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Comedy on DVD - Often Overlooked?


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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 01:07 AM

Why is it that studios tend to disregard and neglect the comedy genre on DVD?

It seems that most comedy releases are almost consistently given poor treatment on DVD regardless of what sort of following or cult status they might have aquired, unless they happen to fall into the "classics" category pre-dating the 1975 era.

This is most bothersome to me because I grew up in an era of some of the greatest and funniest men alive like Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, Eddie Murphy, John Beluschi, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Leslie Neilson, Jon Lovitz, Norm Mcdonald, Chris Farley, Dana Carvey, Rodney Dangerfield, Billy Crystal, Mike Myers, etc. and unfortunately none of their films are adequately represented in DVD form. Why is that?!?

There are literally ten dozen currently available, cheap barebones non-anamorphic titles deserving of re-issue that I would like to see, but since that seems unrealistic, I want the following films released in proper context (very least take a hint from Paramount = anamorphic transfers, oar):


Caddyshack: Special Edition!

What About Bob: Special Edition!

Meatballs: Special Edition!

Quick Change - Release this!

Fletch: Special Edition!

Funny Farm - Only available in pan & scam!

Spies Like Us - Only available in pan & scam!

The Great Outdoors: Special Edition!

Uncle Buck: Special Edition!

Wagon's East - Okay, not the greatest movie but it was Candy's last film... non-anamorphic, barebones, pan & scam!

The Jerk: Special Edition!

The Man With Two Brains - Only available in pan & scam!

Parenthood: Special Edition!

Ruthless People: Special Edition!

Ladybugs - Release this!

Big - Special Edition, this movie deserves it!!!

Home Alone / Home Alone 2 - Where the hell are the SE?!?

Honey I Shrunk The Kids - Come on Disney, are you serious?!?

Mrs Doubtfire: Special Edition, anamorphic this time!

Young Frankenstein: Special Edition!

Trapped In Paradise - Release this already!!!

My Cousin Vinny: Special Edition!

Get Shorty: Special Edition!

Beetlejuice: Special Edition!!!

Ghost Dad - Sorry it's a personal treasure, please lose the pan & scam and horrible transfer!

Taking Care Of Business: Special Edition!

Eddie Murphy Raw / Delirious - Release these!!!

Coming To America: Special Edition!

National Lampoon's Class Reunion - Reissue!

White Men Can't Jump: Special Edition!



Thank you.

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   John Watson

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Posted April 10 2004 - 01:52 AM

hadn't noticed, but perhaps, ahem, folks don't take comedy seriously? Posted Image

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 10 2004 - 01:58 AM

One could easily construct a similarly long list of dramas, classics or foreign films. One could also construct a list of comedies that have been given excellent releases (obvious examples are Ghostbusters and Animal House).

I see no evidence that comedy as a genre is either downplayed or ignored.

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#4 of 23 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted April 10 2004 - 02:26 AM

Well I do think comedy (along with children's films) are more likely to get shafted OAR wise (e.g., pan & scan only dvds of Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men).

I will also say, that in my own collection, by far the most subpar dvds are the comedies (e.g., The Apartment, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (I still watch the ld), The Sting, etc.). Of course, comedies make up a larger percentage of my collection, but still think they are more likely to get shafted.
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

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#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 10 2004 - 02:32 AM

Quote:
The Sting

We obviously don't share the same definition of "comedy". That would be on my list of mistreated dramas. And the film for which I still watch the LD is one of the best dramas of the 90s, an Oscar-winner for best original screenplay: The Crying Game.

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#6 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 02:41 AM

Quote:
I see no evidence that comedy as a genre is either downplayed or ignored.


