"I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine."
-- Barry Egan
After making his masterpiece, MAGNOLIA, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson said his next movie would be a comedy starring Adam Sandler. People laughed. He was serious. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE was made with Sandler, and it became one of PTA's most beloved films. It's one of the idiosyncratic love stories and shows Sandler will win you over when he takes acting serious.
I'm an avid PTA fan, and this is my second favorite in his oeuvre. It's not his second best, or third, but it's my second favorite. It makes me want to fall in love; it makes me want to believe happiness strikes at any moment, and it makes me miss scene-stealer Philip Seymour Hoffman.
PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE has been only available via a shitty DVD transfer since 2002, and Criterion Collection came to save the day (better late than never). This edition comes with the hilarious Mattress Man commercial Hoffman hilariously spoofed. You may have seen it, already, but if not, watch it and then watch this, "the real mattress man." commercial. Hoffman bravely mirrored exactly what the Mattress Man foolishly thought was a good idea. There's another cool bonus I've never seen, an interview with David Phillips, the “pudding guy."
In this PTA-approved edition, special features are:
- Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Paul Thomas Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Blossoms & Blood, a short 2002 piece by Anderson featuring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, along with music by Jon Brion
- New interview with Brion
- New piece featuring behind-the-scenes footage of a recording session for the film’s soundtrack
- New conversation between curators Michael Connor and Lia Gangitano about the art of Jeremy Blake, used in the film
- Additional artwork by Blake
- Cannes Film Festival press conference from 2002
- NBC News interview from 2000 with David Phillips, the “pudding guy”
- Twelve Scopitones
- Deleted scenes
- Mattress Man commercial
- PLUS: An essay by filmmaker, author, and artist Miranda July
Why are you still reading this? Now "SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! Shut up; will you SHUTUP SHUTUP! SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUTUP... SHUTUP! NOW" and BUY THIS NOW NOW NOW.
Remember when brilliantly bizarre Bill Murray tried to join the NBA? These days his behavior not considered wacky, but back in 1996, it one one of the funniest gossip treasures. He got his wish to bounce a basketball on the court against an opposing animated team of giant monsters alongside basketball's greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, in the super weird SPACE JAM.
I hadn't seen SPAM JAM since it was in theaters long ago. I was 13 and everyone want Air Jordan's so they could fly. Everyone. We didn't care about the story; we just wanted to see Michael Jordan fly, and that he does.
When I re-watched it for the 20th anniversary Blu-ray release, there are two things I'm curious how parents took: Why are parents taking their kids to a themed park called Moron Mountain owned by giant bozo Swackhammer (voiced by the beloved professional functioning alcoholic Danny Devito), and why isn't everyone freaking out that Michael Jordan got sucked into a golf hole and is missing? It is a Looney Tunes film, which means anything goes.
I still love watching this movie, and as an adult, there's a line I caught that made me laugh out loud, and that's when Bill Murray shows up at the game at the end and is asked, "How did you get here?" His dry and austere response? "A producer is a friend of mine dropped me off." This wink-at-the-audience moment is where SPACE JAM is giving the parents something to laugh at, and let the audience know that SPACE JAM itself knows its a silly movie, but just go with it and embellish the goofiness, or get out of town.
Related: Please watch the below short clip of a press conference when Murray announced he wanted to try out for the NBA. Murray's last word to the reporter's question is solid gold.
- Audio Commentary from director Joe Pytka, Bugs Bunny (voiced by Billy West) and Daffy Duck (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker)
- Jammin with Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan
- Music videos including Seal's "Fly Like an Eagle" and Monstars' anthem "Hit 'Em High"
Ah, yes, Scream Factory is rolling out two collector's edition of horror guru David Cronenberg's films. The first is DEAD RINGERS, which blesses us with two Jeremy Irons, and brings us back to a time when payphones were crucial in movies and plot twists, and Beverly was a masculine name.
This is an release is super important because it's the first time DEAD RINGERS is on Blu-ray, so the quality isn't shitty on TVs bigger than 40" like the PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE version mentioned above.
And as always, Scream goes for broke with the delicious artwork, making it a necessity for the collection. Since this is Cronenberg, fans will be clawing to get their hands on this release.
- High-Definition Transfer Of The Film (1.78:1 Aspect Ratio)
- NEW Audio Commentary With Writer William Beard, Author Of The Artist As Monster: The Cinema Of David Cronenberg
- Audio Commentary With Actor Jeremy Irons
- NEW 2K Scan At The Director's Preferred Aspect Ratio (1.66:1)
- NEW Carey's Story – An Interview With Heidi Von Palleske
- NEW Working Artist – An Interview With Stephen Lack
- NEW Connecting Tissues – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Gordon Smith
- NEW Double Vision – An Interview With Director Of Photography Peter Suschitzky
- Vintage interviews With Jeremy Irons, Director/Co-writer David Cronenberg, Producer Marc Boyman And Co-writer Norman Snider
- Vintage Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
- Original Theatrical Trailer
Ellen Degeneres has a natural, lively ability to make people laugh on her talk show. She's approachable and warm. Now she proves her voice alone is still a beloved character of its own. In FINDING DORY, she reprises her role as Dory from FINDING NEMO. This time, it's Dory's story. She's has had "short term remember loss" since she was young, and remembers when she is all grown up she is missing her parents. Off she goes to find them. She meets a lot of characters from FINDING NEMO, so it makes for a great back-to-back watch. There are crossovers and moments that will make you say, "oh yeah! I remember that!"
