VHS Hits The Red Carpet

  • videoarchives
  • June 13, 2023

The Video Archives Podcast is handing out the gold hardware! It’s our season finale, which means it’s time to look back on the last year, and give awards to our favorite films, actors, discussions, VHS boxes and much more. Today’s episode is a must listen if you want to hear the gang share their favorite moments of the podcast so far, and preview some of their plans for next season – with a couple surprises thrown in as well. Cue the orchestra for the last Counter Talk newsletter for a while, featuring a few awards of my own…


When we arrived to record this finale, Quentin had arranged every tape we watched this season on the Video Archives recording table…take a moment to bask in this glorious display.

By the way, as mentioned in today’s episode, here’s Gala’s rare copy of Lucky Day on VHS:

You’ll have to listen to the episode to hear Quentin, Roger & Gala’s selections for the Video Archives Awards, but this is the only place you’ll find the winners of the far less prestigious Counter Talk Awards! These are your humble correspondent’s three favorite films and favorite discussions from the inaugural Video Archives season.


Before I get started – my Best Film winners are a little skewed because I did not watch every film the show covered, but I watched quite a few of them, and these are the three that bowled me over the most:

3. The Fool Killer – I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Joe Dante’s Video Archives selection since we discussed it. A Southern Gothic odyssey that flips between charming slice-of-life episodes and expressive, surrealistic detours, this film gets at hard truths in the classic coming of age story that lesser films would elide. It’s all held together by Edward Albert’s powerful performance as the young George, in his very first screen role.

2. Rodan – Outside of the original Gojira, my knowledge of Ishirō Honda’s original kaiju universe is woefully incomplete. Rodan blew me away with its ingenuity and sense of spectacle and scale. Nothing in modern action filmmaking feels as tactile and real as Honda’s world of miniatures being blown apart by Rodan’s nuclear wind. The ending is truly heartbreaking (and kind of romantic)!

1. Coma – Forget the debates about how many corpses it really takes to crush a man to death. If you can suspend your disbelief regarding some of the plot details (which I admittedly had to at times), this is a remarkably gripping and eerie thriller that will haunt me the next time I’m going under anesthesia. Genevieve Bujold is such a winning actress, I couldn’t help but root for her no matter what bizarre choices she made. Loved the supporting performances as well, from a perfectly ambiguous Michael Douglas to Richard Widmark’s too-slick hospital administrator. What a picture!

My film selections may have been colored by my incomplete watch history, but when it comes to Best Discussion, as the man who edited and polished every episode, and listened back to each of them many, many times, I might be the most qualified person on the planet to weigh in. This was an extremely tough call, but I think these were the three moments the Video Archives crew were at the tip-top of their game:

3. The Jet Benny Show – The joy of discovery is palpable from the very start of this discussion, as Quentin & Roger can’t contain their glee trying to describe what The Jet Benny Show even is. A Star Wars parody refracted through the lens of The Jack Benny Show, and shot on Super 8 with painstaking handmade effects, the hosts cover this mostly forgotten curio with infectious enthusiasm, trading Steve-Norman-as-Jack-Benny impressions all the while.

2. The Great Waldo Pepper – This film is a favorite of Roger’s, and his explication of the themes of Waldo Pepper and his personal relationship to this aviation story is a highlight of the season. At the same time, George Roy Hill expert Quentin brings an appreciative but critical eye to the film, and between the three hosts, it feels like every angle of this flawed but immensely powerful auteur piece has been covered. Essential listening.

1. Star 80 – This one felt special as soon as we started recording. Quentin’s connection to Dorothy Stratten helps this conversation feel not only like a laser-sharp dissection of Bob Fosse’s misguided biopic, but a resurrection of Stratten as a living, breathing person who must be remembered. Roger’s defense of Fosse’s ruthless perspective on the industry and Gala’s rediscovery and appreciation of Stratten make the whole discussion sparkle, and the stories of Quentin and Roger breaking into the film industry are some of the funniest moments of the season. This was my personal high point of an exceptional first year.

So now we come to the end…for a little while! Video Archives and this newsletter will be back before you know it. Need some tips to fill the void before then?


  • Catch up on all the episodes and movies you skipped! Or rewatch some films now that you’ve heard our thoughts. (See how differently The Hospital plays!)
  • Get more Video Archives merch at Podswag.com! Gift it to friends and family!
  • Tell you friends about the show, so you can talk about past episodes together. Throw Video Archives watch parties, and invite everyone you know for a night immersed in the glory of VHS.
  • Most important of all, stay subscribed to this very newsletter, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, so you’ll be the first to know when there’s more news about Season 2. It could be sooner than you think!


Thanks so much for subscribing to Counter Talk, and reading all my ramblings about VHS box design and the movies of the week. It’s been so much fun to keep this conversation going with you all, almost as fun as making the podcast itself. See you soon!