November 09, 2006

Gratuitous DVD Quick Hits

I'm pretty busy today and also not feeling that articulate, so I thought that instead of trying to churn out a full length post on anything in particular, I would instead offer up a few quick DVD-based observations that have been bubbling about in the ol' cranium for the past couple days:

*** Gratuitous Firefly Observation: I know it's very popular with some folk, but I have to say that "Jaynestown" is probably my least favorite of all the episodes. I'm still not entirely sure why this is, although part of it certainly is the ridiculous ballad in the tavern scene.

*** Gratuitous A Mighty Wind Observation: Spinal Tap meets the Folk Scene. Why was I not told of this movie before? A real delight! While it doesn't produce that many LOL moments, I found myself chuckling all the way through. A solid, solid performance by a cast that ought to be ashamed of themselves for evidently having so much fun. And a special Yip! Yip! for Catherine O'Hara, who I've always liked.

***Gratuitous Hornblower Observation: About "The Duchess and the Devil" - Okay, the Cockney Duchess who helps out Hornblower I remember from the book. But why on earth does the film add an extra layer to her by making her an actress (and a very well-spoken one at that) playing the cockney? If I remember correctly, 'twere the other way round in the book. The story line of the film really makes no sense.

Oh, and poor old Mr. Kennedy! In the books, Kennedy was Hornblower's solid, slow, eternally cheerful counterweight. The series transmogrifies him into an epilectic basket-case. Shame.

*** One of the things about Netflix I've found is that I sometimes feel compelled to toss a movie in the queue because I've seen it in edited, fragmented form on cable so many times that I need to watch it all the way through just to feel a sense of completeness. (I dislike chopped-up films as much as I dislike chopped-up music.) I ran off The Hunt for Red October recently for just this purpose and I've recently ordered up Gladiator for the same reason, even though I have a hard time getting past the film's historical silliness and just enjoying the action for action's sake.

*** And speaking of silly Roman films, the Missus and I recently watched one about the Emperor Augustus starring, of all people, Peter O'Toole (The fact that O'Toole is still alive continues to amaze me, but that's a different story.) It's set in flashback format, with the old Augustus musing on the collapse of the Roman Republic interspersed with scenes of his younger self's corresponding rise to power and, unfortunately, borders at times on the soap opera. I'm pretty sure that the real young Octavian didn't spend his time wandering about and brooding on the weight of the world being placed on his shoulders - one didn't rise to the top of the heap in late Republican politics, much less survive, with that kind of misty-eyed attitude. All in all, I think Brian Blessed's portrayal of Augustus was probably nearer the historical mark.

Oh, and in this film, Maecenas, Augustus' friend and great patron of the arts, is portrayed - if you'll pardon the expression - as a flaming queen. Whether there's any historickal evidence for this, I dunno, but it's the first time I've ever seen the suggestion made.

UPDATE: Oh, and as I may have mentioned before, when I become Emperor of the World, one of my first decrees will be that all DVDs will be required to contain gag reels.

Posted by Robert at November 9, 2006 10:19 AM | TrackBack

A Mighty Wind is a gem.

Posted by: jen at November 9, 2006 11:22 AM

I assume you've seen "Best in Show?" Pretty much the same cast as Mighty Wind.

Posted by: The Colossus at November 9, 2006 12:18 PM

No, I never have. But Mom was carrying on about it recently so I tossed it in the cart. Same with "Waiting for Guffman" so I could round out the thing.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at November 9, 2006 12:36 PM

Consensus in our family is that Waiting for Guffman is the best of the Christpher Guest bunch. However, it is a little dated at this point. Still hilarious, though.

Posted by: jen at November 9, 2006 02:04 PM

I'd have to go with This Is Spinal Tap as the best of the Christopher Guest oeuvre, but that's because I'm a conservative young fogey. A Mighty Wind and Waiting for Guffman are nifty little films, though. Guest has a new one out, For Your Consideration, that I'll probably see on DVD at some point. The reviews have been mixed at best.

Posted by: utron at November 9, 2006 02:44 PM