This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: July 2
This week: Bobcat blesses America for a future cult classic. Also: Tom Cruise's finest hour comes to Blu-ray, and The Entity is still one damn scary flick.
► Bobcat Goldthwait’s GOD BLESS AMERICA begins with a guy dreaming of shooting a crying baby with a shotgun, and it just gets funnier from there. Like a modernized ‘Falling Down,’ it stars ‘Mad Men’s Joel Murray as an office drone who is told he has a brain tumor, and decides to use his last days ridding the world of reality TV stars, glorified karaoke shows and shit-for-brain talk show hosts. You’ll applaud early on, though things start to drag with the needless addition of a high school student (Tara Lynne Barr) who becomes the Bonnie to his Clyde. Some funny stuff here, though – Goldthwait is coming into his own as a director.
► Not to be confused with the 1980 version or the other 2011 version, Aussie director Daniel Nettheim’s THE HUNTER has Willem Dafoe as a mercenary hired by a biotech company to find the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger. While in Tasmania he grows fond of a widow and her two kids, though the townsfolk want him gone. It gets worse when the company sends another operative to replace him. Based on Julia Leigh’s 1999 book.
► Still Tom Cruise’s finest performance, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF THE JULY is great to revisit just to watch Oliver Stone at his peak before his excesses of the early ‘90s took over. Less harrowing than ‘Platoon’ but far more emotional, Cruise earned his first Best Actor nomination playing Vietnam vet Ron Kovacs, who is paralyzed on the battlefield and returns home to become an anti-war activist. I miss this Oliver Stone – the one who had purpose to go with his politics.
► Thirty years later, and THE ENTITY is still one of the most creepy paranormal movies ever. Released the same year as ‘Poltergeist,’ this was actually the real deal: A tense (supposedly true) story of a single mother being repeatedly raped by an unseen force in her house. The moment the spirit first appears is still one of the biggest jolts a movie’s ever given me. Barbara Hershey gives a career performance here, and even if the story gets bogged down near the end, this is still a great example of how horror benefits from the ‘less is more’ approach. Easily one of my Top 10 horror movies.
► Going by that DVD cover, THE WOMEN OF SNL only go back ten years or so. Not that Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig aren’t great, but unless this is Vol. 7 of a series, where is Gilda Radner and Jane Curtan on the cover? Oh well, these quickie releases are hardly definitive but still offer plenty of laughs – this one’s done as a Real Housewives parody. It’s barely 90 minutes, though. Cue the Debbie Downer music.
► Chesty Morgan and her 73-inch whoppers made two low-budget howlers in the ‘70s: ‘Double Agent 73’ (heh heh) has her as a spy with a camera implanted in her boobay, while ‘Deadly Weapons’ has her battling the mob by smothering them in her massive melons (seriously, that’s how she kills them). Both softcore cheapies are included on the triple-bill CHESTY MORGAN’S BOSOM BUDDIES, but the third film is a mystery: Morgan doesn’t star in ‘The Immoral Three,’ a sequel to ‘Double Agent 73’ in which her three daughers fight to collect her inheritance. All three movies are directed by female sexploitation legend Doris Wishman, whose classics include ‘Keyholes Are For Peeping’ and ‘Bad Girls Go to Hell.’
► Here’s how boring television was in 1985: 60 million people tuned in to watch the season finale of DYNASTY in which it appeared the entire cast was killed by terrorists who crashed a wedding. Of course, when Season 6 started that fall, it was revealed only two minor characters were dead, pissing off viewers and starting the show’s ratings decline (#1 in 1985, #7 in 1986). It didn’t help that Joan Collins, by then the show’s main attraction, was missing from the first episode because of a contract dispute. A whole lot of stupidity ensued (Linda Evans played two characters), and to prove producers didn’t learn a thing, the season ends with Alexis apparently strangled and the cast apparently dead in a fire. And just to stick it to fans years later, Season 6 is out in two separate boxed sets with 15 episodes each, adding up to more than $50 for both.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!