Posts Tagged ‘Videoville’

If you ever came to Videoville back in the day, you’ve seen at least a few minutes of Bugsy Malone. Trust me.

“You give a little love and it all comes back to you, you’re gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do.”

That’s the closing mantra of Bugsy Malone, a movie musical like no other.

No, seriously.

Someone plopped down in a cushy chair at a Hollywood studio, looked the big man in the eye, and calmly said, “So, see, it’s The Godfather, but they sing and dance, and all the guns shoot cream pies, cause … the entire cast is KIDS!!!!”

And then they got the green light, and movie nirvana was made.

No, seriously.

Through 12 years at Videoville, I tried to play as many offbeat movies as possible on the in-store TV’s, just to keep people on their toes.

And also because as my middle nephew is fond of saying, with all the gravitas a 10-year-old can muster, “Uncle David, you like weird movies!!!!”

It’s true, and he doesn’t know the half of it.

So Videoville patrons got to experience, whether they wanted to or not, the sweet, sweet music of what-the-heck-is-that gems like Phantom of the Paradise, Rover Dangerfield, Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, Shock Treatment, and The Apple.

We’re talking songs like “Bitchin’ in the Kitchen,” which begins:

Dear blender
Oh won’t you help a first offender
Oh, toaster
Don’t you put the burn on me

It’s gold, Jerry, gold!

Plus some warblin’ from Dwight Yoakam, the dance floor being torn up by Ann-Margaret, and a tangy mix of foreign musicals, from Bollywood to Umbrellas of Cherbourg to probably way too much opera in full-throated Italian.

But it was Bugsy Malone which got the most play of any musical, as I made my best attempt to wear out that VHS tape.

I love the movie, the way it takes everything seriously, never stopping to say, “Wait, those are 10-year-old kids wearing fake Clark Gable-style mustaches.”

Fat Sam and Dandy Dan operate as if they’re Brando marshalling the troops as Don Corleone, and I am there for it.

Bugsy Malone has songs that pop, gunfights that deliver a solid … plop, and a 14-year-old Jodie Foster, the best actress of my lifetime, is the cherry on top as Tallulah, a fast-talkin’, wise-crackin’, torch-song-singin’ sensation.

I see you Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, and Nell, and I’m gonna let you finish, but you’re not a true Foster Fanatic unless you love the skeezy Carny, the creepy The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, and the what-now?!? of Hotel Artemis.

But most of all, you have to have lived for that moment when Foster blows the hinges off the bar room door doin’ “My Name is Tallulah” in Bugsy Malone.

That’s the moment everyone in Videoville would come to a complete stop, look at each other, then look at me and be like, “What … am … I … watching???”

Movie magic, that’s what you’re watching.

A moment, a scene, a shard of cinematic history, captured thanks to Foster, and to the often-underrated, often-brilliant director Alan Parker, who passed away today at 76.

He gave us Midnight Express, Fame, Mississippi Burning, Pink Floyd: The Wall, Shoot the Moon and many, many more, but it’s Bugsy Malone I hold dearest.

That movie is just a huge part of my memories from my time at Videoville, a run in which it never felt like I was going to work.

I was paid to watch films, jabber on about movies, and play gems like Bugsy Malone for the customers – maybe entertaining them, maybe messin’ with them, a bit, maybe opening their eyes to something outside of just that week’s new releases.

The people who make the movies, the Jodie Foster’s and the Alan Parker’s, have had a huge impact on my life, and, for that, I am grateful.

“You give a little love and it all comes back to you, you’re gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do.”

And for the movies you make.

Thank you, Mr. Parker. You will be remembered.


My Name is Tallulah:


Bad Guys:

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How much do I love this movie? So, so much.

This whole Coupeville Sports gig? Just killin’ time while I wait for the inevitable return of video stores.

I mean, it has to happen, right?

Yes, I’ve been wandering the desert for a decade now, with my 15-year run (1994-2009) in movie nirvana having ended before many of the current CHS freshmen entered kindergarten…

But I have to keep the dream alive.

Some day people will wake up, really look at how few films Netflix and other streaming services really offer, and we shall return to the days of Videoville renting 500 VHS tapes on a Friday night.

