March 18, 2007

There is a large Goodwill store in our neighborhood and visiting it with debit card in hand has become one of my favorite weekend activities. Sure, you could say it’s lacking in the sort of tastefully-Botox’d, tinkling-piano atmosphere that Nordstrom strives to offer, but where else could I buy an entire wardrobe of shirts for twenty bucks?

goodwill_haul.jpg

This particular Goodwill is awesome, in that you can always find barely-worn non-crappy clothes and shoes—a benefit of its relatively affluent zip code, I’m sure—as well as decent housewares. Riley has some super-cute clothes from there, including a swooningly macho little North Face type vest. They even have a maternity section, which is a fantastic alternative to spending hojillions of dollars at Motherhood Maternity for outfits with a 6-month shelf life.

One of the reasons I like going there so much is that you never know what you’ll find. A pair of Seven jeans for $5.99? Some oxblood Nine West mary jane square-toe flats for $3.99? A $2.99 toddler-sized sweater in green and blue stripes, far cuter and better made than Old Navy’s offerings? A pretty rectangular glass vase that’s perfect for holding daffodils, priced at $1.99? SCORE.

Of course, there are times when all you leave with is the pervasive smell of musty attics clinging to your hair, because that’s the day when the clothes are all ugly or stained and the toy aisle is depressingly full of broken plastic crap that kids are throwing at each other and every two minutes a heavily accented man haltingly announces into the crackling P.A. system that all towels are 40% off, thank you and have a nice day.

That’s what makes it so much fun, the fact that it’s a total crapshoot. Will there be an 8-piece collection of beautiful ceramic bowls today? Or will there only be a chipped plastic tumbler with faint Kool-aid stains in the bottom? Ahh, eet ees a mystery!

If I were more creative and brave—like, say, Seattle’s own Ariel Meadow Stallings, my personal fashion hero and woman of many talents—I’d be buying up those vintage oddball clothing items that magically transform into a smoking hot outfit once you pair them together correctly, but man, I just don’t have the eye for that stuff. I want a stylist, and not some horrifying Hollywood praying mantis who always dresses her carb-phobic clients in oversized sunglasses and leggings, I want a funky chick with a tongue piercing and an ample ass who knows exactly what clothes flatter the size 10 body, who incorporates Threadless t-shirts and Cruel Girl jeans into her wardrobe recommendations.

Also, I would like a pony. A pink-winged flying pony whose ass burbles out a steady stream of zero-point Starbucks vanilla lattes.

In other news, our Netflix queue has been woefully clogged with unsatisfying movies lately. The most recent travesty being Fast Food Nation—spare yourself the pain of watching it (and finding yourself thinking, hey, what happened to Greg Kinnear’s character, did he just randomly disappear never to return to the storyline [answer: yes]? and what the fuck, is that Avril Lavigne? and why the hell wasn’t this a DOCUMENTARY?) and read the book instead, friends. There was Casino Royale, which had some nice moments of chasey chasey pow-pow-pow, but was annoyingly long and featured a 43947521 hour poker game (although it does earn points for including a brilliant line of dialogue from Bond: “Skewered. One sympathizes.” —I realize that makes no sense if you haven’t seen it, but if you have, did you also mentally file under Bitchin’ Rejoinders with the fervent hope of being able to use it someday?). And Babel, the movie that didn’t have the stones to be as utterly depressing as it could have been.

I need some recommendations! What have you rented lately that didn’t suck?

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Naomi
Naomi
15 years ago

I loooooove goodwill stores. Once a month, ours has a smorgasbord! Yep, all you can fit in that shopping bag for $5!!!!!!!! Çan’t get better value than that.

erica
15 years ago

Movies: Idiocracy – done by the brilliant Mike Judge of Office Space and King of the Hill.
Stranger Than Fiction – Will Ferrell is breathtaking.
Little Miss Sunshine – Outstanding!

