An Open Letter to Reno, Nevada...

Reno: Not such a great place for movies

Marilyn Monroe and Henry Miller, holed up above downtown Reno during the summer/fall shooting of
Marilyn Monroe and Henry Miller, holed up above downtown Reno during the summer/fall shooting of "The Misfits." (by Inge Morath/Magnum Photos)

Dear Reno, Nevada,

Marc Savlov from Austin, Texas here. I have something I have to say to you. It might hurt a little, but just remember: it's not me, it's you.

Anyway, when I'm not off visiting my widowed and lonely mother up in, um, you, I'm doing the film thing way down yonder in the 512 for The Austin Chronicle. There's generally no shortage of cinema to pick from at home, but I noticed that your theater and video store selection was, how shall I put this? "A mite slim."

You see, earlier today I decided I would go and rent your classic drama The Misfits from one of your many splendid corporate DVD rental facilities. As all the world knows, John Huston's magnificent western elegiac was shot right here in good old Reno -- that's you! -- and then I thought mabye tomorrow I might go visit some of the original shooting sites once trod upon by the likes of Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Monty "The Right Profile" Clift.

Now, I don't know how you do things here but I figured that, just like in Austin, I could ring up your local VHS (R.I.P.)/DVD rental joint and have them hold me a copy. No problem, right? The Misfits is only the most legendary, sexy, and downright cool Sierra Nevada-centric film about the Death of the Great American West ever made and, hey, I'm already in Reno. Your video stores probably have 20-plus copies just waiting for outsiders like me to wander in and rent them. What could possibly go wrong?

Let me tell you, Reno: You have zero, zip, nada copies of The Misfits available for rent or even for sale. For shame! You probably can't even buy it in flip-book version from a burned-out tweaker in the alley behind the Peppermill Casino, so far as I can tell. I rang up four different local video outlets and got nowhere, fast. That's like you going to Austin and not being able to find a copy of Slacker or a killer mango margarita at Polvo's (you gotta try 'em when you're in town, trust me), or even an aging hippie lamenting the demise of the Armadillo World Headquarters. Inconceivable!

And yet, here are some of the responses I received from the other end of the 775 area code phone line (that's *you*, Reno):

Blockbuster: "None of our locations carry it. I guess people don't like it all that much."

Hollywood Video: "You mean like the band? Sure! Oh, the *movie*? Um..."

Video Maniacs: "Sorry, no call for it at all."

Suncoast Motion Picture Company: "It's old, right? Try Barnes & Noble."

Even your one independent record/video/DVD store, Recycled Records came up sort.

Seriously, Reno, this absence of Misfits is causing me to reconsider my already semi-shaky views on how classic a city you are. If the Biggest Little City in the World can't be bothered to carry even one single copy of the film that made you famous (and I mean Henry Miller and Marilyn Monroe famous, not just get-a-divorce-in-a-hurry famous), then what's the point? I'll admit I didn't call every single video outlet listed in your dusty, off-Yellow Pages, but still. [Whoops! Yes, I did. Go figure.]

So just between me and you, Reno, I've got to say it's an awfully long drive up the Loneliest Road in America only to find out that misfits aren't welcome in Reno, unless, that is, you happen to be Glenn Danzig.

Gee whiz and sour whiskers, Reno, get your act on,

Yours most sincerely,

Marc Savlov

Staff Writer/The Austin Chronicle

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