Pat Freestone

Pat Freestone : The Big Screen Experience




August 19, 2002

Dear Friends:

Thanks for checking in with me today.

Before I get caught up in a discussion of what goes on here at Big Screen Video, like the problems we've been having with the journal tape on our register, or the terrible humidity caused by the vents from the Laundromat next door, or the frustration brewing among our regular customers about the delayed release date of Star Wars Episode II, or the conflict I've been subjected to with my co-worker, Ruth, about the insufficient amount of change she sees fit to keep on hand from day to day, or my displeasure with a certain Mr. Ben Sharbeen who can't be bothered to return the copy of Swingers he rented some 11 days ago, or the rather inhumane situation that's been developing in the glue traps near the boxed candy storage area, or the fact that even now as I relay my thoughts to you, a young man and woman have been browsing the adult section for almost twenty minutes now, despite my gut feeling as a four-year veteran of the video rental game that they are clearly underage, I must take this time to broach the subject of the controversy surrounding the climax of the 1983 John Landis film entitled, Trading Places.

tradingplaces

The film concerns the exploits of a wealthy commodities trader and a homeless vagrant who are inexplicably thrust into each other's existence as part of a wager between two elderly tycoons. The trader, played somewhat deftly by comedic actor Dan Aykroyd, is subjected to a rather tragic fall from grace as his career and world of affluence is ripped from him almost overnight. In the same short span of time, the vagrant--outrageously embodied by comedian Eddie Murphy-- finds himself on a hilarious romp from rags to riches as he is hired to replace the dismissed trader at the esteemed brokerage known as Duke & Duke. Now I must admit, although this film may not exactly be Oscar material (except for its fine soundtrack, which was in fact nominated in 1983 for Best Adapted Score), it certainly has its moments, including performances by veteran actors Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy, a cameo from blues legend Bo Diddley, and a lovingly composed, 4-second medium-close-up static shot of Jamie Lee Curtis' naked bosom.


Now what, as you may be asking yourself, does Pat Freestone find so problematic with this picture? Plenty, my friend, for it is the conclusion—the very resolution—of this story that perplexes me to no end, no pun intended.

Consider this: at a certain point in the film, the trader finds the vagrant and confronts him, only to find out that it was his wealthy employers—the very men to whom he had dedicated his life—who betrayed and casually discarded him, all for the chance to win the paltry sum of one dollar. Keen on revenge, the trader, with the help of the vagrant, the butler, and a prostitute, concocts a plan to topple the empire of Duke and Duke and put himself and his new friends in the so-called catbird seat. But then, the reality construct quickly dissolves. First, they buy the orange juice shares. Then they sell the orange juice shares. But the orange crop report is a phony. So the prices drop. Then they buy the orange juice. Then the prices go up. Then they sell the orange juice. The board says this. The board says that. The other traders want to sell! Then no one wants to sell-- they all want to buy! WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IS HAPPENING! YOU STUPID SONS OF BITCHES! ARE YOU TRYING TO DESTROY OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE PORK BELLIES! WHAT HAS BECOME OF OUR WAY OF LIFE?!! A DUKE HAS SAT ON THIS EXCHANGE SINCE IT WAS FOUNDED! HAVE WE ALL LOST OUR COCK-DIZZY FUCKING MINDS?!!! GOD, OH GOD, WHY!!!

Well, that's about it for today. Be sure to check back tomorrow. I'll be right here, at your service!

Yours truly,
Pat Freestone



August 20, 2002

Hello, friends!

This morning I had quite an enjoyable chat with a customer who is employed as a Cable Television Writer. He talked and talked about his exciting career. I've taken the liberty of summarizing what I was able to learn from him into this chart. The chart represents how the Cable Television Writer spends his day.

piechart

Oh, in case you're wondering, the writer rented Free Willy, Stand By Me, and Lord of the Flies. Can you believe he never even mentioned he's got kids at home!

See you tomorrow,
Pat Freestone



August 21, 2002

Howdy Folks,

Excuse me for a moment. Pennies! Ruth! I need pennies!

Perhaps we can talk again tomorrow.

Good day,
Pat Freestone

August 28,2002

Hello Again!