For the most part and with few exceptions that could be counted on both hands, the majority of the late 70's through late 80's and even early 90's era comedies have been heavily neglected on DVD format. The few releases such as Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Animal House, etc. do not accurately represent the treatment given to such films on the DVD market. The remaining few exceptions are films such as Wayne's World, Scrooged, Trading Places, Tommy Boy, etc.. mostly Paramount releases that offer solid anamorphic transfers and that's it. For the most part, a large portion if not majority of the definitive 80's and early 90's comedies that revolutionized the comedy genre of that era have been given less than minimal treatment with dirty non-anamorphic pan & scan transfers on shoddy inadequate barebones releases. I find this true more than any other genre on the DVD format. True many classics, foreigns, film noirs, etc. have not seen the light of day - but they exist in a broader medium whereas the films I'm referring to are much more specific and limited in numbers so based on that context, I just feel that they are given less than fair treatment when it comes to releases. I know most of the existing DVD's are very dated and came out when the format was first conceived, but it's time to start revisiting them and giving them their due!

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted April 10 2004 - 02:52 AM

Maybe I misunderstood your list's intention but in regards to Young Frankenstein apart from an anamorphic transfer I can't see what more you could want from a Special Edition.
Like I said, perhaps I don't understand the list's intention, is your list presenting what comedys are available and in what shape they are in or are they suggestions of what you think has been mistreated on dvd and what needs to be fixed or.....what?
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#8 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 03:01 AM

What I posted was just a list off the top of my head of titles I would have otherwised considered purchasing had they been given better treatment, as well as some titles that either flat out don't exist or have been totally neglected, and than a few worthy of more prestigious treatment in my opinion. Again, I could have listed at least 50 titles but realistically, I don't expect every single movie to be a SE and that's fine by me.

But why is it that when a film of such caliber is given a proper remastered anamorphic transfer, it's like that's the absolute best we should expect...

The many Paramount titles (Planes Trains & Automobiles, The Out Of Towners, The Odd Couple, etc) or films like Night Shift, City Slickers, So I Married An Axe Murderer, etc.

No, they're not revolutionary, cutting edge, avant-garde, historically significant films... but why should they be overlooked for simple commentary tracks or a 15 minutes bonus supplement?

Not every movie has to be the most innovative artistically relevant masterpiece caught on film; there are still a number of entertaining movies that should be treated with the same distinction as any other disc.

This is just something that I feel needs to be taken into account by studios. I'm sure many of these films would see significantly higher sale numbers if the studios would simply offer better home video treatment.

Again, a large number fo the above listed are almost unwatchable. You might as well be watching the same grainy old fullscreen videos!

#9 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 03:15 AM

Btw Kevin, my beef with YF is that it's non-anamorphic which is one of the main themes of this topic and of my complaints regarding a majority of the titles listed as well as the genre (early 80s - early 90s comedy) in specific.

#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted April 10 2004 - 03:33 AM

Yes, but I think the reason I didn't understand exactly what you were saying was that it said..

Young Frankenstein: Special Edition!

I assumed that the request you were making was that it should be given an SE treatment, it should say...

Young Frankenstein: new 16:9 transfer.
-Kevin M.

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#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Cory-C

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Posted April 10 2004 - 03:47 AM

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was already released ... I think both as a single and in a box set. I would assume it has been retired to the vault for a little while like all the other Disney films.

I am very glad I got on the DVD bandwagon right away and nabbed a lot of these Disney titles when they first came out.

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted April 10 2004 - 03:59 AM

"The Sting"

We obviously don't share the same definition of "comedy". That would be on my list of mistreated dramas.
Well we obviously do disagree. However, the AFI put The Sting on it's list of 500 nominees for best comedy of all time, so I'm not alone in my assessment.
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

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#13 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 04:00 AM

Honey I Shrunk The Kids was release fullframe p&s, barebones and without ever seeing it, Id assume non-annamorphic as well. I wouldnt have paid $2 regardless, its insulting!

As for YF, I mentioned Special Edition because it deserves a proper SE release with a new transfer.

Also, how many people out there would kill for a Meatballs SE am I alone?!

So many mistreated catalogue titles...

