Game of Thrones the complete 6th Season* – Now wait a minute… Zach, you’re starting at season 6? Where are seasons 1-5? Well here’s the deal, I’ve already seen up to halfway through season 4, and I’ve read the books, twice (and I may hit a third time this year, not sure yet). I stopped watching the show because it got too dark, and I don’t mean subject matter, I read the books and already knew what to expect, but the indoor scenes were all lit by candles, and I was watching those episodes on a laptop, and… it just didn’t work. But I picked up this DVD at discount from Acme and I picked up this one specifically because it starts roughly where the books leave off. And since George RR Martin will do everything as long as it’s not finishing the next book, I don’t really have a choice. I should note here that the star supra means that I broke the seal on a DVD for the first time for this project, there will be several broken seals for this Episode. As for the show itself, oh man, this season is really good. Particular standout episodes for me are the Door and Battle of the Bastards (the latter of which is maybe the best battle scene I’ve ever seen). I’m not going to bother saying too much moor about this, because I think most people have already seen it, also I knew most of what happened from YouTube clips and friends who had already told me about it when I stopped watching the show.
Gangs of New York – I picked this movie up at the library sale for a dollar, and this is the first time I’ve seen it. Unless something unexpected happens, this will probably be the best movie that I’ve seen all year (last year, I wrote these reviews right after watching each DVD, as it turned out it was the best movie I saw last year, and you can read my list of movies from best to worst here). This is the first Scorsese film I’ve seen and the first Danial Day-Lewis movie, god damn he’s a good actor, his character in this film if both evil and complex: he hates the Irish, but he’s willing to take a young Irish kid under his wing, he kills an Irishman in a street battle, but he respects the man as the last good man he’s killed. The movie is full of great lines, great costumes, great stages, other great actors and… just everything about it is great, 5 stars all day, and damn near a perfect movie. My one problem with it is the romantic interest, but it’s not too overplayed nor does it feel forced the way other romantic interests in nonromantic movies usually are. This is a historic film, now it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s close enough, and it should be taught in history classes as an alternative angle on the Civil War that is seldom discussed. This is a movie that I will probably watch during every presidential election year henceforth (along with Bullworth), and that will be a bit of a problem considering that it’s nearly 3 hours, and I don’t think it’s a movie I will be leaving on in the background.
Ghostbusters 1&2 – I picked up this DVD in college for around 15$ and it was worth every penny. At that point, I had Ghostbusters 2 on DVD, the first one I had given to a friend, and there’s an important bonus feature that I’ll be going over a little later.
Ghostbusters 1 – also called Ghostbusters, or now the original Ghostbusters thanks to the ham-fisted attempt at a remake. This is one of my favorite movies, maybe not a top 10, but close enough. I try to watch it every year at Halloween. It’s got action, science fiction, horror, a lot of comedy and a smidgen of romance. It’s something that is more than the sum of its parts, and there is really no other movie like it. Bill Murray is basically my favorite living actor, and this is one reason why the rest of the cast is outstanding as well. Like many other folks from my generation, this movie was a major part of my childhood and has stayed with me. I remember when it first aired on TV, my mom was teaching at a daycare center at the time, and here entire class was very sleepy the next day, she asked how many of the kids (about 5 years old) stayed up to watch the movie. Most of them raised their hands, then she asked how many of them stayed up until the end, and only a few out their hands down. It was a different era then, long before streaming and DVD. I often wonder how many young kids watch Game of Thrones the way we watched this movie.
Ghostbusters 2 – I know I’m in the minority with this opinion and I have probably mentioned it on this blog before, but I enjoy Ghostbusters 2 more than the original… shocking I know, I’ve only met 2 people that agree with me on this, and I didn’t think I’d meet even that many. The first Ghostbusters is an outstanding movie, but there is not a thing in Ghostbusters 1 that was not done better by its sequel. Story? Better. Cast? Better – yes it’s the same chase but their chemistry is slightly better in the second (just slightly). Extras? Yes – there were a lot of extras in Ghostbusters 2 that showed up in other places (especially Seinfeld), and even Ron Jeremy is an extra. Music? Hell yes, Bobby Brown “On Our Own” come on, it doesn’t get better O then that…ur O oh but wait it does, how can you forget Howard Huntsberry’s version of “Higher and Higher”? Special effects? Yes – the walking Statue of Liberty is epic, and so is the river of slime within the Guastavino grotto. Jokes? Yes – I could go on and on with this, and one day I’m going to have to do a whole article on it for the blog.