I'm glad to be back at the front desk, monitoring the inventory, handling the video rental transactions, and as usual, taking a few of my spare moments to address you all over the World Wide Web.

This afternoon, I had yet another discussion with our local Cable Television Writer, who had come by to return his rentals, and poke about the "Cult Classics" section in a somewhat melancholy stupor. As a courtesy, I offered my assistance, and was immediately subjected to a long tirade on his on-going career dissatisfaction. I have taken the liberty of summarizing his main points in the following flow chart.

procdure
In case you're wondering, the Cable Television Writer eventually settled on Faces of Death III, The Defilers, and a snackbar-size box of Butterfinger BBs.

See you tomorrow!

Pat Freestone




August 30, 2002

Greetings!

I'm thrilled to announce that during today's lunch hour I stopped by the drug store and picked up the developed jumbo prints of the photographs I took at the recent hot-air balloon jamboree in New Jersey! It was a marvelous day, and although our Big Screen Video company balloon did not ascend to the heavens as planned, there was plenty for the staff and I to see and do all day long. Attached herein are some of the "keepers," as the shutterbugs say! Enjoy!

wonder mondrian
invest logos" flat

So much for those who say we folks at Big Screen Video are all full of hot air!

See you soon! Pat Freestone


September 4, 2002

Dear God,

Why do you allow people to not rewind? How could you have created the heavens and the earth and the remote control and not see to it that tapes be rewound? Why, when you art in heaven, do you not remind your children to simply press one button and wait a mere two minutes before ejecting? Your own son died on the cross, and yet, even as my prayers reverberate against these humble walls, someone is ignoring the BE KIND, REWIND sticker you gave me the wisdom to create and apply?

Have we not been created in your image? Why, oh Lord?!

Blessed are they who rewindeth. For thine is the kingdom of heaven. And woe upon ye who take the clearly stated terms of the rental agreement in vain. Ye among us who choose the path of leaving the GODDAMN TAPE ALL FUCKING SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE LIKE, "OH, I DON'T LIKE THIS MOVIE BECAUSE THERE AREN'T ENOUGH SCENES WITH NEVE CAMPBELL'S BOSOM, SO I'M GONNA JUST POP IT OUT AND BRING IT BACK, 'CAUSE WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?" YOU CAN BURN IN HELL, YOU LAZY MOUTH-BREATHING SALAMI SLAPPERS! BURN, AND SUFFER, YOU MISERABLE, HORNY PIE-FUCKERS! AS YOU SIT THERE IN YOUR FRAT HOUSE WITH YOUR PANTS AROUND YOUR ANKLES, EJECTING YOUR PARTIALLY-VIEWED COPY OF I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, MAY WRETCHED BAT-LIKE BEASTS RIP YOUR SOUL OUT OF YOUR ASS WITH RUSTY ICEPICKS! WHY, GOD, WHY?!?!?! OH, GOD!!!

Pat Freestone



September 10, 2002
Hi gang!

Well, it's that time of the year again--time for my much anticipated Fall "Hits & Misses" review. For those of you not familiar with Big Screen Video here in Yonkers, NY, "Hits & Misses" is my quarterly rundown of some of the best and worst Big Screen Video has to offer in the feature film department. Granted, these choices are based on my personal tastes, but with four years of video rental experience under my belt, I figure I could teach even that old Gene Siskel a thing or two!

I thought it might be fun to post my list on this web site, as a special favor for those of you who don't get a chance to visit Yonkers. Maybe the local video store where you live has some of these titles! So, next time you want to rent a great movie, or want to make sure you avoid getting stuck with a real "turkey," just take a quick glance at my list here and get the popcorn popping!

HITS & MISSES

By Pat Freestone

HITS!

Magic
Blade Runner
Mannequin
The Toy
The Muppet Movie
The Stepford Wives
Pinocchio
Child's Play
Weekend at Bernie's
Welcome to the Dollhouse*
Puppet Master

*I didn't actually see this, but I heard it was well done.

MISSES.

Bull Durham
Major League
The Natural
Field of Dreams
A League of Their Own
Angels in the Outfield
Eight Men Out
61*
The Bad News Bears

*This asterisk is actually part of the title, so there isn't any footnote. Well, okay there is, but there shouldn't be. Humph--you know what I mean!

