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HTF REVIEW: License To Drive - Special Edition


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#1 of 34 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted April 12 2005 - 04:15 PM

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LICENSE TO DRIVE
SPECIAL EDITION






Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Film Year: 1988

Rating: PG-13

Film Length: 90 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Aspect Ratio:[*] 1.85:1 widescreen enhanced
Colour/B&W: Colour

Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Subtitles: None
Closed Captioned: Yes
SLP: US $19.98





Release Date: May 03, 2005.



Film Rating: Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Entertainment Rating: Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Starring: Corey Haim (Les Anderson), Corey Feldman (Dean), Heather Graham (Mercedes), Carol Kane (Mrs. Anderson), Richard Masur (Mr. Anderson), Nina Siemaszko (Natalie)

Written by: Neil Tolkin
Directed by: Greg Beeman



Just when I thought I’d completely forgotten that Billy Ocean song “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”, here it is again in its full glory; the song that accompanied this movie Licence To Drive into the advertising frenzy of trailers and T.V. spots. All I could do was lower my head. I’m not the biggest Billy Ocean fan out there, but I am a somewhat a fan of the Coreys. Those two teenage guys who appeared in a few movies together started to become the fad of the late ’80s. What was so good about these guys together in this movie? Was it because they were young and rebellious in taking a car out for a night’s spin without the parents knowing? Was it because one went on a date with then 17-year-old and beautiful Heather Graham? What made these 16 year olds cooler than my friends and I? Back then…marketing. Later…drug rehab.

The “Corey sensation” didn’t last too long. After playing together in a vampire film called The Lost Boys, these Coreys were actually battling for the same parts in a movie called to Live and Drive in L.A., which later became License To Drive. The casting created a bit of a shuffle and opted to keep both the Coreys in for the same movie rather than hiring one or the other. From this decision both of them appeared in License To Drive.

This is an ’80s comedy that really feels like it. Hairstyles, clothing, and music all add to that feel. Yet, the story of this film is timeless in our modern day. The story is about Les, a 16-year-old who thinks the only thing that separates the boys from the men is their license. He thinks he’s going to ace the drivers exam when in fact he fails it. He unsuccessfully hides it from his parents and resorts to begging and pleading his parents to take out the car – after all, he’s got a hot date Saturday night with his high school crush, conveniently named Mercedes. Even though he’s grounded that night, Les manages to sneak out of the house with the car. Les is in for a surprise when the night becomes one of fun and disaster – and a night that he and his pals will never forget!

This movie is easy to identify with. Since most of us started off driving our parents’ car, I think it’s safe to say that everyone has had a moment when they really wanted to take the car out for some cool occasion. We’d beg and put up a fight to take friends cruising and to meet up with the opposite sex. Some of us were lucky to get the car home safe…and others may have not had such fortunes. This is a funny comedy that is very enjoyable to watch all of the way through. While the last quarter for the film slows down a little and becomes a bit less interesting, the last moments pick up again for the last few laughs. This is one ‘80s comedy that I recommend.


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Anchor Bay has done a great job in bringing the film to video. The 1.85:1 print is in good shape and there is very little film grain and dirt. Colours are all well balanced; there is good contrast and solid blacks. Detail is slightly on the soft side, but I think it’s due to the photography of the day. Edge enhancement is a non-issue and compression artefacts are kept to a minimum. This transfer has the green light!


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The audio is available in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround. I evaluated the 5.1 mix for this review. The audio is very heavy in the front soundstage. The surrounds are used occasionally to heighten the action on screen although they aren’t overly aggressive. LFE information is used sparingly as well. There is a lot of music in this movie and it sounds fairly detailed and is sometimes a little louder than the rest of the soundtrack. Fidelity of sound effects as well as dialogue has the ‘80s sound of slightly restrained audio and a thinner characteristic to it, although the lack of body to the sound can also be attributed to the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 compression format.


Posted ImageSPECIAL FEATURES Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


Don’t forget to check out the audio commentary by Director Greg Beeman and writer Neil Tolkin. The commentary is fairly interesting with Beeman really controlling the conversation. They also talk about making the film on mostly a scene-by-scene basis, as well as giving some information about the alternate footage cut for the changed ending vs. the original that is included on this disc.

There are two new interviews from Corey Haim and Corey Feldman put together for this DVD. They total almost 30 minutes when watched one after another. The two guys discuss their relationship during shooting as well as reminisce about making this film. This feature is widescreen enhanced.

