Magazine article American Libraries

Quick Vids: Guilty Pleasures

Magazine article American Libraries

Quick Vids: Guilty Pleasures

Article excerpt

Those of you who have followed this column and its urbane, 600-word divagations concerning media and life for some time have probably formed an image of its author as a hip, consummately classy kind of guy (at least in my dreams you have). Fact is, as much as I'd like to perpetuate the notion that I spend my free time deconstructing Bergman films over organic, free-trade espressos sipped in terminally cool cafes, I'm as pathetically hooked on trans-fatty foods and high-cholesterol pop culture as the next guy and gal. Let's face it: Sometimes nothing will do like Doritos, and sometimes Wild Strawberries simply must take a back seat to Extreme Makeover. Promise not to blow my cover, and I'll share some of my more egregious cultural lapses with you.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Blast 'Em! $19.98 (VHS). 1992. 103 min. Most home video distributors.

Who of you out there has never sneaked a guilty peek at those lurid photos while waiting in the checkout line? Princess Caroline captured au naturel on her yacht. Oprah caught downing four pints of Ben and Jerry's. A conspicuously J.Lo-less Ben, snapped while carousing at a wild downtown boite. How do you think those deliciously sleazy shots made it into People, the National Enquirer, and the Star? Through the rapacious labors of Nikon-wielding barracudas like Victor Malafronte, that's how. Blast 'Em! follows young Malafronte and his fellow paparazzi as they stalk the rich and famous in New York and Hollywood in perpetual search of the elusive money shot.

America's Weirdest Homes. $49.95 (4 vols., VHS). 1999. 60 min. each tape. Most home video distributors.

Perhaps it was my childhood exposure to L.A.'s architectural anarchism and general land's-end strangeness, but I seem to have inherited an unflagging love of what architects fondly call "vernacular" style. You know the stuff I'm talking about: fast-food joints built in the shape of hot dogs, motels constructed to look like teepees or airplanes. America's Weirdest Homes ventures into even stranger architectural and artistic waters by taking us on a field trip to various handcrafted, oddball Xanadus and Shangri-las across North America. …

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