Or, some hipster with WAY more disposable income than myself, and a burning desire to toss money into the wind, will come along and say, “Hey, let’s be ironic and open a video rental store.”

And, when that happens, I will be there, waiting, like Silent Bob himself, who yes, I know, I sort of, kind of, look like.

Endless stats and long stretches of sitting on butt-busting school bleachers will fade, and I will be paid to once more yammer on endlessly about some weird-ass foreign film you have no intentions of ever seeing.

Yes, it starts off with dozens of Japanese school children holding hands and jumping in front of a speeding bullet train, and no, it makes no sense at all at any point from there, but … Suicide Club!!

The movie you didn’t want to watch in 2001 and still don’t want to watch in 2020.


Or, I know you’re going to rent Jurassic Park … but first, can I tell you the good word about Bottle Rocket?

Yes, I know 98% of the town of Coupeville hated it.

Sometimes 98% of a town can be wrong.

So there.

But anyways, just because video stores died doesn’t mean I became any less obsessed with films and yammering on about them.

So, for the three people out there who care, pop over to the link below and discover my picks for the 100 best movies to hit during my decade wandering in exile.

These are the films I would have been pestering you to rent between 2010-2019 if someone were still paying me to sit around and watch movies all days.



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   Coupeville High School senior princess Mckenzie Meyer, the pride of Videoville. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The senior court for Homecoming practices their runway poses.

Payton Aparicio and Hunter Smith lead the parade.

   Senior princess Lauren Bayne gets love from soccer mates Lindsey Roberts (left) and Sage Renninger.

Videoville’s legacy lives on.

My home away from home for 13 years may be no more (psst … not too late for someone to bring it back and start paying me to watch movies again), but its alumni are still making news.

When Coupeville High School announced its 2017 Homecoming royalty Friday, two of the honorees had a connection back to video store life.

Senior princess Mckenzie Meyer is the granddaughter of my former bosses, Frank and Miriam Meyer.

And freshman princess Aria Bowen, though she might have forgotten about it at this point, used to hang out with me behind the video counter as a baby while mom Dea made drinks at Miriam’s Espresso.

The other royalty might not have that Videoville connection, but I guess we can mention their names here as well…

2017 CHS Homecoming royalty:


Payton Aparicio


Hunter Smith

Senior Prince and Princesses:

Lauren Bayne
Mckenzie Meyer
William Nelson
Lauren Rose
Cameron Toomey-Stout
Julian Welling

Junior Court:

Madison Krieg
Josh Robinson

Sophomore Court:

Jered Brown
Mica Shipley

Freshman Court:

Aria Bowen
Michael Laska

Duke and Duchess:

Chad Felgar
Ariana Nielsen

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   Journalism, like this backboard and net, may be a bit worn, but it’s still hanging in there. (Amy King photo)

I write.

Of course, over the years, I’ve had a lot of jobs.

Fast food flunkie to dish washer, lawn care “specialist” to liquor slinger, carpet shampooer to the day care guy who got kids so wound up they didn’t take a nap for a week, my working days have been varied.

I’m still haunted by my stint harvesting mussels for a low-rent operation (so, NOT the guys currently working Penn Cove’s waters…), while my 13 years at Videoville was a true rarity — being paid to do something I would have done for free.

But, through it all, I have written.

Since moving to Whidbey midway through my senior year of high school, I have written thousands of stories in local newspapers.

Sports, a movie column which ran without missing an issue for 15 years, epic house fires which made page one, school board meetings which definitely did not, dead starfish stinkin’ up the beach.

A little bit of everything and a lot of it.

The past five years my words have lived here on the internet instead of in the pages of a newspaper.

It was, for me, the best decision I ever made with my writing.

I’m not here to trash newspapers.

They are where I started, and I still remember what it was like to see that first byline in the News-Times when I was 18, refusing to go to college and working in the press room at night and badgering Fred Obee for freelance assignments during the day.

The current group at the News-Times is a stellar collection of journalists, made up of good people who are in the job for the right reason.

