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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Claire
15 years ago

I’ve been thinking about going to Goodwill for maternity clothes; thanks for the impetus to do so.

Haven’t rented anything lately but I bought Casino Royale on blu-ray. If nothing else, wasn’t it good for the Daniel Craig tastiness? Oh tell me you thought so. Heh heh.

Melanie
15 years ago

I need to hit up Goodwill/Salvation Army more often – I forget how you can get great deals there if you dig. For movies, we just saw Borat (I know, a little late), and can’t stop quoting from it. It was just that hilarious.

Amy M.
Amy M.
15 years ago

I haven’t been to many movies since the birth of Niblet, but I liked many of the older picks above. I’d also like to add “Beautiful Girls” with Timothy Hutton & “Hero” with Jet Li.

The most recent non-animated or Baby Einstein video I’ve seen is “The Constant Gardener”, which was pretty good, but depressing. Another good one was “The Red Door” – Asian family comedy.

BTW, I hear Netflix is offering $1 mil to update their recommendation system. Anyone want to try? I was thinking about entering . . . The only problem is, I only have the software & server capacity at work. Oh well.

gabby
gabby
15 years ago

Stranger than Fiction!!!

The Prestige

16 Blocks (surprisingly)

Kinky Boots

Ariel
15 years ago

For the record, I would like to report that I totally blow at thrifting. I can mix ‘n’ match, but I can’t find anything at a thrift store.

Oh, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang rocks.

Alyson
15 years ago

If you want a laugh….watch “Men with Brooms.” You will never look at Curling the same way again. If, of course, you ever thought about Curling before.

“Saving Grace” is a really funny British movie. Craig Ferguson is one of the stars. I love him after seeing his bit on YouTube.

“Second Coming” is an interesting British movie, funny in places, but ultimately thought prevoking. I love Christpher Eccleston (is my scifi geek showing?) and the writer (Russell T. Davies) is stinking brilliant! “Shallow Grave” (also starring Eccleston) is a bit creepy, but interesting. I don’t like creepy much, but this was interesting. Besides, I like seeing Ewan MacGregor getting the snot bashed out of him!

But sorry, I loved Casino Royale. But if you have not seen “Munich” do so. It was facinating, and I was all ready to hate it.

Karen
15 years ago

Another thumb’s up for “Little Miss Sunshine.”

And “The Illusionist” was the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

Gena
Gena
15 years ago

I love Goodwill! I try to go at least once a week to see what I can find. When I lost weight, I bought 5 pairs of jeans, all expensive name brands, for $10.00. Gotta love it.

As for movies – no time=no movies. Sorry.

Kirsten
15 years ago

We watched “School for Scoundrels” this weekend and although we thought it was going to suck – it made us laugh – Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder…
Others we watched this weekend – The Illusionist…very good
Gridiron Gang – also good…true story – and I can’t help it, I love the ROCK.

I second whoever said to rent Dead Like Me (tv show) what a great series…I loved it!

squandra
squandra
15 years ago

You got the wrong movie! :)

The documentary of the book “Fast Food Nation” came out in 2004 — it’s called “Super Size Me.” The Kinnear version came out in 2006. That one is apparently some sort of drama-fic based on the book. And, apparently, not good.

squandra
squandra
15 years ago

WRONG! Mea culpa.

“Super Size Me” is the documentary of “Don’t Eat This Book.” The movie, and the book, both came out roughly when FFN did, so if you’re thinking of a specific documentary, that may be it. It’s the one where the guy eats McDonald’s for a month.

Otherwise, I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a doc version of FFN.

jonniker
15 years ago

Squandra: I loved Super Size Me, but I didn’t see a ton of parallels between that and Fast Food Nation. FFN (the book, not the movie) was riveting in the way that it deconstructed the entire industry, while Super Size Me was one man’s personal journey into hell after eating too much McDonald’s. That movie was INSANE. Have you seen his show, 30 Days? I liked the first few where he and his fiancee participated, but after that, I just couldn’t get into it.

Leticia
Leticia
15 years ago

Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed….definitely.

Karla
15 years ago

Ahh yes. Casino Royale. My husband and me watched that last night, but I found it so boring I did dishes instead. And Babel – I agree. I expected more death and adversity – there wasn’t enough to make me shed tears.

Have you seen Borat? Oh my fuck…Funniest movie EVER!