One of the special features is 2 episodes of the Real Ghostbusters, both of which are mildly connected with the movies. I watched the second one “Slime and Punishment” or something like that, and skipper the first because it’s coming up very soon anyway.
The Real Ghostbusters Vol. 1 – back in the early 2000’s time-life put our a very high-quality copy of the Real Ghostbusters. You can buy the whole set which comes in a model of the Ghostbusters’ firehouse, but the price for that 25 DVD set is outrageous. The first volume though is very enjoyable. The first 30 episodes. There are some real gems in this one too. Citizen Ghost (which is included on the Ghostbusters 2 DVD in the previous box set) picks up at the very end of the first movie and tells the tale of what happened to the uniforms covered in marshmallow ectoplasm. At the end of “Troll Bridge,” you find the monsters have a soft spot, and it’s a bit of a tear-jerker. “Play Them Ragtime Boos” has the ghost of a New Orleans jazz musician hypnotizing a town, and the Ghostbusters fight him with Rock and Roll. “Night Game” holds a contest between good and evil via a baseball game. “Ain’t NASA-serily So” has the boys fighting ghosts in space with 3 very familiar (Star Trek) astronauts. “Who Are You Calling Two-Dimensional” has the Ghostbusters trapped in Cartoon world. My favorite episode, on the DVD and of the show, is “X-mass Marks the Spot” which has the Ghostbusters unknowingly trap the ghosts of Christmas Past Present and Future. This was a cartoon I grew up with, and it was very important to me as a kid, a teenager, and even an adult. It does justice to the movies, has good writing, gadgets, jargon, and more. The animation is a little on the minimal side, but it’s still good enough, I promise. The show also had a very very good toy line, of which I still have a few action figures and 2 vehicles, one of which is the Ecto-2, a helicopter/motorcycle, that is destroyed in the first episode “Ghosts Я Us” (yes even with the backward R). I even brought 2 of the toys from my collection out so they could watch the show with me, and I will continue doing that when the opportunity arises (if I remember). I had a chance to pick up some more RGB figures when I was in Cash In-Culture, but they didn’t have any of the figures I was interested in.
Ghosts, Goblins and Goules* – this is a newer one to the collection, I think I picked it up last year (2018), and I am opening the seal for this review… And it sucks, flat out. I’d leave it there, but there are a few other things to add. These bargain-basement DVDs are a gamble, sometimes they are home runs (more often than not) but sometimes they aren’t, and I just have to eat the losses. There are 5 different TV shows on this DVD: Caspar, Felix, Ghostbusters, Groovie Goolies, and Mr. Magoo. A lot of them have laugh tracks, which is just weird for animation in my opinion. I picked it up specifically for the Ghostbusters, and it’s the Filmation Ghostbusters, which I had never seen before, and it’s not anywhere near as good as the Real Ghostbusters, and it’s easy to see why it has been almost completely forgotten. The worst cartoon on the DVD is Groovey Goolies, which features long repetitive songs with long repetitive animation, very flat and stale jokes, and is just hard to watch. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I watched this the first time, and maybe I’ll give it a second chance, but it won’t before a while. Mr. Magoo’s Frankenstein was probably the best thing on the DVD, which receives extra points for starting in the arctic and being told in a captain’s journal the way the actual book is.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly – I’m changing the rules, just a little bit for this one… if I get a DVD in the same letter that I am currently working my way through, I will watch it. My good friend Dave got me this one for Christmas (and several other DVDs) and I didn’t want to put it at the end. He also got me “Once Upon a Time in the West” and another good friend of mine wants to know which of the two I like more, so I’ll be watching that one soon as well. As far as this movie goes… great, 5 stars all day, maybe not the best movie I’ve seen this year (last year), but up there… number 2 in fact. Clint Eastwood as almost a teen heartthrob, Lee Van Cleef as a true badass, and another interesting take/side on the civil war. It makes a good compendium piece to Gangs of New York (listed above). When talking about the Civil War you think that everyone supported one side or the other at the time, but here are two movies that occur during the war where the players are (somewhat) neutral. Five stars yes, but it isn’t perfect, the movie is close too 3 hours long, and it could have been half as long, telling the same story, if the director didn’t spend so much time working the silent tension angle, it works for the climax (that part is damn near perfect – and not what I was expecting) but spending the first 10 minutes of the movie with two men staring each other down is a risky maneuver. Great score to the film too, quick draw action, atypical plot, it works very well. One of the other downsides (of which the actors and director have no contribution) is that the whole time I was watching this I kept wanting to see the movie of Blood Meridian, not sure if I (or anyone else) ever will. I’ll just have to be content with reading the book… again.
