The Man With No Name Trilogy (Blu-ray)
20TH CENTURY FOX/MGM
MOVIES A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (B+), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (A-), THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (A)
SPECIAL FEATURES A
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 9
(OUT OF 10)
Yes, Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was released on Blu-ray last year, but this collection offers his entire trilogy—including A Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars More—on Blu-ray for the first time.
A little-known actor named Clint Eastwood got the chance to travel the world and make these spaghetti Westerns, and the rest is history. Eastwood was mainly known for TV's Rawhide when he accepted the role of The Man With No Name after many had refused it. He bought some cheap cigars and a pair of black jeans, grabbed his Rawhide boots and jump-started his film career.
All of the films remain classics. They've aged well and look good on these Blu-ray transfers. However, those transfers don't help the bad dub jobs; some of the actors' dialogue was dubbed into English, because they spoke in their native languages. Even the American actors seemed dubbed sometimes, because much of their dialogue was looped in the studio.
Sure, the films are a bit scratched and dirty. After all, they were shot on the cheap (although Good had better production values), so perfection isn't going to happen. Besides, the grittiness is part of the charm.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Each film comes with a commentary by Leone historian Christopher Frayling. Frayling is also the subject of new features displaying his extensive Man With No Name memorabilia collection. (It's a lot more interesting than it sounds.) My favorite feature is on the Fistful disc. It shows footage that was shot for an American TV spot that acted as a prologue to the film. The prologue (featuring an Eastwood stand-in hiding his face) changed the context of the Eastwood character's murderous actions in the movie, putting him on a mission with a government pardon at stake. Thankfully, that prologue was only shown once. Many of the other features are carryovers from prior DVDs.
SPECIAL FEATURES B
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 8.75
(OUT OF 10)
I truly believe this movie is the reason why so many people from my generation play golf today. Until this film, golf was generally for rich snobs and wasn't really part of mainstream culture. Nowadays, it's a popular pastime—and don't tell me you've never heard somebody reciting Bill Murray's "Cinderella Boy" monologue before swinging away on some course.
To this day, nobody has managed to come up with a better vehicle for Chevy Chase than Harold Ramis did with this film (although Chase's current stint on TV's Community comes close). Ty Webb is still Chase's best role, far funnier than Fletch or Clark Griswald. Nobody ever slammed a car door on his or her hand in funnier fashion.
Caddyshack also offered the major-film debut of Rodney Dangerfield, and was the last movie from Ted Knight. This sucker is comedy history.
SPECIAL FEATURES: There's a new feature-length documentary on the making of the movie, which illuminated many facts about the film. The movie was actually shot by the same guy who worked the camera for Terrence Malick's Badlands, and that's a big reason why the movie looks so good. Also, Bill Murray only had about six days on the set, with the large majority of his lines improvised; his Carl character didn't have any lines in the original script. The original script also called for much more plot about the actual caddies, but that was scrapped when Ramis and company realized how funny Dangerfield, Chase and Murray were during dailies. The film was then completely reworked as more of a slapstick comedy instead of a coming-of-age drama about caddies. Another documentary (from a previous edition) contains deleted scenes and alternate takes.
Youth in Revolt
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 7
(OUT OF 10)
Yes, Michael Cera has a patented, soft-spoken shtick that he perfected on Arrested Development and carried into his cinema career. I'm a big fan of this shtick, even if it did get a little tedious in last year's dreadful Year One.
Here, he plays Nick Twisp, a young man hopelessly in love with a girl named Sheeni (Portia Doubleday). He's so hopelessly in love that he creates an evil alter ego who is willing to do the things that Nick won't do to get the girl. This gives Cera a chance to do something different and play a bad guy for a change—which he does quite hilariously. He's not a one-note actor after all!
The movie isn't great, but it has its moments, most of them provided by evil Cera and Zach Galifianakis, as the boyfriend of Nick's mom.
The Cera parade continues this summer with Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
SPECIAL FEATURES: An audio commentary with the director and Cera, along with audition footage and deleted scenes.