Don't forget to rewind!

Pat Freestone



September 25, 2002

Although I am quite fond of my ChronoSportz® 800 digital watch with the Athletoflex® sport band, I must say that I would easily trade it in a second (no pun intended) for a watch that could stop time.

Like Robert Hays in the 1980 made-for-TV movie, The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything, a man with a watch that could stop time would have the entire world at his disposal. For once the power of the watch is invoked, everything except for the watch bearer is temporarily suspended in time, allowing that individual to roam about freely and do as he please, without witness, without consequence, and without any human interference whatsoever. Oh, the things I would do with such a timepiece!

First of all, there would be no more rushing through life as if every moment was fleeting. Come noon on Monday, I would stop time right as my lunch hour began, and then sit down and slowly enjoy my sandwich, pretzels, and desert pie, savoring every bite as if I had all the time in the world. Because I do! Then, with a satisfied, full stomach, I would start time again and enjoy an entire uninterrupted hour of Ricki Lake. I can only assume that the television would be frozen if I did not restart time at this point. Now that's what I call a lunch break!

Then, I would tend to those young good-for-nothings that spend every day after school attached to Big Screen Video's Bloody Roar II video arcade machine. I would stop time with my watch as soon as I saw one of the little bloodthirsty hellions insert his fifty cents to begin a new game. Then, I would approach the machine, and while he and his friends stood there frozen in time, I would select his fighter character for him . But rather than a popular character like Gado the Lion or Bakyru the Mole , I would assign him the misery of Alice the Rabbit , the least mighty hand-to-hand fighter in the game. Then, I would tiptoe back behind the counter, re-start time, and watch as the little nitwit attempts to battle the vicious computer-generated monsters with Rabbit-style fighting combos he is completely unfamiliar with. Freestone Wins!

I could also use the watch that stops time to strike back with vengeance upon those who continue to abuse Big Screen Video's clearly-posted rewinding policy. When a customer enters the store to return a video cassette, I would stop time, sneak over to them before they reached the return counter, and then slip the cassette out of their hand to check if the tape has been properly rewound. If so, then no harm done. But if the tape has not been rewound, then I would put the tape back in the customer's hand, take my position at the return counter, and then re-start time. When the customer puts the tape on the counter, I could look them in the eye and say,
"you know, it's against store policy to return tapes that have not been rewound. I won't penalize you this time, but I'm afraid next time there will be a 75-cent fee charged to your account."

Imagine the look on the customer's face! "How did he know?! " they'll ask themselves, as they sheepishly apologize and walk out the door with their tail between their legs. " That Pat Freestone's no dummy ," they'll say. I'll bet I could have Big Screen Video at a 98% rewound-return rate within six months. All thanks to the watch that stops time!

Well, it's a nice dream. Sometimes, I feel like my dreams are all I have.

Now I'm depressed.

Sadly,

Pat Freestone



April 25, 2003

It’s been a long, hard road.

Ever since I got this impossibly ridiculous idea in my head that I could once again become a video game champion, my life has slowly but surely fallen apart. I have become a lugubrious shell of my former self, stripped of all but my abject shame and prescription eyewear. I was once employed in a managerial position. I was once confident in my abilities. I had chairs.

Look at me now.

Life gave me lemons, and I made lemonade. I hung in there, baby. The going got tough, and Pat Freestone got going.

He got going right over to Big Screen Video to beg for his job back.

Woefully,

Pat Freestone



April 28, 2003

The time has come to bite the bullet and return to Big Screen Video. I'm sure they've managed to find another Assistant manager in the time I've been gone. Maybe they promoted Ruth?

In retrospect, I shouldn't have just walked out without saying anything. Now I'm faced with the difficult task of explaining why I left, and convincing Mr. Napp that I'm worth keeping. It won't be easy. I've been practicing what I'm going to say since dawn.

"Well, Mr. Napp, I know I left without any sort of explanation, but I'm back, and I'm ready to work harder than I ever have, even at half-salary..."

