Like Charles Foster Kane, Gordon Gekko, and Victor Mancini before him, FSR’s regular DVD columnist Brian Gibson has seen the limits of excess… and he has paid the price. Years of snorting DVDs, mainlining Blu-ray discs, and fornicating with pop culture figurines in back alleys has finally caught up with him. He’s currently in entertainment rehab and debt counseling, and even worse, his mother has cut up his credit cards and cut off his allowance. Dark times indeed. We wish him a successful and speedy recovery, and in his absence, please allow me to share my DVD recommendations with you this week. (And yes, I always pay cash.)
Click on any of the titles below to magically head over to Amazon.com and pick up the DVD.
Pitch: Duckie joins “21 Jump Street.”
Why Buy? It’s all about the Coogan. Sure sure, Jon Cryer is the “star” of the movie, but Keith Coogan is one of the best teen sidekicks you’ll ever find in eighties cinema. Watch this on a double bill with Adventures In Babysitting and see if you don’t agree. He’s funny, sweet, and really needs to find a better agent since he hasn’t been on the big screen since 1994. The movie is actually pretty damn good too, and Cryer is comedic gold playing a thirty year-old stockbroker trying to simultaneously outwit the mob and woo a high school senior.
Pitch: British teens are just as screwed up and sexually active as their American counterparts.
Why Buy? Series 1 of this show was fantastic (review here) and it introduced several realistic, touching, and hilarious teenagers who return to finish their stories in series 2. (The Brits substitute “series” for what we call “seasons.”) This go round starts a bit disjointed and ridiculous, but the show quickly gets back on track with teen characters you’ll actually care about. Take that CW! There is a bit less flesh on display compared to the first series, but the sharp writing and funny dialogue remains.
Pitch: Remember that sliver you callously pulled from your finger and threw to the ground? It remembers you too.
Why Buy? Our local coroner, Robert Fure, loved this movie (review here) and went so far as to compare it favorably to John Carpenter’s classic The Thing. High praise indeed… and he’s right. It’s much smaller than Carpenter’s film but just as nasty, claustrophobic, and inventive. Great performances and fantastic effects highlight this short and sharp little shocker that reminds us that original, kick ass horror films can still be found in a world of PG-13 remakes.
Pitch: Even dyslexic Nazis need a good screw once in a while.
Why Rent? I could say you should rent it to see Kate Winslet naked, but it’s actually harder to find a movie where she stays fully clothed. So instead you should watch it for the performance that won her an Oscar and for the interesting story the film has to tell. The movie depends on a dramatic revelation for much of its power though, and while I agree with Kevin Carr who says “there’s a lot to think about” in the movie (review here), there’s not a lot to watch a second or third time.
Blu-ray? Yes (4/28)
Pitch: Jon Cryer returns to high school to kill the kids who bullied him the first time he returned to high school… (but not really)
Why Rent? I’d almost recommend this as a Buy simply to get the message across to studios that horror fans want their films uncut whenever possible, but the movie just isn’t that good. Pranks gone awry, a high school reunion where classmates start dying, a masked killer out for revenge… we’ve seen it done before and done better. The murders are worth a rental though to see in their newly uncut gory glory. And a mid-eighties Caroline Munro is pretty easy on the eyes too.
Pitch: The movie they said should never have been made…
Why Rent? I know what you’re thinking. As one of the worst movies ever made shouldn’t it be on the Avoid list? Well yes, but this is one of those bad movies you really need to see for yourself. An over-reliance on style, an out of control Samuel Jackson, and a lead actor with less charisma than belly lint all come together under Frank Miller’s poor direction. Miller’s long lost nephew (and FSR editor), Neil, gave the film an F this past Christmas (review here). The F doesn’t stand for Fun people.
Pitch: She has a month to live… can you blame her for not wanting to spend it with Jim Belushi?
Why Avoid? Honestly, it’s hard enough watching Belushi play a supposedly healthy person on “According to Jim”… but as a mentally retarded man? Absolute torture. If you need another reason to stay away, how about Whoopi Goldberg as an extremely angry woman dying from a brain tumor. The movie piles melodrama on top of melodrama and barely contains a single believable frame. If you must watch either of them onscreen, go rent Real Men and Ghost instead. You’re welcome.
Pitch: It’s Teen Wolf with fangs and without the laughs.
Why Avoid? Here is a complete list of funny vampire comedies… Andy Warhol’s Dracula, Blacula, Fright Night, Once Bitten, The Lost Boys, Lair of the White Worm, Bordello of Blood, From Dusk ’til Dawn, Lesbian Vampire Killers, and Twilight. You’ll notice this movie is not on the list.
Pitch: Playboy horrors.
Why Avoid? Films like Asylum and Creepshow are great examples of how to present horror anthologies right… creative and fun frameworks wrapped around interesting, scary, and gory stories told with skill and real enthusiasm for the form. This movie has none of that. Instead, it’s hoping to sell itself strictly on the “marquee” names of two of the girls from E!’s “The Girls Next Door.” And no, not the only hot one.
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