Omnibus Entertainment does indie-film god parent Film Movement very proud as to the September 22, 2020 DVD release of the sublime 2018 quirky comedy "The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova." "Dombrova" is EXACTLY what we need today. It easily is the most witty and charming film that your not-so-humble reviewer has seen since watching the (reviewed) biodramedy "Stan and Ollie" in January 2019.
The well-deserved festival love for "Dombrova" includes Best Feature and Best Director honors at the 2019 Canadian Film Fest.
The following "Domdrova" trailer provides a moderate "Fargo" vibe as to the offbeat sensibility and the barren setting of the film.
Our story begins with squabbling siblings Aaron and Sarah fresh off the plane from Canada and seeking transportation at a Polish airport. Writer/director Zack Bernbaum expertly conveys their relationship early on by having uptight bureaucrat rely on the statement of an airport worker that there are no cabs only to have disaffected Sarah being right as to a nearby car meeting their uber need.
Additional early exposition establishes that our reluctant tourists are in Poland to fulfill a dying wish of their grandmother. Contrary to the assertion in "Seinfeld" that "In Poland, we all had ponies," the grandmother owned the titular prancing pooch. The grandkids are there to retrieve the bones of the dog so that they can be buried in Canada with the grandmother.
The driver, who becomes a friend and regular chauffeur, takes the visitors from The Great White North to the requested address. This figurative dead-end results in Aaron and Sarah finding themselves in a vacant lot where they are the subject of the vacant stares of the men who are sitting there.
The next stop is the guest house run by a tough-but-compassionate middle-aged woman whose cooking reflects the principle that no part of an animal should be wasted. Her sister provides the room service at the establishment.
The driver from the night before showing up with her teen son in tow introduces that scene stealer/detective of humanity to the film. The insights of that lad include that even a baseless charge of child molestation can be effective in meeting your goals.
This leads to civil servant Ian meeting his match at the local hall of records; that man shows that an expedited request is not always a timely one.
The subsequent wacky adventures include encounters with a local priest and with a peer of the grandmother who has a very old school attitude. Throughout all this, Aaron and Sarah gain a greater understanding of each other.
Bernbaum saves some of the best for last as things culminate in a final desperate measure that is proportion to the times. This involves the taxi driver showing the extent to which she is willing to take one for the team.
All of this shows that a relatable story in the right hands can delight and amuse.
God to lovers of the eternal musical-comedy series of the '60s and '70s Time Life awesomely follows up its (reviewed) "Best of Sonny and Cher" DVD set with the September 15, 2020 release of "The Best of Cher."
The new bonus-dripping 8 discs take us from the late-70s "Cher" CBS musical comedy series, which is comparable to Laverne keeping the laughs coming after Shirley bails in the final season of their sitcom, to the 2013 Lifetime "Dear Mom, Love Cher" documentary. The latter has our enduring living legend reminisce with mother Georgia Holt. One spoiler is that this one shows that the apple lands directly under the tree.
The fun begins with the February 9, 1975 pilot episode of "Cher." The titular entertainer stays true to form by opening the show belting out a tune while (barely) dressed in one of seemingly infinite outfits that Bob Mackie has designed for her throughout the decades. This leads a little bit of a downer opening monologue in which Cher comments on her no longer living a pro Bono existence.
An incestuous element of this series is that it is produced by George Schlatter; Schlatter also is the brains behind the (reviewed) late '60s-early '70s phenom "Laugh-In," which is out on DVD thanks to Time-Life. Schlatter contributes his two cents to "Cher" in a DVD bonus interview.
The '70stastic guests that help Cher get her groove back are Elton John, Bette Midler, and Flip Wilson. Highlights include Flip Wilson alter-ego Geraldine attending a class-reunion with Cher hilariously tacky alter-ego Laverne. We also get Elton John singing a wonderful rendition of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," joining Cher to rock out with one his classics, and doing a medley with Cher and Midler.
Guests in subsequent episodes include soon-to-be Cher spouse Greg Allman, "Love Boat" darling Charo. "Laugh-In" star Lily Tomlin, "Carol Burnett Show" fall-on-the-floor-funnyman Tim Conway, "Charlie's Angel" Kate Smith, and far too many other Disco Age A-listers to mention,
The wonderfully bizarre April 3, 1978 "Cher...Special" begins with a Cher monologue that turns back time to when she feels like an ugly duckling teen and segues to her performing numerous parts in an extended medley of songs from "West Side Story." This leads to performances that range from country queen Dolly Parton to new wave group "The Tubes."
The March 7, 1979 special "Cher... and Other Fantasies" finds our star the apparent prisoner of an impish creature played by Elliott Gould. The Gould character repeatedly sends Cher into rooms in an office building from Heck. The vignettes involve situations such as Shelley Winters, who essentially is forced to eat dirt and returns the favor, playing a woman who sells angst. We also get Andy Kaufman as a bizarre version of Adam just arriving in The Garden of Eden.
The aforementioned "Mom" does a good job keeping the story of gypsy and tramp (but not thief) Holt light and entertaining. We additionally get interesting insight into (almost aborted) life of Cher. A mug shot of our gay icon is one of numerous vintage images. Learning at the end that all of this is an infomercial for the new album of Holt does make the audience feel duped.
The "Mom" disc includes a fun 1987 "Superstars and Their Moms" segments that greatly overlaps Mom. The most fun of this is seeing Carol Burnett as we mostly likely have never seen her before.
An even more fun bonus on this disc has Cher and talk-show host James Corden playing truth-or-dare with some of the most disgusting food known to mankind. This one makes many of us wonder if we would emulate Cher in chowing down on a gag-worthy item to avoid saying one nice thing about Donald Trump.
Music takes center stage over comedy and nostalgia in the August 1999 recording of the Cher MGM concert.
The big picture this time is that "Best" preserves numerous highlights from the "Star Wars" of celebrities in that the woman of the many hours is a goddess to three generations (and counting) of fans. This truly is one that the entire family can enjoy while (largely thanks to Trump) essentially subject to house arrest for the foreseeable future.
The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment separate DVD and DVD/BD sets of the John Stewart ("The Daily Show") joint "Irresistible" (2020) provides a great chance to see a film that truly is one for our dystopian times. The extreme divisiveness regarding every aspect of American society screams now more than ever for the impish wit and charm of writer/director Stewart.
Casting "Daily" veteran Steve Carrell as prominent Democratic campaign manager/spin doctor Gary Zimmer is the icing on this tasty cupcake. This "Office" guy puts his deadpan wit and condescending arrogance/exasperation to good use as a DC insider essentially living a self-imposed exile in Hooterville. Think Michael Scott in a town full of Dwight Schrutes,
The quasi Mary Matalin to Zimmer's James Carville is his Republican counterpart Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne). This "Irrestistible" aspect aptly adds a '90s vibe to this film that is a a mash-up of the politicom "Wag the Dog" and films"loosely based" on the Matalin/Carville relationship.
The following "Irresistible" trailer provides an excellent "25-words-or-less" synopsis of the wonderfully cynical themes of the film; we also get good doses of the well-produced humor that make this one worth adding to your home-video library.
Our story begins on election night 2016 with the upset victory of Trump over Clinton; we all know how that worked out. Four years later, Zimmer finds a potentially game-changing online video of democrat/veteran/farmer Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) raising a fuss at a council meeting in his rural Wisconsin town, Zimmer makes the hastings decision that his getting that man elected mayor will be an important step toward turning that swing state to the Democratic side in the upcoming presidential election.
Hilarity ensues as we witness the political games that are par for the course inside the Beltway but not the Bible Belt. We also see the aforementioned patronizing attitude of Zimmer towards the "hicks," and said "real Americans" show up that city slicker.
The success of Zimmer brings Brewster to town to create bad faith as to Hastings. This leads to Zimmer v. Hastings: This Time It Is Especially Personal. The fun here includes a manufactured scandal and a perfect example of the risks of relying on general demographics. All of this makes Topher "Dumb Ass" Grace ("That '70s Show") being a member of Team Zimmer apt.
Stewart saves the very best for last ala a series of twists that are straight out of Golden Age Hollywood. This awesome cynicism shows that you truly cannot trust or underestimate anyone.
The copious home-video bonuses include deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a couple of "making of" features.
The term "uncut and uncensored" fully applies to the DVD set of the sublimely ridiculous Del Shores joint "Sordid Lives: The Series" and partially applies to supporting cast member Jason Dottley. Disdain for Dottley does not preclude speculating that the camera adds 10 inches; another possibility is that Shores got his hands (pun intended) on the famous Dirk Diggler prosthetic. That full-frontal and other racy content suggests that these versions of the episodes did not air during the top-rated run of "Series" on basic cable.
This new addition to the catalog of DelShores.com provides a good chance to add a DVD of a series that is not widely syndicated to your home-video library. The general cred. of this one extends beyond auteur Shores putting his Freddie Mercury Players to good use.
"Series" additionally has a strong live-stage vibe, and Shores has enough faith in the intelligence of the viewer to not include a laugh track. The series highlights include GROSSLY obese convenience store clerk Vera of "32.09" fame falling on the floor and Shores doubling down by the next shot being the legs of Vera flailing above her counter.
All of this illustrates the Rule of Three as to television and film. The theory is that a single individual cannot produce, direct, and act well. Shores shows that there are exceptions to that rule,
Shores does follow the rule of Brticoms; that wisdom is that making 12 exceptional episodes a season is better than producing 22 mediocre ones.
