How to Spend $20

By David Mumpower

July 27, 2004

You know, for a non-orange chick, you ain't half bad.

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Editor's note: Les Winan is still on vacation, but he will return next week.

Taking a look ahead at the week's DVD releases is always dicey for your wallet. Nearly every week, there's a disc that would fit nicely into any size collection. When it comes time to decide what to buy, there are really two determining factors: how much you love the content and the quality of the extra features on the disc.

As a result, decisions will be totally subjective The massive unreleased studio (film and television) back-catalogue means that every week there's likely something for every film fan. So before you think to yourself, "I would not pay four dollars to watch Showgirls when it was in theaters, but a special edition DVD with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $39.98 seems like a bargain" stop; ask yourself, "Why!?" and then check to see if Showgirls: VIP Edition (or your disc of choice) is one of the weekly BOP DVD recommendations.

For Kevin Dyson...The Whole Ten Yards

For those of you who are not football fans, Dyson is the guy who was tackled a yard short of the goal line, thereby stopping the Tennessee Titans from winning Super Bowl XXXIV. This movie has absolutely nothing to do with football, but I wanted to put an exciting image in your head before discussing what a crime against nature Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry have created. As one of the approximately two million people who were victimized by watching this movie, I can assure that it is every bit as awful as you have been thinking. That year it spent on the shelf unreleased only managed to make it more stale. High points of the movie are a flatulent old woman, an incomprehensible mob boss and the possible unsolicited sodomy of Perry's character by Die Hard's, Jimmy the Tulip. If you watch this one, you will know exactly how Perry's character feels.

For Peter Gabriel fans unable to come to terms with the fact that he's old, fat and bald now: Sledge Hammer! Season One

The 1980s cop spoof show was criminally underappreciated. Celebrating the David Zucker/Files from Police Squad style of slapstick comedy, this show was a fish out of water in the Style Over Substance decade. Featuring an unbalanced gun nut who even scares Dirty Harry as the main cop, the show was a violent reaction to the MTV cops down in Miami. Sledge Hammer's signal to noise ratio might not be the best in the world. But it speaks volumes about the general perception of the show that it has been one of the most passionately requested DVD releases in the format's history. A small but zealous fanbase already know what people who take a chance on these discs will soon discover. Even on his best day, Leslie Nielsen's Lt. Frank Drebin is no comedy match for David Rasche's Sledge Hammer.

For Zach, Screech and Slater as they wistfully think about what might have been...Showgirls (VIP Edition)

Has it really been almost ten years since this film's release? With regards to critical reception, Showgirls is best described as Gigli multiplied by Catwoman. Ostensibly, the movie was to show that recovering child actress Elizabeth Berkley could make it as a mainstream actress.

In the process of trying to prove she was all grown up, she went on a press tour. During this period, the never-to-be-seen-again actress emphasized to anyone that would listen that her titty flick was not created with the sole intention of becoming a late night Cinemax celebration of onanism. To the contrary, she found herself reaching the heights of feminine empowerment as she licked a stripper's pole and offered to perform oral sex on Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon. It's not often that a woman can simultaneously alienate potential viewers, Hollywood suits and appall feminists with the same press clippings. The fact that Berkley managed to do just this due to her disingenuous remarks might seem destructive.

To the contrary, it's the very madness that has helped create a new cult classic. People looking to mock the actress indefinitely stumbled upon a movie so inept that they were oddly drawn to it in a fashion that hasn't been witnessed since Tim Curry wore stockings and sang show tunes to Susan Sarandon. The result has been that some enterprising fans of the movie have celebrated its excesses to the point that one of them, David Schmader, even gets to do a derisive commentary track on the DVD. Showgirls is a movie that writer Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven will never live down, but it has become the holy grail of bad movies.

For Bound fans considering a career as groupies: Rocked With Gina Gershon

Fans of Gina Gershon who want to watch her in something that doesn't totally suck are left with this disc as their only choice this week. The IFC Channel created this reality series to cater to fans of the ambisexual actress and fledgling rock musician. Gershon, who developed a taste for playing the guitar and singing badly during the production of Prey for Rock and Roll, came up with the perfect strategy for promoting her movie. She got the band back together again (for the first time), and had them play a handful of club dates. Her group, Girls Against Boys, had a series of misadventures which comprise the six episodes of the series. The disc contains all the episodes in their entirety. Given the choice between watching a novice musician sing off-key and a screening of Showgirls, you know what you gotta do, pilgrim.

