'Comedy 20 Movie Collection'
(Sally Field, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Love Hewitt, John C. Reilly, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2017 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: The 'Comedy 20 Movie Collection' is a premium, 20-Movie Collection of licensed films from Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures now out via Mill Creek Entertainment: Punchline, Postcards From The Edge, Hollywood Homicide, Hudson Hawk, The Freshman, Cops and Robbersons, Threesome, Wilder Napalm, The Velocity of Gary, Go!, Hexed, Jersey Girl, The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human, The Suburbans, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Brothers Solomon, Just Add Water, Can't Hardly Wait, High School High, Dancer, Texas - Pop. 81.
DVD Verdict: OK, well, of course I'm not going to review every single one of these incredible movies, but I will review five of my own personal favorites. Also, the titles above that are highlighted have already been reviewed as "new releases" on Blu-ray, so click those and check them out!
First off, 'Hudson Hawk" (1991, starring Bruce Willis, Andie MacDowell, and Danny Aiello) has always been one of my go-to favs for a night's entertainment. Nobody else seemed to enjoy it, or get it, but wow, it's just a delightful comedic romp where Bruce Willis doesn't take himself seriously - so why do you?!
The plot is simple enough: Eddie Hawkins, called "Hudson Hawk" has just been released from ten years of prison and is planning to spend the rest of his life honestly. But then the crazy Mayflower couple blackmail him to steal some of the works of Leonardo da Vinci. If he refuses, they threaten to kill his friend Tommy.
Willis was of course riding high after his success with the first two 'Die Hard' blockbusters, so Joel Silver must have given him total creative control because he must have been absolutely positive that Willis could not fail entirely. You can even see it in the credits where the name Willis is all over the screen. He even gets to sing, but not that great. Aiello does better.
Another under-rated movie is 1994's 'Cops and Robbersons', starring Chevy Chase, Jack Palance, and Dianne Wiest. When police discover that a mob hitman has moved in next door to the Robbersons, they want to find out what he is up to. So they set up a stakeout in the Robbersons' home. Hard-nosed, tough-as-nails Jake Stone is assigned to the stakeout. But now it's a question of whether Jake can last long enough to capture the bad guys. The Robbersons want to help so they are driving him crazy!
The film is a typical Chevy Case movie from the '80s and '90s. It's almost like the 'Fletch' movies or the National Lampoon's best vacation movies. But then, it's also from 'Fletch' director Michael Ritchie so that explains an awful lot, I guess. In truth, and as much as people have rated this as Ritchie's worst movie I laughed way more then I have in many movies of this ilk, believe me.
Here Chase is doing a great job of a cops and robbers story, where Chase's strange family, called the Robbersons, is encountered by and awful lot of challenges, as he is when on his best. Jack Palance is great as the old "Dr. Jeckyll and Mister Hyde"-detective, and so is Robert Davi as the scaring and dangerous Osborn, which is staked out from Robbersons house, as their new neighbor. Diane Weist is lovely naive is the wife, and the kids are also great; with extra kudos to Miko Hughes as the youngest son with a Dracula-mania!
'Go! ' (1999) is yet another panned film that is just, well, rather brilliant in its own sweet way. Starring William Fichtner, Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr, Sarah Polley, and Scott Wolf, 'Go!' is told from three perspectives: a story of a bunch of young Californians trying to get some cash, who do and deal some drugs, who score money and sex in Las Vegas, and generally experience the rush of life thereafter.
The narrative approach is similar to films like 'Pulp Fiction', wherein multiple story lines contain some common element(s) and intersect at times throughout the film. John August's script uses this approach well and manages to tell a story that is clever and unpredictable.
The film-makers assembled a pretty good mix of young talent to bring this story to life. There are no award caliber performances but the acting is decidedly above par for a teen-oriented film like this.
The direction by Doug Liman is also well-handled and shows some inventiveness without being overindulgent. Additionally, the soundtrack is skillfully assembled and fits the film's atmosphere perfectly.
Next up is 'The Brothers Solomon (2007), starring Will Arnett, Will Forte, and Kristen Wiig. John and Dean Solomon may have Ph.D.s, but they're socially inept after their widowed father home-schooled them in Antarctica. When their beloved dad falls into a coma, they hatch a plan to revive him using a positive emotional shock - giving him a grandchild.
Of course, things go drastically wrong from start to finish for the brothers, let alone the their chosen surrogate mother (Wiig). But, and much like Steve and Doug Butabi from 'A Night at the Roxbury', the Solomon's never let their spirits down; as if they're completely oblivious to their unwieldy social shortcomings.
Indeed, their chipper attitude remains constant, even when they disagree, and it casts a bizarre sense of satisfaction straight through to the moronic conclusion. To say that the events in the film are even remotely believable or sensible would be a gross exaggeration, yet one has to appreciate the inane degree of preposterousness the film achieves with its extremely over-the-top comedy.
Lastly we have, in my humble opinion, 'Can't Hardly Wait (1988) starring Ethan Embry, Seth Green, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. It's high school graduation and, like all seniors, they want to party. So, 500 high school seniors look forward to a party while, in the meantime, a boy wants to get a girl he's loved for years who just broke up with her boyfriend, and one head-case who wants revenge on a lifelong bully. So, the party comes, things develop. People have sex, drink, and go along with most of the guidelines of a high school graduation party.
What a sweet movie this is! Predictable all the way, but saved by it's extremely likeable cast: Ethan Embry, as the daydreamer nice guy, Seth Green, showing off is talent in his part as a wigger and the photogenic Jennifer Love Hewitt, who has the part of "perfect girl" down to perfection. (Is there any other way to describe it? She really is that good at it.)
Like most good films in its genre 'Can't Hardly Wait' has many witty moments, pace and charm. The parallels with 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High' are obvious. Without the everlasting stereotypes and standard story lines (nice boy wants girl - nerd gets cheerleader for one night or forever more) this kind of film might actually distinguish itself. These are both Full Screen/Widescreen Presentations (1.33:1/1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.