Cartoon Crazy: Fairytales – a very very old DVD in my collection, I purchased it during the winter after receiving my (our family’s) first DVD player, for 5$ (which was very cheep at that time considering DVDs were still a fairly new technology. The others purchased right around this time were: my first Marx Brothers box set, Scooby-Doo’s Original Mysteries, and the next DVD listed here. This is not one of my favorites however. It’s a bargain basement DVD, chalk full of PD cartoons, some are fairly good but not all. This DVD didn’t work great on my original DVD player, it would freeze and repeat a few of the toons at the end, but for some reason it seemed to work fine on my PS2 (go figure), however you can’t fast forward the DVD. There is another reason why this one isn’t that good, but will get into that in the next DVD.
Cartoon Crazy: Sci-fi – this is the much better of the two Cartoon Crazy DVDs, several of the good toons from the fairytale edition are on this one as well, plus it also contains some very good toons that everyone should be familiar with like: All’s Fair at the Fair, Cupid Gets His Man (which has an animated W.C. Fields), a couple original superman cartoons, The Cobweb Hotel, the Sunshine Makers (also on the Fairy tale DVD), Presto Changeo (featuring a prototype Bugs Bunny), and more. The only downside to this DVD is it has “There’s Good Boos Tonight” the very first Casper short, which I never watch.
Case closed: the secret life of Jimmy Kudo – the first of only a hand full of what are my wife’s DVD’s. She has a lot more of course but they don’t interest me all that much, Vietnamese Operas and Kung-fu movie that are only in Vietnamese, so I wouldn’t be able to follow them. There are actually 4 case closed DVDs on the shelf, one or two of them I got for her at some point and the others she got for herself, it was one of her favorite manga’s growing up, I don’t know if she watched the show back then or not, I’ll have to ask. Personally I really got into this show myself just before I started college, but unfortunately it was on too late at night (at a time before my night owl habits really kicked in). It was on Adult swim, and the show following it back then was Lupin III which was even better, but I’ve never seen that on DVD. anyway Case Closed follows Jimmy Kudo, a hot shot soccer playing 17 year old detective, who on one case is caught by someone he’s pursuing and given a poison, however, instead of dying he actually turns into an 8 year old boy and helps his girlfriends dad solve mysteries. This is all covered in the first two episodes, while the rest just focus on individual cases. I particularly like the last episode because it’s focuses on Jimmy (or Conan as he calls himself in the young body) and his other elementary school Friends solving a mystery, it reminds me a lot of Shin-Chan (the strange adult swim Americanized version) though the humor is not so crude and topical. I’m not a fan of mystery in general but this show blends youthfulness, an irreverent Japaneses humor, and heavy complex characters into a nice neo-noir anime. I would strongly suggest checking out the show. I won’t go into detail on the other 3 DVD’s in the series, because its just more of the same.
Chappelle’s Show the lost season – Interesting story about how I got this one, but I won’t be going into it. This is the infamous 3 episode season that occurred after Dave Chappelle was renewed for two more seasons and then had a personality crisis and has hardly been heard from since. It is really funny, I love the new 2pac song, the petty revenge sketch, the Howard Dean Sketch, and of course the infamous Pixie Sketch. The last deserves some comment. I don’t find it as overtly controversial as others do, it’s about broad stereotypes, and I can easily imagine what it’s like to be the people in those scenarios where they self consciously attempt to not act their race. There are two white pixie sketches, but both of them are a little bland, I don’t find them as funny as the others but neither do I find them offensive (not that I identify that much with the whites anyway). Maybe if he portrayed white trash to act thusly, it would have worked a little better.
