The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 8.75
(OUT OF 10)
Did you know The Kids in the Hall got back together for a TV miniseries last year? And did you know it went beyond their usual sketch comedy, and actually had a theme throughout its eight episodes? And did you know that it was really, really fucking funny?
Yep, the boys from Canada did this show with very little fanfare for CBC, and it is as good as their infamous sketch show. All of the Kids are back, each playing multiple male and female roles—and this just might be my favorite Kids project to date.
Mark McKinney plays a snaggle-toothed Death, who rolls into the boring town of Shuckton and immediately takes one of the more prominent residents. (He snorts people up his nose after they pass away.) Trials, necrophilia, courtroom dancing and frightening gynecologist visits ensue.
Each of the Kids excels, with my favorite being Scott Thompson and his characters such as the creepy town coroner who takes his work home, the not-so-Native-American murder defendant, the not-as-young-as-she-says-she-is weather girl, and others. Dave Foley is quite excellent as the alcoholic female mayor of Shuckton, and a down-home doctor who can measure how long you have been pregnant with something that looks like a protractor.
Bruce McCulloch spends much of the series in a fat suit, but he takes it off long enough to play a disco-dancing lawyer, while Kevin McDonald scores laughs as a lawyer who refuses to let his cat die a natural death. The scenes of his cat on life support are incredibly cruel and surprisingly hilarious.
There are also a couple of cameos featuring characters from the original series—including a surprising appearance from the Chicken Lady! Also, look closely, and you might see an appearance by the immortal Paul Bellini in a towel.
The show is consistently, riotously funny, and makes me hope the Kids have more in store. They've never really broken up since their original TV heyday, occasionally touring and making movies. This mini series is their best effort in more than 15 years, and it shows they still have a lot of comedy fuel left in the old tank.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Foley and McCulloch provide some audio commentaries, and you get some deleted scenes and bloopers.
The Twilight Zone: Season 4 (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.75
(OUT OF 10)
For this season of Rod Serling's legendary anthology series, Twilight Zone switched to a 60-minute format, after previously being a half-hour show. This resulted in one of the stranger and weaker seasons, but it still had its share of greatness. Familiar faces that popped up included Dennis Hopper as a neo-Nazi, and Jack Klugman as a confused astronaut.
The show would switch back to half-hour episodes for its fifth and final season—which will be released on Blu-ray later this summer. That final season includes classics like "Living Doll" (with the legendary Talky Tina) and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," featuring William Shatner as a man who swears he sees somebody on the wing of a plane. Sadly, none of the episodes in this season live up to those titles.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Plenty of episode commentaries, video interviews and radio dramas. You also get a Saturday Night Live sketch, a beer commercial and more.
SPECIAL FEATURES: B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 9
(OUT OF 10)
Twenty-five years ago, a kid named Charlie Sheen beat out a bunch of young Hollywood hotshots to land a role in this, Oliver Stone's award-winning Vietnam War film. While Charlie was probably screwing porn stars when he was 12, I like to think he was really innocent when he stepped off that helicopter, all fresh-faced, at the beginning of this movie.
Willem Dafoe's Elias (the good) and Tom Berenger's Barnes (the bad) fought for Sheen's soul in the film, and Stone made that struggle compelling. The film has been parodied and copied a lot in the last-quarter century, but it still stands up as an important and solid movie.
Other familiar faces include Johnny Depp, who was one of the competitors for the Sheen role, as were Keanu Reeves and Sheen's older brother Emilio Estevez. Kevin Dillon played an all-out psycho in his most memorable role, and the likes of Keith David, Forest Whitaker and John C. McGinley rounded out the great cast.
With Stone currently in a creative pothole that includes his lousy Wall Street sequel, World Trade Center and Alexander (I did like his W.), it's interesting to go back and see just what he was capable of.
As for crazy Charlie, his best performance of all time is in this movie; given his current state, I doubt he will top it anytime soon ... unless he plays a delirious guy.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Stone delivers a good commentary, on both the film and some deleted scenes. You also get a commentary from military adviser Dale Dye, and a bunch of documentaries.