EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Film Length: 71 minutes
Genre: Animated Comedy
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: Dolby Digital: 5.1 English, 2.0 Surround French
Subtitles: English, French
Suggested List Price: US$26.95
Release Date: November 04, 2003
Ok, so Christmas isn’t for everyone, and it certainly isn’t for Adam Sandler. Rather than the twelve days of Christmas, he should be celebrating the eight days of Chanukah like most other Jews. But even Sandler’s character Davey isn’t celebrating this holiday in this animated film Eight Crazy Nights. He is actually out to make the town as miserable as possible. A drunk, a loser, and certainly not a people person or even close to sweeping women off of their feet, Davey represents the sad state of a man whose closed up personality makes the worst out of him.
After an incident that almost puts him in jail, Davey is given a final chance to shape up his personality. The task is volunteered by a little guy named Whitey, an older man who does anything for anyone for the exchange of a smile or a nickel no matter what the job. Most people don’t believe that he can shape Davey up, but heck; it’s the holidays so anything can happen, right?
The two become acquainted hanging out at a mall and at the basketball court where Whitey coaches kids in school. Davey also becomes acquainted with a young boy name Benjamin during a competitive two-on-two game. He also knows he's the son of a girl who he once loved during childhood and hasn’t spoken to since. But Davey’s rude personality prevents him from ever opening up and getting closer to her. Whitey and his fraternal sister take Davey in their home to stay in hopes of making him a better man, but will their help be enough to help Davey overcome his past that has made him become the bitter man he is today? These will be eight crazy nights for Davey that could save him from his past and help others be recognized for what they deserve.
This is Sandler humour from beginning to end. I haven’t always been a Sandler fan, and with no coincidence I seem to love the movie “Punch-Drunk Love” more than any Sandler fan out there that gave it the thumbs-down. Columbia TriStar has released this two disc special edition of Eight Crazy Nights. It’s a funny film, and the animation can help with the humour a little more because of the obvious stunts that can’t be performed in reality and not taking the viewer out of a sense of believability. While most parents seem to be showing any film to their kids these days, this isn’t a kid’s film even though it is a cartoon. There is language, sexual references, and visuals that aren’t appropriate for a younger audience. As adults we may brush a lot of it off because it doesn’t truly seem offensive, but do note the PG-13 rating was trimmed from an R after some changes were made to animation sequences.
Mixed with a fine narration from Rob Schneider, many clever Sandler songs to sing along to, and featuring the voices of Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, and Norm Crosby, this is a fine comedy that will generate a few laughs from the more mature audience cartoon go-er. A new version of the Chanukah Song (Part 3) was written specifically for this film, so sit back, enjoy, and sing along.
Video Quality? /
This is a colourful animation that looks very well done on this widescreen enhanced 1.85:1 DVD (there is also a full screen option on this disc that wasn’t reviewed). The picture is solid with no distracting artifacts and no blemishes in the transfer that I could detect. The animation is vivid with colour but not over saturated a bit. There is a good sense of depth with the picture as well, since the animators have decided to pretend the viewer was seeing through the lens of a camera as background images are defocused with the foreground. At times this can be a little distracting because my brain tells me with the amount of distance between the animated ‘actors’ and their surroundings, there was a little ‘too much’ defocusing effect applied that didn’t feel right with me. But hey, it’s a cartoon so what am I talking about, anyways? A great animated feature to show off one’s video display quality.
Audio Quality? /
Sing along you Sandler fans because this is one soundtrack you will find very pleasing! Since this is a cartoon, all of the sounds are made from scratch (or pulled from the vault) so there is a lot of pressure to make a convincing soundstage. Was it pulled off? ABSOLUTELY! Actually, I was very surprised to hear how dynamic the sounds could be with such stunning clarity. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack portrayed a very frequency-balanced soundtrack that I can term as ‘fast, quick, and with a lot of snap’ to the sounds and the music instruments. Fidelity is great and surpasses that of many live action films. Spatial integration of all sounds and dialogue is fabulous and utilizes a wide front soundstage. Surrounds are very reserved used only for the obvious effect. For the most part they are pretty quiet and seem ineffective even though there is a lot of sound coming from them at a low volume. At first I thought this was meant as low-level detail for the surrounds, but now I feel more convinced that the surround levels could be encoded a few dB lower than it should be (in my mind) just by experimenting with scenes where the surrounds were engaged at their full volume – but this volume was still even a few dB lower than the main channels. I would like to hear the surrounds play a more prominent role in soundtracks to support the front channels on an equal playing field rather than at a reduced volume level.
Special Features? /
Special features for this special holiday film? Sure! On disc one we get a commentary from stars Whitey and his sister Eleanor talking to writer Allen Covert. Sandler plays the voices of these two characters in this film and thus we have a funny track rather than an informative one. So for those of you who want to hear Sandler ‘on the spot’ making jokes here’s your chance. We do get a second technical commentary from the director, art director, the head of animation, effects supervisor, and the executive producer. There’s a total party on that commentary track that is bound to give you useful information about the film’s animation. While some of it was insightful, somehow the conversation kept going back to how the film almost never came to be if it wasn’t for the executive producer stepping in and emphasizing the multiple rolls everyone took [yawn].
Ok, next feature is titled A Day With Meatball short (2m01s) presented in 16:9 1.78:1. All this shows is Sandler’s dog running around in funny situations so if it makes you laugh then he succeeded for someone. If that wasn’t enough for you there is the Chanukah Song: Part 3 music video for the song that was written for the film. Featuring Sandler playing acoustic in the middle of a choir of children, you can now sing along too this holiday season. This feature is in 1.33:1 and DD2.0 as well as the next NBA: Love it Live TV Spot that was released last year when the film was out in November. I can’t forget to mention the included theatrical trailer too (16:9. DD5.1).
What is on disc two?
This is where most of the features reside. After the disc is inserted (and the warnings pass…) we are taken to an animated menu of the Town of Dukesberry where the movie takes place. One of each of the five major buildings offers a host of features for you to access behind it. All features are in DD2.0 and WSE1.78:1 except for the HBO First Look Special (12m30s) and the 13 deleted scenes that total about 17 minutes total. Almost all of the sequences are incomplete so they are presented in storyboard fashion with full dialogue in place and with the option of having Allen Covert’s commentary on or off.
I counted a total of nine featurettes that range between about three to seven minutes each. You can discover where they are all located, and their content ranges from the development of characters in the film, the design of the town, to the songs in the movie.
Another really neat feature which is always really really cool to play with because it just isn’t used often enough is the Multi-Angled Animation Progression feature. There are four different film sequences to choose from for the use of the angle function; Angle 1 shows you the storyboard for that sequence. Angle 2 shows animation in its rough form in motion, and Angle 3 is the final animation sequence. Very cool.
This is a great disc to pick up for the holiday season. Give it as a Christmas gift. Give it as a Chanukah gift. Or just treat yourself to a laugh. This is one very well done DVD. Given the picture is free from artifacts and the sound impressed me more than I ever thought it would, I think this is worthy of a watch. Even though the features on disc two will only take you about an hour and a half to plough through, its lots of fun to navigate. I know without a doubt you Sandler fans must have this in your collection. It was well worth the long wait!