The wish fulfillment aspects of "Series" extend well beyond providing a prequel to Shores' (reviewed) opus film "Sordid Lives." Both works depict the trials and the tribulations of the working-class rednecks of Winters, Texas whose local dive actually is called Bubbas. Their story continues with the (reviewed) "Lives" film sequel "A Very Sordid Wedding." One can only hope for "Sordid Lives: Electric Boogaloo."
Delkies know that the entire "Sordid" franchise is based on the life of son of a preacher man Shores. Delkers know enough to cringe when the pet of the neighbors of chain-smoking Aunt Sissy (PERFECTLY cast Beth Grant) gets the goat of that ripped-from-the-headlines "Mama's Family" caliber character. The same principle applies as a reference to a little person.
Soapcom "Series" aptly begins its continuing story, complete with episode-ending cliffhangers, on April 6, 1998. This death date of Queen of Country Tammy Wynette has a large impact on Queen of the Mental Institution Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram (Leslie Jordan). Brother Boy constantly dresses in drag as Wynette and amuses the maddening crowd by lip-synching to Wynette records.
It all comes together when Wynette daughter Georgette Jones sings along. That relates to a transvestite in a coma storyline. I know; I know; its serious. "Lives" removes any doubt at whether he will pull through. We all would hate anything to happen to her,
"Lives" provides the full exposition as to how Brother Boy finds himself to be a decades-long guest of the state. This cult classic also allows Jordan and Rosemary Alexander (as "Shrinkie Dearest" Dr. Eve) to fully play off of each other when Brother Boy fully digs in his stilettos regarding his "failure to participate in his own recovery." Whether resistance is futile as to this Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd dynamic remains to be seen.
Another strong prequel element occurs as to family matriarch Peggy Ingram engaging in a long-term sordid affair with Nolette spouse GW, whom Beau Bridges masterfully portrays in the stage and film versions of "Lives." Shores does friends of both Dorothies a HUGE solid by casting "Maude"/"Golden Girls" star Rue McClanahan as Peggy.
The icing on the cake is Shores helping McClanahan get a leg up (pun intended) on co-star/rival Bea Arthur, who is known for saying that she has done everything except rodeo and porn. The salacious content of "Series" warrants giving McClanahan, who has a few PG-13 sex scenes, the win as to one of those genres.
Considering that a swan dive that McClanahan takes in "Series" is highly significant to the franchise, it is apt that this show is her swan song. It is beyond awesome that Golden Boy Shores writes her such a well-suited role for her final regular gig.
Additional star power comes in the form of Shores recruiting his fan Olivia Newton John to reprise her role as honky-tonk singer/convicted arsonist Bitsy Mae Harling, who (like Sissy) has a cute and sassy real-life namesake. Seeing that Bitsy-Mae and Peggy are two-of-a-kind and that Heaven can wait because they're gonna get it right this time is another of the plethora of Southern-fried treats that Shores dishes out.
The "and the rest" fun of "Series" includes a prescription drug addiction, hilarious mutual spousal abuse between GW (who does not have a leg on which to stand) and Noletta, and a crazy ex-girlfriend, We also get Shores friend and confidante Emerson Collins (who is must-see in the (reviewed) Shores opus"Southern Baptist Sissies") as a hilarious psycho one-night-stand to the max whose money shot comes in the series finale.
All of this makes for an awesome marathon (rather than "binge") viewing accompanied by Lone Star beer, pork rinds, and deep-fried Twinkies.
The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Blu-ray (BD) release of the 1980 Olivia Newton-John/Gene Kelly musical fantasy "Xanadu" excitingly exceeds high expectations regarding this feel-good scifi musical fantasy comedy of the '80s. It is almost guaranteed that you will not check the time or see how much longer the movie has to go and will shake your self out of a near trance and say "it's over?" at the end of the movie.
A funny aspect of this review considering the magical element of the film is that your sometimes humble reviewer got the BD essentially for free when factoring in the value of a movie money promotion while shopping at a normally avoided big box store. Thinking that Kira the muse of the film is behind this provides pleasure.
The following YouTube clip of video for the titular song provides a perfect sense of the spirit and themes of "Xanadu." You simply cannot help but feel really good while watching it and the film itself.
One of the more prominent attributes about this highly infectious film from future Hollywood royalty Joel Silver, Brian Grazer, and "High School Musical" choreographer Kenny Ortega is that it (largely) adheres to an awesome philosophy that 80s comedy darling Tracey Ullman stated before the premiere of her '80s sketch comedy show that brought "The Simpsons" to life. Ullman declared that the musical numbers in her show would makes sense and not merely be people bursting into song in the middle of the street. "Xanadu" stays true to that with the exception of an elaborate song-and-dance number during a stereotypical "shopping for a new look" number at an '80s style boutique.
Other overall totally tubular (pun intended) aspects of "Xanadu" include "Tron" style neon special effects and an extended musical number with New Wave gods "The Tubes." These keyboard kids totally rock out in their orange neon jumpsuits.
The film opens with frustrated painter Sonny Malone, whom Michael Beck of the terrifically uber-violent literally banned in Boston film "The Warriors" portrays, throwing the pieces of his latest sketch out the window. This inadvertently summons the nine Greek goddess sisters who are the muses who inspire artists. This coming-to-life sets the scene for the first of several musical numbers featuring songs by ELO and/or Olivia Newton-John.
Sonny coming out to plaaay by roller skating a short while later has muse Kara, whom Newton-John plays with great spirit, literally bump into him for a quick kiss only to dash off. This (along with another magical encounter with Kira) inspires an ultimately successful pursuit of his dream girl. A later rollerskating scene features an amusing nip slip,
Sonny also befriending '40s-era clarinetist Danny McGuire (played by Kelly) puts the rest of the puzzle together. The need of Danny for help fulfilling his dream of opening a night club and the desire of Sonny for a feasible creative outlet provide a basis for their beautiful friendship. Kira covertly guiding the enterprise greatly contributes to the fun.
Classic movie fans further will enjoy the homages to the Kelly classic "Singin' In the Rain." On bringing Danny home with him, Kelly remarks that a a silent film star once owned the house. A later scene has Sonny and Kira putting an '80s slant on a classic "Singin'" number.
Seeing Danny and Sonny work well together and mutually enjoy the music from their generations is both charming and a nice reminder of friendlier times. Millennials typically see even Gen Xers as fossils, and those of that demographic often consider the "kids" of today as ADHD morons who lack a work ethic and spend their whole lives looking at their phones. As in all things, the truth lies somewhere between those extremes.
One scene in which Sonny tries a little magic of his own perfectly illustrates how "Xanadu" grabs you and is oh so different than the movies of today. Anyone with a heart wants him to succeed and thinks that he will do so. A modern film would have him literally fall flat on his back and obtain a positive audience response.
The arguably cutest scene is also one of the most memorable. A music video that animation legend Don Bluth (whose work includes "The Secret of N.I.M.H." and "Anastasia") draws has our young lovers start as human and morph into fish and fowl while retaining a great deal of their human characteristics. Birdie Sonny stumbling and falling is hilarious.
All of this amounts to a fun film that looks very dated but allows escaping into a bright sunny world full of music that looks and sounds wonderful in BD format.
The "making of" feature meets the definition of the best of features and the worst of features. Director Robert Greenwald, Bluth, Ortega, and many behind-the-camera folks offer interesting insight into the humble beginnings of "Xanadu" and share how the interest of Newton-John and initially less enthusiastic involvement of Kelly helped the film develop.
We also learn of the impact of limited distribution by the studio affecting the preliminary response to the film. It soon making the art-house circuit and later becoming a Broadway musical shows the American public ultimately knows a good thing when it sees it.
The "worst of " aspects involves the lack of participation by Newton-John and Beck. Even if Universal offered little or no money, it seems that our former young lovers could show fan love by taking a couple of hours to discuss the film. We always root for your characters and bought the BD (if not the Newton-John soundtrack), a little reciprocation would have been nice.
A review-ending invitation regarding "Xanadu" is that any muse who comes across this post should feel free to show up and do her thing. Some of us do still believe in fairies.
The first impression of the July 21, 2020 Warner Brothers Home Entertainment DVD/BD/4K releases of "Scoob!" is a comment by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" during the late-90s "Renaissance" of mid-budget films based on television shows of the '70s and the '80s. Stewart observes that television series are television series because their concepts are not good enough to warrant making them movies. The perspective of the highly significant other of your not-so-humble reviewer that the "Scooby" productions that stay true to the campy and highly silly style of the '70s-era fare are the better one evokes thoughts of the line in the Woody Allen film ("Stardust Memories?") in which a fan tells the fictionalized version of Allen that she likes his funny films better than his serious ones.
The fault of "Scoob!" lies not within the stars but in the increasing WB emphasis of art over commerce. As to the animated world, this begins with WB essentially literally following in the footsteps of media mogul/former Jane Fonda spouse Ted Turner by purchasing the Hanna-Barbera library.
The embarrassment of riches as to this is the awesome Warner Archive line of DVD sets of Golden Age of HB series. The plain embarrassment is the Warner suits, who repeatedly prove that they do not know Jack, still struggling to squeeze blood from stone-cold franchises, such as "Scooby-Doo." The MBAs should let our beloved chidhood friends enjoy at least a dignified semi-retirement.
The following trailer for "Scoob!" illustrates much of the above beginning with the inexpensive CGI and showing the flat humor of the film. WB blatantly shows that it knows that there are enough "Scooby" fans out there to fill the presumed cineplex seats when the film was made to not worry about quality. Speaking from the perspective of a HUGE "Scooby" fan, seeing the trailer in September convinced me to wait for the DVD release after the presumed theatrical run.
"Scoob!" starts out very cute and relative strong with a pup not yet named Scooby-Doo on the run (and the lamb) from the law when he meets awkward friendless pre-adolescent Shaggy. The two soon bond over their love of "unique" combinations of food.
