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Stella: Season One


This is one funny, weird-assed show that aired last year on Comedy Central. Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and David Wain (part of the brain trust that gave us The State and Wet Hot American Summer) play three very strange guys dressed in suits who share an apartment. Each episode has a rather simple premise, just something for the boys to riff on. The result is funny for those who can handle total oddity with a helping of humor.

The two-disc set has 10 episodes, each funnier than the next. They include "Camping," where the boys head out for a weekend of roughing it (widescreen TV in tow) and find themselves lost after exactly one minute. They meet up with a kindly mountain man (Timothy Blake Nelson) whom they promptly shoot and eat. My personal favorite would be "Amusement Park," where the trio can't go to their favorite tourist attraction because it's raining, so they pretend their refrigerator is a log flume.

Scratch that ... my favorite is "Coffee Shop," which starts with the guys performing as a horrific barbershop group, and progresses to them working at competing coffee shops. Actually, Showalter works at a Starbucks-type establishment, while Black has a portable table across the street, running into the shop whenever his sole customer (guest star Alan Ruck) needs coffee.

I actually don't have a favorite. They're all great.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The History of Stella has the boys talking about the origins of their show, which included their time in comedy group The State, a stage show and their short time as the hosts of a terrible program for VH1. A fine array of bloopers, deleted scenes and commentaries for every episode make this a great package.

Some Kind of Wonderful (Special Collector's Edition)


For a brief time in the '80s, John Hughes had a franchise going with teen films. By brief, I mean two years. Yes, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles,

Ferris Bueller's Day Off , Pretty in Pink (which he didn't direct) and Weird Science happened in just two years. The whole teen-movie craze was mighty compressed.

It's not like Hughes didn't try to keep things going. With Molly Ringwald beginning her spiral into obscurity, and folks like Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez forming the Brat Pack, Hughes and director Howard Deutch tried to clear the decks and make some new actors in their mid-20s into teen movie stars. Just one year after Pink, Hughes and Howard Deutch (Pink's director) would reteam for Some Kind of Wonderful which made a failed attempt at turning Eric Stoltz into a sex symbol. None of the Hughes alumni are present in the cast, and the result is banal, at best.

Stoltz, Lea Thompson and Mary Stuart Masterson star in what is essentially a gender reversal of the Pretty in Pink plot. The movie gets off to a strange start, as Stoltz's character inexplicably plays a game of chicken with an oncoming train, giving the impression that he's some sort of badass. It turns out his character is a wuss. Stoltz is also forced to wear a ton of makeup to obscure his natural red hair and freckles.

The movie continues a Hughes theme started by Duckie in Pink, that of the teen stalker. Stoltz's Keith lusts longingly for Amanda Jones (Thompson, in a role turned down by Ringwald) while Masterson's Watts possesses an unhealthy attraction for Keith. It all culminates with Keith taking Amanda on the "ultimate date" with Watts as their chauffer. Eventually, Keith abandons Amanda to make out with Watts, who was totally hot to begin with.

With Wonderful, Hughes retired his teen-movie pen, and he hasn't directed a film since Curly Sue (1991). Ringwald says she would like to work with the reclusive Hughes again. He made something in the neighborhood of a billion dollars writing and producing the Home Alone movies, so that probably won't be happening.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A lame retrospective documentary and a commentary with Deutch and wife Thompson (yes, they got married).

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (10th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition)


It's been 10 years since this film came out, and I remembered it being a little funnier than it actually is. Sure, Beavis has multiple "Cornholio!" outbursts, but I actually think it was funnier to watch the duo rag on Radiohead videos on MTV.

The plot involves the duo's television set getting stolen, and some business with characters voiced by Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. It's relative fun, but the joke had gotten a bit old by the time of its release.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A commentary with creator/director Mike Judge claims that Moore and Willis didn't even know they were doing the movie together, a little hard to buy considering that they were married at the time. Other features include a making-of segment and a smackdown montage (featuring the film's most inspired moments of violence).

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