Cheers season 1 – Well I have a little problem with this show… I like it too much. I can’t really leave it on in the background and write, I tried, it was useless, video games were less of a problem, especially if I’m not very into the game, so it looks like that’s what I’ll be doing while watching. Furthermore I’ll also be drinking while watching, though that wouldn’t typically conflict with the normal procedure. I’m thinking I have to recalculate my top 10 TV shows to include cheers. Sure it’s not as good as Seinfeld, there are some more serious moments, it’s less about nothing, and not every situation applies to my personal life, but all of this doesn’t deter too much, it should easily fit in the top ten somewhere. I used to watch this show when I was a kid, and I remember I used to take baths and would line my bath toys up on the edge of the tub like glasses and “play” cheers, while singing the them song. Granted a lot of the jokes I didn’t get back then, even now with the pseudo-intellectual character of Diane there are still a few I don’t get, but I get a lot more these days and it’s surprising some of the references they make: Schopenhauer, Updike, even the seafood restaurant above the bar is called Melville’s. It’s a show that your sports fan jock meathead can enjoy as much as the intellectual, no wonder it ran for 11 seasons. Anyway the first season is quite good. One of the three coach seasons, Norm and Cliff are there (cliff I identified with the most since we are both avid collectors of random facts), and so are Carla and Sam. But Woody and Fraiser are missing and will be for some time. I got season one back when I was 17 and watched it several times back then, less so later on. There is one particularly good episode called “One for the Books” about a WWI vet who plans on meeting all the other men of his platoon at cheers only to find out that he is the last of them, funny sad and heart warming all at once. That’s probably the best episode of the season, but they’re all good.
Cheers season 2 – unlike the first season, this one takes a different sort of arch throwing in occasional melodrama. In the previous season there were only a few somewhat heavy moments in the show, which worked to set up a good punchline. This season has some harder episodes to watch, such as “No Help Wanted” where Sam hires Norm to do his taxes, but then stays with his old accountant because Norm gets him a refund that seems too good to be true, it looks like Norm and Sam are going to duke it out in the end of the episode but instead Norm cries hysterically, I wouldn’t call that funny. Another episode “Cliff’s Rocky Moment” has Cliff involved with a guy who really dosen’t like him, but his “friends” at the bar don’t stand up for him. The season ends on a fairly serious note too when Diane says she is leaving and never coming back, but that episode does have Christopher Lloyd playing a very eccentric artist, and proving my point that Doc Brown was the most normal and down to earth character that Lloyd ever played.
Cheers season 9 – more a return to normality at least w/r/t the previous season mentioned, the few serious notes play off of Rebecca who is not really an emphatic character, so they can be laughable. Coach is long gone at this point as is Diane, though both are referenced. While watching this season I had to take a quick break to watch my 1988 Xmas DVD for Xmas in July, and also during this time i got Cheers seasons 1-6 on a big DVD box set, I won’t be watching seasons 3-6 until I get to the leftovers, no back tracking in this project. I gave seasons 1 and 2 to a friend of mine who I know will appreciate them, and hopefully will enjoy them as much as I have over the years. Now I’m only missing seasons 7 8 and 10. If I’m not mistaking season 7 has 2 of my favorite episodes.
Cheers season 11 – I wasn’t alive during the first two seasons of cheers, but season 11, the final season I definitely remember watching as a kid. For some reason though I had it in my mind that the first episode of the season was the last. The first episode “Little Match Girl” is kind of heavy, with the bar burning down and Sam harshly firing Rebecca, it would have made a good finale itself. There are other great episodes in this season several of which I remember in their first airings. Norm gets a job at a brewery tasting beer. Lilith and Frasier have sever marital problems which leads into the spin off of Frasier itself, but there is a continuity error. In “Don’t Forsake Me Oh My Postman” a man is hired to write a jingle for the bar, and that man is played by John Mahoney (RIP) who also plays Martin Crane, Frasier’s father in the spin off. In probably my favorite episode (other then the jeopardy one which is not currently in my collection) called “Woody Gets an Election” Peri Gilpin who played Roz on Fraiser shows up as a news reporter (she’s also in a Seinfeld episode as Jerry’s masseuse girlfriend who hates George), This episode btw is one of the few I remember from its original showing, I clearly remember the scene where woody is struggling with the oath of office for president. Another classic “The King of Beers” (mentioned supra) is one I remember as well. There is one glaring continuity error though (regardless of recycled actors) and that is the episode “The Last Picture Show” in which Gus O’Mally visits cheers, Gus is mentioned in the first season as a previous owner of the bar, but several owners back, in this episode it is stated that Sam baught the bar directly from Gus. Furthermore it is mentioned in the original episode “Coach Returns to