These BFFs meet the rest of the pre-adolescent Scooby gang while trick-or-treating. The game soon is afoot, and those meddling kids solve their first mystery.
An entertaining fast-paced montage, which pays homage to '70s-era "Scooby," brings us to the present. A now teen Mystery, Inc. has a solid reputation and is looking to bring things to the next level. This effort, ala "The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries" and the more recent "Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?," involves meeting with an animated version of "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell.
Cowell acts true-to-form in bluntly assessing the strengths and the weaknesses of the Scooby gang. The latter includes the determination that Shaggy and Scooby are dead weight. This, in turn, leads to a parting of the ways between that pair and the rest of their peers.
Subsequent events lead to HB '60s-era villain Dick Dastardly being desperate to capturing Scooby-Doo, who is integral to a dastardly (in both senses of the word) plot to open the gates of the Underworld (a.k.a. Hell). This scheme leads to our slacker and his not-so-little-dog too essentially travelling over the rainbow to team up with the son of '70s-era Scooby ally Blue Falcon (who has taken over the family business) and wonder dog Dynomutt. Of course, the band gets back together before the action fully gets underway.
The ensuing measures to stop Dastardly involve numerous too-fun-to-spoil HB Easter eggs; the failure to capture the spirit of the original makes sharing a cameo by '70s-era HB superhero Captain Caveman a non-spoiler.
The climax, like much of 3/4 of the film involves a moral. A member of the gang takes one for the team by literally going to Hell out of friendship and loyalty. This is on top of messages that include not letting other people make you feel badly about yourself.
Aside from the general flaws of "Scoob!," there are many dead spots. I hope that my attention span is greater than that of the children that are a target demographic, and I was terribly bored several times. This mainly occurred during tedious chase scenes that seemed prolonged in order to bring "Scoob!" to roughly the feature-film limit of 90 minutes.
The disappointment continues with the dearth of extras at least as to the DVD extras. This merely is a not-so-helpful tutorial on how to draw Scooby. One at least would have hoped for recording session outtakes or a classic "Scooby" episode,
Being a HUGE fan of the public and private personas of writer/director/monologist/activist/chihuahua-lover/son of a preacher man/righteous dude Del Shores of (reviewed) "Sordid Lives " fame provides a good perspective for sharing thoughts on the Breaking Glass Pictures DVD of the 2012 Shores one (awesome) man show "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions." One spoiler is that this hilarious nowhere-ready-for-primetime special is far raunchier than the other Shores performances, all of which are subjects of posts on this site, that are available on DVD.
Shores discussing in "Confessions" that he is observed mentally filing away a sordid tale during a lunch largely sums up his style. His material is funny because it tells the truth about what fools these white-trash mortals be. This is especially true as to the latest (reviewed) Shores project "Six Characters in Search of a Play."
A sincerity and a willingness to name names when warranted are another large part of the appeal of Shores. A prime example of this is a "Confession" about working with gorgeous young actor Randy Harrison during the tenure of Shores as a writer on the Showtime gay-themed drama "Queer As Folk."
Shores gives Harrison credit for being co-operative on the set but dishes about this thespian regularly publicly criticizing the writing on the series. Shores discussing the writers getting their revenge evokes thoughts of a QAF scene in which a nearly naked Harrison is drugged and placed in a sling during an orgy. The only personal criticism of Shores is that the writers do not have that incident lead to what should have been the inevitable conclusion.
The raunch element particularly comes out (no pun intended) as to Shores, who has two wonderful daughters with his compassionate ex-wife, discussing his "slut" period in the wake of his marriage to a sordid man who majorly dun him wrong. The highlight of this part of the show is the tale of taking a relationship with a man glacially slow from the gay perspective only to discover that this guy has a cringe-worthy defect that will prompt every gay viewer to immediately Google images of that condition.
Being the righteous dude that he is, Shores still tries to please this Mr. Right (as opposed to Mr. Right Now) despite the seeming impossibility of turning a corner.
Additional hilarity ensues as Shores confesses his macro and micro (no pun intended) fetish regarding short people as to whom he uses the non-pc term "midgets". The account of one such man with a long "third leg" but short temper provides additional entertainment regarding this topic.
The big picture this time goes back to the same era as the filming of "Confessions." A timely post on a DVD of a stand-up performance by British comedian Russell Brand SLAMS Brand for "sins" that include his act being an extended highly whiny therapy session as to which Brand not only saves the co-pay for that treatment but likely makes millions from folks who pay him to endure that almost unbearable catharsis.
Shores openly and constantly admits that his "Mama's Family" style upbringing has provided him a career. The difference between him and lesser performers is that he knows how to tell his Bible Belt tales in a way that both entertains and lets us feel his pain.
Breaking does its usual stellar job as to DVD extras. We get a "behind-the-scenes" feature that includes Shores showing his inner circle what comes between him and his Calvins. This bonus further provides an inspiration for December 7 birthday gifts.
A more "naughty" extra is footage of the photo shoot of the "Confessions" poster, which also is the DVD cover. This both allows hearing the beloved dogs of Shores and proves that he is hands-on regarding getting things right in a manner that makes one want to scream "me too".
The Film Movement Classics division of Film Movement expands a recent Eurocentric pattern that largely consists of vintage films from Ealing Studios and/or Alistair Sim, which are reviewed in the Film Movement section of this site, to separately release the French tragromcomdram "Serie Noire" on DVD and Blu-ray on April 14, 2020. Adding "Serie" to the incredibly broad Movement catalog provides a chance to see why Time Out considers it one of the 100 best French films of all time.
The '70stastic realistic grittiness of "Serie" looks especially good in the remastered Blu-ray edition right from the opening scenes of middle-aged door-to-door salesman Franck Poupart releasing his frustration before going to the seedy house of "la tante" in search of handyman/boxer Tikides, who is behind in his payment on a suit. This soon leads to Auntie bargaining with Franck to give her a quilted robe in exchange for a tryst with her niece Mona. It is clear that this is the not the first time that Aunty has engaged in this form of bartering.
The next scene in which Mona is resigned to taking one for the team but Franck is protecting the virtue of both his new friend and himself is one of the best in the film. It also is the start of a not-so-beautiful friendship between these two persons who are slaves in their own ways.
The additional desperate times that lead to the "Strangers On a Train"/"Throw Momma From the Train" style desperate measures revolve around Franck's wife Jeanne amping up her crazy and his boss Staplin taking a very hard line on learning that Franck has been skimming from the top,
This is not to mention things turning equally personal and violent as to Tikides.
The aforementioned plot revolves around Franck essentially using one stone for a murder of crows; this wicked deed largely goes off as planned but leads to wonderfully darkly comic fallout that involves all concerned.
The first awesome message of "Serie" is that you should never have an amateur do a job that requires a professional; a related message is that the boss always acts in his or her own best interest and never truly is the friend of an employee.
The home-video extras are the featurettes "Serie Noire, The Darkness of the Soul" and an interview with director Alain Cormeau and star Marie Trintignant (Moma). Classics also includes an always insightful written essay on the film du jour.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This updated post on "30 Rock" CD BD reflects the enhancement of this MCE release that a desire to timely post an article on prevented including in the original post.]
Mill Creek Entertainment aptly continues to show that it has come a long way, Baby as to the April 21, 2020 complete series Blu-ray set of the "Must-See" 2006-13 Tina Fey/Alec Baldwin sitcom "30 Rock." This release both follows comparable MCE releases of the woman-oriented sitcoms "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and (reviewed) "The Mindy Project."
Aside from allowing freeing up valuable real estate that the older single-season DVD sets of "30" occupy, the BD versions of the episodes are much crisper and clearer.
The Rock solid set also makes the MCE roots of producing bargain sets of public domain series a distant memory. This truly is not your father's (or mother's) MCE.
The numerous Emmy and Golden Globe wins, not to mention the copious nominations, for "30" reflect its talent for walking the tightrope between daring comedy and offensive content. Having a supporting character named "twofer" based on being black and a Harvard guy nicely reflects this.
The series centers around "The Girlie Show" (aka TGS) head writer Liz Lemon, who is an alter ego of Lemon portrayor/"30" creator/producer/SNL alum Tina Fey. Lemon is a neo-modern version of Mary Richards of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in that she is one of the boys in a male-dominated industry and workplace.
Lemon is quick to volunteer information about her unusual menstrual cycle and is equally candid about her horrific eating habits. Viewers also get to see a parade of male suitors that mostly are played by A-list celebrities that include Matt Damon and John Hamm.
Alpha-male Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) is a much wealthier, more sophisticated, and more ruthless version of "Moore" boss Lou Grant. Donaghy being the head of both microwave ovens and network television is one of many ways that "30" lampoons General Electric ownership of "TGS" network NBC; the many ways that "30" doubles down on the subsequent Comcast acquisition of NBC includes pitting Donaghy against a equally ruthless teen rival played by Chloe Grace Moretz.
Much of the aforementioned "balancing act" of "30" relates to Donaghy being a poor Irish boy from Boston made good. Casting series regular/show business legend Elaine Stritch as his bigoted and cruel mother Colleen is a series highlight; an episode in which Jack backs his car over Mom is one of many that makes "30" "must-see."
A "sit" that drive much of the "30" "com" is established in the pilot. A desire to expand the appeal of "TGS" prompts hiring loose-cannon black actor Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), who can be considered the love child of Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.
An S7 episode in which Jordan dreams that he is Morgan is one of the many ways that "30" breaks the fourth wall; a hilarious S1 outing in which actual product placement is heavily featured in a debate about incorporating that into "TGS" is an even better example of the series keeping it real.