Goof Troop Vol. 1&2* – very new, I picked this DVD up in June or July and started watching it in September. Goof Troop has one of the best theme songs of any cartoon, end of story. I remembered it fondly when watching it as a kid, and more so in the early 2000s s a rememberer when these shows were not available the way things are now. I was thrilled to find this DVD, 54 episodes at a very reasonable price of around 10$ or so. After watching it, however… it was okay, not great, not one of my favorite Disney cartoon TV shows. It’s very ’90s and a lot of the storylines are either repetitive or unmemorable. Though I do see this as something I may occasionally come back and watch, when… I don’t know, it’s not going on my annual or seasonal lists for sure, but at some point, the mood might strike and I may throw it in again. I know a lot of other people think more highly of this show then I do, and that’s fine with me.
Goosebumps* – well the G’s have certainly had their surprises. Gangs of New York is probably going to be the best movie I’ve seen this year, but this one here… probably second/third best… yeah, it’s really good. I was a big fan of the Goosebumps books when they first came out, as they targeted my demographic at that time. I have 26 of them, 14 originals, 6 reprints, 3 Give Yourself Goosebumps (Gamebooks also better known as “Choose Your Own Adventure” but they can’t be called that because that is a brand name) and an omnibus of the first three Tales to Give You Goosebumps (the very under-appreciated short story collections). I loved the original artwork, they were my generation’s pulp magazines. I got this movie for Christmas maybe 2 years ago and broke the seal on it for this viewing, it also fits in well with my October Movie Marathon that I do every year. This movie does a great job combining a lot of the source material into a very funny movie, full of meta-humor, B-Movie tropes, and action. Jack Black plays a great character as an eccentric suffering artist, and the real RL Stine makes a brief cameo as Mr. Black the new Drama teacher in the school (very nice touch). There are several references to the quintessential B-Movie “The Blob” which I watched last October. It may have gotten a full 5 stars except the movie was a little slow in the beginning and the main character’s name is Zach (I have a weird hang-up about the name Zach… but that’s way too complicated to get into now). I loved the movie, but I’m not sure how enjoyable it would be for someone not already a Goosebumps fan, of course, if you were not a Goosebumps fan in the first place, why exactly would you even watch the movie?
The Garbage Pail Kids: The Complete Series* – well this one was a bit of a surprise for me. The garbage pail kids were a little before my time, just slightly, I remember them vaguely but never got into them as a kid, apparently, they were trading cards, and a counterpoint to the femcentric cabbage patch kids. The franchise is largely responsible for ushering in the 90s era gross-out humor. I didn’t think I’d enjoy this show as much as I did. I thought that I’d have to turn it off, but The gross-out level was minimal, and the stories were decent, each episode was basically in 2 parts, the first a short parody of a popular film, and then a second part with the Garbage Pail Kids proper. They each had unique abilities, and the show seemed almost akin to X-Men. Well worth the 5$ price tag on the DVD, and I see myself coming back to this from time to time. Also not a bad DVD to add to my stable of October DVDs (but there are quite a few of them at this point).
Garfield: Nine Lives* – I like Garfield a lot, I like the comics, and I loved the Garfield and Friends TV show, but that is not what these DVDs are. They are Garfield shorts, similar to the peanut shorts that you see occasionally on TV. They are still voiced by the late great Lorenzo Music, who voiced Peter Venkman in the Real Ghostbusters and will be coming up again later in this episode, but the episodes tend to be heavier than the show, and the animation is the cheap 70s era animation that adds a bit of psychedelics. There are two shorts on this DVD, the title, which has Garfield and his incarnations throughout history (the same plotline was used in a Heathcliff episode and done considerably better) ending with a weird and very out of place conversation with god (Family Guy discussed this one a bit). The second episode “Garfield in the Rough” is about a camping trip, which is interrupted by a panther, again the episode would have been better without the panther part. The DVD was 5$, and I picked it up only a few days before watching it. It wasn’t worth the price, but worth the gamble.
Garfield: Travel Adventures – I haven’t watched this DVD since I picked it up in college (didn’t care for it much then, nor do I now) as it turns out the first episode on the DVD is “Garfield in the Rough” which was on the last one, so I skipped it. The other two are: “Garfield in Paradise” and “Garfield Goes to Hollywood” neither of them are particularly good, and I don’t have too much to say on them, so that’s it.
