Category Archives: Blu-ray

Forgotten Films of My Teenage Years

I love movies. You don’t have a collection of nearly 8000 DVDs without having a major affection for the world of cinema. One of the things that still amazes me, however, is how a film can almost completely disappear from the public’s memory. Just the other day I was thinking about several movies that I would love to see again, or better yet pick up on DVD or Blu-ray. Remember these weren’t silent films that were truly lost or destroyed. They weren’t films that were held back or banned by the talent involved or the courts either. None of these were huge hits, but they all got fairly wide releases as far as I could tell.

Partners starring Ryan O’Neal and John Hurt
So Fine also starring Ryan O’Neal
Coast To Coast starring Robert Blake and Dyan Cannon
If You Could See What I Hear starring Marc Singer
Nate & Hayes starring Tommy Lee Jones and Michael O’Keefe
Die Laughing starring Robbie Benson
Americathon starring John Ritter

I would also love to once again see a couple of foreign films I saw at the old Plaza East Cinemas and one I saw at the old Capitol theater.

Shadowman
It’s Not The Size That Counts
Flatfoot

I think the Warner Archives may have a couple of these films and I actually found a region 2 DVD of Shadowman under its original title Nuits Rouges on Ebay recently but was unable to spare the money for it at the time. Of course I’m not saying that these films are impossible to track down. I managed to track down bootlegs of Beyond Westworld and National Lampoon’s Disco Beaver From Outer Space, so if I really wanted these films I’m sure I could find them. Heck some might even be on Netflix. But of those 10 films is there anyone else that remembers all 10 of them? Does anyone remember 5 of them? How about The Fantastic Animation Festival, 20th Century Oz, or The Legend of Hillbilly John?

Some studio spent thousands or millions on these films and now they are nearly forgotten. Well here is my salute to these forgotten if slightly flawed gems. And let’s just throw out Squeeze Play while we’re at it. Now if I could just remember the name of the film about the young girl working her summer at a British hotel…

Last night I was depressed. My health was giving me problems, my finances were out of whack, and I had decided to just sit there and internalize it. I sat down for a few minutes before I went to bed and tried to work some of my issues out by writing about it right here on this blog. When I got up this morning I found out that my post had been chosen as a “Freshly Pressed” winner by Word Press. The funniest thing is that right before I found this out, I was thinking about how depressing the whole post had been and that I would have been better off taking the time to follow the one depression cure that has always worked for me.

I discovered a few years ago that if I wanted to feel better all I needed to do was watch Smokey and the Bandit.
Smokey_and_the_Bandit
There are so many reasons why this works for me. Smokey and the Bandit takes me back to the 70’s. I was a kid without a care in the world. The film tapped into the whole CB radio craze of the time and had an amazing cast. Burt Reynolds was the man back then. Jerry Reed was a singer turned actor that seemed like someone you could have a good time with. Sally Field was shedding the image of the flying nun and was incredibly cute and sexy without being overly sexual. Jackie Gleason was hilarious, which was a real eye opener for a 13-year-old kid that hadn’t grown up on The Honeymooners. And of course the icing on the cake was the presence of Paul Williams. Paul Williams wrote some of the greatest songs of my youth, created one of my all-time favorite soundtrack albums with Phantom of the Paradise (which he also starred in with Gerrit Graham and Jessica Harper), and played Virgil in Battle for the Planet of the Apes which had been my favorite film of all-time just a few years earlier.

So if I had only popped in the brand new Smokey and the Bandit Blu-ray that I got for Christmas last night, I probably wouldn’t have written the post that I did. Sure I might have felt better, but I would never have known the joy of being recognized for my writing. Well except for that one award I got several years ago for my ability to write quality porn for a now defunct web site.

The Greatest Day Of The Week

From the time I was a little kid until my teen years Saturday was the greatest day of the week. As a kid there were Saturday morning cartoons to start the day and Chiller theater to close it out. Later on Saturday evenings gave way to Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Saturday Night Live. There were other fun things sandwiched between the cartoons and late night tv, but the shows were the items that sat the tone for my day.