Series executive producer Lorne Michaels also gets his lumps in ways that extend beyond "TGS" portraying the dark side of Michaels' series "SNL." A direct barb at the ego of Michaels further shows a lack of fear as to "30" biting the hand that feeds it.
The copious ethnic humor related to the outrageous personal life, work-interaction, and "TGS" characters of Jordan is a prime example of "30" keeping the real-life NBC standards-and-practices team on its toes. One can only imagine the bargaining that must have occurred as to allowing a portrayal of Black Hitler.
The numerous underlying causes of Jordan-related chaos include his arrival triggering hysterical (in both senses of the word) jealousy in former sole headliner Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski). This actress whose talents do not justify her divatude fully shines as to her "Baby Jane" level demands for attention and alternating rivalry and partners-in-crime attitudes as to Jordan. One of her top moments involves purposefully acting out in response to a sense that Jordan is receiving better treatment than her.
The entire "30" team earns extra credit for an S7 storyline that curses Lemon with a close ongoing relationship with two persons who hilarious emulate her work problem children.
America's Princess Carrie Fisher is a top contender for a best guest star among a large group that include Paul Reubens and Steve Martin. Fisher plays Lemon idol Rosemary Harris, who is a former female writer for a '70s "Laugh-In" style variety show. Suffice it to say that the decades have not been kind to Harris.
"Laugh-In" also is relevant as to what makes the appearances of Fisher and her peers so memorable. Ala Richard Nixon and other notable "Laugh-In" guests, the "30" visitors fully embrace the spirit of the series. This includes Hamm playing a boyfriend of Lemon who is oblivious to getting special treatment based on his good looks.
The special appeal of all this is that "30" displays all this 20th-century spirit in a 21st-century era that is characterized by a distressing refusal to recognize the context of "offensive" humor. It aptly is beyond awesome that NBC (and MCE) do not consider that independent spirit a dealbreaker.
The copious bonus features include a hilarious table read and a studio tour by the always entertaining Fey.
MCE supplements this with a plethora of bonus features that include interviews and gag reels.
The masterfully remastered Mill Creek Entertainment April 7, 2020 Blu-ray release of the 1983 Kirk Douglas/John Schneider action-adventure comedy "Eddie Macon's Run" is the type of film that we need most in this era in which temporarily being let out of our cages is not granting much freedom. Matt Nelson's recent run consisted of a three-hour round trip solely to get a haircut for the first time in eight weeks.
The spectacular shot-on-location southwest cinematography looks gorgeous in Blu-ray; on top of this, "Macon" is part of the MCE April 2020 leitmotif of films of that era starring teen idol TV stars. These include the reviewed 1977 action-adventure comedy "Heroes" starring Henry "Fonzie" Winkler.
The small-screen stud this time is John Schneider of "The Dukes of Hazzard" fame; he plays the titular man, who aptly shows that his participation in a prison show is not his first time at the rodeo when he uses a cattle call to make a not-so-great escape in order to shorten his unfortunate incarceration in Texas. Kirk Douglas plays not-so-intrepid lawman Carl "Buster" Marzack, for whom recovering the fugitive is personal.
Much of the early portion of "Run" focuses on Macon makin' an actual run for the border. His early obstacles includes capture by two good ole boy redneck ranchers, who seem determined to provide deliverance that seems certain to utilize his pretty mouth and to make him squeal like a pig.
Meanwhile, Marzack remains one frustrating step behind his prey. The rest of the story is that the devoted wife of Macon is one step ahead of him and is paving the way for their planned reunion on the other side of the Rio Grande.
A fateful life-saving encounter occurs when Macon comes across black sheep Jilly Buck, perfectly portrayed by Lee Purcell, having trouble convincing Mr. Right Now that no means no. This leads to the con and the party girl starting their beautiful friendship with potential benefits.
The extended climax commences with Marzack catching up with his prey only to have defeat snatched from the jaws of victory; this leads to "Dukes" caliber car chase with a nice twist at the end.
The joy in all this is seeing Schneider put his earnest charm to good use in a role that may actually be tailor-made for him,.
The Mill Creek Entertainment April 7, 2020 Blu-ray release of the 1977 Henry Winkler, Sally Field, and Harrison Ford comedy "Heroes" is an awesome reminder of the gritty socially conscious films of that era. This release also is part of the MCE April 2020 leitmotif of teen idol TV stars films; the soon-to-be-reviewed "Eddie Macon's Run" starring John Schneider of "The Dukes of Hazzard" is another example.
Winkler, who always will be best known for playing Fonzie on the '70s sitcom set in the '50s "Happy Days," puts his Yale drama school education to good use as excitable Vietnam vet Jack Dunne. One of his best scenes in a movie full of notable moments comes at the very beginning; he outrageously disrupts a sales pitch at an Army recruiting center.
This exploit lands Dunne back in a VA hospital, where he is the Fonzie-caliber leader of his ward. This hospital stay getting cut short with a little help from his friends fully sets the film in motion; it also sets the stage for both arguably the most charming "prison break" and ensuing pursuit in film history.
A series of not-so-unfortunate circumstances leads to Dunne befriending runaway almost-bride Carol Bell; Field plays Bell essentially in the same manner that she portrays runaway bride Carrie in "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977).
Carol is headed to Kansas City to get away in the days before her wedding; Dunne is going in that direction to be part of the big worm rush in California. It is unknown if he plans to raise red wigglers, which are the Cadillac of worms.
The first leg of this journey gives Winkler a chance to shine in his good-natured harassment of their bus driver, who represents a typical authority figure on an ego trip. (Think Fonzie v. Officer Kirk.) The mutual open animosity between the two men is another "Heroes" highlight.
The aforementioned circumstances lead to Dunne and Bell taking to the open road and showing up at the dirt farm of Dunne's Army buddy Ken Boyd (Ford). Ford awesomely plays Boyd as a redneck Han Solo; Field makes a perfect princess for him, and Winkler nicely fills the role of emo sidekick.
The circumstances this time are less fortunate than the ones that set the stage for when Henry met Sally; Dunne is a last-minute replacement for Boyd in a race. This leads to the very "Smokey" development of Dunne and Bell using the muscle car of Boyd for the next leg of their journey; "Smokey" pulling them over in the wake of the vehicle taking the brunt of the injury in a bar brawl is another scene that makes "Heroes" '70stastic.
The subsequent adventures, including the obligatory trial-and-error separation, lead to arriving in California. This leads to a rude awakening in the form of highly distressing news for Dunne that provides Winkler one more chance to shine.
The bottom line is that "Heroes" earns the cliched praise that it deftly combines drama and comedy; the bigger picture is that the trauma of the actual wars in the decades following Vietnam and the intense stress of living through COVID-19 make this tale of a likable guy cracking under the strain and being desperate to live out his dream relatable. This is especially so ahead of your not-so-humble reviewer driving three-hours round trip solely to get a haircut two months after his last one.
The Film Movement Classics April 14, 2020 Blu-ray release of "Alastair Sim's School for Laughter" awesomely continues this division of art-house god Film Movement giving timeless British comedies their due. This release also expands the Classics catalog of Ealing Films that are reviewed in the Movement section of this site.
The scope of "Laughter" is akin to the recent (equally bonus-features laden) Classics BD collection "Their Finest Hour." This reviewed set of five films showcases Ealing WWII- themed productions that include the original version of "Dunkirk."
The following Classics trailer for "Laughter" expertly schools viewers in each of the films in a manner that showcases the wonderful deadpan humor of Sim, who arguably is best known for his standard-setting portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol."
The fun begins with the wonderfully titled farce "The Belles of St. Trinian's" (1954). Sim plays the dual roles of the headmistress of the titular girls' boarding school and her neer-do-well brother. The success of Sim in pulling off this feat is one of many examples of this skills in this set.
The overall theme of the "Belles" is that the student body is comprised of a group of feral females that strikes fear in the hearts of the locals. For her part, headmistress Millicent Fritton must contend with both the wolves of Wall Street constantly at her door looking for loan payments and a faculty that is comprised of a highly disgruntled rogues' gallery.
These factors (in addition to the new "Eastland" girls) converge in a perfect comedic storm that drives much of the "Belles" action. A faction that figuratively has a horse in the race is competing with another faction that literally and figuratively has a horse in the same contest.
The central conflict results in there being a dorm resident who is a real nag.
Next up is the original "School for Scoundrels" (1960). This wonderfully dark comedy has Sim shining as Stephen Potter, who runs the titular "College of Lifemanship" that teaches decent folks who repeatedly are victimized by "scoundrels" to learn how to get the larger end of the stick.
"Scoundrel" Delauney (Terry-Thomas of "Munster, Go Home" fame) repeatedly being the Bluto (or Brutus) to the Popeye of Henry Palfrey (Ian Carmichael) prompts the latter to engage in continuing education so that he can school his rival and regain the primary affection of "Olive Oyl."
Although the dead-pan classroom aspects of "School" are highly entertaining, the best scenes are the "before" and "after" ones between Delauney and Palfrey. Watching these men alternatively get the upper-hand over the other is timeless classic comedy.
The bonus features include an charming and insightful modern interview with a film critic.
"Laughter in Paradise" (1951) arguably has the most social commentary in this quartet. Sim plays one of four potential heirs in this variation of both versions of "Brewster's Millions." The right of each named beneficiary in the will to collect his or her share of the loot is conditioned on completing a 28-day task that is directly contrary to his or her nature.
The mission of secret pulp-fiction novelist Denniston Russell (Sim) is to commit an offense that will make him a guest of the Queen until 28 days later. Watching him question local law-enforcement as to what crime will result in that specific amount of time is amusing. A shoplifting effort that goes comically awry is hilarious.
