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Eraserhead

Absurda/Subversive
Movie B+
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

While this one has been available at www.davidlynch.com for some time, it is now finally available for over-the-counter purchase. If you are looking to really mess with your mind, this one is perfect for the occasion.

Good lord, this is a creepy movie. David Lynch's debut was a midnight-madness mainstay for many years (say that five times fast), and this one is quite the harrowing experience if a six-pack or other substances have been ingested. You might want to watch it stone-cold sober, lest you risk permanent damage to your brain.

A factory worker with terribly frizzy hair (Jack Nance) is on vacation, and he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. She gives birth to some sort of monstrosity that wails all night, forcing her to abandon their domestic life and return to her mother. A strange woman with a moon face singing about heaven from the radiator, bizarre business involving pencils and a mystery illness striking the baby thing fill out what passes for the movie's plot.

As always with Lynch, this isn't everybody's cup of tea. The Lynch dreamscapes were in full effect with his first offering, which took five years to film and landed him The Elephant Man job after producer Mel Brooks screened it. It's one of those films that could inspire a whole evening of "What the hell was that?" conversations, not to mention a few nightmares.

Good luck trying to figure out what this film means. The other night, it struck me as some sort of sick-assed meditation on the trials and tribulations of parenting. It's had many other meanings to me in the past. After viewing this, be assured that the baby thing's cries will stay with you for a few hours after the conclusion. Lynch always knew how to get under the viewer's skin.

Special Features: There's an intriguing and long sit-down with Lynch as he discusses all aspects of the movie and stories inspired by it. For Lynch fans, it's a treasure. For others, it will cause extensive napping.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith

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

One of last year's funniest movies. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie incinerate the screen in this nasty dark comedy from director Doug Liman (Swingers), a film that left no doubt the two were getting it on off-screen (major chemistry). The pair play high-level assassins unaware of each other's occupations. When they find out what each has been doing with their workdays, all hell breaks loose.

Jolie, who usually irritates the snot out of me, does her best work yet as a woman who is getting a little bored with her humdrum marriage. Pitt, a gifted comic actor, gets some of his biggest laughs since playing Floyd in True Romance. Liman does a nice job with the action scenes (a shootout inside a department store is first-rate). His second outing with Vince Vaughn, who plays a fellow assassin living with his mom, proves hilarious.

Watching the movie now, after the news of Jolie's pregnancy, is fun. A scene where Jolie holds a baby at a party, with Pitt glaring at her, is a kick.

Special Features: Three commentaries is a bit much, especially when Pitt and Jolie don't appear on them. Some deleted scenes, including extra Vaughn dialogue, are OK.


Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Bueller ... Bueller ... Edition

Paramount Home Video
Movie B+
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 6.5 (out of 10)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off came out 20 years ago. That's pretty messed up.

Director John Hughes has directed only eight films (the last one being 1991's abysmal Curly Sue), and this one is his second-best (top honors go to Planes, Trains and Automobiles). It's a thin plot for sure (a kid ditches school), but the laughs have stood the test of time. A viewing of the movie two decades after its premiere proves it's still funny.

Matthew Broderick plays the title character, who concocts an elaborate plot to skip school with his best pal, Cameron (Alan Ruck, who was already 29 when the film was released), and girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara). The three spend the day going to restaurants and ballgames, all the while trying to evade a mad principal on the hunt (Jeffrey Jones).

Of the Hughes high school comedies, this certainly is the most durable. It puts Weird Science to shame. Incidentally, Anthony Michael Hall turned down the role of Cameron because he didn't want to get typecast as a Hughes staple. He did Saturday Night Live instead. That may've been a mistake.

Special Features: Loads of new documentaries with much of the cast participating, yet Hughes only appears in archive footage. (Where has he gone?) Some cool set footage where the cast interviewed each other is worth checking out. No commentaries.

More by Bob Grimm

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