DVD Alternatives to This Weekend's Theatrical Offerings

If you're going to be assaulted by the likes of Channing Tatum and Justin Bieber and Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, might as well let them (or celebs of dubious distinction just like them) assault you in the comfort of your own home...

INSTEAD OF: The Eagle, in which Channing Tatum is a Roman solider in ancient Britain who-- *bwwwhfffft*!? Channing Tatum is a Roman soldier? Oh dear...

WATCH: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) to see how unconvincing Tatum is as soldier Duke *snort* Hauser in a movie in which the utter lack of anything approaching reality should have worked to the actor's benefit by at least making his total implausibility blend in. (It doesn't.) Go old-school Hollywood Roman with Ben-Hur (1959), in which Charlton Heston isn't any more convincing as a Roman but gets to ride in that awesome chariot race. Or just go right to the film that ignited the crazy for ancient action with Gladiator (2000), and watch Russell Crowe show you how to act while wearing a skirt. For modern British fightin' men getting into trouble in modern Britain, check out the scary Dog Soldiers (2002), which will sink its canines into you and not let go.

INSTEAD OF: Gnomeo and Juliet, in which warring tribes of garden gnomes must figure out a way to make peace when a "boy" from one yard falls in love with a "girl" from the yard next door, even though they're made of plaster...

WATCH: Romeo + Juliet (1996), for a genuine kick-ass production of Shakespeare's classic tale of star-crossed lovers that shows how fresh and modern the story can be ... even when you use the Bard's own flowery language. For a really great animated movie the whole family can enjoy, especially those who appreciate puns and visual ribbing of the English rural lifestyle, don't miss Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), the plot of which revolves around a gardening competition. If instead you want awful movies for children, try Space Chimps (2008), an abomination that probably also constitutes animal cruelty, as the monkey astronauts are blasted into space wearing vacuum suits with helmets but no boots. Or go with The Trumpet of the Swan (2001), a hilariously fowl adaptation of the beloved E.B. White story.

INSTEAD OF: Just Go with It, in which a single Adam Sandler asks Jennifer Aniston to pretend to be the wife he's divorcing so he can attract another woman, and -- shock ending! -- neither woman ends up feeding him to sharks...

WATCH: Saving Silverman (2001), more romantic-comedy hideousness from director Dennis Dugan, about a pathetic dweeb who will do anything to not be having sex with a hot but evil woman, and whose friends believe he needs to be rescued from this situation. If you need more terrible Adam Sandler movies, you have a veritable smorgasbord of bad flicks to choose from: I prefer the piquancy of Thwarted Manchild that stinks up Click (2006), in which he finds a magic remote control that allows him to skip over all the boring grown-up stuff that makes up a life. If you need more bad Jennifer Aniston, you're in luck: the high point of The Break-Up (2006) is the bit in which she nags Vince Vaughn to do the damn dishes already.

INSTEAD OF: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, in which a reincarnation of an ancient demigod of music casts a spell over entire nations, and promises to bring peace to the planet, if only all those teenage girls would stop rioting...

WATCH: The Tin Drum (1979), the classic satire of German cinema in which a young boy quite literally refuses to grow up, and bangs on his toy drum whenever the world gets to be too much for him. Or try Citizen Kane (1941), Orson Welles' masterpiece about a creative despot who makes life a living hell for all around him. For more of that nouvelle vague feeling, go with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (1960), about a feckless young man who carelessly seduces a young woman while on the run from decent civilized folk. Finally, revisit the silent Russian classic The Battleship Potemkin (1925), renowned for its masterful propagandistic qualities.

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MaryAnn Johanson never says never at FlickFilosopher.com. (email me)