Classics aptly wraps things up with "Hue and Cry" (1947), which is the first Ealing comedy. Sim once again plays a paperback writer, whose fiction provides the basis for actual heists by a criminal gang. This tale centers around a teen Hardy boy and his gang that must thwart the bad guys on their own.
The surprise ending truly is that. The less good news is that it involves a serious beatdown of our excitable boy, who already has experienced undue physical and emotional batterings in his quest for truth, justice, and the English way.
Classics supplements this with trailers and "behind-the-scenes" features on the films. We also get the usual, but far from typical, written essay on the topic du set.
The coronavirus pandemic has managed to do what Larry David, but not 911, could accomplish to an extent. Namely, a "Seinfeld" reunion.
Although David brought the band back together for a "Seinfeld" mini-reunion that drove much of the S7 action in the HBO David docucom "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the Four Horseman of New York have not had a full-fledged reunion since their iconic sitcom ended in 1998.
The proper context for reading about the reunion begins with taking things in the proper context and remembering that mocking evil reduces its power. Mel Brook and many other comedy writers making fun of Nazis perfectly reflects this concept.
Jerry Seinfeld and David announced today that they have begun work on a script for a 90-minute coronavirus-themed "Seinfeld" reunion. Production is scheduled to commence June 31, 2020. It is scheduled to premiere on the NBC streaming service Peacock on September 23, 2020, which is the 61st birthday of "Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander.
Seinfeld and David explained that they realized that America needed their brand of comedy now more than ever and that the role of New Yorkers in making a horrible situation even worse provided a perfect premise for a reunion.
According to Seinfeld and David, the underlying premise of the reunion is that Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) returning from Italy with an salami triggers an heavily enforced lockdown of the apartment building in which he and fictional Jerry live. The rest of the story is that Kramer renting his apartment on Air BnB before his trip and cutting it short because of the pandemic forces Jerry to take him in.
For his part, Jerry is facing reel wrath that is comparable to the real hatred that Richards faced when lashing out at black audience members at a stand-up gig. Jerry is under fire for a pre-pandemic joke in which he observes that a $2 bottle of hand sanitizer is no match for the toxic environment of the New York subway.
For her part, Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is trying to convince her one-night-stand who is binge watching "Full House" during their joint quarantine that he is immune from the coronavirus so that he will go home.
The fun continues with unemployed hypochondriac George Costanza mistakenly being convinced that he is infected. This prompts George to max out his credit cards on comically extravagant non-returnable items.
Comments by David and real Seinfeld that include stating the reunion pays homage to the epic "Seinfeld" series finale suggests that Peacock special concludes with the gang hitting the road for a rural New England town only to find themselves sharing a large quarantine bubble ala The Bubble Boy of the original series.
The biggest joke regarding all this is that this post is an April Fool's Day joke; not that there is anything wrong with that. One can only hope that David and real Seinfeld truly give the public what we really need these days.
The Film Movement Classics division of indie-film god Film Movement March 10, 2020 BD double-feature release of "Whiskey Galore" (1949) and "The Maggie" (1954) (aka "High and Dry") once again proves both that funny always is funny and that the Brits kick the arses of Yanks when it comes to comedy. This release also is the third Classics BD of Ealing Studios releases. This site has already covered the Blu-ray of "The Titfield Thunderbolt" (1953) and reviewed the Blu-ray of the 1949 farce "Passport to Pimlico."
These four never-a-dull-moment films make a wonderful home-based classic film festival. The copious in-depth special features that accompany these UK gems aptly give them the royal treatment and are well worth watching.
One of the many common elements of "Whiskey" and "Maggie" is that the are both from Ealing director Alexander Mackendrick, who is better known for "The Ladykillers" and "The Man in the White Suit."
The following SPOILER-LADEN Classics trailer for "Galore" highlights the award-worthy restoration. This promo also provides a strong sense of the so-near and yet-so-far aspect of a small Scottish island that has its supply of the titular libation go dry at the same time that a ship with a large supply of that nectar rounds aground just off shore. Hilarity galore ensues.
Classics does "Maggie" equally proud as to the trailer for that film. The primary "sit" that provides the "com" this time is that wily boat captain McTaggart responds to desperate times by undertaking the desperate measure of deceptively getting the job of transporting cargo that is very precious to American businessman Calvin B. Marshall. Once more, there is copious hilarity.
"Whiskey" is well-acted movie about eccentric antics of quirky residents of a small Scottish island that evokes strong thoughts of similar fare of days of yore such as "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down A Mountain" and "Waking Ned Devine." This is a nice contrast to the modern formula of placing the matinee or teen-boy idol of the week in a film that relies on crude and/or slapstick humor.
The quaint old world setting this time is the small community of Todday. Although the year is 1943, the only impact of the war is the local pub running out of whisky and not having any hope of replenishing its supply any time soon. The lack of a more serious threat is not stopping the "Dad's Army" style local Home Guard officer from maintaining road blocks and otherwise exercising undue diligence. This textbook self-righteous fool is easily frustrated by the "incompetence" of subordinates and the absurd manner in which the military operates.
The daily life of the Sam Druckeresque postmaster/shop keeper is being complicated by his youngest daughter and earnest school teacher George Campbell wanting to get married despite the strong opposition of Mrs. Campbell, who is the mother of all mothers. The engagement of the older daughter to a soldier on leave is free of similar drama.
The conflict between the cold warring factions heats up when a ship that is transporting 50,000 cases of whisky runs aground off the shore of Todday. The locals want to salvage the titular beverage for their own use, and the Home Guard wet blanket wants to obey the letter of the law. This results in highly entertaining mad dashes on the land and on the sea, as well as hilarious scenes of concealing whisky bottles.
The humor and the action in "Whisky" is so well presented throughout that the film does not climax so much as it winds down. Some characters are a little wiser, others emboldened, and most quite a bit drunker.
An especially awesome of "Whiskey" is that it is funny because it is (somewhat) true.
"The Maggie" follows a similar figurative path; McTaggart encounters numerous obstacles in trying to deliver the goods, which is needed to literally keep his business afloat. This involves literal and figurative rocky moments; the real fun commences with Marshall literally (but not figuratively) comes on board after McTaggart evades earlier attempts to get things on the right course. The ending this time literally and figuratively is far from Hollywood.
The Mill Creek Entertainment February 11, 2020 Retro VHS-Style Blu-ray of the 1991 Bruce Willis action-comedy "Hudson Hawk" awesomely once more provides a second bite at the apple regarding unfairly scorned films of the '80s and '90s. The proper perspective regarding these no-reason-to feel-guilty pleasures is that they fill their purpose of providing roughly 90-minutes of escapist fun. The MCE section of this site includes copious posts on these vintage gems.
Other February 11, 2020 Retro releases include the Cyndi Lauper/Jeff Goldblum comedy "Vibes" and the Richard Gere/Kim Basinger noir film "No Mercy." Posts on each film are scheduled for the next few weeks.
Our story begins a long time ago in a country relatively far away. It is the Italian Renaissance, and Leonardo Da Vinci is simultaneously working on commissioned statue of a horse and a personal side project that he considers a golden opportunity. This sets the stage for the amusement that ensues in our era.
The primary story commences with the titular cat burglar (Willis) ending an unfortunate incarceration for which he is a fall guy. His parole officer derails the rehabilitation of Hawk by giving him the choice of resuming his profession or finding himself once more becoming a guest of the State. A New Jersey mobster, who has the obligatory dimwitted minion, soon makes Hawk the same offer that he cannot refuse.
This prompts Hawk and partner-in-crime (and comedy) Tommy Five Tone (Danny Aiello) to steal the Da Vinci horse. This equine soon proves to be of the Trojan variety in that it contains the true objective of the heist. The fact that it resembles the odjet d'art in the "Brady" living room is a bonus.
The rest of the cast of characters join the caper at the typical upper-crust auction where a horse of the same color is put on the block. These include the highly quirky (and seemingly majorly inbred) Darwin (Richard E. Grant) and Minerva (Sandra Bernhard) Mayflower and Vatican representative Anna Baragli (Andie McDowell), who getting into the act reflects her habit.
Hawk subsequently finds himself an a form of accidental tourist on a Roman Holiday as the aforementioned "patrons" and others with a horse (no pun intended) in the race coerce him into a obtaining everything that a golden opportunity requires. Much of the ensuing fun relates to just about every character discovering that he or she has put his or her trust in the wrong person or persons.
This portion of the film fully takes off as Willis gleefully goes over the top ala Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1993 action-comedy "The Last Action Hero" that is a fellow (reviewed) MCE Retro-style BD release. Highlights include a wonderfully dark decapitation, a bad guy being the victim of textbook poetic justice, and Willis going overboard as to his use of weapon of mass destruction.
All of this concludes with a climax that admittedly is a bit over extended. It is equally predictable that the bad guys seems certain to prevail and that there is a last-minute miracle.
As this post states at the beginning, the appeal of "Hawk" is the escapist thrill ride that it provides at a time that a global plague has descended on us, a large percentage of the population is experiencing a major reversal of fortune, and our overall future does not close to needing shades. This film (and its fellow Retro releases) are excellent medicine for our increasingly (and seemingly endless) dystopian times. All we can do is keep calm and view on.
Time Life more fully establishes itself as the king of DVD releases of '60s and '70s A-List celebrity variety shows with the February 11, 2020 DVD release of "I Got You Babe: The Best of Sonny and Cher." This 5-disc set with a modern-era interview with Cher and other truly special feature joins epic sets of (reviewed) "The Carol Burnett Show," "The Jackie Gleason Show" and (reviewed) "Laugh In" in the Time Life catalog.