The Sports Editor, Jim Waller, and the Publisher, Keven R. Graves, are two of the biggest reasons I got into journalism and have somehow managed to bounce around on the fringes of that world for almost three decades.

They, and their co-workers, are fighting the good fight, at a time when the very nature of newspapers seems to change on a daily basis.

I respect what they do, and why they do it.

Of late, I’m trying to be a little more open about my support, and a little less of a sarcastic pain in the keister.

But, I also realize, life inside a newspaper doesn’t work for me anymore, and hasn’t for a while.

When I started Coupeville Sports Aug. 12, 2012, I’m sure there were some who thought it would be a short-term affair. That I would eventually fall away like the loonies at Island Politics and similar short-term blogs.

Instead, here I am, publishing my 5,399th article, less than a month away from my five-year anniversary.

I still tick people off from time to time (simmer down, Klahowya…) but I’m less prone to poking for the sake of poking. Most days.

Coupeville Sports isn’t perfect, but it is perfect for me.

It means I can post at 2:30 AM, I can write 700 words about a JV game, I can have final say on anything and everything I write (with my readers as the final word on whether I made the right choice or not).

Do I abide by the Associated Press style book at all times? No. They’re not big fans of exclamation points, for one thing.

But while I have freedom in how I write, when I write and why I write, I still view myself as a brother in arms with my newspaper brethren.

I don’t publish smear pieces. I don’t make up stories. I fact check and use sources, and have from day one.

I may publish quicker and more prolifically than most newspapers, but I don’t shortcut to get there.

If you choose to lump me in with the patently fake “news stories” which mushroom all over social media, you do me a disservice.

While I use Facebook and Twitter to promote links to my work, the same as newspaper do, those links exist to send readers to where I actually publish — on my blog.

Journalism has had to adapt in an ever-changing world.

In 1989, there was one way to be a journalist. In 2017, there are many.

Some writers choose to stay within the framework of a conventional newspaper. Some don’t.

We are not enemies. We are on the same journey, just taking different routes.

I respect those still in the trenches at newspapers. Their commitment to the cause is worthy of praise.

I hope the feeling is mutual.

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Caleb Meyer hangs out post-game with big sis Mckenzie. (Sarah Meyer photo)

Caleb Meyer is the next big thing.

Literally, as the Coupeville 7th grader continues to shoot up in height on what seems like a daily basis.

The little curly-haired kid who bopped around Videoville when he was a toddler (store owners Frank and Miriam Meyer are his grandparents) is now a long and lanky star on the rise in two sports worlds.

On the basketball court, he was the #1 scorer for Randy King’s 7th grade CMS squad, torching Forks for a season-high 26 points in one early-season win.

Exchange the basketball for a mitt and bat, and Meyer has spent the spring playing for Central Whidbey’s Babe Ruth baseball squad.

And there may be a third sport in his near future, as he’s considering trying middle school track as an 8th grader.

That would land him in the same universe as big sister Mckenzie, a standout with the CHS track squad who would be a senior next year.

Regardless of what he chooses in the spring, Meyer is certain of one thing — he was born a gym rat and will remain one all his days.

“I will always stick with basketball throughout my life, because it is my favorite sport,” he said. “It takes a lot of awareness and focus and it is also very fast-paced.”

While the seasons and sports may change, Meyer loves being active and finds something positive in whatever activity he is involved in.

“I enjoy being an athlete because it keeps me fit,” he said. “And I also find it is a good way to spend my time.”

While his height is a big strength for basketball, a lot of his points came off of beating foes down-court on the break. Speed kills, and he has speed for days.

“I believe that one thing I am good at is running fast,” Meyer said. “But I would like to be able to run fast for longer.”

While he hasn’t hit high school yet, he does have his eye on the far-flung future, giving him a solid target to work towards.

“My goal for high school is to get drafted into Gonzaga University and to be one of the best players in the league,” Meyer said.

As he pursues his goals, Caleb knows he has a strong (and proudly vocal, thanks to his cheerleader sister) support group in the stands.

He appreciates them all, but gives a special shout-out to his mother, Sarah.

“My mom has had the biggest impact on me,” Meyer said. “Supporting me with all the practices and bringing me to games as well as being at games to support me.”

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