How to Spend $20
By Eric Hughes
April 6, 2010

The one on the right is Viggo. The one on left seems familiar but I've forgotten who he (?) is.

Welcome to How to Spend $20, BOP's look at the latest Blu-ray discs and DVDs to hit stores nationwide. This week: A catering company wreaks havoc in LA, The Lord of the Rings gets released (again!) and two ‘90s kidvid classics get bundled together.

Pick of the Week

For people who want to see Jane Lynch do what she does best (improv): Party Down: Season One

The funniest show on television that you aren't watching is Starz's Party Down. Based on the nearly universal acclaim for the show's freshman season, I on a whim decided to finally check out the show just a month or two ago and without a doubt approve of my decision to do so. Fans of funny TV will love Party Down. Striking a delicate balance between hilarity and good melodrama, it can probably best be described as a cross between Reno 911! (for the improv) and earlier seasons of The Office (for its quick wit and romance drama). What's even more impressive is it did so in its first season. I found myself recommending it to people after just the pilot episode.

Borrowing the structure utilized in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's Extras, Party Down episodes each take place in different settings with guest stars – Ken Jeong, J.K. Simmons, Rob Corddry, Kristen Bell – filtering in and out over the course of the season. The show's characters are employed by a Los Angeles-based catering company. Most of them, save for their boss with big dreams in the food service industry, couldn't care less about their day job and view the work as a mere stepping stone towards bigger and better things. Catered events include everything from singles seminars to an awards after party (for porn) to a high school reunion.

I do wonder what will happen to the show if it were to extend beyond season two, which will premiere on April 23rd. Adam Scott, arguably the show's star, has reportedly left the show for Parks and Recreation. And Ryan Hansen, who plays what may be the most gullible/aloof character on TV, has signed on for a role on an NBC pilot. Party Down could get by without Hansen, but Scott is a different story. Since Party Down's inception, the comedy's most important storyline has been his Ross and Rachel relationship with Lizzy Caplan's character. But, the show survived Jane Lynch's departure (Glee) by bringing in Jennifer Coolidge for the episodes Lynch couldn't appear in. And Megan Mullally will be a series regular beginning with Party Down's season two premiere. Party Down has already reinvented itself. I'm sure it could do so again.

Disc includes: Audio commentary, alternate scenes, gag reel, two behind-the-scenes featurettes

For people who have wanted to complement their Lord of the Rings DVD set with more LOTR movies: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy [Blu-ray]

Well, you probably know as well I do that The Lord of the Rings trilogy (or individual movies from the popular franchise) have been released on home media approximately 57 times. There have been theatrical cuts, director's cuts, extended editions, collector's editions, hobbit editions*, Shire Sing-Along editions and so on. Usually my eyes glaze over with each new release, but I've broken precedent this week because the movies have finally moved into spanking new territory that has little to do with deleted scenes, audio commentary and special featurettes: Blu-ray.

Surprisingly, The Lord of the Rings trilogy breaks into the high-definition format for the first time today with a three-disc set. The discs, however, are little more than theatrical cuts coupled with a handful of featurettes. If home media releases of the Lord of the Rings franchise were ever put on a spectrum of some kind, the new Blu-ray package would fall on the bare bones side of things. You can probably expect another dozen or so Blu-ray releases shortly.

*This doesn't exist
**This also doesn't exist... yet.

The Fellowship of the Ring disc includes: Three documentaries, The Creation of J.R.R. Tolkein's World featurette, "May It Be" music video by Enya, The Two Towers preview, The Lord Of The Rings: Aragon's Quest Game

The Two Towers disc includes: Two documentaries, The Long and Short of It featurette (Sean Astin directs), The Technical Wizardry Behind This Middle Chapter of the Saga featurette, "Gollum's Song" music video by Emiliana Torrini, The Return of the King preview

The Return of the King disc includes: Three documentaries, The Breakthrough Effects Work and Character Detail featurette, Extended DVD Edition preview

For people who are excited that major league baseball has finally started up again: Sandlot/Rookie of the Year (Double Feature)

Besides the late ‘80s/early ‘90s animated musicals from Disney, my childhood in film basically boiled down to The Sandlot and Rookie of the Year, two movies that are being released today in a double feature pack. Both revolve around the game of baseball, with one being about a group of young ballplayers (and one huge dog) who play improvised games at a "sandlot." The other, Rookie of the Year, has a young Thomas Ian Nicholas playing a 12-year-old baseball prodigy who, following arm surgery that leaves his arm tendons healing "a little too tight," learns he can toss a pretty mean fastball.

The Sandlot disc includes: One featurette

Rookie of the Year disc includes: One featurette

For people who read People magazine religiously: Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami: Complete First Season

The Kardashians are the biggest thing E! has going at the moment. The fourth season finale of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which aired opposite the Olympics in February, posted record-breaking numbers for its parent network (4.8 million viewers). Though not as huge as Keeping Up, its spinoff, Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami, attracted 2.6 million viewers during its season one finale in October 2009, good enough for E!'s best season one finale numbers in seven years. To the surprise of no one, the show has already been renewed for a second season.

Sorry, folks. It was either Kardashian talk or the Garfield: The Movie/Garfield: Tail of Two Kittys twofer. Slow week!

Disc includes: Deleted scenes, "Khloe After Dark" radio show interviews, Keeping Up with the Kardashians: The Wedding," "Wedding" episode deleted scenes

April 6, 2010

America the Beautiful
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.0
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series
Blood Ties: The Complete Series
A Bridge Too Far
Bulletproof Monk
Cocoon (25th Anniversary Edition)
The Collector
Dispatch Zimbabwe: Live At Madison Square Garden
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story
Dolan's Cadillac
Dreamscape (Special Edition)
Flight Of The Intruder
The Graduate
Hart's War
The Last Waltz
The Lord Of The Rings (Deluxe Edition)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy
Napoleon Dynamite
National Geographic: Canyonlands
The Natural (Director's Cut)
Oh Happy Day: Sunday Morning Music
Out of Time
Planet Of The Apes
The Protector (Ultimate Edition)
The Relic
Road House
Sharpe's Challenge
Sharpe's Peril
Super Troopers
The Terminator
The Thomas Crown Affair
The Usual Suspects
Walking Tall
War Eagle, Arkansas
Yosemite National Park 2009

Ally McBeal: The Complete Second Season (Widescreen)
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.0
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series (Boxed Set)
Blood Ties: The Complete Series
Bon Jovi: Round & Round (Widescreen)
Cocoon (25th Anniversary Edition)
The Collector
Dolan's Cadillac
Dreamscape (Special Edition)
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years
Firefly: The Complete Series
Garfield: The Movie / Garfield: Tail of Two Kitty (Double Feature)
Igor (Includes DVD)
Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami: Complete First Season
The Lord Of The Rings (Deluxe Edition)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy
The Natural (Director's Cut)
Party Down: Season One
The Protector (Ultimate Edition)
Sandlot/Rookie Of The Year (Double Feature)
Sharpe's Peril
Six Degrees of Helter Skelter (Special Edition)
The Supernatural (Collectible Tin Box)
WWE: Hart & Soul - Hart Family Anthology