The quick rise of streaming service platforms led to the quick demise of an American institution, the video rental store. While it’s still possible to find the one or two cool stores in most cities and towns across country, the industry declined faster than rentals for the latest new releases and the big names, like Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video, declared bankruptcy and shuttered their stores. The absence left a gaping hole of nostalgia in the hearts of cinephiles everywhere, though we all seemed quick to accept the evolution and move on to Netflix.
Renting a movie became somewhat of a tradition for most families and individuals, with weekly sojourns to their local store to find the hottest new movies and greatest old movies to watch in the comfort of your home. It also allowed for a cheap way to see bad movies, movies that might be worth a one-time watch but certainly weren’t worth the cost of admission to a local theater. A movie you might hate at $10 becomes more palatable at $3, giving even critically panned movies a chance to find their audience. Even movies as historically bad as Freddy Got Fingered could be found on the shelves of your local video store. I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there who regret the time and money spent on watching Freddy Got Fingered, but most likely not as much as one Concord, North Carolina man.
In 2002, James Meyers made a bad decision that has snowballed into the present day. After renting Freddy Got Fingered from his local video store, he then forgot to return it, according to WSOTV.com. Now, 14 years later, Meyers has an arrest record after a warrant was found during a routine traffic stop. Meyers explained,
“The officer said, 'I don’t know how to tell you this but there’s a warrant out for your arrest from 2002. Apparently you rented the movie Freddy Got Fingered and never returned it.' I thought he was joking. For the first time I got put in handcuffs.”
While admitting that he vaguely remembers renting the movie from J&J Video, a local family owned store, back in 2002, Meyers also expressed confusion over the arrest, which he also called professional. As we all have, Meyers had been pulled over a few times during the last 14 years, but this is the first time the warrant has come back to haunt him.
The warrant was signed on February 28, 2002 for failure to return rented property and has apparently been hanging over his head in the years since. Meyers, who was taking his daughter to school at the time, was allowed to surrender himself at the police station several hours after being told about the warrant to allow him to get his daughter to school.
Despite praising the overall professionalism of the police force, Meyers was also a bit confused as to why the police and the courts were wasting their time. The charge, a misdemeanor, carries with it a fine of $200 and a police record. Fourteen years seems an awfully long time for this to come to a head now, a sentiment both Meyers and Freddy Got Fingered star/director/writer Tom Green agrees with, having posted on his Twitter account "I just saw this and I am struggling to believe it is real."
Green also tweeted out support for Meyers and, in an interview given with Austrailian TV, given in support of a current stand up tour of the country, Green expressed a willingness to pay for any fines Meyers might owe, saying,
“If it’s 200 bucks of course I’ll pay it for him, just for the principle of the thing.”
Freddy Got Fingered, as you might remember, was one of the most critically panned movies of 2001. Currently holding an abysmal 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, it won several Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and Worst Screenplay. Later, it was even nominated for Worst Movie of the Decade, an accolade that eventually went to John Travolta’s Scientology train wreck, Battlefield Earth.
With an arrest and impending court appearance now hanging over his head, Meyers is suffering from the cumulative effects of a single bad decision 14 years ago. He’s right when he says that the police and courts have better things to do and be concerned about over this minor offense, especially considering it’s been well over a decade since the movie was rented. With any luck, the charges will be dismissed and Meyers can finally move on with his life post Fingeredgate. In the meantime, it might behoove you to double check your movie collection. If there’s a movie in there that you rented and forgot to return, the law may yet catch up with you after all.