Action” from the first season that Gus was dead. Of course after 11 seasons some mistakes will be made. As for the 3 part final episode, what can I say, it’s quite good, almost every story line is wrapped up, and there is even a very brief homage to coach when Sam touched his (Coaches) portrait of sitting bull. Not the heaviest, saddest or even best of all the episodes but it did well, I’ve seen much worse series finales, and there was a lot to end after 11 seasons and they did a very admirable job. I particularly liked the ending sequence when the door is locked and an unknown person knocks on the door to which Sam reply’s fittingly “Sorry, we’re closed” a nearly perfect way to end the show. Side note, while watching this season I picked up a copy of Fraiser seasons 1-6, which will be coming up in only a few letters, but I got a lot of great stuff to get through before that, and probably a few not so great, we’ll see. The best advantage to finishing cheers is that most of the remaining DVD’s won’t eat up so much of my time and I’ll actually be able to write with some of them on (of course I’ve still been fairly productive with writing during this chapter of DVDs, perhaps that’s why it took me so long to get through the 4 seasons)
Chip n’ Dales Rescue Rangers Vol. 1 – the first of the Disney cartoon DVDs, there will be more to come, the first Disney movie is still a ways away. I picked this one up at a comic store when I was in college and remembered it more fondly the perhaps it deserved. It’s not a bad show of course, but compared to a number of other Disney animated TV shows it’s easily the weakest. There was one episode that features Humphrey Bear, who is an obscure character created in response to Hanna-Barbara’s Yogi Bear but ultimately only had two shorts to his name (both of which are fantastic), he’s appeared here and there as a side character and I was glad to see him in Rescue Rangers. The best episode on the DVD is easily “The Cola Cult” it has a very catchy song and a healthy message about cults for kids to take in, the message being that cults are full of shit. If not already evident enough, I am not a fan of cults, so seeing them mocked here does my heart good. I can’t help drawing similarities between this episode and the cult leaders scene in the Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (two very different cartoons of course).
A Christmas Story – I picked up this DVD because we were going to watch it for the film club. I watched it once, hated it, and skipped it here.
Christmas Vacation – strange watching this movie in mid September, but what can you do. I’ve watched this movie more times then I can count, and I still watch it every year during Christmas season, and sometimes in the summer for Christmas in July. I have all three of the vacation movies on DVD, but this one is by far the best. I could go on, but it’s pretty well remembered, so I don’t have to.
City Hunter – easily my favorite Jacky Chan movie (though not all agree). This one is a little more obscure then some of his others and hard to find with English subtitles (and unfortunately I don’t have an English dubbed one either). The basic premise is that a cruse ship gets hijacked and a stowaway privet eye Ryu Sabbot (Chan) is their only hope. There are several great fighting sequences the best of which is when Chan is thrown into a Street Fighter arcade machine and hallucinates himself fighting as the various characters (I should have been playing street fighter while watching, oh well live and learn). The other great sequence is the dance number on the boat. I don’t have any proof but I believe that this song was used as the base for the Teen Titan them song (unfortunately there are no YouTube links to compare).
Classic Mystery Collection (13 films) – And now we get to our first bargain bin multi-movie DVD pack, and the rules change a little bit. I like to savor the movies in these collections, and I have to give them full attention because I’ve never seen them before (for the most part), so here’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of this project. I watch the next one the list that I haven’t seen, and then move on to the next DVD. Then when I get to the left overs episode, I’ll watch the next. Then when I’m done this whole project I’ll start watching them and one day 10 years from now or so watch all of the movies in these collections. The first movie to come up on this collection that I haven’t watched is “Dick Tracy: Detective” a 1945 film noir. Its a good one, it follows Tracy on the trail of a maniac murderer called “Splitface.” I should have been playing dick Tracy in the NES while watching this movie, but that game is pretty horrendous. I have 2 dick Tracy action figures as well, one of them is missing a leg and was the first action figure I ever bought with my own money (the story behind that has been turned into a hardboiled semi-fiction that I will be looking for a publisher for soon), and the other more recent acquisition is “Steve the Tramp” still in the package. Should have had the two action figures watch the movie with me. I should think these things out a little more too, or at least lie and say I did play Dick Tracy and hade the action figures watch it with me.
A Clockwork Orange & 2001 – This is a Kurbick double feature, featuring not only 2 of Kubricks best movies but 2 of the best movies ever made ever. I picked it up for 3 reasons: A – it was only 10$, B – I’d wanted to see 2001 for some time, C – I loaned my old copy of A Clockwork orange to a friend of mine years ago and never got it back.