If I got up early enough on Saturday the stations had old episodes of Lassie, Skippy, and Daktari. If I got up too early there was the farm report or a test pattern. Neither of those interested me, but I loved the old Ivan Tors animal shows and Lassie was okay as well. A little later in the day the Saturday morning cartoons would start. Most of these were just that; cartoons. Live action Saturday morning fare was much less common. The big and possibly only exception to this rule was Sid and Marty Krofft… oh and the Hudson Brothers.

Recently I picked up season one and three of Land of the Lost on eBay for about $3 each. I already had the second season, so this completed the original series from my childhood. There was a reboot of the series in 1991 which my son watched, although he swears he only remembers watching the show on Nickelodeon. I never really warmed up to the reboot, and the theme song was nowhere near as catchy, but I loved the original 1974 version. It was one of the shows I hated to miss. The show I practically refused to miss was Return to the Planet of the Apes. I remember Mom had made a doctor’s appointment for me one week during the time Return to the Planet of the Apes was airing and I was extremely vocal about my disappointment in missing it. To Mom’s credit she didn’t smack my ass and tell me deal with it, she tried to reassure me that I could catch it on a repeat. Sadly it was cancelled and that episode never was repeated. I now have the whole series on DVD, but after 37 years I’ve forgotten what the storyline even was in the episode I missed. One day I just need to sit down and watch the whole series from start to finish. It only ran for 13 episodes, so that should be about 6 hours or less.

There were a plethora of fun shows on Saturday mornings during those years, but Chiller theater became more important to me toward the end of grade school. I was a huge fan and regular reader of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Castle of Frankenstein and The Monster Times. My fondest wish was to try and see all the classic monster movies. Every once in a while I would get lucky and find one of the Mummy movies or the Wolf Man, but usually it was B grade fare like Monster on Campus, The Monolith Monsters or The Indestructible Man. I still watched them, but I yearned for Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, or Godzilla.

As I entered fourth grade, I discovered Monty Python and British comedies. I would stay up until 11 PM waiting for the new Python episode. Python had a completely different sense of humor and I loved it. It also had occasional nudity which was another plus. The first episode I remember watching featured the skit Blackmail, where a game show host played video footage, showed pictures, or read partial lists of information about an illicit tryst in order to blackmail the guilty parties into paying him money.

Saturdays changed forever once our local NBC affiliate finally picked up Saturday Night Live. They didn’t carry it during the first season or two, opting instead for episodes of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. My nephews had been watching it from the first episode and I got to see one episode when we were visiting them (for the record it was the one hosted by Hugh Hefner). I watched SNL up until the early part of the sixth season. I caught a few sporadic episodes over the next five years, but didn’t really start watching again until the 11th season which was probably one of the worst seasons in the show’s history. I gave up on it again until season 14 and then watched it religiously for several years.

These days Saturday mornings don’t even play that many cartoons. Most of the ones they do play are not exclusive to Saturday mornings either. And of course unlike in those days of yore, Saturday morning is not the only place you can find cartoons on tv. There is Cartoon Network, Toon Disney, Boomerang, and many other channels carrying nothing but animated programming. Chiller theater is long gone, but the classic monster movies are almost all available on Blu-ray or DVD. The only thing missing is a DVD of our syndicated horror host, Seymour. The entire series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus is available as are the first five seasons of SNL. I still wish the other seasons of SNL were available, and I would also love a region 1 release of The Goodies which I also watched on PBS during that same time period.

The other big change is that now I don’t get up early enough to watch whatever the stations are showing, and I’m at work usually when SNL is on. I set my DVR for it if for no other reason than to catch Weekend Updates or the occasional on air flub (thank you, Jenny Slate).