"Mr. Napp, I've made some mistakes, and I'm willing to admit them. But I think everybody deserves a second chance, and if you'll let me continue working here, well then, you won1t be sorry..."

"Imagine: trying to save a little girl who fell down a well and then falling in yourself! Boy, it's good to be back!"

Wish me luck,

Pat Freestone


April 29, 2003

Yesterday afternoon, I took a stroll past Big Screen Video, incognito. I learned a few things about myself.

For example, I learned that I am not good at navigating crowded sidewalks while wearing a paper sack on my head.

But more importantly, I learned that I can assistant-manage the hell out of a video store. I am damn good at what I do. In the words of Jennifer Lopez, "I am the absolute shit, and so much better than even my own sky-high expectations, that it is almost impossible to fathom how fucking amazing I am, particularly when you consider my humble—nay, downright impoverished—beginnings, so therefore you must respect me, adore me, and whisper my name into the ear of the newborn savior again, and again, and again, for I am real."

It seems my presence at Big Screen Video has been sorely missed.

Judging from the fine layer of soot covering the inside sill of the window display, it’s obvious that it hasn’t been dust-busted since Christmas. The Dustbuster was not even charging! It was sitting on the floor by the register! Let me sat that again: THE DUSTBUSTER WAS SITTING ON THE FLOOR BY THE REGISTER! How can one expect to bust dust if the Dustbuster is not properly charged? Why does one go through the trouble of mounting the Dustbuster charging unit on the wall if the Dustbuster is not returned to it after the dust has been busted? Why would Black and Decker®, the makers of the Dustbuster, see to it that a small, factory-sealed bag of screws and mounting hardware be included inside the box of each unit, if not to faster the charging holster to the wall so that the Dustbuster can be constantly at the ready? Am I the only one who sees this? AM I THE ONLY PERSON ALIVE WHO UNDERSTANDS THE INTENTIONS OF THE GOOD PEOPLE AT BLACK AND DECKER® WHO SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS DEVELOPING A COMPACT, RECHARGEABLE HAND-HELD VACUUM WITH A SELF-CHARGING STORAGE DEVICE? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY IS SO FUCKING DIFFICULT ABOUT PUTTING THE GODDAMNED DUSTBUSTER BACK IN ITS’ COCKSUCKING CHARGER INSTEAD OF LETTING IT SIT THERE ON THE FLOOR BY THE REGISTER LIKE SOME GLORIFIED FUCKING DOORSTOP???!!!

I belong at Big Screen Video.

Pat Freestone



April 30, 2003

Does THIS look familiar?!

Click here

Pat Freestone




May, 1, 2003

Without much of a fuss, Pat Freestone's career in video rental management is back on track.

It's been a whirlwind reunion for me today here at Big Screen Video, and I must say, a welcome relief. I walked into Mr. Napp's office to apologize for walking off the job last Christmas without any explanation, and before I could get a word in, he asked me to get busy with the adult video reorders and the new summer window displays. I took that as meaning he was rehiring me on the spot.

Similarly, Ruth didn't seem to have time to ask me where I had been or why I hadn't been at work. As soon as I took my place behind the counter, she left for lunch and has not returned. That was about five hours ago. Since then, I have been reorganizing the register area and workstation. After four months of Ruth at the helm, this place looks like the wreckage one might expect to find if Motley Crue's tour bus crashed into an Office Depot.

I'd better get back to it.

It's good to be home,

Pat Freestone


May 2, 2003

It's wonderful to be appreciated, to receive approval, and to be given a pat on the back for all your really hard work.

We all crave recognition, and praise, and even an occasional perk to keep us going.

But when you ditch work for 4 solid months and then return only to find that no one even noticed you were gone, and that no impact whatsoever was felt by your absence, well, that kind of makes you feel somewhat unwanted, if not downright superfluous. It kind of makes you question if what you do in this life really matters at all, to anyone, ever.

But then, when you look in a drawer and find 16 un-cashed paychecks that you earned by sitting around getting drunk and playing video games while high on heroin, well that kind of makes it all worthwhile.

Workin' for the weekend,

Pat Freestone




February 23, 2004

The Oscars are coming!