Garfield and Friends Season 1* – I broke a rule picking this one up. I rarely buy anything for myself during the Christmas season. But when I saw this at BJ’s I knew I had to get it (and the next one too), and knew that if I didn’t get it then, it wouldn’t be available the next time I went to the store. I got my friend a copy for Christmas as well, not sure if he’ll like it. Anyway, I had said earlier that the Garfield specials don’t hold up to the Garfield and Friends that was a fairly significant part of my childhood. It’s been at least 25 years since I watched this show last (not including a short and a half on one of my tapes that I watch frequently) a quarter-century later the show has lost some (but not all) its luster. Maybe the seasons get better, we’ll find out soon enough. The episodes have a U.S. Acres short sandwiched between 2 Garfield shorts with a pre-credits short short (less than a minute) and another one or two short shorts scattered throughout. I remembered one of the episodes in the DVD, in which Jon, tired of spending so much money on groceries, tries to grow his own food. This season uses the theme song “Friends Are There” which is neither the best nor the worst from the series. The show is not as good as I remember, but looking at it now, you can see just how much Jon Arbuckle cares about his pets, and I respect that a lot, even if it is just a cartoon. There is something warm about this show and I will go back to it again from time to time.
Garfield and Friends Season 2* – more of the same from the first season, good stuff. I remembered 2 of the episodes in this season and I liked that they worked with a little bit of third wall and postmodernists humor more so than the last season. There was one very good short in this season where someone sends Jon a live lobster, and not having the heart to cook it makes it a pet. He names the lobster “Therm” from Lobster Thermidor. Because of this, I looked up the recipe and actually made it myself for Christmas Dinner this year. It seemed to be the biggest hit of the dinner and there wasn’t any left.
Great Classic Films: Bogart And Bacall Double Feature* – This is a TCM produced gold slipcased box set that features “The Big Sleep” and “Key Largo.” One I’ve seen one I haven’t (respectively), but I am a huge Bogart fan, and when I saw this one for 5$, I had to pick it up. Also a very recent pick-up. I wanted to pick this box set up because I didn’t have any Bogie movies in my collection (as far as I know) and I didn’t have any hardline film noirs in my collection either (there are some Neo-Noirs, and some B&W crime movies that could be considered part of the genre, but by the strictest definitions these are the first in my collection).
The Big Sleep – I watched this movie once before, in college, when I was taking a book to film class (very good class btw), and I’ve read the book twice. It is a quintessential film noir, though not exactly my favorite of the genre, but it’s still up there. I can’t give it 5 stars because that’s reserved for only one movie per genre or actor and those 5 stars go to Sunset Boulevard and Casablanca respectively. Still a great movie, I may watch it a few more times this year. I was trying to write with it on in the background but found that to be inefficient, which is always the sign of s good movie in my opinion.
Key Largo – I never saw this movie before, and loved it. It’s the first movie I watched this year (2020) unseen or otherwise, and I’m not sure if anything is going to top it. It has Bogie of course and Bacall, and it also has Lionel Barrymore (the Great Uncle of Drew Barrymore) who I recognized right away as Mr. Potter from it’s a Wonderful Life. There was great chemistry with all the actors. I had actually seen the climactic scene on the boat, as it was done almost word for word and action for action in the movie Mitchell (the last Joel episode of MST3K, and also not that good, ripping off Key Largo made it even worse in hindsight). This was a great movie, the only downside is that Bogie was almost a minor character throughout most of the movie. But he pulled it together in the end.
Greatest American Sports Films of All Time – if you know me at all you know I am not a fan of sports, with a handful of exceptions. This box set cost around 7$ and had 2 movies that I’ve wanted to see: Raging Bull and Rocky. I do find Boxing an interesting sport (not that I Follow it). I kind of have to see Rocky since I grew up and live outside of Philadelphia, and Raging Bull I want to see because it’s a Scorsese film. Furthermore, boxing seems to work its way into serious and semi-serious literature, so it’s something I should look into more. The other two films in the box are Hoosiers and Bull Durham. We’ll be watching these in the order they were laid out in the box.
Bull Durham – this was a mildly funny and mildly interesting film about a Minor League Baseball team (the Durham Bulls) and a woman who shacks up with one of the players every season. It’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, but I didn’t find it all that romantic or funny… but it wasn’t terrible. Not sure when I would watch it again, or if I would, but I might, you never know.