DVD review: Tosh.0 Deep V’s

Tosh.0 Deep V’s is a 2 disc Blu-ray containing 16 episodes from season two of Tosh.0. I have trouble finding time to watch a lot of tv and when I do have time, my legs usually end up cramping on me and I have to give up. That’s why I split watching this Blu-ray into 4 sessions. I watched the first six episodes one night. Several days later I picked up and watched the next four episodes, finishing out the first disc. A few nights later I popped in disc 2 and watched the last 6 episodes. Finally I sat down and polished off the bonus features.

Tosh.0 is a series that airs on Comedy Central and stars stand up comic Daniel Tosh. Daniel shows videos from the Internet and makes jokes about them. The format is usually to open with about six different clips. One of them he usually has a filmed skit to go along with (usually a “re-enactment” of one of the videos. One clip he will have them put 20 seconds on the clock and see how many funny comments he can make. The last clip will usually be given the “video breakdown” where he analyzes it, pausing it several times along the way. Then it’s time for a commercial break so he gives us a teaser and then shows one more quick clip. After the break, he shows another video. This one he will bring the “star” of the clip out to Hollywood for a “Web Redemption”. In the early episodes, the clips were usually of someone screwing something up, so he would recreate the event and give them the chance to get it right. Later ones may only consist of him interviewing the person and doing some sort of skit around the premise of the video. This disc had several of both. After the redemption it’s time for another commercial break which he prefaces by saying, “We’ll be right back with more…” and then naming a cancelled Comedy Central series. Coming back from the break he will usually do something related to his audience, a previous show, a challenge, or something that he has discovered on the web. One episode had him doing “Things you should never run into a room and yell”. A few episodes later he showed videos his viewers had made using the same idea. Another segment is the viewer video of the week. This is supposed to be a video uploaded to his blog by his fans. Some of them are funny. Some of them are cute. Some of them are pure crap. Usually he will have a few comments which will often make the crappy videos tolerable. A prime example of this is a video of an older asian lady doing what looks like martial arts warm up exercises.

Deep V’s contains the last 16 episodes of season two. This is where the show really started to find its voice. I have watched all three of the DVD sets and there is definitely a more relaxed feeling in the season two episodes. The early episodes had a more rigid feel to them and they also had the usually horrible celebrity videos. The one with Dave Attell was amusing but still a little too long, but the one with Fred Willard was just a bad joke stretched past the point where any humor could be milked out of it. Side note; when is someone going to release full season sets of Insomniac? I have the two “Best Of” collections, but I want them all! Comedy Central could make this happen, but if they won’t Shout Factory needs to jump in for us.

The bonus features are all just extended bits from usually the Web Redemption segments. I find these to be interesting, and the expanded panel with the “world’s worst stand up comic” managed to be both funny and informative. An additional bonus feature was the Spoiler Alert segment on Human Centipede. Spoiler Alert has only appeared twice in these episodes. It is not a regular feature. This particular spoiler alert was the full 23 minute retelling of The Human Centipede. If you haven’t seen The Human Centipede, let me just say that it is not as disgusting as I expected it to be, a feeling Daniel seems to share. If you have seen it and enjoyed it even a smidgen, then you have to go online and watch Human Centipede The Musical. A comedy troupe took the Centipede story and performed on stage a musical comedy version of it. It is wonderful.

Tosh.0 Deep V’s is definitely entertaining if you like the show. I wish they had released the episodes in order, but unfortunately the 16 episodes between Hoodies and Deep V’s are on volume 3 Cardigans Plus Casual Jackets which is a Wal-Mart exclusive available only on DVD. I would also loved to have had some more behind the scenes bonus footage and a commentary track or two would have been nice. I’d also like it if they offered non-pixelated versions of the clips. The language has been uncensored for the DVD release, but nudity is still blurred out. Give us the uncensored nudity as a bonus feature.

Wasted Days & Wasted Nights

It amazes me when I get a day off and don’t feel like I manage to accomplish a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I did get some things done, just not the laundry list of things I wanted to get done. The wife and I went through and shredded old receipts from 1989 through the early 2000’s today. Now while this was something that needed to be done, it just doesn’t feel like anything either. I had planned to move over another shelf full of magazines and a desk full of books to help finish out most of the center of the old house’s library. Instead we turned 15 years worth of phone bills into confetti.

