Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner And A Movie.

Lena Dunham was on The Tonight Show and she and Jimmy Fallon talked about how they both used to work in video stores. I loved this because I too, once worked in a video store. 
It's a shame that future generations of kids won't have the chance to work in video stores. 
It's good for you. 

My Aunt and Uncle used to own a video store on this little island on Florida's Gulf Coast. There was actually another video store on the island as well, but that one was run by a guy who left the store locked with a sign on the door that said, "I'm at the bar. If you want to rent something, come get me." 
So my family's store was pretty busy all the time.

When my uncle had a heart attack, I went down to help out for a few months. I probably learned more about movies working there than I did in film school. I watched a LOT of movies. I watched three a shift on the big screen at the front of the store, and then brought home a stack of foreign and independent films at night. I watched so many movies I started to want to rearrange the store by different categories, like:
"Movies with good soundtracks" 
"Movies about food"

I really wanted to categorize movies by what kind of food you might be eating before, after, or during the film. When I'd watch movies at night by myself I'd point to the screen and say, "Now, see?! This would be perfect for Sauce/Italian/Pizza!" "Remember this for "Holiday/Celebratory Meals." (Horror movies were under "Halloween Candy." Most films with violence filed under "Fasting.")

My Aunt is super organized, so that idea never flew, but we did have an employee recommendation shelf that became ridiculously important to me. I picked my selections so carefully and wrote what I thought were the most compelling reasons to watch, and then waited while no one rented my picks. Sometimes I would switch them out mid-week, or add other ones. 
I worked with one kid who just put Bad Santa on the shelf every week with the explanation, "It's good."-Robbie

Being a tiny island on Florida's Gulf Coast, most of the customers were old people and beach bums. I worked there when Lost in Translation was released and I cannot tell you how many times people screamed at me for recommending it to them. A lot of refunds. A lot of exchanges for Bad Santa.

But every so often, someone would come in and ask about an obscure movie, or mention a scene they'd once seen, and we'd start to talk. Talking about a good movie with a stranger is like meeting someone and realizing you share a mutual friend. That same nodding, smiling, familiarity. It's nice and it makes you appreciate the movies more. 
And every so often after one of those talks, a person would ask for a recommendation. 
And I'd ask them what they were having for dinner. 


Sabrina said...

I love this, Jess! So beautifully written! I want some fried chicken and "What About Bob?" right now!

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Shameeca Funderburk said...

Good read, made me think of all the trips to video stores in the past.

Cherdo said...

Love your blog! I've felt that same way in the video store. A big red box, spewing forth DVDs just isn't the same.

Thanks! I'll be back. :-)

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