Actor Sacha Baron Cohen delivers tour de farce work with every episode of this bitingly funny show. He plays three characters, the most notable one being the title character, a gangsta journalist who somehow manages to procure real interviews with the likes of Sam Donaldson and Pat Buchanan.
One of the joys in watching this show is seeing how much Cohen can get away with in these interviews, and it's usually quite a lot. He'll often sneak obscene slang terms by unknowing subjects, who do their best to be respectful of their host. It's remarkable how composed some of his interview subjects remain.
Cohen plays two other characters in each show. Borat, a correspondent from Kazakhstan trekking across America, makes his infamous stop at a Tucson bar where he performs the frightfully rousing "Throw the Jew Down the Well." He also tries out some wine tasting with two older gentlemen who are treated to pictures of Borat having sex with his sister. Then there's Bruno, an effeminate fashion news reporter who has a particularly startling sit-down with a disgusted preacher.
Highlights include Ali G's roundtable discussions with unknowing participants who think they are on serious talk shows. Cohen had been working with director Todd Phillips (Road Trip) on a feature film, but Phillips left the project after disagreements with his star. Larry Charles has taken the project over.
Special Features: Plenty of unseen Ali G, Borat and Bruno footage.
Part four in Shout Factory's amazing collection of SCTV DVDs encapsulates the third and final season of SCTV on NBC .
Catherine O'Hara, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas have departed, and this is the season where Martin Short rose to prominence. Ed Grimley makes his first appearances, as does Jackie Rogers Jr., the albino lounge singer whose legendary singer-father was killed by a mountain lion. Theme shows include "Towering Inferno," a spoof of Irwin Allen disaster flicks that involves a nuclear reactor built atop the world's tallest building, and "A Star Is Born," with Crystal Gayle. Most bizarre is a Nutty Professor spoof that has John Cougar changing into Ed Grimley mid-song.
It was after this season that SCTV went to Cinemax, which means the next collection of shows will feature a lot of stuff fans have never seen. That's something to look forward to.
Special Features: Short and O'Hara deliver hilarious commentary on the Christmas episode (one where O'Hara returned as a guest star). O'Hara's rendition of a gospel standard will haunt your nightmares. An interview with Short reveals the inspiration behind many of his characters and sketches.
One of the more excessive, craziest movies ever made. Director John Landis was allowed to go hog wild with the story of Jake and Elwood Blues, and he did just that.
Made for $30 million (a lot of money in 1980), the film features some of the more amazing car chase/crash scenes ever put to screen. For lovers of the blues and soul, there are performances by James Brown, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin that are memorable (especially Charles' rendition of Shake Your Tail Feather).
It was critically panned at the time, but it has gone on to become somewhat of a comedy classic. This was the last time John Belushi seemed to have major fun on screen. He died two years later.
Special Features: Lots of behind-the-scenes footage is paired with new and old interviews with the likes of Landis, Dan Aykroyd and members of the band. Remembering John is a decent tribute to Belushi. Terrible recent footage of the Blues Brothers, with James Belushi replacing John on stage, shows how Aykroyd and friends have managed to destroy a fun thing. This contains the theatrical version of the film and an extended edition.
Chris Farley's best film gets another DVD take. Farley was good here as a late bloomer trying to save his father's business from a corporate takeover. Memorable sequences include the deer sequence and just about every second Rob Lowe spends on screen. It's obvious when watching this film that Farley wasn't going to have much time on the planet. He often did his own stunts, and he appeared unhealthy. He gave a lot for his art, and Spade has been banished to a life of bad sitcoms.
Special Features : Farley's brothers show some home movies and share stories about their sibling. It's actually kind of painful to watch Farley and Spade together. Spade makes snide comments about Farley's weight, and it's pretty obvious that Farley is embarrassed behind the laughter. Too bad the guy couldn't get it together.