A very solid week on DVD this week, crowned by this year’s Best Picture winner, The King’s Speech, making its way on to small screens. But that’s only leading a charge that includes bombs aplenty including misfires from Peter Weir, Sofia Coppola and a colossal pile of sunk costs from Jack Black!

All that plus some very cool retro TV on DVD choices and the latest film from one of the most legendary action stars of all time. Betcha can’t guess who it is.

Check it out below…

 

Feature Films

The King’s Speech

There are so many lazy Oscar prognosticators out there. So many. And what was there favorite cliche this year? That The King’s Speech was a movie “tailor-made for the Academy”. That if you could make a movie specifically for the Academy it would be this one?

Really? This is the movie that you’d make? In what world does that make sense? This movie couldn’t be less tailor-made for the Academy. Let’s play a little game where we go back in time to see how many Best Picture winners we have to go through in order to find one that resembles the type of “tailor-made Best Picture winner” that The King’s Speech is.

The Hurt Locker

Gritty, ultra-realistic war picture without a touch of “prestige”. Not even close.

Slumdog Millionaire

A hyper-kinetic trip through the slums of India. Doesn’t exactly scream upper-crust.

No Country for Old Men

An ultra-violent commentary on present society. (Which beat The Queen, by the way)

The Departed

A dirty crime drama filled littered with violence and Bah-stahn accents. No British manners here.

Crash

A hyper-link modern-day Los Angeles film about race relations. Wasn’t a whole lot of diversity in Speech.

Million Dollar Baby

A boxing drama. Hey, at least the sport was invented in England.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

A fanboy fantasy epic. At least it has the word “King” in the title.

Chicago

A subversive musical about murder with a total post-modern presentation. Though there was some “sing-as-speech”

A Beautiful Mind

A character study about a crazy southern mathematician.

Gladiator

A swords and sandal action epic.

American Beauty

A comedic modern-set suburban satire. Couldn’t be more the opposite.

Shakespeare in Love

British? Check. High-Class? Check. Prestigious Subject Matter? Check check check.

Yes! We finally have a film that sort of resembles the type of “surefire Oscar film” that was The King’s Speech.

It took us an amazing twelve Best Picture winners in order to finally find a film that looks and feels like The King’s Speech. So where did these Oscar writers find this cliche? There are several Oscar winners in recent years that couldn’t be less like The King’s Speech, yet this is the movie that you’d make in a paint-by-numbers Oscar formula?

Look at those Best Picture winners again. See what they have in common? That’s right, they won Best Picture. That’s it! This is a genre grab-bag and tonal mishmash if there ever was one on all sorts of different scales, budgets and pedigrees.

In other words, there is no formula for an Best Picture Oscar winner. It just happens.

And if you want to see why that happened to this film, you can buy The King’s Speech on DVD.

Gulliver’s Travels

I thought about writing a brief few paragraphs about how Jack Black has become irrelevant (and this movie proves it), but then I got to wonder – was he ever really the big star that everybody seems to think he is?

Think about it, he’s only had one real hit that was a “Jack Black Movie” – The School of Rock. His other big hits were Tropic Thunder (an ensemble piece of which he was about the seventh most memorable character), The Holiday (a chick flick where his role could’ve been played by anybody), King Kong (a minor role at best, a role you didn’t even remember at worst) and Kung Fu Panda (a cartoon where his voice role could have been filled by anybody).

That’s about it. The rest of his career is mostly cameos and huge misfires such as Year One, Envy and Nacho Libre.

And now this massive bomb. A movie that bombed so horrifically that it didn’t really effect him because nobody even remembers it came out.

So is this guy really a gigantic comedic movie star? You look at the Eddie Murphys and Ben Stillers of the world in their primes and you see nothing but $100 million hits for a five-to-ten-year run. Where is Jack Black’s run? I don’t see a prime anywhere.

And that’s not to rag on Jack Black. I think he’s great. By my count he should have two Oscar nominations right now (for High Fidelity and Rock), but I don’t think he’s ever gotten close to the Comic Megastar Status people seem to want to attach to him.

But if you really dig him, you can buy Gulliver’s Travels on DVD.

Also:

TV on DVD

“Captain Planet and the Planeteers”: Season 1

Nickelodeon recently announced plans to dedicate a channel to all the great Nick shows of my youth. Shows like “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Hey Dude”. I’m extremely excited, but it’s just not enough for me.

It’s probably too much to ask, but I wish we could go without network borders and combine all the shows I loved in my youth to one channel regardless of who produced them. “Captain Planet” would definitely be on that list, if only for the theme song.

Also, now that I’m more sophisticated than I was when I was drooling out of a sippy cup and watching this show, I may finally find out why exactly the Planeteers didn’t just summon Captain Planet right at the beginning of every episode. It seemed each storyline revolved around one of them getting separated from the rest of the group (usually that pipsqueak Heart) and the other four desperately trying to find that person so they could summon Captain Planet and the episode would end.

Luckily, we can at least finally solve that mystery and buy Captain Planet: Season 1 on DVD.

Also:

  • “American Dad”: Volume 6 – Buy Now
  • Ernie Kovacs Collection – Buy Now
  • “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”: Season 6 – Buy Now

And Just So You Know, This DVD Exists…