Hope this helps liven up your queue : )

Mama Ritchie
15 years ago

We just watched Friends with Money – it was really good – it looks like a chick flick but it’s really not – at least, Jase enjoyed it and he’s super duper macho.

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

A few months ago I finally come to the realization that I will never fit into my 32 inch pants again and gave all of my ‘skinny’ cloths to Goodwill. There were several thousand dollars worth of wool pants and nice shirts I purchased at Nordstrom’s when I thought if I dressed nice I could get a date. ;-) Turns out I was just a well dressed geek without any social skills. These days, when it comes to cloths, if Costco doesn’t sell it I don’t buy it (except for weird biking shirts).
On the movie front I second Erica’s recommendation of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and I liked ‘The Departed’.

Emma
Emma
15 years ago

As a poor, long-suffering student (yeah, I know, we always bloody complain) I can completely understand the joys of charity shops. The people in my local Oxfam are probably more adept at recognising my signature on receipts than I am!
And because I’m a *film* student, I’m obliged to recommend a few films :)

Jack and Sarah Rom-com
Zatoichi Japanese Robin Hood-esque affair
Kikujiro Road trip between hopeless gangster and little boy
From Dusk til Dawn Vampires and George Clooney
Pan’s Labyrinth Fairy tale for grown-ups
Leon Hitman with a heart
Wilde The life of Oscar Wilde
Tommy Acid-trippy movie by The Who
Garden State Coming of age pic by Zach Braff
The Fifth Element Star Wars meets Jean Paul Gaultier
Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh version) Proper period drama
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Murder in the Deep South
Whale Rider A Maori community’s rites and rituals
Any of the “Three Colours” Trilogy Beautiful French trilogy highlighting “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”

Woah. Ok. That’s enough, I think :) Hope this keeps you occupied!

Cricket
Cricket
15 years ago

I just bought Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks. I realize this is a bit dated now, but god it took me back a few years. I can’t believe they replaced that genius with The Sopranos. Pfff!

paige
paige
15 years ago

My husband and I just watched ‘It’s All Gone Pete Tong”. It’s about a DJ that loses his hearing, and his career as a result. It was recommended to me by Netflix based on my prior rentals, and while some of their recommendations have been hit and miss, this one was really good. In fact I watched it twice before sending it back.

Also, “hojillions”…totally love it. In high school my best friend and I would visit the local Goodwill and take photos of one another dressed up in garish fuschia and teal prom dresses from the 80’s. So much fun.

Tina
Tina
15 years ago

Since having kids, most of our movie watching is via DVD as well. Some we saw recently that we liked: Little Miss Sunshine (Really, really enjoyed. Laughed until I cried at one point) and The Illusionist. My MIL reallyed liked The Queen (not sure if it is out on DVD yet, she saw it on a plane). I’m looking forward to seeing what others on your site recommend.

Violet
15 years ago

I’m jumping in with “Little Miss Sunshine”, too, because it made me grin. Totally simple movie with a bunch of happy stuff strung together. I also really quite enjoyed “Flushed Away” which is an animated (kids’) movie about rats in the sewer system..

Then there’s “28 Days” if you’re feeling like watchin’ zombies in action. Have you seen “Shawn of the Dead” – the world’s funniest zombie movie?

“A Scanner Darkly” was pretty cool..

Go for “Jesus Camp” if you want to either feel really good or really hostile (depending on your religious beliefs) – or at least spark some conversation.

Lately, though, I’ve been filling up my zip.ca (same as Netflix, but Canadian) with television series. Try “Rescue Me” (with Denis Leary and some amazing plot lines).. If you can find “Kenny vs Spenny” ( a tv show from Canada) on Netflix, you’ll laugh yourself sick..

Television without commercials ROCKS…

velocibadgergirl
15 years ago

Woot for Goodwill! I LOVE me some thrift store shopping.