Next is the one deleted scene that is almost 14 minutes in length. It’s actually an entirely different ending. This is the original ending of the film before changes had to be made because of the demands from M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Since they believed the film glorified drunk driving, the ending of the movie was changed to what we know of it today. Presented here is the original ending where the boys decided to switch Cadillacs with one on a dealer lot. I’ll let you see the rest. It appears to be a beta tape and is presented full screen and it’s not good in quality at all. Regardless, fans will be interested to see this. Based on these entirely new subplots, we can only piece together the rest of the film’s changes. Many more alternate takes must exist and are not included on this DVD. It’s too bad they weren’t included and they couldn’t have come from the film (if they still exist).

Also included are 2 theatrical trailers, 2 T.V. spots (all fullscreen and from composite sources) and the screenplay on DVD-ROM. An 8-page booklet is on the inside featuring information about the film as well as quiz questions.


IN THE END…

They were young, they were cool…but the “Corey fad” died a quick death. Girls loved them, boys envied them. They had a car and they had a beautiful girl with them. But however you remember License To Drive can now be re-experienced on this DVD. If you’ve never seen this film – or better yet, if you are just about to get your license or have just received it, you’ll be able to identify with this film. It’s a fun joyride! Check it out – just what possibly could go wrong?

Michael Osadciw
April 13, 2005.

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#2 of 34 OFFLINE   Matt Harrison

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Posted April 12 2005 - 09:24 PM

Cracking review pal. I never get tired of watching LTD when it comes on TV, Picking this one up soon as I can.

Cheers

#3 of 34 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted April 12 2005 - 10:55 PM

I'll be picking this one up but I wish it had was a Corey and Corey commentaryPosted Image

#4 of 34 OFFLINE   MikeEckman

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Posted April 13 2005 - 01:56 AM

I will definitely pick this film up. I had the biggest crush on Heather Graham when this movie came out.

If only Cant Buy Me Love had gotten the same treatment as this film! Posted Image
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#5 of 34 OFFLINE   Nathan_R

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Posted April 13 2005 - 02:04 AM

"Corey" Posted Image

This was a guilty pleasure of mine. I might have to pick it up now.
...just lost drunken men who don't know where they are and no longer care.

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#6 of 34 OFFLINE   Kenny Foor

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Posted April 13 2005 - 02:09 AM

Too cool. Man I can't wait for this.Posted Image

#7 of 34 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted April 13 2005 - 02:26 AM

Quote:
"Corey" Posted Image

lol...everyone I knew with that name spelt it as "Cory"...so I didn't think twice when writing it!! You know how many times I kept spelling "License" as "Licence"(Canadian) and "Lisence"(something I made up!).

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#8 of 34 OFFLINE   Scott Temple

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Posted April 13 2005 - 03:52 AM

So the aspect ratio for LTD is 2.35:1 after all. DVD Empire has it listed as 1.85:1. As cool as this disc sounds, there are a few other things I wish they had included.
  • Commentary with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and Heather Graham
  • Music Videos for "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" and (Baby You Can)"Drive My Car"
  • Heather Graham interview
  • Additional Deleted Scenes and Alternate Footage (If They Exist)
  • Outtakes
Heather Graham does look great in this film. (So does her full frontal nude scene in "Boogie Nights" (1997) Posted Image

Great review Michael. I've got the disc on pre-order with DVD Empire and am anxiously awaiting it.

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#9 of 34 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 13 2005 - 05:13 AM

Michael, you sold me on this one!



Posted Image

How was I not aware of this Feldman-Haim's 80's comedy before?

#10 of 34 OFFLINE   Paul Sandhu

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Posted April 13 2005 - 08:32 AM

I haven't seen this movie before, although I am sort of a fan of 80s movie.

Would you recommend this as a good blind buy?

#11 of 34 OFFLINE   WillG

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Posted April 13 2005 - 08:53 AM

Quote:
Would you recommend this as a good blind buy?


Sure, if you are a fan of 80s comedy. It's one of the better ones out there.
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#12 of 34 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted April 13 2005 - 10:58 AM

Quote:
dialogue has the ‘80s sound of slightly restrained audio and a thinner characteristic to it, although the lack of body to the sound can also be attributed to the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 compression format.


?
So films like the Star Wars prequels and The Incredibles share this audio attribute? (Hint: they're Dolby Digital only)

Or perhaps it is because it's a 2 channel soundtrack from a mid-budgeted film from the 80's remixed into 5.1 surround?

