Thursday, January 08, 2009

2008. Not just another 2007.

I'm stickin' with DVD's as my favorite things of 2008. My list of music will probably just make me seem old (Lindsey Buckingham) or common place (Ting Tings) or just plain weird (Sixpence None the Richer "Dawn of Grace", Vincent Price "Master of the Macabre"), so, I'm sticking with DVD's.

2008 finally convinced me that everything and anything will eventually be legally ownable, and nothing convinced me more than the appearance of the Complete Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show on DVD. A short-lived Saturday morning show from my childhood, the Hudsons sang Beatle-esque pop in between corny sketches. Featuring a cast that included something that I still find the most amusing aspect of the show, Rod Hull and his Emu. Yes, he's a ventriliquist, but more than that, he was freakin' funny. as opposed to most of the humor on display. As an artifact of a time when garish colors and corny jokes ruled the television airwaves this is a time-capsule. Most viewers not already exposed to this show may (will) grow bored by episode 3 or 4. The uninitiated would be better off watching in small doses. As most of the shows are kinda same-y, yet different. In all honesty, marathon viewing is not recommended for anyone. From what I remember, the Hudson's follow up show Bonkers!, which showed in Chicago after Second City TV (it wasn't SCTV yet) at 12:30AM Sunday mornings, was a much less kid friendly (i.e adult) show that ran it's course even quicker than this show. I guess I'll never say never about that showing up on disc either. I'll report back to you next year if it does.

In 1993 Yugoslavian Director Emir Kusturica was given a huge budget, as much time as he needed (reportedly over a year, during which time he had a nervous breakdown) and a great cast to make a film. Arizona Dream is that film.
A 142 minute surrealistic ballet is what he handed back to Warner Brothers. Understandably, a major studio has no idea how to market such a thing, so they cut 20 minutes and released it straight to video where it was loudly ignored. Well, flash-forward to 2008 and it's still being ignored. Though available for many years, from many countries, with various extra's, 2008 saw a DVD that can finally be played in US DVD players, at a reasonable price. And though it has no extra's, it IS the 142 minute Directors Cut. I was going to list a collection of sights and journey's that this movie takes you through, but I think Roger Ebert put it best in his summation - "Here is a movie containing wonderful sights. Ambulances to the moon. Unsuccessful suicide by bungee cord. Johnny Depp. A dog saving a man from death in the Arctic. Faye Dunaway. Turtles crawling through meatballs. Jerry Lewis. A man who counts fish. Paulina Porizkova. Airplanes that look like they were borrowed from "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines." Michael J. Pollard. Thunderstorms." Yep, that just about sums it up. You'll either love it or hate it, but it will challenge you to take a stand one way or the other like movies rarely do.

Other DVD's I most appreciated seeing the lens of my player:
Talk Talk "Live at Montreux".
The Oh-my-God they finally got it right Ray Harryhausen reissues, particularly The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,
James Cagney chewing right through the celluloid in Man of A Thousand Faces,
And I can't forget A Colbert Christmas. You'll laugh, you'll cry. It truly was "The Greatest Gift of All".