Welcome to the first week of April! Now that all of the internet jokes, gags, and pranks are out of the way it’s time to settle in with another week of movies and TV shows on DVD to keep you entertained at home.
Like every other week of the year this one features a fairly interesting array of titles that run the gamut from the good to the bad, but we also get two offbeat comedies that I think are worth a purchase for fans of oddball romances and charmingly humorous characters.
Oh. And two shitty Tron movies hit shelves this week too.
Year Of the Carnivore
A young woman named Samantha Smalls (Cristin Milioti) has a terrible sexual experience with her guitarist crush, and he suggests she cut loose, have fun, and gain some more experience in bed. And so she does… and along the way she learns everything you’d expect her to in an oddball, indie comedy from Canada.
Milioti is adorable, endearing, and truth be told pretty damn sexy as the shy tomboy who giggles whenever guys touch her, and the movie features more than a few laugh out loud scenes of highly inappropriate self discovery.
I Love You Phillip Morris
Pitch: Guy love, That’s all it is, Guy love, He’s mine, I’m his, There’s nothing gay about it in our eyes…
Why Buy? The writers of Bad Santa return with the true story of Steven Russell (Jim Carrey), a family man who realizes one day that he’s gay. As Steven discovers it’s expensive being gay, and soon soon he’s behind bars on charges of fraud and theft.
And that’s where he meets and falls in love with Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). The rest of the film, and of Steven’s story, is his quest to hang on to the man he loves. This is a smart and funny film filled with heart, and fans of offbeat romantic comedies and great acting should give it a shot.
Pitch: Hey, remember Kevin Spacey? Who knew he still acts…
Why Rent? Everyone knows the name Jack Abramoff, but not everyone knows his true story. Will this movie change that? Who knows, but at the very least viewers will have a good time with this sharply written comedy about the ins and outs of D.C. lobbying. Spacey does a solid job in the lead role (except for when he gets lost in multiple impersonations), and Barry Pepper and Jon Lovitz add to the laughs. Just don’t take it all too seriously because it’s likely to depress you.
Friday Night Lights: Season Five
Pitch: It’s the show everybody loved but nobody watched…
Why Rent? The small town of Dillon, TX is just like every other small town in Texas with the same strengths, weaknesses, and desires to remove evolution from the school text books. According to Cole Abaius, the heart of a Texas Friday night is high school football, and this critically acclaimed and much-loved show is filled with heart. I won’t pretend to have been a loyal viewer from the beginning, but the episodes I have seen have always been beautifully acted, well written, and emotionally powerful. Even if they are about high school football in Texas.
Life Unexpected: The Complete First and Second Season
Pitch: It’s a less annoying Gilmore Girls meets a less annoying Dawson’s Creek…
Why Rent? A teenager is reunited with her birth parents in Portland, and even though the two thirty-somethings aren’t currently in a relationship with each other they work to provide two homes for their daughter.
The worst thing about the show is the insistence on ridiculous character names (Lux? Baze? Math?), but it’s a small price to pay for smart writing and honest humor. Sure it’s from the CW, but it’s the exception to the rule in that the characters are actually interesting and feel more real than plastic.
Pitch: Like Avatar or Miss South Carolina, this is pretty to look at but dumber than a toenail…
Why Rent? Twenty some-odd years after the events in Tron, Kevin Flynn’s (Jeff Bridges) son is zapped into the matrix where he discovers his captive father, hot women in leather, a nightclub run by a David Bowie impersonator, and a new digital frontier.
This is a lame movie. But that doesn’t stop it from also being filled with incredible effects and very cool set designs. Jeff Bridges is playing himself throughout, Garrett Hedlund is proving he wasn’t hired for his acting abilities, and Olivia Wilde is… well, she looks good so we’ll give her a pass.
Pitch: This is why I don’t climb mountains…
Why Avoid? Every thousand decades or so a large beastie erupts from within the bowels of a mountain and lays waste to the surrounding lands, but there’s one thing it didn’t count on this time around… a lumberjack with a bazooka. The SyFy channel formula is pretty straight forward these days. Manly but kind man, brainy but hot woman, some kind of creature(s) brought to life via low-rent CGI.
This one is about typical so if you’re a fan of SyFy’s Saturdat night originals then definitely check this one out, but if you prefer more bite with your monster movies you may want to look elsewhere. Skip this and rent The Host instead.
Pitch: Johnny Dangerously did the whole not-quite-dirty shtick far better than these fargin iceholes…
Why Avoid? Haven’t seen this one yet, but goddamn do I hate the first two Fockers movies. These movies are the opposite of funny, whatever that may be, and even the knowledge that Jessica Alba (playing the hilariously named Andi Garcia) strips down to her underwear isn’t enough to make me watch. The plot (ie the excuse for vomit gags, jokes about the ‘Focker’ name, and opportunities to put Ben Stiller into frustratingly awkward positions) sees Stiller trying to prove his value (yet again) to his father in law, Jack (Robert “Anything For A Paycheck” De Niro). Skip this and rent Midnight Run instead.
Tron: The Original Classic
Pitch: It’s time to take off the nostalgia-colored glasses people…
Why Avoid? Cutting edge computer graphics bring the world inside your PC to life in this story of a hacker sucked into the digital world and forced to fight for his freedom by David Warner! I recently re-watched this in preparation for the sequel, and it really is a thirty year old version of the new film. Terrible dialogue, silly plot, stretches of boredom, and a strong visual appeal for the time… but it’s three decades later, so a film that was only watchable then for the effects is now officially a waste of your time.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words
Beauty And the Beast: A Dark Tale
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of the Dawn Treader
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?