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted April 10 2004 - 04:16 AM

And (as I said) as an SE Young Frankenstein leaves little to be desired apart from a new transfer.

Sorry Marco I just find your list to be a bit enigmatic as to it's meaning....for instance you list Caddyshack as (if I am to decipher the list properly) needing a new SE treatment, what was wrong with the current 20th Anniversary SE? It featured a 16:9 transfer plus a list of extras including a documentary, Caddyshack: The 19th Hole with outtakes, other rare footage and reminiscences by Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis and others, production notes & the theatrical trailer...not exactly a barebones DVD so why are you requesting a new SE?
-Kevin M.

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- Roger Ebert
 

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 04:35 AM

Caddyshack is a different story and shouldn't have necessarily been grouped in with the others listed but I included it once the thread topic was somewhat relative... it is a very decent anniversary edition, but this is one film that I think deserves all-out treatment. Commentary track, more in-depth supplements, etc. I'm really not complaining, I don't want to come off the wrong way, but I think this is a special film that deserves special treatment. While the current version is great, I'd like to see something definitive and again, this was only included on that list because I was naming other related films and decided to plug that as well. It should definitely have a commentary track though! :}

Again, I dont expect studios to cater to every single compulsion that we DVD fans obsess over... I just thought I'd include that because it's something I'd like to see happen. I could have named at least 20 other comedies more deserving of remastered transfers and reissues though, Caddyshack would be very nice to see revisited. Afterall, it's the Citizen Kane of 80s comedy.

#16 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 10 2004 - 07:22 AM

Quote:
True many classics, foreigns, film noirs, etc. have not seen the light of day - but they exist in a broader medium whereas the films I'm referring to are much more specific and limited in numbers so based on that context, I just feel that they are given less than fair treatment when it comes to releases.

I've read that three times, and I still can't make any sense of it.

Quote:
However, the AFI put The Sting on it's list of 500 nominees for best comedy of all time, so I'm not alone in my assessment.
Not too surprising when you look at the AFI's categories: "Passions", "Thrills" and "Laughs". The Sting ended up in the category that was least inappropriate. And for obvious reasons it didn't make the final list.

M.
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#17 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 07:51 AM

Quote:
I've read that three times, and I still can't make any sense of it.


I don't know what's so complicated about that statement.. I acknowledge that there are still hundreds of films that have yet to be released, however, in this topic I am referring to a specific class that seem to be recieving less than adequate treatment in comparisson to most other films released these days. To compare classic and foreign films, etc. is apples and oranges because you're talking in terms of something on a much more expansive scale whereas the films I am referring to are a handful of memorable comedies produced within an approximate decade and are not that prevalent or abundant yet are almost all carelessly treated. That is why I say that it seems as though studios more often than not, seem to overlook and dismiss these films for what they are and it's a shame because there are otherwise many great comedies, the likes of which are no longer made today, that it would be nice to own on DVD. Unfortunately, they are not given proper treatment...

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   Randy B A

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Posted April 10 2004 - 01:35 PM

Stripes needs to be on that list.

#19 of 23 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 10 2004 - 02:40 PM

I heard that a SE was already in the works surprisingly so I didnt include it.

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Ben_@

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Posted April 10 2004 - 03:36 PM

Pardon me if I play devil's advocate:

The argument for more SE's is hard to sell to a businessman who has a few hundred films that people think "deserve" SE treatment. Granted, many of those comedies are funny. Some are even influential, if not filmicly, then culturally. Perhaps at least arguing for OAR treatment and at least a few extras is supportable. But, again, any extra that has to be created, or filmed, or whatever, is going to cost more money for the studios releasing these things.
Asking for a "super special edition" of Caddyshack is one of those things of good not being good enough. Some times people just don't do commentaries. It is a sad fact. Steven Spielberg (IIRC) has yet to do one, as do other important people in film.

However, i think that at least some of the films you listed do deserve an SE. Or at least decent transfers.


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