As for movies, we watched “The Holiday” and really liked it. Kate Winslet is so darling that even Jude Law couldn’t ruin it for me. I second the TV on DVD rockage as well. I recently watched the first season of “Weeds” and loved it, and we’re working our way through “Firefly” again.

laughing mommy
15 years ago

I wish I could give you some good recommendations, but my netflix queue lately has looked like this…

Barbie Fairytopia
Barbie Mermadia
Barbie The Magic of Pegasus
Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Dreams Movie

The two little girls have taken over. There is no escape.

Askew Adventures
15 years ago

I’m de-lurking to chime in on the movie front. I love movies and spend way too much of my paychecks on dvds.

– Little Miss Sunshine – absolutely worth adding to the list
– Stranger than Fiction – awesome movie, one of my latest obsessions

With Emma I definately second Garden State, Fifth Element, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Whale Rider.

I really enjoyed The Prestige much more than The Illusionist in terms of recent magician movies. The Prestige had a much more suspenseful and interesting ending, in my humble opinion.

I also love these movies:

– Secretary – very strange, but also completely heartwarming if you can see it as an interesting human story
– Just Like Heaven – totally dorky cute romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon, I love her
– Sweet Home Alabama – also cute Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy
– 50 First Dates – I love Adam Sandler’s slightly more serious adult comedies
– Spanglish – also Adam Sandler grown-up comedy
– The Life of David Gale – incredible thinking piece with one of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey
– Kung Fu Hustle – awesomely funny crazy kung fu movie

Um, I could probably list some more, but I think that’s probably enough for now, especially since I don’t know your movie tastes. Although, I definately agree with you on your comments to what you’ve seen recently.

Liz
Liz
15 years ago

The Prestige was the best movie I’ve seen lately.

Crank is good for some action and brainless violence and moves quickly.

Swistle
15 years ago

We used to have a good Goodwill within walking distance of us, and when my firstborn was a baby it was common for me to walk there with him almost every day, just for something to do. We found so much awesome stuff. Dishes. Clothes. Furniture. It was also great to be able to load a bag of crap we were done with into the stroller and just drop it off and be done with it. Then we moved here, and there was only one Goodwill store and it was a 20-minute drive away, and then it closed. Suckage.

Have you already seen _Buffy the Vampire Slayer_, the TV series now on DVD? Someone had to twist our arms and also purchase us the first season on DVD in order to force us to watch it, but now we’re hooked, and it’s nice to have a steady stream of DVDs we know we’ll like. We use one Netflix slot for Buffy, and then it’s not so bad if the other two slots keep barfing up movie crap, which is exactly what’s been happening lately.

Erica
15 years ago

Of our recent rentals, The Departed completely did not suck and was, in fact, AMAZING, but I was bored with Stranger than Fiction even though I usually LOVE Will Ferrel and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Dustin Hoffman (but then maybe I was just too tired to pay attention). Little Miss Sunshine was lovely and Reefer Madness: The Musical was hysterical!

Nancy
15 years ago

My recent Netflix

Murderball-angry quadraplegic rugby player documentary by Mtv, one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while
Stick-It-surprisingly amusing and very pretty in a colorful way, and The Dude!
Sunset Boulevard
Capote
Marie Full of Grace-made it hard for me to even swallow my vitamins for a couple of days
Everything is Illuminated-I really liked this one
Shopgirl

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

Beerfest was quite good!

And boy, I would LOVE to style Britney.

mo from ne
mo from ne
15 years ago

Prairie Home Companion – A kind gentle funny movie that even macho men like
The O in Ohio – Hilarious! Very underrated.
Stranger Than Fiction- Many of my friends who like mainstream film liked this. I loved it.
Stay- Strange movie with lots of twists. A movie for people who like intelligent thrillers. Lots of male hotness with Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling. Naomi Watts for the guys.
Half Nelson- This movie has stayed with me since I saw it last summer.
The King – Not the happiest movie but it has alot of pretty people in it and William Hurt is especially interesting in this movie.
The Independent – Funny film about the film industry not widely released.
ShortBus – funny thoughtful film with alot of sex in it
LOL or Kissing on the Mouth – sort of documentary style fictional films. Confused young people figuring out their lives. Again alot of sex

Laura
Laura
15 years ago

Movies I’ve watched recently and really liked:
Memento
Water
Inside Man
An Unfinished Life
This Girl’s Life

JennB
15 years ago

My Netflix has been a little blah lately – I’m sending “Superstar in a Housedress” back with two thumbs down – way down. I loved An Inconvenient Truth (even though I felt guilty at the end) and “Friends with Money” was great – excellent dialogue.

