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Get Smart: Season One

HBO
Show A
Special Features C+
DVD Geek Factor 7 (out of 10)

While this show from the '60s has found a home on various nostalgia channels, I really haven't seen it since sick days during high school, when I would stay home and watch daytime television (this is also the case with Love, American Style, Gilligan's Island and I Love Lucy). I forgot how truly funny Don Adams was as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 with the secret government agency, CONTROL.

Created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, Get Smart's lead character is a hybrid of The Pink Panther's Inspector Clouseau and James Bond. The jokes have aged well, especially the very first one in the series, where Smart's shoe phone goes off in a theater, well before the advent of cellular phones.

The first season consisted of guest stars like Leonard Nimoy, Ted Knight and even Johnny Carson. (Bernie Kopell's classic Smart nemesis, Seigfried, would not show up until the second season.)

The pilot episode, "Mr. Big," was shot in black and white, and featured Barbara Feldon, Max's partner Agent 99, right out of the gate. The series would shift to color with its second episode.

Special Features: Just a few commentaries--one each from Brooks, Henry and Feldon.


Son of Rambow

Paramount
Movie B+
Special Features B+
DVD Geek Factor 7.5 (out of 10)

Two English youngsters (Will Poulter and Bill Milner) in the early-'80s pick up a video camera and make their own Rambo movie.

Poulter is especially good in the breakout role of Lee Carter, a school bully who is looking to go beyond harassing classmates and create something. Milner is equally capable as Will Proudfoot, the boy Carter drafts into the production. Milner has a bit of a Freddie Highmore thing going, while Poulter's work reminds of the kid who played The Butcher Boy in Neil Jordan's overlooked classic.

Their homemade movie is side-splittingly funny, especially when they get an old man at a retirement home to play Rambo. The film is directed by Garth Jennings, who did a decent job with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It's one of the year's more unique films. You've got to love a movie where Rambo is portrayed by a craggy old dude in a retirement home. Oops ... we actually got that with the latest Stallone Rambo flick, didn't we?

Special Features: The director and cast provide a fun commentary. Milner, Poulter and Jennings are quite compelling in a making-of documentary. Milner and Poulter seem possessed by 30-year-olds while talking about the experience. The film marked their first professional jobs, but they are so poised that you would think they've been acting for years. There's also Jennings' home movie Aron, the inspiration for Rambow. He filmed it at home when he was just a pup, and it's very cute.


WarGames: The Dead Code

MGM
Movie D-
Special Features C-
DVD Geek Factor 1.25 (out of 10)

The cavalcade of direct-to-video sequels continues with this, the follow-up to the Matthew Broderick computer classic of yesteryear. Director Stuart Gillard, the mastermind behind such fare as RocketMan and Twitches Too, actually incorporates stuff from the original, like the creepy Joshua computer voice, and his creator, Dr. Stephen Falken. Alas, that's about all the cool things that can be said about this piece of trash.

Ashton Kutcher lookalike Matt Lanter stars as Will Farmer, a video-game geek who stumbles upon a game used by the government to sniff out terrorists. He gets real good at the game, so the government thinks he's a terrorist and starts harassing his couch-potato ass. Or at least I think that's what is happening in this movie. I really couldn't tell, for it rambled incoherently and failed to register on any level.

I'm refraining from giving this an F, for it is better than the Lost Boys sequel. That's not high praise, but we do grade these things on a scale, so I have to be fair.

Special Features: A commentary and making-of that need not be watched.


Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Sony
Movie F
Special Features D
DVD Geek Factor 1 (out of 10)

Yes folks, that's right: I watched three direct-to-video sequels in two weeks so that you won't have to. I need to go to the doctor; I fear that the ingestion of all of this bad cinema has resulted in pancreatic damage.

Casper Van Dien (Johnny Rico from the original film) returns to the party, which has gone from being total fun to total shit. It looks as if the production was given one set (a steel maze) for the actors to run around in. The monsters, especially a giant scorpion, look like things you would see in a traveling carnival's haunted house. We are talking really bad effects here.

Nothing more needs to be said. You must avoid this at all costs, and I'm taking a break from these direct-to-video sequels.

Special Features: A making-of and a commentary designed to rot your brain.

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