"FAMILY GUY: VOLUME EIGHT"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: FOX

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After being pulled from the cancellation ashes, Seth MacFarlane has built a cartoon empire at FOX. His most famous series “Family Guy” has released volume eight of its episodes on DVD, and there is no topic too taboo. In fifteen episodes over three discs, the Griffins take on such topics as marijuana, religion, steroids, reality television, the multiverse and the FOX News Channel. (Well, to be fair, Brian Griffin and the folks behind him rail on FOX News in pretty much every show, but now it gets an entire episode devoted to that.)

WHAT I LIKED
“Family Guy” has grown on me over the years. In the earlier seasons, I wasn’t a fan, considering many of the modern edgy animated series to have peaked with “The Simpsons.” However, after getting to know the characters a bit, I can’t say that I like them, but I find them damn funny. Regardless of how much the “South Park” guys hate the random pop culture references, I find them hilarious. And in this season, MacFarlane takes some shots at his own brand of humor by poking fun at his own joke deliveries.

Much like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” is becoming an institution, and it hasn’t really gotten old yet. As long as there is still popular culture and silly things people do in the news, there will be material for this show. And in this volume, more than ever, the show takes on new topics as well as nostalgic ones. Who would have ever predicted a show devoted to the Cold War comedy “Spies Like Us” alongside an episode about Lauren Conrad and her colossal stupidity.

Also, like any good “Family Guy” release, these episodes come uncensored with the option to watch the original televised episode. If you can handle the f-bombs and a few more scenes, you should enjoy the uncensored versions. They don’t overuse the profanity, but it’s nice to hear with my non-virgin ears.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
My only gripe with a show like this is that it delves into raw politics a little too much. I suppose the FOX News episode (“FOX-y Lady”) was just as much a jab at the network the airs “Family Guy,” but holding up Brian’s politics as the benchmark of the show is just as extreme as whom he is attacking. More balanced was the marijuana episode “Episode 420,” which ironically showed both sides of the issue.

DVD FEATURES
The three-disc set comes with selected commentaries and choices between uncensored and original episodes. Disc three includes about a half hour of deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes on the “Road to the Multiverse” episode and “Family Guy Karaoke,” which allows you to sing along with all the songs from the series thus far.

One really neat addition to this DVD set is the final script for the “Road to the Multiverse” episode.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of Seth MacFarlane’s animation and edgy pop culture humor.





"AMERICAN DAD: VOLUME 5"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: FOX

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Seth MacFarlane’s second big animated sit com “American Dad!” comes to a fifth volume on DVD. This three-disc set includes fourteen episodes, presented with the option of uncensored or as they were originally aired. Some subjects covered include an “Oceans 11” style bar mitzvah heist, Roger and Steve solving a mystery 80s-TV-cop-show style, the alarming effects of trans fat, Stan’s brush with homosexuality and Roger haunting a telethon.

WHAT I LIKED
While people would be tempted to lump “American Dad!” and “Family Guy” together as virtually the same show, they are very different animals, and the crew manages to draw that line nicely in these episodes. Rather than resorting to random pop culture references like “Family Guy,” the “American Dad!” humor falls more on the shoulders of exaggerated family dysfunction.

The wild characters of Roger and Klaus have been shifted a bit. Klaus has really taken a back seat in this set, but Roger has found a place of his own. He’s no longer the forefront but rather plays the secondary story as the live-in (and alien) wacky neighbor in most of the episodes. “American Dad!” doesn’t go for the gross-out humor as often and has gotten away from the political posturing. Rather, it has become a series about some very weird people and how they deal with issues that have been blown out of proportion from our own lives.

Roger continues to be my favorite, and I realize that’s as easy as saying that Curly is your favorite Stooge (even though my favorite Stooge happens to be Larry, thank you very much). Still, he captures the silliness of a family sit-com better than even the other family in the MacFarlaneverse.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Not much, aside from the fact that these collected episodes only offer a little more than a dozen episodes. It’s such a funny show that I prefer to watch the wackiness in larger doses.

DVD FEATURES
In addition to commentaries on every episode and the choice between the uncensored version or the one that already aired, the second disc includes a pop-up trivia track for “Bar Mitzvah Hustle” while disc three has deleted scenes and a “Power Hour Drinking Game” which features 60 one-minute clips from the show.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of Seth MacFarlane’s animation and those who don’t take their politics too seriously.



