertainment at the push of the button. Video and DVD rentals still top the list of low budget, low effort entertainment.
“I am a movie freak, that’s why I work here,” said Katie Kerns of Village Video in Edwards. “I used to have a real job, but now I do this. I started here because I wanted to watch every movie known to man.”
She hasn’t quite achieved that lofty goal, but she has made it through roughly 70 percent of Village Video’s inventory.
“I love the medium because it supports so many different kinds of creativity,” she explained. “The plot-driven movie, the action movie, and then something else like ‘Frida,’ which is so artistic. And then ‘Lost in Translation,’ which I’d argue is a character-driven relationship movie.”
A self-described “talker,” one of her favorite parts of her job is chatting to customers about what they want to watch, what they’ve just seen and what they should rent. Most people wander in and want to see whatever’s new, but “The Life of David Gale” has had strong numbers since last summer, she said.
“I don’t know if it’s coincidence with Kobe or not, but it’s about being accused of a crime and how a person deals with that,” she said.
Though movies play a big role in her life, she can’t recall the first one she saw. Vicki Bourassa of Blockbuster Video is fairly new to the business, but her first movie memory left an indelible impression.
“‘Flipper,'” she said. “My sister was working in a movie theater in Grand Junction and I was about five. I think he got shot or something, and we all cried.”
That cathartic effect is something many movie-goers look for, be it side-splitting laughter or shirt-drenching tears. It’s part of the reason “Titanic” was such a hit, why “Fletch” is still near and dear to so many.
“A lot of dramas and comedies go out the door here,” said Berriah Metts of Box Office Video.
Jeannie Robbins of Eagle Valley Music and Video prefers to think in terms of genres rather than specific movies. That’s due partly to how her shop is set up.
“We have a lot of the old ones like Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor,” she said. “We even have a Bette book, Bette Davis. We had so many we folded them flat and put them in a book. And in general, we have a lot of old westerns.”
Eagle Valley Music and Video has been in Crossroads for more than 20 years, and they began buying videos right away. They have roughly 8,000 titles in stock, almost all of them on VHS cassette.
She and her husband, Tom, like to watch movies together.
“We tend to forget the details after about 10 years,” said Robbins. “You remember they were good, but you just don’t remember what happened.”
For those who are skeptical about diving into the classics, she’s prepared to give advice but considers it a hands-on experience.
When pressed, Robbins did come up with several new titles she recommends, including “Open Range,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and “Seabiscuit.”
“‘Secondhand Lions,’ that was a great movie,” she said. “It’s a family movie. In the winter, we have a lot of families that are here skiing, and we need more movies like that.”
Kerns echoed her sentiment.
“It’s one of the few with a good story, with smart characters that you like,” she said. “And it’s rated PG, so it’s good for families.”
Other recommendations from Kerns include Nicole Kidman’s “Birthday Girl,” a thriller, and Adrien Brody’s “Dummy.”
“He secretly wants to be a ventriloquist – and I secretly have a crush on him,” she said, laughing. “It’s a good dysfunctional comedy.”
For those who don’t mind a few subtitles, the German flick “Nowhere in Africa” gets high marks from her.
“This family is fleeing Germany in 1938 and they end up in Africa,” she explained. “It’s about the relationship of the parents, and then the kids and how they’re dealing with it. Also the cinematography – seeing Africa in that era is beautiful.”
Metts prefers funny movies, and especially likes “Scary Movie” and “Scary Movie 2” because they make fun of other films.
“My all time favorite is a romance, ‘Somewhere in Time,’ with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour,” said Bourassa. “Its a neat old movie, about them going back in time together.”
She hasn’t seen it in quite a while, but it sticks with her. It was filmed right after Reeve made the Superman movies, and he wanted to bust out of the superhero typecast.
“It’s a good, sappy ole movie,” she said. “And ‘Love Actually’ I thought was great. Something everyone could watch, but you feel this great feeling of hope when it’s over.”
New releases hit video stores every Tuesday, while library titles are usually cheaper – and in stock.