A Clockwork Orange – at one point (early college) this was my favorite movie, and I’ve watched it many many times, and I’ve read the book too which is almost as good as the movie. It’s only been superseded by a few other films so it’s still high on my list. It features a bizarre postmodern science fiction dystopia with a unique vernacular, and told through simply incredible cinematography. The opening scene in the Korva Milk Bar with its naked erotic mannequins, the next shot with the four droogs walking down the tunnel with their shadows, etc, etc. it’s going to be a hard movie for some people to get through, it’s very violent, very unusual, and apparently the colors disturbing people as well, so keep that in mind if you plan to check it out. If you think you can handle it though, it is 100% a film you should “viddy well little droogie, it’s real horror show.”
2001 – Kubrick is in my mind without a doubt, the greatest directed of all time, and he is tied in my mind with Zemeckis as my personal favorite director. However he is not a narrative director. Most people see film as a vehicle for narrative, which it can be, but it is an art form to itself. 2001: A Space Odyssey is just that, a motion picture at its highest form. Saying it’s difficult to understand is putting it mildly, so just strap in and enjoy the ride. I actually knew all the songs played in it, sure everyone knows the Blue Danube and Also Sprack Zarathustra (if you don’t know it by it’s name check out the link), but I knew the more unusual stuff and already had it on my iPod, like Atmospheres by Sergio Ligeti. This is definitely not a movie for everyone, and I’m utterly surprised at how well received it ultimately was and still is. It also has one of the strangest and best endings to a movie I’ve ever seen. Open the video feed of this one please Hal.
Clue – with this movie we movie into a new shelf, also interesting to note, this is one of my most recent pick ups, I saw it at the grocery store for a few bucks. I had seen part of it before, but never all the way through. I used to love the board game as a kid, and if I find it for the Genesis I’ll be sure to pick it up. As for the movie: Christopher Lloyd and Tim Curry, how could you go wrong? Turns out you can’t, not with this movie anyways. I remembered it being funnier the first time i saw part of it, but it was still pretty good, funny and high energy. A good comedy to watch on a dark and stormy night, come to think of it, I may throw it into my October Marathon Cycle, just because.
Conan the Complete Saga – this was a gift given to me last Christmas by my good friend over at Oblivion’s Realm, among several other DVDs which will all be gotten to eventually. The DVD, a single disk with two sides has a Conan movie on each. My friend qualified it as “a true metal movie” and he is right, I’d even say it’s a power metal movie in that it embodies the spirit of that genre. It would take to long to explain exactly what that means here, I may do another post on that later, so just take my word for it for now. As you may know (or may not, I didn’t before seeing the movie) Conan was a character from a number of pulp adventure short stories written by Robert E. Howard in the 1930’s. Several of these stories were adapted into the two films that make up the complete saga. I’ve read several of them at this point, all of them good, my highest recommendation is “The Tower of the Elephant” (which you can listen to, in a nice dramatization, here).
Conan the Barbarian – this movie is quite violent and I think that will put a lot of people off, but it really is a good movie. Very well done, stellar performances by superstars Arnold Shwartzenagger and James Earl Jones as pro and antagonist respectively. There is a spectacular scene where Conan is crucified to the “tree of woe” that is simply outstandingly filmed, something like that may seem gratuitous, but it’s really not. I’d also like to point out Theology/Civilization them and cross reference it to the power metal band Aquaria and their song “Firewings“, check the two links out for yourself and tell me what you hear. This movie is a little on the rough side, but if you don’t mind the violence, it’s well worth watching. This is the second time I’ve watched it this year, and I will probably watch it may more times to come.
