THIS WEEK IN DVD’S – Mar 13, 2008
Mrs. Doubtfire: The Behind-the-Seams Edition (Fox)
The Billy Wilder Film Collection (MGM)
It doesn’t matter how many special editions it gets – Mrs. Doubtfire just kinda sucks. Robin Wiliams adds both humor and presence to his loony performance here, but aside from some fantastic showcases of San Francisco landmarks and a noble (if unconvincing) turn from the always-dependable Sally Field, this cross-dressing family tale is limp and cheesy. The Billy Wilder Film Collection all but rubs this fact in Mrs. Doubtfire’s face – this collection of four standout Wilder flicks (The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, The Fortune Cookie and Kiss Me, Stupid) shows how you mix wild, outrageous humor with earnest emotional stories to create a truly indelible film scenario.
South Park: The Imaginationland Trilogy (Paramount)
Lil’ Bush: Season One (Paramount)
Need proof that Matt Stone and Trey Parker remain two of the guiding lights on television? Check out this feature-length trilogy of episodes from the show’s last season that is one of the most blissfully fucked-up things this writer has ever seen. How these guys keep outdoing themselves is beyond me, but as long as they continue to give us imagery like the stuff on this disc, I’m in for the long haul. Lil’ Bush: Season One, though, is a limp fellow Comedy Central offering. It’s one-note, predictable and surprisingly uninteresting. You’d think that a full-blown spoof of the current administration would be able to be more biting and/or dumb-fun than this.
The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection Vol. 6 – The Inspector (MGM)
Three Pigs and a Baby (The Weinstein Company)
The animated Pink Panther isn’t without its charms – that great Shot in the Dark theme music, the funny little bad guys – though it’s pretty fleeting as far as entertainment value goes. Where old episodes of Rocky & Bullwinkle still manage to maintain a modicum of goofy nostalgic charm, this Classic Cartoon Collection is really just a group of fairly good toons from the mid- to late-60s.
And maybe I’m a stick-in-the-mud purist, but an all-CGI feature from The Jim Henson Company? Three Pigs and a Baby is a cheeky interpretation of some classic stories – it revolves around a family of pigs who find a wolf cub on their doorstep – but there’s very little that’s ‘Henson-y’ about it. The digital artwork is beautiful, to be sure, but this writer found no in point with the picture: It’s a great-looking, smartly-themed shrug of a movie.
Dark Shadows: The Beginning – Collection 3 (MPI)
The Color Honeymooners: Collection 2 (MPI)
The Love Boat: Season One, Volume 1 (Paramount)
Another entry in the ‘you had to be there’ file – my mother continues to look fondly on her times as a young girl getting home from school as quickly as possible to watch episodes of Dark Shadows and all its Gothic romance, but this writer had trouble making it through Dark Shadows: The Beginning – Collection 3. The show goes through the motions of crystal balls, ghosts, and some bizarre vengeance from a family rival played by Mitchell Ryan, but for anyone who wasn’t soaking up the soap opera corn upon first viewing and feels a burn to return to the scene of the crime, this is a box set that falls on deaf ears.
Same goes for The Color Honeymooners: Collection 2 – while Jackie Gleason and Art Carney were both wondrously talented comic forces in their prime, this revamped incarnation of the original ‘TO THE MOON, ALICE!’ series is just a bunch of famous people going through the motions in order to (hopefully) drum up a big paycheck.
The Love Boat, though – now that’s good comedy. Just kidding. This cheesy series from the late 70s has kitsch aplenty, that’s for damned sure, but aside from a deliciously insane supporting turn from Charo as April Lopez a few episodes into this first season, The Love Boat is basically an extended version of Match Game, only with more seawater and plot. But VIVA CHARO!