Although "Burnett" and "Laugh In" are bigger hits, "Sonny" arguably better reflects pop culture and has greater influence over TV Land. This brainchild of lowest-common denominator genius Fred Silverman reflect the wisdom of "I Love Lucy." Ala Desi Arnaz, Bono puts his ego aside to let his more appealing and talented spouse be the main attraction,
On a related note, the playfully bickering husband-and-wife variety show format helps pave the way for similar '70stastic television fare that follows. The closest homage is "The Captain and Tennille," "Donny and Marie" also is very similar, and the influence extends to "Tony Orlando and Dawn."
Moving into the '80s, "Sonny" (ala "Lucy") ending when the stars experience irreconcilable differences also reflects "Happy Days"spin-off "Joanie Loves Chachi" ending for reasons that include Joanie no longer loving Chachi.
The "Sonny" set beginning at the beginning lets us see the genesis of the series; subsequent episodes in the set show how it evolves.
Two constants are Mr. and Mrs. Bono coming on stage at the beginning to sing a duet and give Cher a chance to deliver short, Italian, and fat jokes that reflect the era in which people have a sense of humor. Cher asking Sonny if he is a horny toad after he shares a review that states that he sings like a frog also is typical. Copious related humor that makes it clear that Sonny will be handling his romantic urges pro Bono that night are surprisingly racy for network television of the era.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as to "offensive" humor of the show. Much of this revolves around black ensemble member Freeman King, who does not seem to mind jokes that include him saying that he likes watermelon pie.
The first guest being Jimmy Durante both makes it clear that (ala "The Monkees") the Bonos are harmless hippies. This also shows that "Sonny" reflects the same wisdom as Burnett, who find that the best guests are the ones who can both sing and act.
The style of humor on "Sonny" much more reflects the rapid-fire and politically edgy style of "Laugh In" than the more extended (and kinder and gentler) sketch format of "Burnett"; not that there is anything wrong with that.
"Sonny" borrowing from "Laugh In" extends beyond incorporating a party scene in which regulars and guest stars fire off one-liners. "Sonny" regularly has Cher lead an all singing all-dancing group of troupers in a bit that intersperses short skits around a central theme. An example of this is the Art Carney episode that parodies Army life through the years; there surprisingly is no reference to Vietnam.
A variation of the above is the well-known regular bit in which Cher sings her "Vamp" song accompanied by skits that feature femme fatales throughout the ages.
The aforementioned bonuses include an interview with "Sonny" producers Allan Blye and Chris Bearde; their reminiscences include future Congressman Bono saying at an early discussion of the show that he has more substance than his "stumblebum" TV persona. This is particularly clear as to an insightful Bono dominating the conversation in a 1970 interview for the talk show "Jerry's Place" that is another bonus feature.
The biggest takeaway from all this further borrows from Burnett; her wisdom related to her wit is that something this is funny remains eternally funny.
Reasonable expectations regarding both the 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" and its auteur make the November 2019 DVD of "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!" a major disappointment. One should be able to expect more of a guy who has proven that he so much better than this on EVERY level.
The solid asserted (but almost certainly pretextual) concept of "2" commences with a fast-food chain contacting Spurlock to appear in ads due to his documented "Super Size" attempt to only eat McDonald's food for a month.
This allegedly is what motivates Spurlock to start a new chicken restaurant from scratch (pun intended) and to document this effort. In other words, he profits from both the film itself and the publicity that it generates for new business venture Holy Chicken.
One not so-surprising spoiler is that the film prompts investors to approach Spurlock about creating a chain of Holy Chicken restaurants. Another spoiler is that your not-so-humble reviewer has adequate integrity to pledge to NEVER eat at any location regardless of how peckish (pun intended) he becomes.
Spurlock commences this venture with the effort that is the primary focus of "2.." The search for a source for chickens and a place to raise them sets the stage for an "expose" of "Big Chicken" that does not reveal any information that has not been relatively well known for decades. These include that the big boys, such as Tyson and Perdue, use their strong grip on the industry to harm both competitors and chicken farmers who end up on their bad side. We also hear the same (but still highly distressing) stories about inhumane conditions at the big chicken facilities.
Spurlock does deserve credit for some new information. We learn about the laughably low government standards for making assertions about chickens. For example, claiming that your birds are "free-range" essentially only requires giving the flock the option of going out on the front porch. A scene in which Spurlock fails to convince his fine-feathered friends to poke their beaks out the door is a "2" highlight.
The parallel effort of Spurlock to develop a theme and a menu for his restaurant is more interesting and insightful. His product development consultants introduce us to terms such as "health halo." We also hear the "awful truth" about grill marks on fast-food chicken and learn why crunchy replaces the industry "f-word."
Subjectively, a scene in which checking out the competition shows the Burger King "crunchy" chicken sandwich is hollow is a "2" highlight. Having the perspective of having had the college roommate from Hell, whose many sins include watching while I gulped a large glass from a water container that he had filled with vodka, makes that scene even better. That former student is now a Greek tycoon that inherited every Burger King franchise in Rhode Island from his father. No, those places (and the other Janco locations) do not get my business.
The bigger picture is the sloppy manner in which our veteran documentarian makes "2." This begins with repetition in the form of "sandwiching" the beginning and the end of the film with the same footage of local news promoting the new restaurant.
Spurlock further slides to the bottom by borrowing the old ambush the industry guy trick that fellow sadly diminished colleague Michael Moore puts in all his films.
An early scene has Spurlock "outed" as a guy with an agenda; this leads to a "leaked" memo much later in the film. This correspondence is from an executive with the chicken lobby warning chicken farmers (ranchers?) that the effort of Spurlock to acquire a flock as part of a nefarious scheme.
Subsequently, Spurlock arrives unannounced at the office of the "suit" to delver an invitation to the grand opening of Holy Chicken!. Of course, he is left waiting in the hall for several hours and ultimately is politely asked to leave. An inadvertently amusing aspect of this is baseless speculation early on that the prey is in the restroom.
The relatable aspect of this is that very few of us even let unexpected visitors who lack any adversarial intent into our homes.
Of course, the ultimate irony as to "2" is that it follows the Spurlock film "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" about product placement and similar forms of advertising. I literally am not buying it this time, Spurlock.
The Indiepix Films January 21, 2020 DVD release of the charmingly amusing 2018 Australian comedy "The Merger" reminds viewers of the appeal of timeless films that do not rely on shock and/or awe.
As the following trailer illustrates, "Merger" includes many elements of classic "small" films. The most obvious example is "About a Boy" that has a middle-aged manchild bond with a quirky lad. The aspect of a group of eccentric working-class blokes on a mission with heavy social commentary evokes thoughts of "The Full Monty."
"Merger" writer Damian Callinan stars as former football (which seems to be a combination of rugby and soccer) star/current town pariah Troy Carrington, who is living a life of semi-isolation in Bodgy Creek. The aforementioned youngster is Neil, who is perpetually clad in a chicken suit and is making an unauthorized documentary about Troy.
The "A Story" is that a series of setback threatens the local football team with the titular union with another local team; persuading Troy to coach is determined to be the lesser evil. Of course, Neil figuratively remains in center field throughout.
The "B Story" is that Bodgy Creek, which is experiencing an economic downturn that is attributable to Troy, is a refuge city with many foreigners who are escaping almost-certain death. Much of the conflict here relates to the competition for the limited number of jobs. These newcomers also become integral members of the team.
The aforementioned charm relates to these people who live simply and are not shy about speaking their minds or sharing their, wit, wisdom, and woes.
All of this provides Troy plenty of challenges as he tries to build a cohesive group; one of the most memorable scenes has him explain the boundaries of the field.
Of course, playing together causes the men from different worlds to bond as they come to better understand each other; this also provides exceptional humor.
It is equally predictable that all this comes down to the big game. Team Troy already has won in that they now are a band of brothers; this makes whether they have the highest score at the end of the day entirely irrelevant.
'Dad' and 'I'm Not Rappaport' Blu-ray: Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau Grumpy Old Odd Couple Double Feature
Mill Creek Entertainment further adds to its Blu-ray library of feel-good movies with the January 14, 2020 double feature of the 1989 Jack Lemmon/Ted Danson/Ethan Hawke film "Dad" and the 1996 comedy Walter Matthau/Ossie Davis comedy "I'm Not Rappaport." This coincides with the (reviewed) MCE BD release of the 2002 JLo/Ralph Fiennes romcom "Maid in Manhattan."
As indicated by being one of a handful of '80s and '90s movies (including "Nothing In Common" with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason) about an estranged adult son having to contend with his difficult elderly father, "Dad, " which is a Stephen Spielberg joint that Gary David Goldberg ("Family Ties") writes and directs, is the more substantive of the two films.
The figurative 25-words-or-less synopsis of the film is that literal Wall Street yuppie John Tremont (Danson) must return to his childhood middle-class LA suburban home to care for titular parent Jake Tremont (Lemmon) when mom Bette Tremont (Olympia Dukakis) has a heart attack.
Rather than a history of tears and recrimination, John and Jake merely drifted apart due to a combination of the "Cats in the Cradle" syndrome and typical generational differences. Member of "The Greatest Generation" Jake outwardly is content with his career consisting of a daily-grind job at (presumably) the same employer for decades; the career path of Baby Boomer Jake reflects a desire for more material and inner gratification, Gen X grandson Billy Tremont (Ethan Hawke) reflects the arrested development of his peers.
The reveal and impact as to the manner in which Jake has coped with a not very fulfilling adult life arguably is the most interesting aspect of this movie that easily holds the interest of the viewer throughout. This involves a fascinating twist on having a second family.