Leah
15 years ago

If you haven’t seen “Junebug,” it’s a surprise.

(My favorite thrift store find was a $13.50 shirt that retails online for $175. Score!)

Pickles & Dimes
15 years ago

I just watched “Open Water” yesterday and I still haven’t recovered. It creeped me out beyond belief, but it was a great flick.

My personal favorite is “Dead Again” with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. An oldie but a goodie.

angela
15 years ago

I highly recommend “Thank You for Smoking.”

filakia
15 years ago

If you enjoyed 007 Daniel Craig, try Layer Cake. For another crime caper movie that you might not have seen, Sexy Beast.

My favorite movie, probably, of all time is The English Patient, but many people hate it, so I offer that caveat. Ditto for the the movie Closer (Jude Law and Clive Owen; yum) which I also liked very much. My friend didn’t like these movies because she objectived to the questionable morality depicted as well as the generally dislikable main characters, but these are partly the reasons I enjoyed them — I want something complicated and sticky to think about, not trite Hollywood-style crap.

And speaking of trite, but trite that works IMO, is an older movie called The Cutting Edge. Very satsfying and chick-flick-y although my boyfriend at the time saw it with me, and he liked it. I also like Object of My Affection, with Jennifer Anniston.

Moody and though-provoking sci-fi: Solaris (the George Clooney one). Creepy and creative sci-fi: Dark City.

Good action flick, also an older one: Ronin.

MRW
MRW
15 years ago

Since getting HBO and TiVo I seldom watch movies anymore, so don’t have much to say other that I also enjoyed Brick and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but since being partially sleep deprived due to having a child, I had to rewatch parts of KKBB to figure out what was happening. Film noir used to be so much easier to follow when I was well rested…

I also love the first four seasons of Buffy, but it’s a pretty big time committment and isn’t for everyone.

fellowmom
fellowmom
15 years ago

I want to ditto Gentry’s love of From Hell (a great movie for Depp fans and lovers of gory thrillers).

Also second the recommendations for Open Water and Secretary.

Another off-beat recommendation: Cruising. William Freidkin directing Al Pacino as a cop who goes undercover into NYC’s gay S&M club scene to catch a mass murder. Kind of like Silence of the Lambs meets Real Sex. This was released in 1980, and Pacino was quite convincing in his undercover role. He makes the Brokeback Mountain leads look timid by comparison.

breckgirl
15 years ago

If you haven’t seen Saving Grace, you must. Also – now don’t think I am too weird, okay? There is this, hmmm, how shall I say it I guess – mockumentary-type of movie, called “The Natural History of the Chicken.” Now, I realize how dumb that sounds but I gotta tell you – I loved it. I am a documentary lover anyway but this one is part documentary (I think they are actually talking about real events) but part tongue in cheek (the people they interview are actors – they HAVE to be actors). The movie talks about, well, chickens and the various people who love and/or hate them. I love chickens, always have thought they were delightful little things – and quite tasty, too. I saw the Natural History of the Chicken on Oregon Public Broadcasting years ago and one day I just thought, “Wow, I sure loved that – I wonder if Netflix has it?” Sure enough, girl – there it was. So I got it, burned it, and will bring it to my secretary’s next chicken plucking party (really – it’s a disgusting affair, but at least these chickens get to grow up running around her farm). And just so you don’t think I am too weird, you might also like Kinky Boots and one of my all time favorite scaries, The Possession of Emily Rose.

Melis
Melis
15 years ago

Got to second “Thank You for Smoking”-hilarious and yet still thought provoking.

Guilty pleasures: Center Stage and Bring It On. Both are so corny (although the first has much worse acting) that before the Little Man was born, they were in almost constant rotation.

Donnie Darko-seriously weird, and don’t even try to make sense of it because it just doesn’t, but the part about Smurfette being created for gangbangs always makes me laugh.

The Sweetest Thing (the unrated version)-as much as I loathe Cameron Diaz, I loved this movie. I can’t watch it when people are sleeping, because I wake EVERYONE up with my laughing.

