Once upon a time there were video stores where you could go and choose a movie on a VHS tape, pay a sum of money, and take it home to watch on your clunky VCR.
That’s what Pickens, SC resident Kayla Finley did one day in 2005, selecting the Jennifer Lopez/Jane Fonda romantic-comedy flop Monster-in-Law from her local Dalton Video store.
Either because it was so bad she was too embarrassed to walk back into the store with it, or perhaps because she simply forgot, Finley never returned the tape.
So imagine her surprise when last week she walked into a local cop shop to report an alleged crime and was promptly arrested for “failure to return a rented video cassette” and slung in the slammer for a night.
According to Fox Carolina, the owner of the store had reported the non-return nine years ago – after Finley had apparently failed to respond to letters demanding the return of the cassette – with a judge issuing a warrant in response.
When 27-year-old Finley spoke to police last Thursday, the warrant came up in a check of police records, resulting in her arrest and a night in jail despite her claim that she’d never received the letters.
“It’s obvious that Pickens County has nothing better to do,” Finley told Fox Carolina, adding, “I fully intend on fighting this, it’s ridiculous I had this happen to me.”
The movie in question has a dismal 16 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, with reviews describing it variously as “a comedy without laughs” (Seattle Times), “like a really bad sitcom from forty years ago” (Ebert and Roeper), and an “utterly generic Hollywood mess” (eFilmCritic), though to level things out a bit, the San Francisco Chronicle generously called it “a really shrewd bit of popular entertainment.”
Although Finley had arguably been helping the people of Pickens by keeping the widely panned movie out of circulation and thereby preventing a ruined Friday or Saturday night, local cops were clearly intent on following through with the warrant, an act that may have others with unreturned VHS tapes gathering dust in the closet wondering if they will one day suffer a similar fate…..