Touching People

By Christi Bradnox

 

So your copy of Heavy Metal Parking Lot is so mint you want to “jump its bownes” and the audio on your Senator Bud Dwyer Blows His Head Off video is so clear you can hear “hey Bud, Bud, don’t!” in your nightmares. You have punk Quincy, punk CHiPS, and a straight-from-TV version of the A.B.C After School Special: The Day My Kid Went Punk. You even made sure to own all three TV Carnage tapes in case your collection left out any Gary Coleman shit. You’re done, right? 

WRONG MOTHERFUCKER!!! Dude, you might as well put on a dress and swish around the room for us. The videos listed above are basically the Shrek of rare videos and you are Richard Simmons.

Unless you: black out all your windows with tinfoil, have a kitchen that makes girls gag, and have a small room devoted solely to Star Wars figures, you are not a collector of rare videotapes. These people are on a first-name basis with all the editors at NBC and Fox. They know which band members have what tapes on what tour bus (for some reason Royal Trux and Yo La Tengo seem to come up a lot). They correspond with the staff of Mr. Show and Strangers With Candy, as well as every editor in Hollywood. Not only do they pillage everything eBay has to offer but they actively go out and seek new shit that nobody else has. Like the Reading Rainbow episode about a pathetic comedian named Jeff that only does old folks’ homes or the Dolly Parton home movie where she offers her tits as a funny hat for photo ops. What they collect is more similar to outsider video art than a bunch of rare TV shows. Here’s a randomly selected top 10.

(Click on the movie snapshots to view the film - Quicktime required)

 
 

Jan Terri – Rockin’ Video collection
This less-than-ravishing, diminutive, working-class white woman is fucking legendary in Chicago. She writes and performs incredibly naïve rock n’ roll songs that stay in your head for days. They’re so good Yo La Tengo had to cover them and Marilyn Manson couldn’t resist having her play his birthday party. Her collection of five homemade videos starts out with Jan sheepishly singing a Runaways-esque “I Don’t Want to Lose You Tonight” and progresses into her unabashedly kicking out “Get Down Goblins” like she invented the monster mash.

HIGHLIGHT: When Jan describes the man of her dreams she sings, in an oddly childlike accent, “He had baby blues, so crystal clear. Clear enough to fill a swimming poow.”

Anna Nicole Smith – Outtakes
from Skyscraper
Once poor and lovely, now rich and cow-like, Anna Nicole Smith is obviously a big fan of prescription drugs. Holy shit. The editors of this movie had such a hard time getting any half-decent footage from her cavalcade of unintelligible stonededness that they decided to splice the worst of it together into one of the best things you’ve ever seen. Not only does she act like someone just startled her out of a deep sleep, but she cannot remember any lines whatsoever. Even three-word sentences spoken directly into her ear come out of her mouth sounding like a catatonic fish.

HIGHLIGHTS: You can hear the director saying to her face, “The line is ‘We’ve gotta get out of here,’” which she turns into “We gotta get shit...we gotta...fuck, man” and then stares off into space. Her costar is smiling.

 
 

Peace and Love – the movie pitch
A brain-damaged hippie has decided to devote all his time and money into pitching a surreal cartoon/live-action musical/ Hollywood blockbuster about the powers of peace and love. He has a convoluted plot that involves love babies and sperm and magical lovemaking and the KKK and Vietnam and death and birth and it’s all done in this heavily marketable style that is so fucking insane you will never want to go near acid ever again.

HIGHLIGHT: He goes off on a tangent about a new chain of organic vegetarian restaurants called Peace and Love that will stem from the success of the movie and will compete with McDonald’s.

Orson Welles – Paul Masson commercial
Watch it twice. The first time you can watch Orson drunkenly slur all his lines with the cadence of a Pakistani Beat poet and the second time you can watch the actress on the left halfheartedly try not to laugh. Dude is annihilated, I’m telling you. You have never been that drunk in your life. The most shocking thing about this commercial is not how drunk he is but how hopelessly determined the director is to get a half decent take.

HIGHLIGHT: Right after they click the “take 12” clicker thing, Orson’s mouth jumps in with an enthusiasm his brain cannot begin to catch up with. What results is a sentence that begins with a roaring “raaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhuuuweee here at Paul Masson are committed to bringing you…”

Elton and Betty White
You know the Whites, right? A very old white woman and her young black husband and their crazy brains. Using a tiny guitar, the two lovebirds sing about oral sex, each other’s butts, and the problems with having guests in the house.

HIGHLIGHT: Elton White singing “my three-feet red-hot tongue is sweet as sugar.”
 

Todd Weeks - Self-Defense Guru
This unique self-defense video rarely shows much about self-defense. Instead we see Weeks practice punches and kicks and kung fu himself around the room. Of course, you can never meet this person one-on-one and he does not actually teach the course to people. “My bones are too brittle for that.” All he wants you to know is that he could kick your ass in a heartbeat and this is not to be disputed.

HIGHLIGHT: As he yammers on about how you can show this tape to any martial arts expert for verification, he becomes distracted by a plastic lightsaber he’s been swinging back and forth and he falls silent. He fucking distracted himself.

What I Really Want
This is the winner. It was parodied in the Mr. Show movie Run Ronnie Run and Beck couldn’t resist putting it in a recent video. This way-too-short informative clip (you want it to go on for days) features a typical Marin County self-help group talking about actualizing your dreams. The story goes that, halfway into filming, the leader of this bizarre yuppie cult decided “everything has to be destroyed – RIGHT NOW!” The filmmakers managed to salvage this 15 minutes before the rest was lost forever.

HIGHLIGHT: A man rests on his knees and, after being encouraged to say what he feels no matter how much it hurts, bursts into sobs and screams, “I want to touch people. I want people to TOUCH ME!!!!”

Best of the Worst Star Search Audition Tapes
Whether you work in a photo-developing place or edit America’s Funniest Home Videos, there is always a tiny version of you in a tight red leotard and horns going, “Make a copy for yourself. This shit is too good to pass up!” These people did it, and you have no idea the amount of unfunny idiots out there that want to become comedians.
Interesting note: Everyone who watches this tape talks about feeling sick afterwards and wanting to take a shower.

HIGHLIGHT: A bourgeois housewife finishes a pathetic Phyllis Diller imitation and then just stands there staring at the camera. “Turn it off, lady,” you say to yourself, but no. She just stares at the camera for another two minutes.

Martin Carlton Stunt Special
This guy is kind of like that Canadian daredevil guy that fell down a 50-foot ladder into his own pool. He is daring and brave and really smart and has decided he can jump from one gigantic pine tree to another even though they are at least 100 feet apart.

HIGHLIGHT: After he plummets to the ground and breaks his leg he insists his brother go get him a glass of cold water because he feels “nauseated.”

Winnebago Man
The CEO of Winnebago is trying to put together an industry tape but, as he puts it, “my mind is a piece of shit today.” The guy fucks up his lines so many times that the film crew put together a tape for themselves that includes, among other things, a montage of him yelling “fuck” in frustration (there’s about 50 separate instances).
HIGHLIGHT: When he’s having some quiet time trying to calm down, one of the crew guys walks in by accident.

Winnebago Man: Tony, will you do me a kindness?
Tony: Leave?

Mmm hmm.
OK, but I can’t keep coming in and out if you’re going to fuck up every time and —

Doesn’t really make a difference to me at this juncture. Thank you … AND DON’T SLAM THE FUCKING DOOR!
 

 

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