DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Our Very Own

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matt Hough, Jul 4, 2007.

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  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Our Very Own
    Directed by Cameron Watson

    Studio: Miramax
    Year: 2005
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic
    Running Time: 106 minutes
    Rating: NR
    Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles: EHD, Spanish, French
    MSRP: $29.99

    Release Date: July 3, 2007
    Review Date: July 4, 2007

    The Film

    2.5/5

    If you want to think of slice-of-life teen comedy-dramas, then you’d naturally gravitate toward American Graffiti or one of John Hughes’ films like Sixteen Candles. Our Very Own would like to take its place among those fondly remembered films from the past, but it’s not in the same league, not by a long shot.

    Writer-director Cameron Watson has written about five close high school friends on summer vacation looking for ways to occupy their time in 1978 Shelbyville, Tennessee. As characters, they’re pretty much off the movie plot assembly line: the hot-to-trot Bobbi (Hilarie Burton), Melora who dreams of movie stardom (Autumn Reeser), Ray the quiet one (Derek Carter), Glen who’s sensitive and probably gay (Michael McKee), and Clancy, the fun-loving extrovert with troubled parents (Jason Ritter). These five pal around each night and become particularly excited when hometown celebrity Sondra Locke is rumored to be returning to publicize her new movie Every Which Way But Loose and attend the local horse show. They begin serious preparations to meet her which they hope might be their ticket out of the sleepy town.

    Their activities don’t amount to much (driving to Nashville to ride elevators in fancy hotels, visiting gay discos, playing bumper cars with shopping carts in a supermarket parking lot, and avoiding the town bullies who seem to have it out for them). More interesting are the financial problems facing Clancy’s parents (Allison Janney, Keith Carradine) exacerbated by his losing his job and his heavy drinking. But none of it actually ends up mattering in the end. The folks in Shelbyville are a gossipy lot, but they do tend to help their own.

    It seems rather cruel to pick on a film whose heart is clearly in the right place and which has such a fine cast. In addition to the award winning Janney and Carradine, the supporting players include Faith Prince as the town’s snooty matriarch, T. Scott Cunningham as the effervescent town vet who doubles as a theater director, and Beth Grant who steals all of her scenes as Melora’s chain-smoking mother who’s constantly grumbling under her breath about her daughter’s “wild” ways. But a movie with a cast this excellent deserves a script to match, and Watson has let his players down providing inadequate resolutions to plot threads started, bits of story thrown in that add nothing to the narrative (a neighboring family’s mother who ran off when her children began having incestuous progeny of their own, a watcher in the woods who lives off the land), and characters who are criminally underdeveloped (those played by Cheryl Hines and Mary Badham in particular).

    There are two good new songs in the film, a title song co-composed by star Keith Carradine and the song “Far Away from Here” which the five friends sing in a too-sophisticated arrangement at a climactic talent show. The small town Southern atmosphere with its women’s clubs and comfy corner diners is well represented, but even those positive attributes can’t help a film whose plot needs some serious work.


    Video Quality

    4/5

    The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented in an above average anamorphic transfer. Though most of the film looks sharp with acceptable detail, there are scenes where the picture looks flat and a bit soft. The color is realistic with nice flesh tones. No edge enhancement was noticed. The film is divided into 12 chapters.

    Audio Quality

    3.5/5

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is rather subdued. Though in the film there are a fair number of disco tunes of the era, they’re mostly spread across the front and not filtered through the rear channels. Ambient effects are likewise not spread into the rears where they might have provided an added heft to the sound mix.

    Special Features

    1/5

    Apart from three included trailers of Underdog, Wild Hogs, and The Invisible, there are no other features on the disc. The trailers are presented in non-anamorphic letterbox.

    In Conclusion

    2.5/5 (not an average)

    A good cast and some authentic Southern atmosphere are just about all Our Very Own has going for it. And having taken two years for this movie to make it to DVD, perhaps others knew this as well.



    Matt Hough
    Charlotte, NC
     

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