As you've surely noticed, we call this little column o' video-rental recommendations "I'm Staying Home"—and in this week's installment, you'll "stay home" in more ways than one! That's because—just like Old Joy, which opens this week—all of the following films were shot in your very own "I'm Staying Home"-town of Portland, Oregon, USA!
• The Zero Effect (1998)—One of the best parts about watching movies made in your hometown is laughing at inept filmmakers' geographical discontinuities. For a shining example, see The Zero Effect for the scene in which someone emerges from a MAX train just below the St. Johns Bridge. Unforgivable errors aside, however, Jake Kasdan's noir-ish flick is a hell of a show, with Bill Pullman leading the way as a hilariously eccentric and paranoid detective.
• Drugstore Cowboy (1989)—I certainly hope you don't need to be reminded that Gus Van Sant lives in Portland, but I'll understand if you've forgotten that Drugstore Cowboy, one of his fantastic older films, was shot here. It's a gritty, hilarious, dark, sad film about prescription drug thieves whose lives slide into a wasteland of unnatural highs and lows.
• Body of Evidence (1993)—I still remember renting this movie as a teenager and struggling to stay awake through its laughably terrible plot so I could see Madonna drip hot wax on her tits. She also masturbates at one point, and gets anally serviced by Willem Dafoe. (But don't worry: She's a "bad girl," so she enjoys it.) The creators of Body of Evidence struggle mightily to make Portland look like a hotbed of sweaty sin and vice. Somehow, they fail.
• Bongwater (1997)—Shot before key members of its cast became huge stars, Bongwater follows a depressed pot dealer (Luke Wilson) who wanders around Portland. Andy Dick and Jack Black make entertaining appearances, as do Mary's Club and the Bagdad Theater. Make no mistake: this is a dumb movie. But I got into the spirit of the thing beforehand and hit the reefer pretty hard, and it wasn't so bad.