Hoosiers – I liked this one a little more than Bull Durham, And I think the reason for this is because the movie was more focused as a drama, the plot and side plots better fleshed out. It tells the true story of the 1954 Indiana State High School Basketball Championship, and a hard ass coach who grows on the kids and the community alike.
Raging Bull – now this is a film, worthy of many viewings and deep analysis, just like any other Scorsese movie (or so I’ve heard). This is my second Scorsese movie in this letter and second overall, and it’s not my favorite of the two, but then again Gangs of New York is going to be tough to beat. Boxing to me is almost pure sport, there are few rules, no teams, just two men hitting until one can’t stand anymore. It is also a brutal sport, and this is a brutal movie, and boxing is only part of that. It takes a rare talent and chemistry between the main actor, supporting actor and director to create a character who you simultaneously hate and feel sorry for, and that’s what comes through in this port trail of Jake LaMotta. I give it 4 out of 5 stars, worth seeing, but be prepared, this is not a feel-good flick.
Rocky – now I’ve wanted to see this movie for a few years, partly because I like boxing, partly because it’s an undying franchise, and partly because it is a very Philadelphia movie. I have no great love for the city personally but I do have significant connections to it. The movie is quite good. A love story between two marginalized people with moderate mental problems carried through a pugilism narrative. Rocky has a heart of gold but not a whole lot of brains. Perhaps not a better film then Raging Bull but a more enjoyable experience. Okay now with those four “greatest sports movies” finished I can work on the rest of the G’s.
Gremlins* – nope. I picked this one up maybe 2 years ago and haven’t watched it. After maybe 15 minutes into the movie, I realized that this is, in fact, an animal movie, which I will not watch. The main character has a dog that the villain wants to euthanize. She probably gets what’s coming to her in the end, but I’m not going to find out.
Groundhog Day – Believe it or not I watched this movie on Groundhog Day not only because I always watch it on Groundhog Day but also because it fell in line with my Mega DVD Marathon. This is not a movie that is liked by everyone but it is my favorite, I have 2 different DVDs of it (we’ll be getting to the second copy a little later) and I also have it on laser disk, and it is the only movie that I have on laserdisc, I used to keep it on the wall, displayed as a novelty, but since I moved, it is now kept in my record collection. I think I already reviewed this movie before. So I won’t go into heavy detail here. But I can tell you a little bit about the DVD. I picked it up at a store called “Movies-U-Buy” which unfortunately is not around anymore, the company is, but there isn’t any store around, as far as I know, just small kiosks in grocery stores. I watched this one many times when I picked it up and made an annual tradition of watching it on Groundhog Day every year. It is essentially my favorite movie (there are two other contenders for that title, but over time, this one really is the best of the three) it’s such a good depiction of the 90s which are getting further and further away and becoming more and more nostalgic. The 90s won’t ever trump the 80s, but there is a certain dirty magic to the time.
Gummi Bears Vol. 1 – or formally “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears.” This is a great but not well remembered Disney cartoon show from the 80s. I picked up this DVD when I was in college, and during a short bout of depression in 2013, sitting at home in a dark room watching this show, I even wrote a novel-length fan fiction about it (one of the few fan fictions I ever wrote). It’s just simply a good warm show. Tummy Gummie is voiced by Lorenzo Music, who also did the voice of Garfield and Peter Venkman In “the Real Ghostbusters.” One of the later characters to be introduced was Gusto Gummi, an artist, who was voiced by Rob Paulsen, who also did the voice of Raphael from the 1987 Teenage a Mutant Ninja Turtles (we’ll be getting to that in a few years hopefully). I don’t understand why this show doesn’t have a larger fandom, and even more so I don’t understand why Disney never released a Vol. 2. I’d be all over it. I even checked Amazon’s just a few days ago to see if there was another volume, I would have picked it up if it was available.
Gundam Wing Operation 3 – Anime is an expensive hobby. These DVDs go for outrageous rates in the stores, and you don’t see them in the Library sales, so I don’t have very many of them in my collection. I never understood this show when I was a kid, maybe now I might be able to, but since this is starting halfway into the series, there wasn’t much of a point to actually paying attention when it was one, but it is nice to have on in the background. It has a great theme song too. I bought this DVD off a very good friend of mine about 20 years ago, one of the DVDs I picked up in the first year of owning a DVD player. More importantly, after 5 months it is the last of the G’s. Now onto the H’s… we’re getting there.