FINDING NEMO is for you, for me, and for everyone. Pixar is astute when it comes to making animated movies and teaching family values. Separated, it's hard to survive, but with a team, anything is possible.
Special features (hold your breath for this)
- Theatrical Short: "Piper" – A hungry sandpiper hatchling ventures from her nest for the first time to dig for food by the shoreline. The only problem is that the food is buried beneath the sand where scary waves roll up onto the shore.
- Marine Life Interviews (All-New Mini Short) – Meet the inhabitants of the Marine Life Institute as they remember our favorite blue tang.
- The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar – Pixar's "Team Hank" unravels the challenges, frustrations, and rewards of bringing to life the studio's crankiest and most technically complicated character ever.
- What Were We Talking About? – This piece showcases the complex routes Dory's story took as the filmmakers worked to construct a comprehensive narrative involving a main character with short-term memory loss.
- Casual Carpool – What's it like to commute with the voices of Marlin, Charlie, Bailey and Hank? Join "Finding Dory" writer/director Andrew Stanton as he drives Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell and Ed O'Neill to work.
- Animation & Acting – How do you create a connection between a human audience and a fish? This behind-the-scenes look behind the curtain examines the process of constructing believable performances through a unique collaboration between the director, voice actors and animators.
- Creature Features – The cast of "Finding Dory" share cool facts about the creatures they voice in the film.
- Deep in the Kelp – Disney Channel's Jenna Ortega guides us on a research trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to show how far the "Finding Dory" crew went to make Dory's world feel real.
- Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer – "Finding Dory" character art director Jason Deamer talks about how he got to Pixar, how he draws the characters in the film, and how falling off a skateboard teaches you lessons you can use in art and life.
- Dory's Theme – A spirited discussion among the composer, music editor and director of "Finding Dory" about the musical elements that shape Dory's quirky and joyful theme.
- Rough Day on the Reef – Sometimes computers make mistakes. Here you'll see some of the funny, creepy and just plain bizarre footage the crew encountered while making "Finding Dory."
- Audio Commentary – Director Andrew Stanton, co-director Angus MacLane and producer Lindsey Collins deliver their personal perspective on "Finding Dory."
- Deleted Scenes (introduced by director Andrew Stanton)
- Losing Nemo – While watching the stingray migration, Dory starts to follow two fish that remind her of her parents, leaving Nemo all alone.
- Little Tension in Clown Town – In this alternate version of the film, Dory tries to "follow her fins" to her parents, but ends up in a strange place with even stranger fish fashion.
- Dory Dumped – In this early version of the story, Dory's parents had short-term memory loss as well.
- Sleep Swimming – Dory begins to talk and swim in her sleep, revealing what seem to be clues to her past.
- Meeting Hank – Wandering the Marine Life Institute's elaborate pipe system, Dory happens upon the abode of Hank the cranky octopus.
- The Pig – Frantically navigating the pipes of the Marine Life Institute in search of her parents, Dory crosses paths with a terrifying cleaning device.
- Starting Over – Director Andrew Stanton presents four different versions of the movie's opening scene to illustrate the filmmakers' search for the best way to introduce Dory's backstory and to connect this new film to "Finding Nemo."
- Tank Gang (Digital exclusive) – After a close encounter with a squid leaves them separated from Dory, Marlin and Nemo unexpectedly meet up with the Tank Gang from "Finding Nemo," who make it their mission to get to the Marine Life Institute … by any means necessary.
- Hidden Seacrets of Finding Dory (Digital exclusive) – Take a deep dive to catch secret Easter Eggs throughout the movie. And just like Hank, they're hidden in plain sight.
Dustin Hoffman first starred on broadway as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's beloved play, Death of a Salesman, then when on to play the character in this TV movie, which got him and Emmy Award, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Lead. Death of a Salesman has been given the TV-movie treatment five times, and this is the best of the bunch. I mean, look at that cover. There's not much more glorious in this world than Hoffman holding John Malkovich's tweeks, smiling and showing their colossal height gap. It's also pretty amazing they pulled off as father-son, which means Hoffman's LomanhadJohn Malkovich's Biff (a popular name in 80s movies) at 17.
If you like to read, I highly recommend reading Miller's original play first, then re-visiting this gem, but if you're tolerance for reading left to right, top to bottom is very low, this film the next best thing. Moreover, Malkovich is named Biff and "butthead" is not used once. An important 80s fact you need to know.
- Private Conversations: A Candid Look Behind The Scenes At The Filming Of This Powerful And Compelling, Award-Winning Production Of Death Of A Salesman
There are seven volumes, so you have a lot of ahead to look forward to, soldier.
Volume One takes place during Lee's high school years in Hong Kong, where he faces racial tension and learns to box and kick some ass, all the way until he leaves for America where he will forever be known as the greatest fighter to have ever lived. (His philosophy on martial arts, patience, and when to strike is brilliant.)
I'm an avid Bruce Lee fan, so his films are satisfy me plenty. I'm also a huge fan of DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY, so I don't need more backstory, even if it's more accurate. Jason Scott Lee did such an exceptional job in Lee's biopic DRAGON, I can't imagine the praise Jason would get if it were made today.
This series is super popular and there are six more, so if you want to get to know more about Bruce's upbringing that got him to his legendary status, buy these. I prefer rental because I'm not sure I'd revisit again.