For people looking to kill time between Nascar races and Grand Ole Opry performances...and Haley Joel Osment fans: The Jeff Foxworthy Show: The Complete First Season

This series represents typical network thinking. Foxworthy, a former IBM computer technician, caught lightning in a bottle one night during a stand-up routine. He had the epiphany that his extreme southern accent made him a natural fit to gently mock his heritage using the now-ubiquitous You Might Be a Redneck If... jokes. A cottage industry was born that night, and Foxworthy grew very wealthy selling t-shirts, coffee mugs and daily calendars with said jokes.

Someone at ABC took note, giving the comedian his own half hour sitcom in 1995. The show itself was every bit as forgettable as is to be expected. The one caveat to this was the casting team's ability to pick unusually gifted child actors to portray Foxworthy's family members. The first boy signed to play his son was named Haley Joel Osment. The second season saw the introduction of another kid named Jonathan Lipnicki. His film release later that year, Jerry Maguire, made Lipnicki the most famous cast member until such a time as Osment saw dead people.

The show failed to strike a chord with a large viewing audience. The main reason it is being released on DVD now is the combination of Osment's presence along with Foxworthy's recent resurgence due to the cable and video success of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

For Winston Churchhill...V: The Complete Series (Set)

I must admit that I barely remember this series, but I did watch it during its initial run. Most fans of the V franchise seem to feel that the series itself was a letdown after the gripping mini-series, but the fact that we are still talking about any of it 20 years later is high praise. If nothing else, V: the Series offers viewers the chance to see Robert Englund in a part where he isn't a homicidal maniac with sharp claws and a severe case of sunburn.

For enemies of lasagna desperate to see it come to a violent end: Garfield & Friends Volume 1

For those of you who have children, but don't want to get stuck re-living your theatrical disaster at Scooby-Doo, this is a nice alternative. Garfield and Friends was a popular animated series some 15 years ago, and its gentle (some might say flavorless), timeless nature allows it to offer approximately the same level of enjoyment today. While that might not be much, taking a family of four to see the movie starring Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love-Hewitt would cost about $35 including snacks. This DVD has a MSRP of $39.98, and you and the spouse can probably use it as a distraction technique, thereby enabling you to sneak off to the bedroom and enjoy a much-needed sexual liaison. And even if you do get stuck watching it at some point, it still has 100% less Breckin Meyer.

For people who have heard the news about Rasputin's 30 centimeter penis and want to check it out for themselves: Hellboy (Special Edition)

Various longstanding rumors were recently confirmed by a pickled penis on display for any Rasputin fan to study. He was all man, a walking foot-long hot dog if you will. What you may not realize is that he is also the comic book villain who opposes the incongruously-named good guy, Hellboy.

The movie based upon Hellboy had done little to excite me in the weeks leading up to its release. The advertising indicated a generic CGI-fest with little in the way of appeal for non-nerds. To my surprise, the movie turned out to be one of the most enjoyable action adventures of the past 15 years.

Ron Perlman is perfectly cast as the petulant child with inhuman strength and severe daddy issues stemming from the fact that Papa rules Hell. While so many comic book movies offer relatively vanilla heroes, thereby allowing the superpowers and the villains to stand out, Hellboy takes a different road. It celebrates the appeal of Perlman, managing to make him believable as a confused child trying to find his place in a world which has no place for him. Had any actor but Perlman been given this role, I would almost be certainly be saying something more condescending about the project. Due to his extraordinary efforts, though, Hellboy is my easy choice for DVD of the week.

July 27, 2004

Andromeda: Season Two Collection (10-DVD Set) (2001)
Attack the Gas Station (1999)
Blue Spring (2001)
The Celebration (1998)
Conquest (1983)
Contraband (1980)
Garfield and Friends: Volume One (3-DVD) (1988)
Hellboy (2-Disc Special Edition) (2004)
Hell's Angels 69 (1969)
High Art (1998)
In the Soup (1992)
The Kids Who Saved Summer (2004)
Kung Phooey (2003)
La Balance (1982)
La Ceremonie (1996)
Masques (1987)
The Miracle of Marcelino (1955)
Mr. Billion (1977)
Ned Kelly (2003)
Pennies from Heaven (1981)
Rocked with Gina Gershon (2004)
Showgirls (VIP Limited Edition) (1995)
Sledge Hammer: Season One (4-DVD Set) (1986)
Story of Women (1988)
They Came to Cordura (1959)
Tomie: Forbidden Fruit (2002)
Trailer Town (2003)
Tropix (2002)
Tuesday Never Comes (1993)
V: The Complete Series (3-DVD Set) (1984)
Vamps 2: Blood Sisters (2002)
The Whole Ten Yards (2004)
The Wickesboro Incident (2001)
Zombie (1979)
Zombie 2 (1979)
Zorro Rides Again (1936)



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