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Video Rewind: I Bought It at the Yard Sale

Updated on May 9, 2022
Robert Canga pays Jane Curtin a quarter for a cup of coffee in How To Beat the High Cost of Living
Robert Canga pays Jane Curtin a quarter for a cup of coffee in How To Beat the High Cost of Living
Alice (Ellen Burstyn) and her son Tommy (Alfred Lutter) take a break from the yard sale madness in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Alice (Ellen Burstyn) and her son Tommy (Alfred Lutter) take a break from the yard sale madness in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

A favorite activity for many during the spring and summer season is to stake out a yard or garage sale. We've all been to one and for those who are brave enough have had one.

Personally, I don't like going to either since I've always felt as though I were invading someone's private space, but I will go to a flea market with no problem.

Whether it's for personal reasons, many people will flock to a sale and or have one and characters in movies are no exception. Some have even found a way to furnish their homes, while cleaning out the old.

How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980)

Elaine (Jane Curtin) is having a bad week.

After coming home with a ton of shopping bags she learns that her husband has left her for his secretary. He's cleaned her out and what little money she has left in her Christmas Club account she can'r touch it until December. So, what's a newly separated woman supposed to do (when the car payment and mortgage are due in a few days?).

Have a yard sale and try to unload as much of his stuff as you possibly can.

But, Elaine isn't the only one having a hard time.

Jane (Susan Saint James) just found out she's pregnant and Louise (Jessica Lange) is being sued by her husband Albert (Richard Benjamin) since her antique shop isn't making a profit and he's being audited.

After Elaine's run out of gas by the mall, she stops in to call the auto club, when she gets an idea and calls the others to meet her.

Her idea? Rob the big money ball that all of the shops will be donating their profits to for that day. They have a few days to get organized, but can they pull off the biggest robbery in Eugene, Oregon's history?

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)

Even though her abusive husband didn't leave her, Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn) suddenly finds herself a widow after her husband (Billy Green Bush) is killed in an automobile accident. She and her son Tommy (Alfred Lutter) kind of look at his death as a relief and prepare for a new life.

Alice decides to move back to her hometown of Monterey, California and before leaving decides to have a garage sale and not bring anything from the past with her. For the time period, they seem to do a good job at raising money but the money obviously won't last long.

Along the way, they make a few pit stops so that Alice can earn some much needed money and she finds herself in another abusive relationship with Ben (Harvey Keitel) while working as a singer in a bar.

Hastily she and Tommy leave town and when they arrive in Tucson she's forced to take a job as a waitress at Mel and Ruby's Diner and put her singing career on hold.

While in Tucson, they meet a wide range of characters and Alice begins to fall in love with a local rancher (Kris Kristofferson).

HouseSitter (1992)

The first rule of lying is to make sure you have back up evidence and remember the tale you're telling. I'm sure Goldie Hawn's character, Gwen, would be the perfect teacher.

Posing as a Hungarian waitress, Gwen meets Davis (Steve Martin) at the restaurant she works at while he's there for a work function.

Davis is in a deep depression since his girlfriend Becky (Dana Delany) turns down his proposal after he's secretly designed and built a house for her.

In his depression, he tells his problems to Gwen as he walks her home and the two of them spend the night. Earlier, her had drawn a picture of the house he built on a napkin and left it behind.

Intrigued and knowing that the house is empty, Gwen decides she needs a break and heads to the house where she falls in love with the place and while wandering around happens to come upon a yard sale where she inadvertently buys a lounge chair owned by Davis' father George (Donald Moffat).

When she asks if it can be delivered and she gives him the address, George is shocked and while quick on her feet, Gwen tells him and Edna (Julie Harris) that the two were married. This leads to a discussion of marriage and while Edna's heartbroken, she welcomes Gwen into the family.

She eventually meets up with Becky the same day as she finds out that she can get credit at the local market and Becky invites her for a drink and conversation. Gwen continues to fabricate the story and meanwhile, back in Boston, Davis decides to put the house up for sale.

Upon his arrival, he discovers Gwen has taken up residence and a completely furnished house, along with story after story which has many layers.

However, during the storytelling, love begins to spark as Gwen takes Davis under her wing and turns him into a great storyteller.

The Ice Storm (1997)

Thanksgiving is fast approaching in New Canaan, Connecticut in 1973 and as the characters get ready to celebrate the long holiday weekend, things are definitely going to change for all of them.

Depression reigns king in this movie as relationships are explored and lives are threatened when Dot Halford (Allison Janney) decides to throw a key party the day after Thanksgiving while an ice storm is brewing and about to hit the area.

Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver) and Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) have been having an affair unbeknownst to their respective spouses (Jamey Sheridan and Joan Allen) and they've agreed that she'll grab Ben's car keys so the two of them can spend the night together.

Things don't go according to plan and Elena Hood is surprised when new resident George Clair (Henry Czerny) arrives after they had met a few days earlier at a yard sale (in November? in Connecticut?) but there seems to be some attraction between them and as she sees her daughter Wendy (Christina Ricci) fly by on her bike, Elena longs for those days of being carefree (don't we all?).

Things get a little dicey during the ice storm and everyone can agree, it's a Thanksgiving that no one will ever forget.

Gwen (Goldie Hawn) finds the perfect chair at the school's yard sale in HouseSitter
Gwen (Goldie Hawn) finds the perfect chair at the school's yard sale in HouseSitter
Can a conversation over books lead to an affair? George Clair (Henry Czerny) and Elena Hood (Joan Allen) discuss the possibilities
Can a conversation over books lead to an affair? George Clair (Henry Czerny) and Elena Hood (Joan Allen) discuss the possibilities

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