I thought perhaps I would try and catch up on some comic reading. I got through the first three issues of All New X-Men and fell asleep in the middle of issue 4. Remember how I said in my last post that I need those 8 hours of sleep? Well I only got 6 last night and my body has been reminding me about it every waking moment. I think my DVR viewing is up to date with the exception of the new season of Workaholics. I have two episodes sitting on the DVR waiting to be watched, but no burning desire to jump in and start watching.

Workaholics is one of those shows that I enjoy, but I find myself dreading to watch. I have similar reactions to Wilfred and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I’ve also had issues getting into Dexter for the last three seasons. I watched the first episode after Rita was killed and found it so depressing that I didn’t want to go back for the next episode. Then the next season started and I didn’t want to watch until I caught up on the other season. Finally the most recent season began and I found myself two season’s behind. I decided to just knuckle down and watch the first episode, totally ruining the previous season’s twist ending shocker. I still enjoyed the show, but never managed to go back and watch anything beyond that season opener.

One show that recently started back up and that I definitely don’t let sit on the DVR for too long is Archer. I absolutely loved the season premiere this year with an amnesiac Archer thinking his name is Bob and working at a burger joint named Bob’s Burgers with his wife, Linda, and their three children. The fact that H. Jon Benjamin voices both Archer and Bob in the two respective shows made this the greatest series mash up since Bob Newhart woke up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette. It was easily my favorite thirty minutes of television this year, although the scene of Jessica Lange singing “The Name Game” in the middle of Briarcliff Insane Asylum on American Horror Story: Asylum three weeks ago is definitely a close second. To go from such a dark depressing environment to the bright shiny and very colorful song and dance number still has me floored. Jessica Lange has come a long way from Dwan in King Kong and deserves another round of awards for this season.

So, how will I cap off the night? I think I’m going to try and finish off the first disc if my Tosh.0 Deep V’s Blu-ray. Tosh.0 was one of those shows I hated initially. I thought the celebrity videos were horrible and wasn’t a fan of much else on those early episodes either. I watched two episodes and I was done. Somewhere in the middle of the third season I started watching it again. I don’t know why. I think I just had the TV turned to Comedy Central and there wasn’t anything else on screaming for my attention. The next thing I knew, I had saved the show to my DVR and couldn’t wait until the new episode hit.

When Comedy Central started releasing the episodes on DVD and Blu-ray last year, I was thrilled. They made the decision not to release full season sets, but instead to release the show based on Daniel’s wardrobe. For those not familiar with the show, Daniel wears one type of clothing for each block of episodes of which there are usually two to three blocks per season. The first season consisted of hoodies and cardigans. Season two contained casual jackets and deep v’s. So the first Blu-ray consisted of all the Hoodies episodes. I bought it and watched it the night before my big job change in June 2012. It helped keep me up and entertained so I would be ready to take on going from day shift to evening shift. At Christmas time they released volume 2 on DVD and Blu-ray, but it was Deep V’s, the last 15 or so episodes of season 2. The last episodes of season 1 and the first episodes of season 2 were released on DVD only as a Wal-Mart exclusive and numbered as volume 3. Can somebody please tell Comedy Central that some of us out here actually care about about things like proper release order and numbering? I’m still pissed at the Simpsons for releasing season 20 after season 12 or 13.

I’m also pissed that no one has made a deal to release the later seasons of SNL. Don’t get me wrong. The first five seasons are THE classic years for the show, but I also want to see the train wreck that was season 6 and season 11. I want to watch the episodes with Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscipo that I ignored while I was in my senior year of high school. I want to catch the classic late 80s episodes with Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, and Dana Carvey. I also want to see the early Will Ferrell episodes and watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s early days before 30 Rock and Parks and Rec. If Universal doesn’t want to release them, they should license the rights to Shout Factory who does an amazing job with shows like this.