DVD Alternatives to This Weekend's Theatrical Offerings

We know how it is: You'd like to go to the movies this weekend, but you're gonna be busy catapulting yourself into the stratosphere in a porta-john, and that's not the work of merely an afternoon. But you can have a multiplex-like experience at home (if you survive). So when someone asks you on Monday, "Hey, did you see Jackass 3D this weekend?" you can say, "Yup, in the mirror."

INSTEAD OF: Jackass 3D, in which morons with death wishes led by Johnny Knoxville engage in highly dangerous stunts for your amusement...

WATCH: Jackass: The Movie (2002), which started it all by rebooting the MTV small-screen series for the movies, thereby proving that there is no idea so dumb that it can't be made dumber by blowing it up, either in size or with dynamite. For more of Johnny Knoxville, you can see him as another kind of jackass as one of the idiot cousins in another big-screen reboot, The Dukes of Hazzard (2005). Or lament in the decline of humanity with the Three Stooges via, perhaps, The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 1: 1934-1936 -- they were smart enough to fake their knuckleheaded idiocy, but that skill has apparently been lost in last 80 years. For daredevil stupidity that is considered athletic, see X Games: The Movie (2009), and marvel at skateboarders taking their lives in their hands with every leap.

INSTEAD OF: Red, in which retired super secret agents including Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman come out of retirement -- unofficially -- to investigate a nasty coverup at the highest levels of government of a terrible crime...

WATCH: The Whole Nine Yards (2000), a far less entertaining action comedy in which Bruce Willis plays a retired mob assassin; it's supposed to be funny, but it isn't. For a genuine action comedy with lots of hilarious, outrageous violence, don't miss Shoot 'Em Up (2007), which is like a Bugs Bunny cartoon with automatic weapons (starring Clive Owen as Bugs). For more Helen Mirren as a badass, don't miss her starmaking turn as DCI Jane Tennison in the British TV series Prime Suspect (1991-2006) as a cop hardboiled enough to stand up to the guys. For a taste of what director Robert Schwentke has done before, check out Flightplan (2005), but be prepared to be underwhelmed by his first crack as a suspenseful action flick.

INSTEAD OF: It's Kind of a Funny Story, in which a confused and depressed teenager (Keir Gilchrist) checks himself into a hospital psych ward, where he finds friendship, with confused and depressed Zach Galifianakis, and romance, with confused and depressed Emma Roberts ...

WATCH: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), about grownups patients led by Jack Nicholson who take over their asylum in order to drive the sadistic Nurse Ratchet (Louise Fletcher) crazy. If you have access to Region 2 DVDs, don't miss Taking Over the Asylum (1994), the BBC miniseries in which a young man (David Tennant) checks himself into a psychiatric hospital and creates mayhem via the institution's radio station. Or try Thumbsucker (2005), a dramedy about a teen (Lou Taylor Pucci) coping with the title mania. For more from writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, see their drama Sugar (2009), about a young Dominican man who is recruited to play in minor league baseball in the U.S.


MaryAnn Johanson tells kind of a funny story every day at FlickFilosopher.com. (email me)