Syriana is another one that is good, but most definitely NOT a feel good movie. The hub and I watched this and Munich within a week or so of each other and I blame that for my launch into depression (although it might be the constant watching of Caillou on Sprout that is making me go mad….)

kj
kj
15 years ago

Replies for this post have been so much fun to read! I’m updating my OWN netflix next. My two cents of “can’t miss ’em films” =
MirrorMask (better by far than Pans Labrynth)
Crank! YES YES YESSSS! So many bellylaughs.
5th Element! YES!!!!
Whalerider! TOTALLY! (bring a tissue)
28 days! oh CRAP yes!
Shawn of the dead! shame on anyone who loves zombieflicks and hasn’t seen this one!
Kung Fu Hustle! HOOOOLY COW YES!
Run Lola Run!
Wasabi! (nearly anything with Jean Reno in it)
Howl’s Moving Castle!
Boondock Saints!

but seriously, I’m not kidding about MirrorMask. It’s Henson studios – and it’s as alarmingly wonderful as Labrynth was. It’s hard to find but worth the trouble. Loved it loved it loved it.
and Crank can’t be missed either. Anything with Jason Statham in it. because he’s tasty.

fellowmom
fellowmom
15 years ago

I have one more recommendation, but it’s on TV. Sundry, if I recall correctly, you are a fan of Eddie Izzard (no? or maybe I just dreamed that). We just caught the pilot of The Riches, his new show with Minnie Driver on FX. We loved it. Check it out. I think the pilot is still being re-run.

Angela
Angela
15 years ago

“This Film Has Not Yet Been Rated” – Outstanding, if you’re into documentaries that stir up controversy.

Brad
Brad
15 years ago

Personal favorites include
City of God (about growing up in the slums of San Paulo)
Millions (reminds you about the important things in life)
eXistenZ (Jude Law takes you on a mind trip)
I Heart Huckabees (awesome)
and of course Little Miss Sunshine

samantha jo campen
15 years ago

Oh. My. God. I literally just jumped off the couch to come email you. I know you’re obsessed with zombies and we just finished watching Shaun of The Dead.

Totally hilarious. A great British spoof on zombie movies. Laughed our asses off. YOU HAVE TO RENT THIS. RIGHT NOW.

Then praise my name.

Emma
Emma
15 years ago

Sorry, just had to jum back into the fray here!

You do not want to watch “28 Days”… you want to watch “28 Days Later”. The former is a trite rehab film featuring Sandra Bullock. The latter is a British zombie movie that will scare the living daylights out of you…. a slight difference! Though actually, maybe not that different… =)

gabby
gabby
15 years ago

Oh! I thought of a couple of more. I second & thrid the suggestion of Millions. We love the quirky British (was it British?) movies (Kinky Boots, Dear Frankie, etc). Also, in that vein – the British (and original) version of Coupling. Four seasons, I think. Very funny & irreverent.

I can’t believe I forgot my FAVORITE movie. Danny Deckchair. LOVE. Australian, with the Spike guy from Notting Hill. Just LOVE.

nstig8r
15 years ago

did you already see Little Miss Sunshine? that was good. also, i think you can now get A Scanner Darkly, which was quite good.
That’s all I got!

nstig8r
15 years ago

also there’s a movie called “Go” & another called “Spun” that to me had similar tones. But they were both quite good.

Julia
Julia
15 years ago

I will third or fourth or whatever you’re at for the series Dead Like Me. It has great dark humor. And it’s not overly morbid with everyone dying, because they are on the “accidents” squad of grim reapers. It’s a very well done show. Too bad they killed it.

chocolatetiara
chocolatetiara
15 years ago

Movies:
School for Scoundrels
Buba Ho-Tep
Running With Scissors
The Red Violin
The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
Calendar Girls
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

missval
missval
15 years ago

Are you talking about the Bellevue Goodwill? That one is the shizzy. Kenneth cole shoes 3.99. I always find TONS of fun there.

Shannon
15 years ago

The Future of Food. Documentary about genetically modified foods and how farmers and consumers are being screwed by Mansanto and that we should be like the EU and at least label our GMOs.

fellowmom
fellowmom
15 years ago

We weren’t disappointed with The Riches, Sundry, probably because the review I read (Peter Carlin’s in The Oregonian) pretty accurately portrayed the nature of the show. So, we didn’t go in expecting to see what we’ve loved about Eddie Izzard in the past. Also, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my Irish ancestry, and a bit of a fascination with Travellers. . .so, this concept had me at hello. We’ll see how it develops. I do hope there is more humor in future episodes. What do they call that genre . . . dramedy?

cindy c.
cindy c.
15 years ago

La Moustache
The Prestige
All the Real Girls
Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie Scholl
Be With Me
Quinceanera
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
The Double Life of Veronique
Huff (Season 1)

jennifer
15 years ago

I want to second Kinky Boots and Secretary. Also, The Triplets of Belleville was pretty great.