"CADDYSHACK
30th ANNIVERSARY"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated R
    Available on DVD June 8
    WarnerBros.com
    Studio: Warner Bros.

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
One of the most popular golf movies ever to be released has hit a milestone. “Caddyshack” is 30 years old, and to celebrate, Warner Bros. has made the film available on DVD again, as well as Blu-ray and On Demand. “Caddyshack” tells the story of a group of caddies at a swanky country club who struggle to deal with the bizarre members there. One caddy eventually gets a chance to prove his golfing (and human) worth top one of the snobbiest members in an illegal game.

WHAT I LIKED
It’s been years... decades since I’ve seen “Caddyshack,” so its 30th anniversary celebration was a great way to revisit the film. Even though I didn’t watch this movie as religiously as some of my friends in high school, which is what’s gonna happen when you go to secondary school in the 80s, so much of the movie has worked into my language. It’s one of the most quotable films, so much so that I have found myself quoting it (with lines like, “Noonan! Miss it!,” “Did somebody step on a duck?” and “Don’t sell yourself short. You’re a tremendous slouch!”) without remembering their source.

There’s still a lot of fun in this movie, and most of that comes from the heartfelt performances from the cast. Bill Murray continues to be hilarious as the wacky greenskeeper. Ted Knight plays the racist villain perfectly. Rodney Dangerfield is a hoot, and deserves our respect. And Cindy Morgan looks great without her shirt on.

Oh, and that gopher is still damn cute.

Fans of the film will enjoy revisiting it, and if you like the classic SNL folks like Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, this is a must see.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
A lot of the humor is dated, and the structure of the film only could have been made in the 70s (because with a 1980 release date, the movie was filmed in 1979). It’s a very loosely structured plot, and like another contemporary comedy “Meatballs,” it’s less about the protagonist and more about the craziness that happens around him.

“Caddyshack” probably wouldn’t work on cold audiences today, but that doesn’t stop it from being a classic.

DVD FEATURES
The DVD comes with the retrospective featurette, “Caddyshack: The 19th Hole,” which was produced for the 19th anniversary more than a decade ago.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of classic “Saturday Night Live,” improv humor and movies of the 70s/80s bridge.

Watch these clips from "CADDYSHACK"







"BREWSTER MCCLOUD"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD July 1
    WarnerArchive.com
    Studio: Warner Archive

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Poop. And murder. And birds. And flying. And Texas. Seriously, I’ve been trying to figure this movie out since I watched it. My brain hurts. So let’s just read from the cover box, shall we?...

Brewster McCloud (Bud Cort) lives deep within the cavernous underground of the Houston Astrodome, but his dreams rise much higher. He aims to fly. Not in a plane. But with strapped-on wings he’s designing – encouraged by a mysterious woman (Sally Kellerman) who may be his guardian angel. But “Brewster McCloud,” Robert Altman’s wild, anarchic cult fave, isn’t about dreams as much as it is about the highs and lows of humanity. It’s a serial-killer mystery. A frenetic car-chase flick. A crazy circus-finale comedy. Shelley Duvall debuts as the tour guide whose seduction of Brewster may lead to his undoing. Ah, love. The thing that at once shapes and unravels us. The thing that may or may not give us wings.

WHAT I LIKED
While I don’t have the time or patience (or intellect, some might say) to fully understand what the hell Robert Altman was trying to do with “Brewster McCloud,” I can respect him for making a different film. Filled with symbolism and social commentary, “Brewster McCloud” is as unconventional of a film as you can get.

There are some very clever breaking of the rules by Altman, most notably the replacement of the MGM lion roar with Rene Auberjonois saying, “I forgot the opening line.” Like the opening shot of his later film “The Player,” Altman toys with not just the structure of the film but the reality in it as well.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
But yeah... I really didn’t understand it. This film is really a product of its time, as much a 60s counter-culture film as any other, even though it has a 1970 release date. There seems to be an awful lot of thought that went into making this movie, and back in the day I’m sure it was one for the discussion groups. But so many of the social issues have warped over the years that it’s hard to determine (for me, at least) what is being said and what is just goofy 60s/70s filmmaking.

I can’t say that I regret watching “Brewster McCloud,” but I also can’t say that I’d sit through it again.

DVD FEATURES
Like other releases from the Warner Archive collection, “Brewster McCloud” doesn’t have any special features. At least they saw fit to put the trailer on the disc, which was neat to see.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Those who are old enough to have experienced the counter culture of this film’s era.


    

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