Everything aptly overall is Jake at the beginning of the film; John is agreeable to his role of temporary caregiver/home ec. instructor while Bette recovers in the hospital. The game-changer of the physical and mental health of Jake rapidly takes a massive turn for the worse is relatable to many folks with elderly parents.
The overall well-presented textbook tale involves John experiencing a mix of deep concern for his father and fully justified disdain for the health-care industry decades before it lowering the bottom to which it has sunk. The "B" story is John trying to understand Billy. This manboy is one of the more interesting characters in that part of him is a cool dude shacking up with a couple of buddies and a chick in Mexico and the other part is a dork who has much more than nothing in common with his grandfather.
The ensuing events that attempt hilarity by having the three generations of Tremont men gleefully act dumb and dumber either are highly entertaining or highly annoying. This is from the perspective of a guy who now gets along with his elderly father but considers family meals the home version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and cannot understand why relatives enjoy vacationing together.
"Dad" being a 20th-century Hollywood film by folks who do family-friendly fare right ensures that all concerned better understand each other and have closure by the end.
"I'm Not Rappaport" aptly has more of a live-stage vibe because it is based on the truly hit play of the same name. Playwright Herb Gardner directs and writes the screenplay for this adaptation.
Perfectly cast grouch/grumpy old man Matthau steals the show as Nat "Oscar" Moyer, who takes a daily break from boisterously stirring up trouble as to his advocacy for the little guy to hang out in Central Park with elderly building superintendent Midge "Felix" Carter (Davis), who merely wants to stay "invisible and not rock the boat. This relationship makes one hope that Gardner would have revised his play by making the Carter role one that would have been suitable for Lemmon.
The aforementioned activism of Moyer always involves his adopting a false persona to protect whom he considers the downtrodden; this includes causing a near-riot as the food prices at the grocery store or threatening the president of the tenants' association at the building where Carter works. One such incident has him both speak loudly and carry a big stick.
As is the case regarding friendship among people of every age, most of the interaction between Moyer and Carter involves Moyer going and on either about legendary union organizers or the role of Moyer as to those activities. For his part, Carter mostly keeps calm and carries on.
Much of the fun of Rappaport extends beyond the countless witty quips to relate to seeing Matthau stay true to his persona in a "Mom, Grandpa's doing it again" manner. Heavier substance comes in the form of the portrayal of Matthau of a character who realizes both that he is way past his prime and has not lived the life that he has desired; his coping mechanism as to that is comparable to how Lemmon's Jake has managed his daily routine for decades. Both are fortunate to have the love of a good woman ease their burdens,
The common lesson of both films is that growing old is not for the feint of heart. Carter perfectly describes the relatability of the themes by reminding the middle-aged yuppie that is pushing him out of his long-term job and home that that guy is not immune to old age,
The Film Movement Classics division of Film Movement does those of us enduring a winter of discontent a true solid by releasing a literal picture- (and sound) perfect Blu-ray release of the classic 1980 coming-of-age teen romcom "Gregory's Girl" on Blu-ray on January 21, 2019. This Scottish film awesomeiy combines the best of "American Graffiti," "The Summer of '42," and John Hughes movies.
As critics and audiences alike acknowledge, "Girl" director Bill Forsyth ("Local Hero") hits the mark by depicting all of us in his portrayals of the titular lad (John Gordon Sinclair) and everyone else in his life. Those of us with one Y chromosome and one X chromosome are Gregory; the females of the species decide that our good points warrant putting up with our arrested development, which occurs in our tween years.
Formal accolades for "Girl" include the 1982 BAFTA for Best Screenplay.
Movement chooses wisely as to the selected clips for its "Gregory's" trailer; they perfectly show off the adorkable charm of the lead character.
The perfection of this truly eternal movie that is identified as one of the best-loved British films of all time begins with the opening scene of Gregory and his buddies peeping on a woman undressing; their interaction (including the first of several scene-stealing antics of everyteen Andy) is more entertaining than the inadvertent striptease; Forsyth adds to the fun as to the events in the immediate afermath of Team Gregory moving on.
The story fully gets underway on Gregory facing losing his star position on his school football (my people call it soccer) team; his cavalier approach to his coach sharing the bad news is another of countless memorable scenes in the film.
This game-changer paves the way for tomboy Dorothy to tryout for the team; the coach quickly learns that resistance to having a girl be one of the boys is futile. This epitomizes a sausage party ending.
This new teammate quickly becomes the object of the affection of Gregory, who illustrates why his condition is called puppy love, A scene in which Dorothy captures that lad in a particularly embarrassing moment in the locker room is another of the aforementioned highlights. Also, once again, subsequent events enhance an already perfect moment.
This leads to the film climax in which Dorothy agrees to a date with Gregory; the ensuing hilarity (and charm) clearly shows that Hughes learns from Forsyth.
As expressed throughout this post, the immense appeal of "Gregory" relates to the film keeping it real. Although the big night has its ups and down, the kids are alright (as well as a little older and wiser) at the end. This milestone also reinforces that Gregory epitomizes the related principles of dancing as if no one is watching and to thy own self be true.
Classics further enhances the enjoyment of the film by doing its usual extraordinary job as to copious bonus features. These include an insightful written essay, audio commentary by Forsyth, interviews with Forsyth, and the alternative US and French versions of "Gregory."
The Mill Creek Entertainment January 14, 2020 DVD/Blu-ray release of the 2002 Jennifer Lopez/Ralph Fiennes romcom "Maid in Manhattan" shows that a chick flick also can appeal to men. This largely is attributable to '80s teencom god John Hughes authoring this neo-modern Cinderella story; the 21st-century twists include hotel maid Marisa Ventura (JLo) being much more concerned with the glass ceiling than a glass slipper.
The following old-school style trailer for "Maid" equally highlights the "rom" and the "com" of the film in addition to the genre-obligatory K-Tel Records caliber pop tunes soundtrack.
Pop star JLo plays against type as working-class single-mom Marissa; highlights of her performance include not portraying this wage slave as a stereotypical feisty and out-spoken woman. Tyler Posey of the "Teen Wolf" television series fills the role of cute sitcom-style kid.
Fiennes plays Kennedy-light NY assemblyman Christopher Marshall with senatorial aspiration that the "wrong" romantic relationship may derail. Stanley Tucci fills the role of uptight buzzkill as beleaguered aide Jerry Siegel.
Natasha Richardson steals every scene in which she appears as to her Gwenyth Paltrowesque portrayal as evil "witch" /Sotheby's rep Caroline Lane. Her hanger-on frienemy is aging party girl Rachel Hoffberg (Amy Sedaris).
This stereotypical ensemble also includes the harmless hotel butler/father figure, who is the confidante and main supporter of Marissa. Rather than being outrageously gay, his sexuality may be along most points of the Kinsey Scale.
A largely unexplored but interesting aspect of "Maid" is the immigration status of Marissa and her mother; a scene in which Marisa gets upset as to having to provide her employer her social security number and the name of her mother indicates that our lead minimally is a dreamer.
Our plot centers around a series of amusing events related to Christopher mistaking Marissa for a fellow hotel guest; the plot thickens on Christopher inviting Caroline to lunch due an impression that she is the couture-clad woman who is the object of his affection. Needless to say, this is one big fish that Caroline is intent on keeping on the line.
A $2,500-a-plate fund raiser plays the role of the prince's ball as to the magical night for Marissa; of course a pop-song accompanied montage of Marissa and her "mice" transforming her into a princess precedes that scene. A walk-of-shame taking the place of having a carriage revert to a pumpkin is one aspect that makes this fairy tale neo-modern,
Of course, the honeymoon period is very short-lived at the hands of Caroline before she leaves the city; it is equally predictable that the moppet of the film helps true love prevail. This leads to the final pop-song montage that provides the "where are they now" element of "Maid." Of course, Marisa find both personal and professional fulfillment.
The appeal of this feminist fluff is especially strong as winter is reasserting itself with a vengeance in much of the US. You may not especially connect with any character but will recognize each of then and enjoy their Neil Simon style "Suite" antics.
The Film Movement Classics division of Film Movement pairing the recent Blu-ray releases of the 1953 British comedy "The Titfield Thunderbolt" with a Blu-ray of the (reviewed) 1949 Ealing social-commentary-dripping comedy "Passport to Pimlico" provides an excellent chance for a taste of what the "Titfield" back cover aptly describes as the strong contribution of Ealing to the golden age of British cinema. The numerous comment elements of "Titfield" and "Pimlico" include legendary Britwit T.E.B. Clarke being the scribe of both.
"Titfield" being the first Ealing film shot in Technicolor makes it especially apt for Blu-ray. The British countryside truly looks idyllic.
Fans of '60scom "Petticoat Junction" will recognize many elements of "Titfield." A primary premise of both comedies is quirky good-natured small-town folk heavily relying on a rail line that operates between their community and a nearby town. Although the Hooterville Cannonball of "Petticoat" fame survives numerous attempts to shut it down, the effort to cease the operation of Titfield rail service succeeds. The rest of the story is that eliminating this competition profits a local bus company.
The Titfield populace demonstrates their "keep calm and carry on" fortitude by deciding to run the rail service themselves. Getting the initial provisional approval is only the tip of the iceberg as to this titanic endeavor.
The numerous obstacles as to actually running the train include a lack of necessary experience with the exception of a man who clearly does not work and play well with others. This is not to mention the opposition of those wanting to derail this effort.
Hilarity soon ensues as to things such as first building up an adequate head of steam and subsequently preventing an overheating that threatens to turn a potential figurative train wreck into an actual one.
