Welcome back to DVD Diggers. Please keep your seats locked and in an upright position until the column comes to a halt.
This week is a bit of a disappointment for me. I shouldn’t have been writing a DVD Diggers this week. Instead you should have been getting updates from DragonCon, letting you know the latest in the world of all things geek. Alas, for the first time in six years I’m not going to DragonCon. Instead I’ve drowned my sorrows in the first season of “The Apprentice”. If I suddenly start yelling out “You’re Fired” you’ll understand why.
The Going Gets Better
Unlike the past few weeks, this week marks a transition for the films of 2004 coming out on DVD. Before this week the movies were typically the worst films of this year, quickly being turned around for DVD sales in an attempt to recoup some of the costs of the movies. This week we still get bad flicks like Soul Plane (which gets both an R-rated and a uselessly Unrated release) but we also start getting those transition flicks – the ones that were bad, but still had a following. Pictures like The Ladykillers, where Tom Hanks gets to play Col. Sanders, or The Punisher where Thomas Jayne wishes he were playing Col. Sanders. The Punisher doesn’t rank high on my list of this year’s films, but I have a handful of friends who insist the film is not just good, but great. I bet most of these friends wouldn’t stand a chance in front of Donald Trump, but they are entitled to their opinion… even if it is wrong. So, if you see people buying The Punisher on DVD, it’s most likely one of these friends. Feel free to belittle their selection in movies, their clothing, and their questionable heritage. Then tell them Rafe told you to say such things.
Gone like a Joss Whedon series on prime time
The big trend this week seemed to be canceling long awaited DVD titles. Special editions of both Star Trek Generations and The Iron Giant were slated for release this week, but at the eleventh hour their release date was pushed back. Generations even appeared in the weekly ad from Best Buy in my Sunday paper. Apparently the packaging for Generations advertises that the extras include the film’s trailer (a must have) and the discs don’t actually have the extra on them. Which do you think will be changed – the discs or the packaging? As for The Iron Giant, apparently the studios think they can push back the cult classic and release it to coincide with The Incredibles, both of which are directed by Brad Bird. Actually… that’s a pretty good idea. I can’t criticize that one too much, as long as it does get released. Anyway, the week still has special editions of the three “R”s - Red Heat, Resident Evil, and Rounders.
Martian vs. Martian
Ugh… the television wars continue. It’s bad enough that two weeks ago I wrote here about the ridiculousness of “The Apprentice” coming to DVD, and now I’m in the process of giving it a fairly decent review. Isn’t that enough for the studios out there? No – instead they have to send the next barrage of television series. “Magnum P.I.”, “Columbo”, “Without a Trace”, and “American Dreams” all see their first steps onto DVD with first season releases, along with the dueling martians of “My Favorite Martian”, and “Mork and Mindy”. Hmmm… who would win in a fight between Mork and Martin? How about between Pam Dawber and Bill Bixby? My money would have to be on “My Favorite Martian” for both. I mean, it’s Ray Walston! And Bill Bixby? Well, he just turns into Lou Ferrigno when he gets angry, so there’s no chance there.
Other television shows seeing release this week are season four of “Angel”, and season three of “Will & Grace”. Now a fight between those two isn’t even a challenge. Vampires trump homosexuals any day of the week. All these fights sound like something out of “The Twilight Zone”, which is a shameless segue to let you know that the new series of “The Twilight Zone” also comes out this week.
My big pick as far as television series goes though is a tie between muppets, and people who wish they were muppets. In “Jim Henson’s The Storyteller – Greek Myths” the mythological stories of the greeks are brought to life, with Michael Gambon replacing John Hurt as the storyteller. As the Harry Potter movies have shown us, if there’s anything Michael Gambon is good at, it’s replacing people. My other pick is “The Best of Beakman’s World”. See, in the early ‘90s I somehow missed out on Bill Nye (the science guy). Instead I learned science on television from Beakman – a wild haired crazy scientist who was followed around by a somewhat attractive lady and a giant man in a rat costume. Yes, you read that right – a giant man in a rat costume. Comparing Beakman and Bill Nye (the science guy) is kind of like comparing Doctor Hibbert and Doctor Nick on the Simpsons. Yeah, learning science from a guy dressed up as a rat may not have been as polished as Bill Nye (the science guy) but it got me a “D” in science… and that’s still a passing grade!
This is the point where you realize I’m rooting for Ray Walston in a fight, a man in a giant rat suit taught me science, and yet “Twin Peaks – Season 2” is not being released on DVD. I know - it’s not a fair world.
Lately I’ve given Kevin Smith a hard time on the Cinema Blend forums. Recently he made the announcement that his next directorial foray would be returning to his roots with a true sequel to Clerks. That seems fitting given that it’s the ten year anniversary of Clerks. You’d think rather then pass up the chance to expand his horizons and direct an action flick, Smith would just be satisfied with Clerks X a ten year anniversary DVD release of his directorial debut that boasts three discs, but no – he wants to direct a sequel too. Oh well, at least he is good at what he does. I’m sure “the Donald” would just fire him for refusing to grow as a director, but if he insists on refusing I’m satisfied to watch him churn out dramas like Jersey Girl which also comes to DVD this week.
Jersey Girl is a much maligned film, misunderstood by the members of Smith’s audience who were in grade school when his first film came out ten years ago, and trapped by the Ben Affleck – Jennifer Lopez relationship. “Ben”… “Jennifer”… you know, somebody ought to come up with a snazzy nickname for that relationship… something the tabloids could scarf up. Oh well, I guess it’s too late to get on that bandwagon now. Anyway, if you were past puberty when Clerks came out you should check out Jersey Girl. I think it’s a spectacular film that shows how much Kevin Smith has changed in ten years, both as a director and as a person. If you’re too young to understand how important children can become in your life - wait a few years. Wait about ten years after you’ve gained the ability to grow facial hair and come back to the film – it’ll still be here and maybe you’ll have gotten to a place in life where you can understand the emotions behind it.
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