May went out with a whimper for renters, who got stuck with a heap of remakes and a cheesy genre flick, but the day was saved by an awesome Western making its home video debut.
“Endless Love” — This movie was first made in the 1980s with Brooke Shields. The critics roasted it like a Peking Duck, but teens sought it out and it made a respectable return for investors. This version is better made and acted, but probably won’t break even, though it is better than the original. The plot is all Shakespeare, as a well-to-do girl falls for a bad boy and the families step in and make it worse.
“Gambit” — Another remake finds Colin Firth as a nebbish out to scam his obnoxious boss (Alan Rickman is very funny here) by convincing him that a forged painting is the real deal and worth millions. He enlists the aid of a femme fatale (Cameron Diaz) and the plan gets more complicated as speed bumps start cropping up. Okay time-waster.
“Ghost Quake” — A tremor busts a time capsule from the 1950s. Turns out it contained some nasty ghosts who then possess a principal and three teachers before going after a group of teens. Lots of potential here with generation gaps and time travelling spirits but none of it is tapped. Turning this into just another direct-to-video stinkburger that starred Danny Trejo.
“Cimarron Strip” — Stuart Whitman stars in this excellent Western series as a Marshal with a lot of territory to cover. Each of the 23 episodes produced is movie length and features great guest stars like Henry Silva, Telly Savalas, Darren McGavin, Robert Duvall and Warren Oates. Solid scripts also differentiate this from the pack. Look for an offbeat episode, by Harlan Ellison, that posits that Jack the Ripper moved out West.