We have cable now, though, so we’ve downgraded Netflix. Can’t wait to see Weeds… I’ve heard great things. And we got throughly engrossed in Gray’s Anatomy and Lost thanks to Netflix.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
15 years ago

I loooove love love Reefer Madness! The O in Ohio is good as well. I also really liked Marie Antoinette, but I know it’s one of those Moulin Rouge-type movies with the period and the music not matching up, so it rubs some people the wrong way….

I watched Casino Royale for the first time last night. “Now everyone will know you’ve been scratching my balls!”

Shannon
15 years ago

“Brick”: Teenage loner Brendan Fry is forced to navigate his school’s social network when a secret crush turns up dead and the murderer is anyone’s guess. Through intense interactions with thespians, band geeks and druggies (including a grown-up Lucas Haas), Brendan works to crack the cliques — and the case.

(Uh, I copied that from Netflix, so no, I don’t speak like that in real life!)

“The Station Agent”
“City of God”

Gentry
15 years ago

Have you ever seen From Hell with Johnny Depp. This movie never hits on anyone’s radar, but I loved it. And for the love of God, go see La Möme (the Edith Piaf biopic that’s just now coming to the US).

Cari
Cari
15 years ago

Recommendations:
Secretary: we think your household would love it, because you have the same sense of humor that we do;
Lucky Number Sleven: interesting plot twists and funky wallpaper;
Dead Like Me; was a show on Showtime about grim reapers, hilarious.
We second the recommendation for The Life of David Gale.

We haven’t seen Little Miss Sunshine, but it’s in our queue now, too. And I’m way jealous of your non-skanky Goodwill; ours is usually icky.

ollka
15 years ago

feel-good-flicks

stick it – just watched it a couple days ago, been maniacally searching movielens (http://movielens.umn.edu/main – great recommendation website) for similar movies ever since.

green card – highly enjoyable, but i couldn’t help being overemotional at the ending.

surely you’ve seen it about a thousand times, but – chocolat with binoche.

akeelah and the bee – unexpectedly pleasant.

the birdcage – we love.

i could go on forever:)

Tammy
15 years ago

I have been watching Carnivale. Even though it only lasted two seasons it was fucking awesome.
I just finished Stranger Than Fiction (liked it) ,Babel (loved it) ,and Factotum (liked it).
I am now getting ready to watch The Boondock Saints. I have also been getting caught up on series I don’t watch because I don’t have cable ,via netflix. I recommend The Sopranos, Weeds. Big Love.
Yes, to Goodwill. I have found some amazing finds.

Becky
Becky
15 years ago

Little Miss Sunshine, Departed and the Illusionist….

Emily
15 years ago

I just saw The Prestige and it was a total mindfuck, because I ended up hating all the characters. I recommend Raising Genius, Happiness (will leave you feeling dirty on the inside, but that’s precisely why it is so fucking wonderful), Crazy People (featuring the line “Sony — Because Caucasians are just too damn tall”), Coffee and Cigarettes, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Secretary, Shun of the Dead (which I’m sure you’ve seen, but which needs to be re-viewed at every possible opportunity) and Bongwater.

Josh
Josh
15 years ago

Lucky Number Slevin was really good, and even managed to cast Lucy Liu as a character I didn’t want to spear through the eye. (my usual response to seeing her) Also Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was really kick ass, especially since it wasn’t in black and white with subtitles, which I just asumed from the title. They were both guy movies though, I don’t know how you feel about that sort of thing. Not chick flicks at all.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

Little Miss Sunshine
The Machinist

Kim
Kim
15 years ago

If you haven’t seen Winter Passing with Zooey Can’t-Spell-or-Say-Her-Last-Name, Will Ferrell and Ed Harris, it’s a really good, quiet comedy that kind of passed under the radar last year.

