Superbad: 2-Disc Unrated Extended EditionSony Pictures
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 9.5 (out of 10)
I have watched this film six times, and I laugh harder with each viewing. Michael Cera is an awkward-teen miracle in this adolescent sex comedy for the ages. The expressions Cera manages on that face of his are instant laugh-getters, especially when his hand accidentally brushes his dream girl's breast. It's a breakthrough performance.
Jonah Hill is the funniest big guy to hit screens since Belushi. His comic timing is something that is all his own. There's never been a star even remotely like him, and I'm hoping Hollywood employs him properly. His performance as Seth is one of the year's funniest and best. The same can be said for Cera's Evan. Christopher Mintz-Plasse made one of this year's bigger screen debuts as Fogell, aka McLovin, the super nerd.
Watching Seth, Evan and Fogell trying to purchase booze for a party was one of 2007's greatest adventures, and signaled a return to great teen comedies like Risky Business. This even ranks with the likes of American Graffiti.
Special mention has to go out to Bill Hader and Seth Rogen for the two funniest portrayals of cops I've ever seen in the movies. Hader is another actor whose future should be bright.
This was the second Judd Apatow machine comedy (after Knocked Up) to hit it big this year. It actually makes Knocked Up look relatively tame in comparison. Apatow is on roll.
Special Features: Plenty of deleted and extended scenes. The unrated version contains some decent extra footage that actually improves upon the theatrical version. Everyone Hates Michael Cera is a funny short depicting Cera as an annoying bastard to work with. Cast-audition footage, on-set diaries and a cast commentary make this one of the year's best DVD offerings.
Saturday Night Live: The Complete Second SeasonUniversal Studios Home Video
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 9 (out of 10)
This is the year when the show really started to take off. Chevy Chase bugged out in the first half and was eventually replaced by a little, yet far more talented guy named Bill Murray. Some strange guy with an arrow through his head and prematurely gray hair showed up, played "Ramblin' Guy" and became a superstar by exclaiming, "Excuse me!"
The show was still a little rough around the edges, but that was part of its charm. One of Murray's first appearances was in old-age makeup, playing a grandpa waiting to talk to a relative on the phone. The man was a genius right out of the gate, and the sketch is proof of that. You also get a gander at Andy Kaufman's first impression of Elvis on the show. Kaufman was Elvis' favorite Elvis impersonator, and you can see why.
I still think that Frank Zappa's guitar intro during his late-night rendition of "Peaches en Regalia" is one of the finest examples of musicianship the show has ever seen. Watching the show during the holiday season, knowing that the likes of Zappa, Kaufman, Gilda Radner and John Belushi are no longer with us adds a certain level of melancholy to the proceedings. But watching the likes of Murray blossom counters the sadness.
Hosts included the great Steve Martin and Eric Idle (both hosted twice), Ralph Nader and Jodie Foster. Chase, who did his last "Weekend Update" on Oct. 30, 1976, was still in fine form and should've stuck around a couple more years. This was a great season for the show, and things would get even better the following season.
Special Features: You get the infamous Mardi Gras special in its entirety, in which the cast went to New Orleans and made asses of themselves in a good way. The special has a rep for being a clusterfuck, but I think it was pretty damn funny. (The interview with Henry Winkler is a classic.) There's also a bizarre Andy Kaufman screen test, where he does a straight reading of "MacArthur Park," and it is total greatness. There's also a "scrapbook" and audio of dress rehearsals. Not a lot, but cool nonetheless.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndDisney DVD
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 6 (out of 10)
This first Pirates film was very good; the second was a disaster; and the third fell somewhere in between. Seeing Johnny Depp's Capt. Jack Sparrow losing his mind in the afterlife was a sweet touch, and Keith Richards kicked butt in his creepy cameo. This was supposed to be the last in the series, but I seriously doubt that will be the case. Depp says he wants to continue, so that pretty much means more adventures should be on the way.
I'm thinking this will be a big hit this holiday season. It's available in Blu-Ray for those of you who have made the high-definition plunge.
Special Features: Tons of stuff. Watching Richards and Depp on set is as cool as it gets. Bloopers and plenty of behind-the-scenes docs make this a lot of fun.