IT'S BECOMING clear that if you plan on being the star witness in a congressional hearing, you should be careful not only about what you write, think and shred but also about what movies you rent at your neighborhood video shop. This past summer, while Lt. Col. Oliver North was on the stand, someone got hold of a list of movies rented by him or members of his family and made it public. Now the same thing has happened to Judge Robert Bork; a list of 146 videos rented over the past year and a half by him or people in his home fell into the hands of a writer at the Washington weekly the City Paper, which gleefully published it.
Although there was nothing particularly startling on the list, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were angered by the disclosure. Sen. Alan Simpson called it "arrogant, smart-aleck, super-sarcastic, puerile, sorry and pathetic," and Sens. Joe Biden and Patrick Leahy also voiced strong criticism. If you're wondering where all this will lead, we suggest an answer: it will lead, as most things inevitably do now, to more videos. Here are a few you might be seeing soon in your own shop:
The Ferniger Sanction (R): An inscrutable title for a gripping tale of campaign espionage and intrigue in which the filching of a presidential candidate's video rental records reveals that he has an inordinate fondness for Fred Flintstone cartoons -- information which is used to destroy his candidacy. Robert Redford, Diane Keaton, Barney Rubble, G. Gordon Liddy.
Give Me Video or Give Me Death (G): A historical epic tracing the roots of video privacy rights from the early days of colonial show business through war, depression and social upheaval to the climactic struggle for legislation securing federal protection of movie rental records -- led by a former presidential candidate who calls video privacy "the very Bedrock of American civilization." Woody Allen, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Sir Lawrence Olivier, the chorus of La Scala and the Albanian Army.
The Polygraph Kid (PG-13): The rollicking tale of a super-sarcastic, puerile teen-ager who works at a neighborhood video store and thinks it would be funny to leak the rental records of a star congressional witness to the papers. His subsequent attempts to avoid detection and prosecution under the Video Privacy Act of 1987 lead to a hilarious helicopter chase and a rousing musical finale in Paraguay. Pee Wee Herman, Matt Dillon, Carrie Fisher and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Neville Marriner conducting.