You can feel the excitement in the air. You can see the anticipation on people’s faces. You can hear the gentle hum of nepotism in the distance, rolling off the Hollywood hills like a Randy Newman tune. It is glorious.

And yet, for most of us, the idea of seeing an Oscar-nominated film in theaters is ridiculous, given the exorbitant prices of movie tickets and the overall disappointment that usually follows two hours of sitting in darkness with a gathering of trained sheep that laugh hysterically at the mere mention of any bodily function. That’s why we have Big Screen Video.

So, this week, I will be posting

Pat Freestone’s Oscar-nominated rental alternatives



Nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, Mystic River seems sure to nab at least one top honor. But, if you can’t make it to the multiplex this week, might I recommend these similar--and guaranteed available--titles:

Mystic Pizza
Mr. Majestyk
Mystery Men

Enjoy!

Pat Freestone


February 24, 2004

When I mention the film Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, you’re probably thinking one thing: Jamaica. But if you don’t want to spend $8 to $10 to get a taste of the Caribbean, these reasonably-priced titles will have your bare toes in the sand before you can say "Rastafari!"

Pat Freestone’s Oscar-nominated rental alternatives



Cool Runnings
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Cocktail


Irie, mon!

Pat Freestone


February 25, 2004

For your consideration, more of

Pat Freestone’s Oscar-nominated rental alternatives



Seabiscuit. I’m not sure what exactly a seabiscuit it is, but it’s nominated for a whole "slew" of awards. But rather than shrug my shoulders and suggest that you just go spend $150* to take your family of four to the theater, I’ll use a little trick Miss Pratt taught me back in the fifth grade.

When you don’t know the meaning of a word, all you have to do is break it down into its individual parts and then determine the meaning of each part. For example, ‘equestrain’ breaks down into ‘equus’ which is latin for ‘horse’ and ‘trian’ which, I believe, is greek for ‘guy who rides something.’ Thus, ‘equestrian’ has something to do with horseback riding.

So to determine the meaning of the word ‘seabiscuit,’ we take the first part, ‘sea,’ which has to do with water, and ‘biscuit,’ which is a type of bread. So basically, we have bread and water, and thus we can safely assume that Seabiscuit is a prison movie. And we have plenty of those to choose from here at Big Screen Video:

Stir Crazy
Oz
(complete season 1 on DVD)
Cool Hand Luke

*includes price of admission, parking, popcorn, and liquor for Dad.

Catch you later,

Pat Freestone


February 26, 2004

Most of us are familiar with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and are humbled by the amazing world that Tolkein has created with the power of his fertile imagination. It’s no surprise, then, that the masterpiece of filmmaking created by Peter Jackson to bring the story to the screen has become one of the most celebrated cinematic works of all time. But if you’re looking to lose yourself in a fantasy world that exists only in your wildest dreams, sympathize with non-human characters that bear no resemblance to the kind of people you and I deal with day after day, and experience life in a mysterious place where reality doesn’t exist...well, we’ve got your movies right here.

Pat Freestone’s Oscar-nominated rental alternatives



Dirty Dancing
It Could Happen to You
Pretty in Pink
Reality Bites
Wall Street


Until next time,

Pat Freestone


February 27, 2004

Little-known facts about the Oscars!

*The statuette itself depicts a knight holding a crusader’s sword standing on a reel of film. What the fuck!

*The Oscar weighs over 8 pounds. It’s so heavy!

*Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar for directing. So why all the hype!

*It takes 12 people 20 hours to make one Oscar. Man, they’re slow!

*During WWII, the Oscar was made out of plaster. What a gyp!

*The Oscars were postponed for two days in 1968 out of respect for the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King. Recognize, motherfucker!

*Betty Davis was once president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But ya are, Blanche! Ya are!

*The first Best Picture Oscar went to a movie called Wings. Never heard of it!

*Jack Palance won an Oscar for his role in City Slickers. Believe it...or not!

*The 2002 Academy Awards Ceremony lasted 256 minutes! Whoa—pass the Vivarin!