Conan the Destroyer – Also damn good movie. After seeing the first one twice, I’ll give it a full 5 stars, this one is 4 stars, not quite as good, the plot is slightly less creative, the character of Subotai is replaced with Malak who’s considerably more annoying, and the warrior woman Valeria is replaced with Zula who is considerably more savage in nature. What it’s lacking though is made up (somewhat) by the use of magic and special effects. The plot focuses on Conan aiding a princess in a sort of spirit journey, the end of which will require her to be sacrificed (though she doesn’t know this) ironically Wilt Chamberlain is charged with protecting her and her virginity. The other downside to this movie is it doesn’t concluded the Conan tale, which is promised in the next installment, unfortunately that film was never made. Hollywood did make a new Conan, but of course they restarted the story instead of continuing it (as they are won’t to do… assholes, do you know how many times they restarted Spider-Man in my life time?) you could watch this movie without having seen the first and follow it easily (though they are loosely connected) however missing the first movie would be a great injustice.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – it’s been years since I watched this one, and I’ve forgotten how powerful it is. The best Kung Foo movie ever, and one of the best movies regardless of genre. Funny, romantic, sad, deep, and highly highly entertaining. There is only one flaw, and that’s more with the DVD, but some of the dialogue is extremely quiet, I had to crank up the volume to 50 to listen to parts of it (normally the tv is set at 20 to give you an idea) but the fight sequences are loud, so your constantly fiddling with the volume. During this viewing I kind of had it on in the background, I think I’ll have to watch it again with my full attention soon. Interesting personal sidebar, this is also the first foreign language film I ever saw in theaters, and if I’m not mistaken, still the only one.
Cruel Intentions – to be honest I got this movie because of its sexuality, as a teenager this was hot stuff, it’s since been overshadowed, so now we have to account for the value of the movie itself. But that value is high, very high, 5 stars. It’s deep complex funny and yes still sexual, filled with complex themes and a level of backstabbing and plotting eclipsed only by Game of Thrones, stunning performances by the cast, and one of the best uses of music (w/r/t the final scene) seen in cinema. Though to be honest (again) Bittersweet Symphony is one of my favorite songs and you could splice it with almost anything and make it great (that might be a meme worth making). There’s a lot of good bonus features on the DVD too which I’ve watched in the past, but not this time around. The audio commentary is pretty funny. Guys, be sure to check out this movie, it’s not a chick flick and the time put in will be paid off exponentially. I find it strange that this isn’t a more widely touted film 20 years later.
Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 1 – it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Curb, and after this watching, too long. Unlike the first Season of Seinfeld (comments coming much much later) every episode is great with lol moments even after having watched the show dozens of times before. I should point out that curb DVDs have the most unusual cases. You pull down on one end and both DVDs slide out, hard to describe so here’s a video. After watching the disks several times the boxes deteriorate and don’t work quite as well, so be forewarned. My favorite episode in this season for me is… oh they’re all so good, but probably the pants tent, yes the first one, but I really sets up exactly what the show will be.
Curb season 2 – with the exception of Season 1 all the seasons of Curb have a season-wide story arch. This particular story arch is about Larry trying to pitch a new TV show, first with Jason Alexander then with Julia Lois-Dreyfus. The second season is not as good as the first. The arguments are too abundant and too unrealistic and the show begins to wear on the viewer. David is smart in the way he does seasons separately, and doesn’t overstay his welcome. Now given that I should point out that it’s still funny, still a good show, and plenty of funny lines throughout, just not as good as the first season, then again not much is better than that first season anyway. The best episode here is probably “Shaq” where Larry accidentally trips Shaquille O’Neal at a Lakers game, and suddenly the world doesn’t want anything to do with him (which he is more than happy about). The episode also has the brilliant line, when Larry asks a doctor to give a quick look at something on his back the doctor replies: “next time you’re in a hurry why don’t you write me a bunch of shit for free.” Then ultimately karma kicks the doctor in the ass, which is atypical for the show, usually David is on the karmic receiving end.
Curb season 5 – I’ve only watched this DVD once in the past, you can tell because the case still works perfectly. The first time I watched it I didn’t enjoy it all that much, it must have had more to do with the time I watched it (I was very depressed that winter) which makes sense because this time it was a riot, much better than the second season, very funny, and it has Funkhouser, who is absent in the first two seasons. This is one I should go back to. Of the ten it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’d probably go with “the Ski Lift” or maybe “The Bowtie” because of Funkhouser the season wide arc is about Larry finding out that he might be adopted and that Richard Lewis needs a Kidney. The last episode has a nice montage of various clips from past curb episodes (not all of which I have seen). It could have been a good end to the series, but as we all know it was not. However it is the end to my exposure of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and, finally, the end of the C’s.