I’m interested to see which of these suggestions you take. You’ll have to tell us what movies you watch!

Claire
15 years ago

I have to add Waking Ned Devine to your list. Great movie about 2 old men in Ireland.

Also:
Tidelands – magical and creepy
Snatch – love love love this movie.
Dancer in the Dark – Bjork is amazing in it – but avoid if you hate musicals
Cane Toads – it was described as monty python meets a documentary.
Bread & Tulips – great foreign film
Room with a View – Sighhhhhh

Abby
15 years ago

I bought all of the vases for my wedding reception at the various Goodwills around town. No one knew the difference and I got, like, 30 of them for maybe $30 bucks? They didn’t all match, but that’s exactly what I was going for!

As for movies, I really liked Babel, Sherrybaby and Half-Nelson. (All kind of dark, but so well done.) I did NOT like The Departed (guess I’m a freak that way), and I’m looking forward to The Holiday, Notes on a Scandal and Blood Diamond.

Courtney
Courtney
15 years ago

To chime in with some movie recommendations:

Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed were both very very good. Someone upthread mentioned The King (with fabulous Gael Garcia Bernal), and it isn’t a happy movie, but I still think about it 6 months after seeing it in theatres. I second the love of MirrorMask – it’s a less violent version of Pan’s Labyrinth, with a terrific score. Thank You For Smoking was super funny, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was great too. And to the person who mentioned the Cane Toad doc, oh my god, that doc is the funniest thing I have ever been made to watch in a university class. *so* funny.

If you are into foreign films at all – Goodbye Lenin is really enjoyable, as is Amelie. I would also highly recommend both Bad Education and Y Tu Mama Tambien. If you can get out to theatres, The Lives of Others is *amazing*.

As for TV, everyone who said to rent Dead Like Me should be listened to! I also highly recommend Veronica Mars – you will get sucked in. Battlestar Galactica (the new one), Weeds, Rome, and The Wire are also favourites of mine. And don’t forget Extras. Even better than the UK version of The Office.

Oh and I forgot the movie I have seen more times than any other – Mars Attacks! It just never stops being hilarious to me.

Lori
Lori
15 years ago

We just watched Best In Show… hilarious.

Major score at my thrift shop… a like-new coach bag (the real deal) for 50 cents, soon-to-be ebayed! :>D

Lori
Lori
15 years ago

Our queue includes Invincible, Stevie, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Auto Focus, The OH in Ohio, Born Into Brothels, Babel and My Neighbor Totoro (for the kiddos).

melanie
15 years ago

Thanks for all the fabulous movie recommendations I’ve just spent the last half hour updating my Zip list ( Canadian equivalent of netflix) five fold.
I recommend :

Sex Lies and Videotape
My cousin Vinnie
La Grande Seduction
Life As a House
Transamerica
Whole New Thing
Wordplay
Little Miss Sunshine

..and I love second hand stores and garage sales. I have far to many great bargains to list.

jimmy
jimmy
15 years ago

Movies: pieces of april; in america; if you could only get your hands on the Japanese version of “be with you” (since there will be a remake, apparently starring Jennifer Garner)! C.R.A.Z.Y. is pretty good; Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys is, as well, though it ends rather oddly.

Angela
Angela
15 years ago

I tried to watch Big Love, and I’m sure its great, but I could not handle Bill Paxton’s naked butt. Why do I find him so creepy?

This will sound strange, but I love the movie Clue. Tons of great characters, including Michael McKean of This is Spinal Tap Fame.

Whale Rider – bawled like a baby

Frida – I know, it came out a while ago, but I really enjoyed it. Salma Hayek- more than a big set of boobs!

Any Mystery Science Theater 3000 is fine by me.

Teresa P
Teresa P
15 years ago

do you enjoy Terry Gilliam’s work? If so, “Tideland” w/ Jeff Bridges is a weird surreal piece. You either love it or hate it. Beautiful cinematography. Also, check out “Lost in La Mancha” the story of his unmade movie based on Don Quixote. Both are available from Netflix.

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