Good luck Charlize,

Pat Freestone


July 26, 2004

Crime. It’s everywhere. Like right here, in our first ever

BIG SCREEN VIDEO CRIME BLOTTER

DRUG ABUSE CURTAILED

Last Friday, at approximately 2:44 PM, two Hispanic teens were seen smoking a marijuana-filled cigar in the vicinity of Big Screen Video’s trash area. The youths were chased away with a dousing of water from Mr. Pat Freestone, Big Screen Video’s Assistant Night Manager.

RECYCLABLES REORGANIZED

Several recyclable items were found mixed in with the regular trash on Saturday July 24th. The containers included a Sprite can, several 16 ounce Bud Lights, and a half-empty two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew. The items were later drained, rinsed, sorted and placed in their proper receptacles.

BRAZEN MILK DUD ROBBERY

Some time after 9 PM on Saturday night, two theater-sized boxes of Milk Duds disappeared from the front candy counter. Surveillance tape revealed a small, very blurry man shoplifting the delicious confections while employee Ruth Teresovich was engaged in a phone call.

Over and out,

Pat Freestone


July 27, 2004

BIG SCREEN VIDEO CRIME BLOTTER

BEES KILLED

Four annoying bees were killed yesterday when they were crushed to death with a rolled-up Us Magazine. Several other bees fled the scene, presumably surviving.

AIR CONDITIONING TURNED OFF WITHOUT PERMISSION

Between the hours of 1PM and 3PM, the Big Screen Video air conditioner was out of service due to a disengaged thermostat. The thermostat had been switched to the "off" setting by employee Ruth Teresovich, who had not obtained approval from management. The thermostat was promptly re-set to atemperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pat Freestone

July 28, 2004

BIG SCREEN VIDEO CRIME BLOTTER

STAR 69 ALMOST IDENTIFIES PHONE PRANKSTER

At 3:09 PM yesterday, after receiving a fraudulent phone order for 300 VHS copies of the recent release Starsky & Hutch, Big Screen Video Assistant Night Manager Pat Freestone dialed the code "*69" on the touchtone pad of the rental counter's land line. After several rings, the anonymous caller answered, but then hung up. Subsequent attempts were met with a constant busy signal.

LARGE WOMAN GOES BERSERK

A large Caucasian woman in her mid-forties went berserk yesterday during a verbal altercation with Big Screen Video employee Ruth Teresovich. The woman was apparently displeased with a comment Teresovich had made, and began to knock items off the sales counter in an aggressive fashion. Assistant Night Manager Pat Freestone then bludgeoned the woman several times with a fire extinguisher and removed her from the premises.

Pat Freestone


July 29, 2004

BIG SCREEN VIDEO CRIME BLOTTER

KEY RETRACTOR BREAKS

A spring-loaded, retractable key chain broke yesterday during a routine operation. The apparatus, belonging to Big Screen Video's Assistant Night Manager Pat Freestone, affixed a collection of work keys to Mr. Freestone's belt via 20 inches of retractable chain. While unlocking the store's soda machine, the retraction spring "crapped out."

CHILD VOMITS IN ADVENTURE SECTION

Eight-year-old Yonkers native Shawn Jackson vomited copiously in and around the "Adventure" rentals section yesterday. His mother, LaWanda Jackson, offered to clean up the regurgitated stomach contents and commented that her son had been suffering from a mild flu. The unpleasant odor was quickly muted with Glade air freshener and kitty litter.

Pat Freestone


July 30, 2004

BIG SCREEN VIDEO CRIME BLOTTER

"NO SALE" BUTTON BEATEN TO DEATH

After becoming stuck for the fourth time in as many days, Big Screen Video's cash register's "No Sale" button was beaten mercilessly by counter employee Ruth Teresovich. The plastic button eventually shattered under the stress of the repetitive blows, and was replaced by a wadded-up piece of masking tape. No details were available on the functionality of the new masking tape "No Sale" button.

ELECTION STILL MISSING.

A DVD copy of the dark comedy Election starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick has still not been accounted for. Records show that the video disc was rented on June 20th by Richard Klieg and not returned by midnight the following day. Mr. Klieg disputed the transaction, pointing out that he had purchased the same DVD title from Nobody Beats The Wiz in October of last year, and would have no need to rent a movie he already owns. The matter is still under scrutiny.

Have a safe weekend,

Pat Freestone