Left on the Shelf


Nothing left on that DVD shelf at your local branch library?  You might want to take a closer look.

I decided to try an experiment in serendipity with the DVD shelves at the branch where I work.  I would select a movie to watch from what was left on the shelf, and, to make things a little more interesting, I decided to do this right at closing time.

“Not possible!” you might say if you have ever run in to your library at the end of the day in hopes of finding something, anything, to entertain on a quiet evening.  But this time serendipity won out and I came up with The Passenger (1975), directed by Michelangelo Antonioni of Blow Up fame.

A while back I went on a little Antonioni jag but never saw The Passenger.  So, I took it home with me and was pleased to find myself experiencing Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider (Last Tango in Paris) being all existential and egocentric inside of amazing Gaudi buildings in Spain! There’s the whole gun smuggling, assumed identity thing going on too.  Nicholson’s 70’s swagger next to Schneider’s languid intensity captured me even if the over-arching questions being asked in the film (“Who am I?” and “Who are you?”) felt a little dated in the portrayal.

I counted this as a success and decided to try again.  This time I came up with Bubble directed by Steven Soderbergh.  If you have ever wondered what it would be like to work in a doll factory (and a shovel factory!) and live in a depressed town on the Ohio/West Virginia border, watch this movie.  If you enjoy watching non-actors portray characters a lot like themselves, watch this movie.  Quiet, under-produced, meekly acted and compelling as hell.

I wonder what will be left on the shelf tonight…

Share your left on the shelf moment, leave a comment.

3 thoughts on “Left on the Shelf”

  1. Bubble is also great because the soundtrack is by the esteemed Godfather of indie rock, Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices fame. While SPL doesn’t carry the actual soundtrack to Bubble (trust me though, it’s moody, lo-fi and perfect for the setting), the library does carry several Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard solo albums. Highly recommended!

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