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 driving across the country with someone you'll probably have to kill and dispose of the body before you even get to Texas. So try a portable DVD player and headphones, and watch a few flicks from the passenger seat. You may save yourself a felony murder charge. And when someone asks you on Monday, "Hey, did you see Due Date this weekend?" you can say, "Almost..."

INSTEAD OF: Due Date, in which odd couple Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis try to drive from Atlanta to Los Angeles without killing each other...

WATCH: Midnight Run (1988), one of the funniest movies ever made, and a clear inspiration for Date, in which bounty hunter Robert De Niro and on-the-lam mob accountant Charles Grodin journey from New York to L.A. via every method of travel imaginable. More classic comedic travel is on offer in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), featuring Steve Martin and John Candy as the on-the-road misfits. For more from director Todd Phillips, see his Road Trip (2000), a comedy about hitting the road over sexual jealousy when a high-school romance becomes a long-distance college relationship. For more of Robert Downey Jr. in his funny mode, do not miss the brilliant Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005), in which his wannabe actor teams up with a private eye in order to research a role; it also pairs him up with his Due Date wife, Michelle Monaghan.

INSTEAD OF: Megamind, in which Will Ferrell's big-headed blue alien genius supervillain takes on Brad Pitt's annoyingly ultragood Metro Man one last time...

WATCH: Superman (1978), the classic caped-crusader movie, which lent more than a few tropes to Megamind, to hilarious effect. Or go with Madagascar (2005), also from director Tom McGrath, which similarly explores modern urban life through an unexpected prism; here, of how zoo animals all get along with one another. For more animated supergenius adventure, don't miss the delightful Meet the Robinsons (2007), about a brilliant family and their strange and wonderful inventions. For more of Will Ferrell in cartoon form, don't miss him as The Man With the Yellow Hat in the lovely Curious George (2006), in which inquisitiveness and intelligence is warmly encouraged.

INSTEAD OF: For Colored Girls, Tyler Perry's first foray into serious drama -- instead of asinine comedy -- about the lives of contemporary black Americans...

WATCH: Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005) -- written by Perry and starring Girls' Kimberly Elise -- which opens with the kind of domestic-abuse melodrama that his new film deals with head-on, but bizarrely instantly veers away into slapstick comedy. For more from another of Girls cast, see -- or, rather, here -- Anika Noni Rose as Disney's first black princess in The Princess and the Frog (2009), in which she speaks and sings as a plucky New Orleans restaurateur. For a classic tale of the violence black women have always been particularly subject to in America, don't miss The Color Purple (1985), starring Girls' Whoopi Goldberg, and exploring matters of racism, poverty, and sexism a century ago. For another story of abusive men and the women who stick with them, see A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), for powerful performances by Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter as the dysfunctional couple.


MaryAnn Johanson is a colored girl -- a nice peachy pink color -- at FlickFilosopher.com. (email me)