Okay, here's the deal: I'm cheap. And because I'm always on the prowl for new and/or bizarre brands of cereal to check out for my Milking It: Cereal Killers & Thrillers blog in Cafe Society, I frequent Big Lots!, where I recently made an unexpected discovery. The store, which specializes in discontinued items, is also a first-rate place to find discontinued DVDs -- and not just copies of unwatchable Z-movies. No, I found plenty of fairly hifalutin stuff, all for three dollars a pop.
I first found out about the outlets' cinematic secret while visiting Grand Junction, my hometown, a couple of weeks back. Glancing at a big display near the front of the store, I was startled to recognize two titles by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar -- specifically 2002's Talk to Her and 2006's Bad Education. And it didn't take much digging to locate other examples of foreign or independent fare. I tried to keep myself in check, since, as I may have mentioned earlier, I'm cheap. But I walked out with copies of 1975's The Passenger, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Jack Nicholson, which I'd regretted not seeing during its theatrical revival a year or so ago; 2003's Masked and Anonymous, a Bob Dylan movie I'd avoided due to terrible reviews but decided was worth a three-spot to check out; and the 2005 version of Lords of Dogtown, a Heath Ledger flick my Heath-loving twin daughters hadn't seen.
Wondering whether Denver Big Lots! had the same sort of DVDs on sale, I headed to an outlet at 8100 West Crestline Avenue a week or so later, and while the video display contained a generous supply of cheese, some of it was pretty interesting -- like, for instance, the blaxploitation faves Foxy Brown (from 1974) and Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (released the previous year). Also on hand: Woody Allen's 1992 curio Shadows and Fog and art-house favorites such as 1994's Eat Drink Man Woman and 2001's Y Tu Mamá También.
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Big Lots!: It's not just for weird cereal anymore. -- Michael Roberts