"Saturday Night Live: The Complete Third Season," "Lars and the Real Girl," and "Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection"

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Saturday Night Live: The Complete Third Season

Universal
Show A-
Special Features C+
DVD Geek Factor 7.75 (out of 10)

On April 22, 1978, the Blues Brothers were the musical guests, introduced by Paul Shaffer. On that same episode, Steve Martin performed his King Tut routine and did that amazing dance sketch with Gilda Radner. Seriously ... this is some classic shit.

Martin hosted three times in Season 3. Other hosts included Chevy Chase returning to his roots and getting into a huge backstage fight with the new guy--Bill Murray. In fact, one of the cooler moments in this entire season is that episode's final curtain call, in which Chase thanks the audience, and a totally pissed-off Murray walks onto the stage last. John Belushi does a little fake sparring with him, and Aykroyd thinks Bill and John are dancing, so he joins in. Hilarious.

The worst moment in this season? Probably Richard Dreyfuss taking an honest shot at lounge singing. He's awful, but it looks like he believes himself to be pretty damned good.

It should also be noted that O.J. Simpson hosted the episode after Chase. As with all Simpson film or TV appearances, it's creepy as all hell to watch it now. To make matters worse, he comes out wearing a conehead, which is the stuff of nightmares. You want an indicator of how nuts the guy was? Just watch his rambling, megalomaniacal monologue. He was always insane.

God, Garrett Morris sucked!

Special Features: The supplemental features aren't the reason to pick up these volumes. Still, the few that are on here will interest diehards. There's a Belushi wardrobe test, and a strange segment called The Things We Did Last Summer, in which some of the series stars elaborated on their summer vacations in a fictitious sort of way.


Lars and the Real Girl

20th Century Fox
Movie B+
Special Features C+
DVD Geek Factor 6 (out of 10)

This eccentric comedy actually got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay last year. In retrospect, it's pretty crazy it got that kind of notice. The film is totally nuts in the head.

Ryan Gosling plays Lars, an introvert who gets a mail-order love doll, and goes about behaving like she's real. He names her Bianca, introduces her to his friends and family, and causes a few dilemmas. The town decides to accept her as a real person for Lars' sake; it's a lot funnier and more touching than it sounds.

Gosling is great here, making Lars a truly sympathetic character. I know this sounds creepy, but the love his character feels for a piece of plastic is quite convincing. The underrated Paul Schneider is great as Lars' confused brother, worried about his brother's mental state yet willing to go along with the charade.

Yes, the film is strange, but the performances are sincere. It's definitely one of the more unique love stories of the last few years.

Special Features: A couple of short featurettes and a deleted scene. A Gosling commentary would've been cool.


Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection

Paramount
Movies see below
Special Features B-
DVD Geek Factor 8.5 (out of 10)

Just in time for the fourth installment, Paramount has repackaged the first three adventures for your pleasure. While you can purchase all three films in one set, you can also purchase each film on its own.

The crown jewel of the series remains the first film, a breakthrough action film with a great sense of humor. Even though Harrison Ford already had a couple of Star Wars films under his belt, this established him as a premier action star.

The second installment, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was much darker, and that scene where the evil priest pulls somebody's heart out of his chest is still a shocker. The third, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Indy seeks the Grail, is actually kind of silly, but still enjoyable. I'm damned curious to see what Steven Spielberg has in store for Chapter 4.

While it's cool to get new editions of the films on DVD, another set came out five years ago, and these aren't immense improvements over those discs. Paramount hasn't switched to Blu-Ray yet, so the movies are still only available as standard DVDs. There have been no announcements about the films being released in high-definition, but I wouldn't be surprised if George Lucas and Spielberg released another set in Blu-Ray once the fourth installment is ready for home video. If you don't have the first editions on DVD, go ahead and pick this up; if you already own the films on DVD, you might want to wait.

Movie Grades: Raiders of the Lost Ark (A); Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (B+); Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (B+).

Special Features: Each disc has new features, but I preferred the documentaries from the first set. The production values for these supplements seem rushed and a bit shoddy. Again, these discs are OK, but wait for the inevitable Blu-Ray release if these films are already in your collection.

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