Abbott and Costello Collector’s Choice Double Features – This is a single 2 sided DVD with an Abbott and Costello movie on each side. Side 1 is Africa Screams, side 2 is Jack and the Beanstalk. A very old DVD in my collection, definitely picked up in the first year of owning a DVD player, back in 2001, and watched many times when I was first getting into old comedies.
Africa Screams – A classic Abbott and Costello film, public domain and included on a lot of bargain bin DVDs (in fact I have another copy of the movie on my Icons of Comedy box set). The movie is very funny, a parody of safari movies with a noticeable nod to the Giant Ape subgenre. It features cannibals which I always find comedic (in a dark way of course), the chief of the tribe arranges the acquisition of the tasty Costello for a bag diamonds. The movie also has Shemp Howard (my favorite stooge), Joe Besser (another lesser known stooge), and Clyde Beatty playing himself. We watched this one last year in my film club to universal enjoyment.
Jack and the Beanstalk – One of the very rare (and only one I know) Abbot and Costello movies to be in color, and also an adaptation of my favorite fairytale. However because of the seen where Costello says a tearful goodbye to the cow he sells for magic beans, I don’t watch this movie. I’ve only seen it once, and I skipped it here.
The accidental spy – This is one of my wife’s movies so I skipped it, though I do love Jacky Chan.
Airplane – an unbeatable classic, a seminal movie of the spoof genre, and Leslie Nelson’s first comedy. The movie is totally screwball, with a lot of double entendre, innuendo, sight gauges, side gauges, slapstick, etc., etc., ad infinitum. This is a movie you could watch a hundred times and still notice new jokes. I actually got this when I think it was FYE was having a sale that you could pick it up for 5$ when buying something else (at a time when DVDs were not cheap like they are/can be today), I picked it up when getting a copy of Nightwish’s Century Child, a disappointing album, but not the DVD.
Animated all-stars: 50 cartoons – I have a lot of good memories connected to this DVD. I baught it while we were in the process of buying out new house, it was packed up right away and I told myself I wouldn’t watch it until we moved into the new house. I kept my promise, and a day or two after unpacking I had it in the DVD player, and with each show (for the most part) it just got better and better. It’s another mill creek DVD, each disk is two sided and there are 2 disks in the set, in sleeves (but strangely the box has a double wide spine even though it definitely dose the need it). Side 1-A is Beetle Bailey, 1-B is Snuffy Smith, both side of disk 2 have an episodes a piece of: the Legend of Prince Valiant, the Magical Adventures of Quasimodo and the Adventure of Flash Gordon; 3 episodes of Cool McCool; an episode of Betty Boop on 2A and Defenders of the Earth on 2B. Let’s go through this piece by piece.
Beetle Bailey – not as good as some of the other stuff on here, the humor tends to be a little on the flat side and it’s a little too American and Militaristic for my taste but it’s not bad. In fact it was good enough that I picked up the complete series (I think) recently when I saw it in the bargain bin. The animation is much sharper then I would have expected, and the show I understand is based off a comic strip. There was a good off color joke I’d explain it but… just watch it for yourself, it’s from the episode “Hoss Laff” and the scene starts at about 2:00, but you can watch all five minutes and change to get an idea of the show.
Snuffy Smiff and Barney Google – Now this is a funny show. Also based on a comic strip, it follows the misadventures of the titular poor hillbilly characters and their friends. There’s one great line from the episode “The Tourist Trap” where Barney warns tourists not to wake up Snuffy because it will take him a full minute to fall back asleep. Other great episodes are: Pie in the Sky, Snuffy Runs the Gamut. Just this side was worth the (admittedly very cheap) DVD price.
The legend of Prince Valiant – great show with a very 80’s psychadellic opening [link]. It’s a low fantasy medieval world about the titular character on a quest to find Camalot after his father lost his kingdom. The animation and presentation are very well done. This too is also based on a comic strip, and there is also a fairly rare NES game in the franchise. I plan to get the game (if I ever come across it) and I’ve already picked up the first (of two) volume of the series. it will be watched and reviewed of course, but not for quite a while as I’ve filed it under “V” and not “L” just like The Legend of Zelda.
The magical adventures of Quasimodo – I’m not a fan of this cartoon, nor am I a fan of the book it’s (loosely) based on or even French Literature in general. I don’t have a problem with the French, they excel greatly in cuisine, paintings, film, gardening, architecture, wine and so on; however culturally their music and literature often leave much to be desired. But as for this cartoon I skipped it, I’ve watched it before, but probably won’t again.
The adventures of Flash Gordon – I’m also not a huge fan of this cartoon too much either, but I liked it enough to watch it again. generally speaking I never liked the “ pure action hero” cartons and usually preferred the more humor driven shows (the only major exception to this rule is Batman the Animated Series, but that show is on a whole other level). In this cartoon, after flying to the planet Mongo (probably couldn’t use that name these days in a kid’s cartoon) to prevent it from hitting the earth, Flash has to deal with Mongo’s emperor the evil Ming the Merciless (slightly xenophobic, Ming is blatantly Asian). The show has Death, slavery and suggested rape and that’s just the first episode, so it’s kind of strong for a kids show, it has kind of a pulpy feel to it all in all, maybe worth checking out if you’re into the “pure action/superhero” cartoon genre.
Cool McCool – This is a funny little cartoon about a semi-slow witted detective a la Inspector Gadget, Clouseau et. al., very 70’s but still pretty good. I almost let someone borrow the DVD because he had come across the name “McCool” and didn’t know it was real, but I thought better of it, he probably wouldn’t have given it back.