Marolyn
Marolyn
15 years ago

Agreed on Prestige, Crank ( sex on the mailbox!), Secretary and Shaun of the Dead. Also recommending Vera Drake, Crash – the trippy one with James Spader and Holly Hunter, Head Above Water, Swimming Pool, The Cook The Theif His Wife and Her Lover, May, Heavenly Creatures and The Woodsman.
My friends and I used to call our local thriftstore the S&A Boutique ( Salvation Army) !

Belle
Belle
15 years ago

Try Sherry Baby with Maggie Gyllenthaal. From IMDB: “Sherry Swanson returns home after serving a three year prison sentence. Eager to reestablish a relationship with her young daughter, Sherry soon discovers that coming back to the world she left behind is far more difficult than she had planned.” She was so good in this – she defintely deserved the accolades she received.

erica
15 years ago

Oh! I totally forgot to recommend The Illusionist when I commented earlier. It’s phenomenal. Edward Norton is smokin’ hot in it, so that’s a bonus.

Kizz
15 years ago

I’ll second Life of David Gale and add United States of Leland. You’ve seen Saved!, right? Awesome. Skip The Departed if you haven’t seen it yet. I just started watching the first season of Big Love and so far it’s pretty cool.

laura
laura
15 years ago

I don’t know why, but my comment got eaten :-( sad.

If you like Greg Kinnear, and 70’s period movies with porny undertones, check out Auto Focus with Greg Kinnear. Despite the sexual addiction theme and my fear of Willem Dafoe in general, I found this movie to be quite entertaining… kindof in the same way that Boogie Nights was entertaining.

I am also jealous of your thrift store finds. Our thrift store is full of crap from the crappy people that live in my craptastic town. Lots of bad 80’s fashion… lots of shoulder pads and LA Gear sneakers.

Jan
Jan
15 years ago

I buy all the clothes I sell on Ebay at the various Goodwill stores here in town. It’s incredible the beautiful, like-new things you can find. And it’s like a treasure hunt.

I am excited that someone else (Thanks, Swistle, we are not the only addicts) has recommended Buffy. The first couple of episodes were a little campy but my 23 year old son insisted we keep watching, they were great, give it a chance!! And we did. And we LOVED it. It is seriously something you would love; I just know! And then you will have to watch Angel as well. We actually ended up buying them all and watching them in sequence because there is some crossover, at least the first year or two of Angel.

Give it a chance. You will be glad you did.

Michelle in Maryland
Michelle in Maryland
15 years ago

We rented the new Christopher Guest this weekend, and I was so, so disappointed. It felt like they took everyone who had ever been in one of their movies, and found a part for them. It also felt far too scripted. :o(

Probably the best part was the cameo by John Krasinski, but it was only about thirty seconds long.

Maybe I had too high of expectations for it, but the rest of their mockumentaries are so, so funny.

Good luck, though!

Erin
15 years ago

If you haven’t already seen it, Little Miss Sunshine is the next movie on our lis t that we’re buying as soon as its restocked in the store.
I have never laughed so hard at a movie…so good…you must watch it! :) And if you’ve seen it, go ahead and watch it again!

Rae
Rae
15 years ago

I’m jumping on with apparently everybody with the Little Miss Sunshine and Stranger Than Fiction recomendation.

Also, I highly recommend The Fountain (whenever it finally comes out), The Prestige, Kitchen Stories, and Bee Season.

Jen
Jen
15 years ago

Okay, I totally have to second the recommendations for The Secretary, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and the series Firefly (*especially* if you like Buffy)!

Happy watching!

Rae
Rae
15 years ago

Oh, and I meant to second the “Everything is Illuminated” nomination.

jonniker
15 years ago

As far as recent movies go, I liked, but did not love, The Departed. Typical Scorcese gang movie. Good acting, but fleh. Not something I’d ever see again.