Quote:
Detail is slightly on the soft side, but I think it’s due to the photography of the day


Not because of the lossy MPEG2 compression of the DVD format? If you take your comment on this one and then look at your audio comment it sounds awfully like a gratuitous slam on Dolby to me. Posted Image

#13 of 34 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted April 13 2005 - 05:04 PM

Peter

Don't be too sensitive here; this was not a direct slam at Dolby. Dolby's technology is great for delivering a lot of audio in such a tiny space, but I don't praise lossy audio formats either because they aren't HiFi. Lossy systems are a necessary evil for the current time. There's not enough room to store lossless audio on DVD (and other places). For now we have to settle for two lossy systems (Dolby and DTS) that discard tonnes of the original signal to fit it in a tight space. Is that considered HiFi? I don't think so.

You cannot make the claim that a lossy audio system doesn't contribute to the lack of warmth in the sound. Based on what I keep hearing in my system, Dolby Digital consistantly sounds thinner through the midrange. I've grown far beyond the days of playing favourites too - you won't find me praising lossy DTS either because of "WHAT I HEAR" (e.g. significantly rolled off high frequency).

I only report what I hear.

So I can make a claim like what I just made in my review because that is my personal feeling based on my listening experiences. In no way did I say that Dolby was the sole contributer to the thinness...I could have used that sentence in any of my reviews. Yes, Star Wars and The Incredibles will also suffer the same effects from both lossy systems. No DVD soundtrack (or music DVD) is excluded despite how impressive they sound (and they are, indeed, very impressive delivered with lossy audio).

While recordings have improved over the years, our audio delivery technologies have taken a few steps backwards. First we have the imperfect CD, then we have two lossy audio systems that shrink up to six full-range channels of PCM audio with up to 24-bit resolution and data reduce it to fit in a space with a rate of anywhere between 384kbps-1.5Mbps - pretty much less than the rate of uncompressed 2-channel PCM at 16/44.1 resolution. That is some serious data loss and don't tell me I can't hear it. Now we have the world all over MP3 and I hope that dies a hard death.

Next time I'm in California, I'd love for either Dolby or DTS to give me a fair demonstration to prove NOTHING audible is detectable with their lossy formats.

I won't even get into the fact that home theater pre-amps and receivers are also a part of the problem in obtaining a HiFi experience...but that is hardware related and a different subject all together.

I know video is highly compressed and the DVD picture we see only represents about 2% of the original information on the film. I don't expect lossless video right now because video takes up massive amounts of space and there is nowhere to put it with our current technology. We are still eons away from having a digital lossless compression system for video in the professional world that retains all information from its source, nevermind the consumer world. When the time comes when it looks like it can be done, I'll put the pressure on for it. Lossless audio systems such as MLP as well as DSD have appeared already and have promise, but consumer hardware needs a lot of catching up to realise its potential.

In the end, as I said in the review, the thin sound is from the recording but it is also (mildly) because of the lossy audio system. I would have said the same for DTS, I just randomly picked this review to make a comment like that. I've said similar things in past reviews. Readers seem to know what I mean. I like to raise people's expectations and awareness for high fidelity. If I just said lossy audio is "good enough", I guess I can say "good enough" for everything else that passes by in life and never expect anything more.

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#14 of 34 OFFLINE   Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted April 15 2005 - 08:44 PM

Havent posted in a while, but great review.Always loved this movie.Ill be ordering first thing on may 3.Posted Image
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#15 of 34 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted April 16 2005 - 09:01 AM

Tony

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#16 of 34 OFFLINE   John*P

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Posted April 16 2005 - 02:53 PM

I can't wait to finally get this on DVD...

#17 of 34 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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Posted April 17 2005 - 11:19 AM

I thought this was supposed to be released April 19th? Drats!

#18 of 34 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted April 17 2005 - 07:33 PM

This is at least the second time Anchor Bay has changed release dates for no apparent reason. I was counting the days until the release of "Can't Stop The Music" (the Holy Grail of DVD!) only to have them push it back another 3 weeks. Never mind that the discs were already completed and shipping to stores, and the movie itself was over 20 years old. They put out great stuff, but ENOUGH with the street dates!!
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#19 of 34 OFFLINE   Dave Farley

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Posted April 17 2005 - 07:53 PM

I was at the local Super Kmart tonight and they had this out. Apparently, it's out already or the store made a mistake. I'll be picking up a copy later today, if they'll let me. Something tells me that I'll get up to the register and they won't be able to ring it up. I'm guessing someone made a mistake but I'll give it a shot. The back of the box did say 1.85:1.

Michael, in your review you mentioned it being 2.35:1. Was it scope or Super 35?

#20 of 34 OFFLINE   Dave Farley

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Posted April 18 2005 - 03:08 PM

I went back to the store and picked this up tonight. I put it in and it's definitely 1.85:1.

I'm assuming Michael just made a mistake in his review.