Betty Boop – I don’t actually watch this cartoon. As you saw from episode 1 I do like Betty Boop, but I don’t like this particular cartoon. It’s a little too 70’s, and I don’t like that Betty gets abducted in it. Also color is not something your supposed to see in a Betty Boop cartoon. It just feels wrong in so many ways.
Defenders of the Earth – I don’t quite understand what this is. It appears to be another super hero cartoon, but it follows the same storyline as the Flash Gordon cartoon w/r/t Mongo and Ming the Merciless, though set on Earth instead of Mongo, and with a different cast of characters Flash Gordon notwithstanding as he appears in this cartoon too.
In review – Animated All-Stars: 50 Cartoons, is a great little package, and brought to my attention cartoons that I was more or less unaware of, several of which I enjoyed quite a bit. If you come across it in a bargain bin and you like cartoons pick it up. It has enough of everything to keep everyone happy.
Apocalypse Now – I actually skipped this one for a few reasons. I’ve seen it before (in a college class) but my copy is currently unopened. It’s a really good movie and I’ve read the source material (Joseph Conrad’s “The Heart of Darkness”) several times, but it’s still a movie you need to be in the right mood to watch, and I had just watched a fairly heavy movie in the theater earlier that day. But the biggest reason is I didn’t get a chance to watch it until almost midnight the day it came up, and I didn’t really want to start it and possibly get into it because it is a fairly long movie and I would have been up to 4 in the morning if I did.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters – I’ve only seen this movie 2 maybe 3 times in the past, once in the theater and once or twice after I got the DVD. I haven’t watched ATHF in years and I actually find it funnier now then I did back when I watched the show regularly, and the same goes for the movie. It’s very funny but it is an obscure type of humor, maybe even postmodern. Unlike other franchises that started as TV shows then went onto movies (Ninja Turtles, the Rocky and Bullwinkle franchise) where they inevitably make the movie more serious, plot/story driven, and veer away from the source material, this movie is just a 90 or so minute episode of the TV show, with a little more uncensored swearing and at certain times slightly richer animations. At first I was a little disappointed that it answered no questions the show brought up, but now having delved more deeply into postmodern storytelling, I realize this is not a negative, just enjoy the ride. Also the DVD has a great cover.
Aqua Teen Hunter Force Vol. 1 – I forgot how good this show was. My favorite character in the show by far is Carl Bratanananalewsky, the slovenly neighbor of the Aqua Teens. He is pissed off about living next to them and he doesnt hide it, everything he says is a stitch (right from his very first line in the show “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY FRICKEN CAR!” delivered perfectly with the New Jersey vernacular and accent. If that wasn’t funny enough, he is always animated wearing sweatpants, a wife beater, and flip flops (this struck me as funny later on when he would be shown going out to restaurants wearing the exact same outfit. He might be one of my favorite characters from anything, and that would make an interesting list, but I’d have to think about that for a while. Although just about every episode is good in this first volume, I really like: Escape from Leperchautropolis, Bus of the Undead, and MC P Pants.
Aqua Teen Hunter Force Vol. 2 – More great episodes but with 2 flaws. First there’s this weird clip that I used food in a psychological psudo-horror montage at the begin of the DVD which grosses me out, so I just look away from that. The other disappointment is that the show went from having 18 episodes per box to 13 (a lot of the other early adult swim shows did the same thing), and considering the episodes are only 10 minutes long there’s not a whole lot of material. Of course the price (upon release, which is when I got them) didn’t change, but what can you do. Good episodes on the DVD to look out for are: Mail Order Bride, Super Bowl, Super Trivia, and the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future.
Aqua Teen Hunter Force Vol. 3 – better overall presentation in this DVD, but not much new other then that. Good Episodes to look out for in this one: Frat Aliens, Total Re-Carl, the The, The Last One, The Shaving, and Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary.
Aqua Teen Hunter Force Vol 4 – this is the first DVD to have each episode open with a Spacecataze short, a war of pranks between the Plutonians and the Mooninites, better then the doctor weird openings. There is even a special feature where you can watch all the spasecatazs episodes at one shot. The show did in fact get better with age, though a lot of people argue otherwise, a lot of the later episodes are very funny, and very over the top, and this might have been the best of the DVDs if not for one fatal flaw…. the play all feature. When it first came out they kept plugging the “play all” feature as a special feature, and we laughed at the joke, but as it turns out the joke was on us. When you select play all it shows all 13 episodes at the same time, and plays the audio track on top of each other (the noise alone makes it unwatchable). It would be funny if there was an actual play all somewhere to select, but there isn’t (and believe me I checked) so you have to select each episode when you watch this DVD, and you also have to select the commentary on/off each time you do this. They really screwed up on this one. Consequently this is the last ATHF DVD I ever got. I may get the others depending on the price and if I come across them, there are still several good episodes that I’ve seen alone the way. Some of the really good episodes on this DVD: Video Ouija, Gee Wiz, Robositter, T-Shirt of the Dead.
The Aviator – I considered watching this when it came up. I haven’t seen it before, which means I would have to give it my full attention. I did have some time to do it, but when I saw it was a 3 hour movie I had to pass. I did throw the dice to decide weather or not to watch it anyways, but ultimately they told me not to. I picked up this DVD for 2$ from a coworker who was retiring and selling the bulk of his DVD collection piecemeal. There were a few others purchased at this time, and I will mention them when they come up. Well that’s it for the “A’s” now onto the “B’s”.