Going back into the wayback machine, we rent older movies most of the time, and I totally second the Kung Fu Hustle recommendation, because that was so awesome it almost convinced us we were fans of the kung fu genre. I also loved Brick, which is a little indie melodramatic film noir set in a high school.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is awesome, just awesome, and the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in a really long time. Go get it now!

Thumbsucker was pretty nifty – I really liked it, mostly because I have ADD and choose to go unmedicated for many of the same reasons the protagonist does.

I also really liked Lucky Number Slevin, and second any and all recommendations for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which you’ve probably seen a hundred times by now, along with the Royal Tenenbaums (OH I LOVE).

Run screaming – SCREAMING FOR THE HILLS – from Children of God. NO. NO NO NO.

Of this list? Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang leads the pack. So. much. fun.

kara marie
15 years ago

I agree with the commenter who said Winter Passing. It can be very sad, but it was pretty good. We watched Blackballed not too long ago, which was a really enjoyable fake documentary about paint balling. Fun and light-hearted. I’ve lately been completely engrossed in watching all three seasons of Home Movies, but not everyone goes for cartoons.

deanna
15 years ago

i saw both the illusionist and the prestige this weekend, and could highly recommend both. theyre actually similar, so its kind of intersting to them to back. the prestige also has the added benefit of being good for a COUPLE of viewings. i watched it again the next day to pick up things i had missed the first time around. christopher nolan and his non-linear storytelling….

and some of my favorite movies that NEVER get old, no matter how many times i see them. [i love watching older movies because i forget what happens sometimes, and its like discovering them all over again!]

[-] sliding doors
[-] the fugitive
[-] miracle
[-] mystery, alaska (yeah, i have a hockey thing…)
[-] the hunt for red october
[-] national lampoons european vacation
[-] shakespeare in love
[-] october sky
[-] good will hunting
[-] memento
[-] spinal tap (early christopher guest of out of control hilarious)
[-] my blue heaven (steve martin at his finest)
[-] billy elliot
[-] boondock saints
[-] finding neverland
[-] and the band played on
[-] planes, trains and automobiles
[-] any of the naked guns (so over the top but hilarious)
[-] la confidential
[-] tin cup
[-] bull durham

and ill stop there….

Dennis
15 years ago

I suggest you see Millions — I just saw it. It’s funny, silly, smart, the kids are hilarious and the acting is just a lot of fun. And it’s lighthearted for the most part too.

Sara
15 years ago

We’ve recently enjoyed Thumbsucker and Junebug. They are both a little dark, but good nonetheless. Thumbsucker was filmed near Portland, so it’s always nice to see our landscape on film.

Liz in Australia
Liz in Australia
15 years ago

I have no movie recommendations for you, but just wanted to chime in and say I luuuurve op shops too. I have to restrain myself from visiting more than one per week, but I have six favourites that I visit in rotation. I never buy clothes [other than underwear, of course!] new if I can possibly avoid it – much more ethically and environmentally sound to recycle, plus not knowing what you will find today makes it *so* much more fun than going to a boring old clothes shop with a list and buying exactly what you came for!

Erin
15 years ago

Recent awesomeness:

– Half Nelson
– Who Killed the Electric Car?
– Brick

I also have The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill at this moment in time, but I have yet to watch it. I also rented the first season of Kate & Allie last weekend, just because, so you are free to judge my previous selections based on THAT. :)

birdgal
birdgal
15 years ago

I’m really late to the party, but to second (or third) other people’s recommendations I really liked Secretary, The Illusionist, The Prestige (what is it with magician movies and ‘The’ in beginning of the title?) and Garden State. My husband and I also really liked ‘Thank You For Smoking’ (don’t let Katie Holmes steer you away), with the added bonus of getting to watch Aaron Eckhart (bonus for YOU, of course;). I’ve also really been liking the first season of ‘Big Love’, which is quite the fascinating.

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