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Never Yell “Fire” in a Crowded Video Store

January 29, 2010

Quest for Fire

On Sundays, back when we lived in Ansbach, my mother and I were tasked with getting groceries and movie rentals. She’d drop me off at the shabby rental store before heading over to the Commissary to see if that shipment of Apples-n-Cinnamon oatmeal had finally arrived.

There are two movies entitled Fatal Attaction. I know this because prior to the Michael Douglas vehicle’s release on VHS, my mother mistakenly brought home this one. No boiled bunnies to be had. She also brought home a truly abysmal stinker called Lies. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it in fact does and to a spectacular degree.

The AAFES movie rental store had a “waiting list”. This is where the Sunday part came in. They were only open from 11am to 4pm, which is about how long it took La Mommie to fight with the throngs of “PX-shoppers” to get all our supplies for the week. Saturdays were for buying candy, Duran Duran school supplies and clothing from all the cool department stores in Nuremberg. Anyway, At around noonish I’d put my name on the list for whatever movies I wanted (because they were always checked out) and by closing I would have that movie. In the hundreds of times I did this, not once did I leave empty handed. Say what you want about our U.S. Armed Forces, but they never bring their movies back late.

And because no matter where you go, there’s always a nerd manning the video rental store counter, I learned an awful lot about movies just by sitting quietly in a chair by the register doing my homework, reading Archie Comics and listening to these guys ramble about any number of cool movies they were hoarding in the back.

And I have seen a lot of movies. Most of them TERRIBLE. ABSOLUTELY awful. But if you don’t have the lifestyle I have you’re not going to have a lot of time to find out the hard way. So here’s my short cut for determining whether or not the movie you’re about to place in your queue is going to suck.

If the title contains the word “fire”, it sucks

Staying away from anything titled like such is your best bet. Before you say, “Hey, In the Line of Fire wasn’t that bad.” may I remind you degrees of bad are of NO comfort. St. Elmo’s Fire isn’t that bad either. But it ain’t that good.

See examples: Quest for Fire, Fire with Fire, Firestarter, Twin Peaks: Fire walk with me, Fire in the Sky, Man on Fire, Harry and the Gob of Fire, Chariots of Fire and so for. Please, like you really enjoyed anything other than Vangelis’s theme to CoF.

Avoid any cover that says, _____ is _____(character name)

This is pretty simple. Let me show you.

Carl Weathers IS Action Jackson
Mario Van Peeples is SOLO
Val Kilmer is THE SAINT – no he’s not. Roger Moore is!
Will Smith IS HITCH
Stallone is COBRA
Stallone is OSCAR
Kathleen Turner IS VI Warshawski
Tom Selleck IS An Innocent Man
Denzel Washington IS A MAN ON FIRE

Sequels titles that try to get cute

I like sequels for the same reason I like television shows. I like the characters, yo. You don’t need to stroke me or make me feel good about this. Just put the number after the goddamn title so I’ll know where they go on my shelf.

2010: The Year We Made Contact
Superman IV: Quest for Peace (bonus for having quest, more in sec on that)
Die Hard: Live Free or Die Hard. Whatevs. DH4 works fine too.
Batman Returns – is that some kind of threat?
Analysis That
The Whole Ten Yards – that don’t make no kind of sense.


Nothing good comes from movies featuring the word “quest” in the title. NOTHING. That said, Galaxy Quest does not count. It’s bad on purpose and it’s awesome.

The above mentioned Superman movie
Quest for Fire
Quest for Camelot

8 Comments leave one →
  1. fillyjonk permalink
    January 29, 2010 10:44 am

    So you’re saying you’re not going to fund my project, “Chris Kattan IS Prometheus Jr. IN Fire Quest: Son of Fire Quest”?

  2. raymondj permalink
    January 29, 2010 10:46 am

    I’d like to add the “starring Demi Moore” category as an indicator. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of her movies, but that is because I love a good-bad movie, and see above re: ‘degrees of bad’.

  3. raymondj permalink
    January 29, 2010 10:48 am

    also, I forgot to say, BIG UPS FOR THE PX! I came across an old plastic AAFES bag stuffed into some storage awhile back. The PX is where I learned that tylenol = acetaminophen and advil =ibuoprofen and sudafed = pseudosomethingseomthing, because they were rocking generic drugs before everyone else, which meant our bathroom at home was rocking them too.

  4. January 29, 2010 10:50 am

    I’m hoping too see this ad someday:

    Rae Dawn Chong is Ika
    in Quest for Fire 2: Lightning Strikes Twice

  5. January 29, 2010 10:59 am

    @raymondj – oh my god, Demi. Just watched About Last Night again and train wreck doesn’t even begin to describe it. She and Bruce deserve their own categories. Also, Dolph Lundgren. Pretty much guaranteed to suck. You don’t even have to read the synopsis.

    ON AAFES. Omg, I remember that too. We never had any name brands. I didn’t realize things had name brands until I moved back stateside. I am guessing this is why I’m still drawn to store brand everything.

    @redlami – Talk about your Mannequin on the move. Rae Dawn FTW.

    I gotta tell the post “title” story. Once, while my mom was waiting for Pretty in Pink (at the same video store) the clerk stood in the middle of the store yelling, “QUEST FOR FIRE? It’s in. WHO RESERVED QUEST FOR FIRE? QUEST FOR FIRE? IT’S IN!!! GOING ONCE.”

    Nobody moved or claimed it.

  6. badhedgehog permalink
    January 29, 2010 12:09 pm

    Yes yes yes yes on “__ IS ___” and on sequel titles that don’t have the damn bloody number in. We shouldn’t have to look stuff up just to be sure we’re watching the films in the right order.

  7. hsofia permalink
    January 31, 2010 3:06 am

    ROFL @ fillyjonk’s title.

  8. LadyLately permalink
    March 4, 2010 9:06 am

    WHAT. Quest for Camelot was WONDERFUL. ‘All by myself, I stand alone’? Come on. You can’t not love the cheesy proto-emo redundancy.

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