In classic film fashion, it seems that a combination of sabotage and ineptitude is leading to an inevitable bad end for the good guys. The ensuing hilarity begins with taking a page out of both incarnations of classic scifi series "Battlestar Galactica."
This is the beginning of an extended climax in which the train being allowed to continue operating is conditioned on it making a monitored run on time. Of course, hilarity with a heavy dose of keeping "the suit" oblivious to the actual situation ensues. Suffice it to say that Clarke shows his awareness of a Hollywood ending.
The copious "Titfield" BD extras shows the same love for the film that Classic demonstrates for "Pimlico." A written essay provides great insight into the film, the bonus feature "Making 'The Titfiled Thunderbolt'" expands on that. We also get a handful of other "behind-the-scenes' features and the original trailer.
The Film Movement Classics division of Film Movement December 31, 2019 pristine Blu-ray release of the 1949 Ealing Studios Oscar and BAFTA-nominated classic comedy "Passport to Pimlico" (paired with a (soon-to-be-reviewed) Blu-ray of the 1953 Ealing comedy "The Titfield Thunderbolt") adds to the mountain of evidence that British fare kicks the arse of American movies.
The scope of this post allows sharing that "Pimlico" is an esteemed member of the genre of brilliant mid-century British political satires. Although not as well known as films such as "Dr. Strangelove" or the cult classic "The Mouse That Roared," "Pimlico" offers the same quality witty subversive social commentary. Suffice it to say that 10 Downing Street gets the royal treatment.
The "go to your local library to learn more" endorsement in this space is in the form of encouraging anyone who enjoys quality comedy based on strong material and quality performances to read the essay and to watch the bonus features in this set.
Highlights of the latter include the insightful and entertaining video interview with BFI curator Mark Duguid. His discussion of "Pimlico" includes its inclusion in the Ealing trilogy that consists of that film, "Whiskey Galore, and the Alec Guinness classic "Kind Heats and Coronets." Duguid also touches on the notable career of "Pimlico" screenwriter T.E.B. Clarke, which includes the Guinness film "The Lavender Hill Mob." Another extra "You Are There" tour of the on-location shooting shooting of the film.
From a more modern perspective, "Pimlico" plays out like an early-season "Simpsons" episode in that surprising increasing hilarity/mayhem ensures from an everyday occurrence gone comically awry.
The excavation of "the last unexploded bomb in England" (until another "last exploded bomb" is found) largely is a non-event in 1947 for this middle-class London community that has a Springfield-quality cast of quirky characters from every walk of life. This literal bombshell named Pamela becomes more newsworthy when a post-Blitz Bart Simpson and his pals engage in shenanigans that cause Pamela essentially to go nuclear.
The first twist is that the explosion reveals an 500 year-old treasure chamber. The "special guest star" that plays a major role in things getting out of hand is Margaret Rutherford of "Miss Marple" fame. Lumpy Rutherford plays the academic historian called in to investigate the discovery; Professor Hatton-Jones indisputably determines that both the treasure and the surrounding environs are the property of Burgundy.
The ensuing hilarity largely revolves around the once (and future?) Londoners in the community embracing living in Burgundy. Much of this glee revolves around these reverse-Brexit individuals determining that they no longer are subject to post-war rationing and other restrictions that the British government is imposing on them. This escalates to "border town" residents rushing to get in on the act in the same manner that Americans flees to Canada and Mexico for similar advantages.
A memorable moment in the interview with Duguid relates to his mentioning a scene in "Pimlico" in which a character comments that the community is defying the British government because that group believes in British principles.
This revolting (pun intended) development triggers a hazy memory of Springfield and/or Homer Simpson declaring sovereignty either separately or in the same episode sometime in the 31 seasons of "The Simpsons."
In true diplomatic fashion, each move by either the new residents of France or their British enemies prompts escalation on either side; this culminates in a siege in which the Brits try to isolate and starve out their former subjects. This culminates in a highly symbolic London ending that reflect the British attitude that many uproars ultimately turn out to be much ado about nothing.
In this case, the play especially is the scene and all's well that ends well. Adding that where there's a will, there's a way is mandatory.
Indiepix Films fully lives up to its name as to its December 17, 2017 DVD release of the 2017 dark comedy film "A Feast of Man." This low-budget film that literally provides food for thought is textbook arthouse fare.
"Feast" centers around four childhood friends gathering at the upstate New York vacation house of a family friend. This quartet reunites with a hope of profiting in the wake of the announced death of peer/stereotypical trust fund baby Gallagher. The other members of this rogue's gallery are fiance Ted (aka have you met my friend Ted), quirky loyal butler James, and French trophy girlfriend Arletty,
Attorney/executor/nepotism hire Wolf, Jr. is thrown back on arriving at the house to learn that Gallagher recorded a video will after making a traditional one. The shock and awe extends to conditioning Wolf and all the rest each inheriting roughly $1M on literally eating the deceased.
"The rest" are former flame/current Ted fiancee Judy and stereotypical wimpy TFB Dickie.
The concept and the look of "Feast" evoke strong thoughts of the highly similar '90s cult film "The Last Supper." That one has a group of intellectuals who share a home invite people whom they agree have no right to live to the titular meal for the purpose of killing them.
The "Feast" beneficiaries accept the terms of the will to varying degrees as they relive their past and consider their presents in both senses of that word. This, including unwarranted extreme cruelty to a "townie," shows that all of our gang fully stays true to type.
This leads to a wonderful perverse climax that includes a totally out-of-the-blue twist that proves that the rich are different.
An element of this reflects the class divide. One million dollars is not chump change but is not enough to prompt many high-net-worth folks to seriously considering cannibalism, would likely prompt many middle-class people to consider expanding their diet, and would almost certainly prompt folks with McJobs who live paycheck-to-paycheck to ask where's the beefcake.
Indiepix supplements this with a clever main menu that labels the scene selection option "ala carte" and ironically title a fauxmmercial" "A Touch of Luxury."
A 'del'athon of posts on home-video releases of the films and performances of genuine wit Del Shores continues with the Mama of all his films; "Sordid Lives" (2000) is the one that makes Shores a household name in WeHo, SoHo, and many other Hos. The franchise includes the (reviewed) "A Very Sordid Wedding" and "Sordid Lives: The Series."
An amazing surprise as to the blu-ray version of "Lives" is that the pristine video and audio and the depth of the images when watched in 4K greatly enhance the "live-stage" vibe of watching this film based on the play of the same name.
This tale of a working-class family in a fly-over county aptly has 10 festival wins under its enormous silver belt buckle. These include the Best Feature honor at the 2000 Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, "best in show" honors for both Shores and the film at the 2000 Memphis International Film Festival, and "Best Feature" and Best Actor (Leslie Jordan) wins at the 2000 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
The following SPOILER-LADEN aptly titled trailer for "Lives" shows how this film is a wonderfully raunchier and darker version of the southern-fried '80scom "Mama's Family (nee "The Family" on "The Carol Burnett Show.")
This sordid tale centers around Sissy Hickey (Beth Grant), who is forced into the overlapping roles of therapist and far-from-teenage diplomat in the wake (no pun intended) of the recent death of her sister Peggy under highly scandalous circumstances. Suffice it to say that the man who plays a role in that demise lacks a leg on which to stand as to escaping culpability.
Shores deftly orchestrates the inter-related (pun intended) action between four arenas of action before gathering at least most of the usual suspects for the climatic main event that is relatable to people of every socioeconomic group.
The abode of Sissy literally provides the "meanwhile" at the ranch element of this two days in the valley of the dolts. Even more epic hilarity ensues as her sibling Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram (Jordan) is enduring a decades' long unfortunate incarceration in a mental hospital. He is being treated for the twin "diseases" of being a homosexual and for a strong urge to go Full Minnie in impersonating Tammy Wynette and other first ladies of country music.
The conversion therapy session between Brother Boy and "Mommie Dearest" style psychiatrist Dr. Eve Bollinger proves that Shores is the lover child of Tennessee Williams and John Waters. The battle of wills between doctor and patient is classic for reasons that extend well beyond an argument as to a failed masturbation experiment.
Delta Burke of the classic southcom "Designing Women" steals the show as woman scorned Noleta Nethercott, who tracks down husband GW (Beau Bridges) at the local dive bar. Burke fully channels loose cannon Suzanne Sugarbaker in finding felonious inspiration from "Thelma and Louise." Although Bridges is well cast as a good ole boy forced to humiliating pay a litany of sins, armchair casting suggests that real-life Burke spouse Gerald "Major Dad" McRaney would have been a better choice. The appearances of McRaney on "Designing Women" show that he has wonderful on-screen chemistry with his equal half.
The final piece of the puzzle is the most autobiographical part for Shores. The death of his grandmother forces successful and dreamy gay actor Ty Williamson (Kirk Geiger) to confront several conflicting emotions. He is happy and well-adjusted as to his life in Los Angeles but closeted and unhappy as to his relationship with the folks back home.
Most of the scenes with Ty occur during a session with a therapist who is much more compassionate and skilled than Dr. Eve (of destruction). Even many gay men who are coming-of-age in our overall more enlightened era of marriage equality and of being able to both ask and tell (not to mention show and tell) can relate to his family not fully embracing this adorable boy whom anyone would love to have live next door.
All of this amounts to a film that, in addition to the similarities with "Family," can be thought of as a toned-down David Lynch movie about Mayberry. Shores provides needed warmth as to this nostalgia regarding a small town in which everyone knows each other, and whose own "quirks" allow finding amusement in the eccentricities of his or her fellow man and woman.
The bigger picture is that Shores shows that excellent writing and a strong cast that fully embraces his or her role are important elements for a film that remains funny and does not look dated nearly 20 years after its release.