'Documentary Now! Seasons 1 & 2' (+ Digital)
(Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Helen Mirren, Jack Black, John Slattery, Anne Hathaway, Maya Rudolph, Mia Farrow, Peter Fonda, Paul Thomas Anderson, Faye Dunaway, Cameron Crowe, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / NR / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: "Saturday Night Live" compatriots Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers serve as creators, executive producers and writers of this IFC original series, using their love of documentary films and combining it with comedy to present a unique take on the form.
Blu-ray Verdict: In my humble opinion, IFC has produced some of the best alternative comedy in the past decade. From Portlandia to Comedy Bang Bang!, they've raised the stakes for what alt comedy should/could be.
Imagine to my surprise when a few days ago, while contemplating what to review next here for the magazine, Seasons 1 & 2 of the insanely brilliant 'Documentary Now!' series showed up! Out now via Mill Creek Entertainment, this is the very first time the show has been released on Blu-ray.
Starring alt comedy darlings Bill Hader and Fred Armisan, produced by Seth Myers and Lorne Micheals, and presented by Helen Friggin' Mirren, my expectations rose to kilimanjaric levels before even seeing the opening "skit" - and after seeing it, I was not disappointed!
Now, having seen the entire two seasons, I have to say that the very first "skit" (actually, shall we call it an installment, perhaps), is as pure gold as I had hoped it to be!
That installment is "Sandy Passage," a parody (and yes, I'm definitely using that term loosely!) of the 1975 classic about a two-man film crew who set their sights on chronicling a mother-daughter pair of socialites living in a ramshackle estate, is, for me at least, the actual highlight of this collection.
The installment essentially plays the film beat-by-beat with Armisen being the mother and Hader being the daughter. Trust me, you read that right and it's way funnier than you could ever even imagine, trust me.
Anyway, and I won't do this for every installment, but continuing on this one, it's all very funny, satisfying, and even a bit poignant - but the real kicker comes at the very end, when ... ** SPOILER ALERT ** ... it is revealed that the mother and daughter are murderers; both responsible for the "disappearances" of their former boyfriends and grocery boys!
The ending genuinely scarred me, and as someone who often watches horror movies, that's saying something. Though the twist does feel all the more jarring after having sat through something so slow, of course.
Just the first of many surprisingly nice little tributes, 'Documentary Now!' is a genuine trailblazer of a documentary industry series, and a nice entrance into the world of the minds behind some of the best SNL skits to date. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.