Movie: out of
In the mid 1980s, most American households had at least one VCR, and studios began to see a new profit stream from their movies, many of them earning more in home video revenues than they did at the box office. Movie producers, home video companies, and private investors all tried to get in on this new revenue stream, and thus the mini-major was born. From the mid 1980s thru the early 1990s, companies such as Kings Road Entertainment, Skouras Pictures, Vestron Pictures, Hemdale Films, New Century, New World Pictures, Taft Entertainment, New Line Cinema, DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group, Taurus Entertainment, Atlantic Releasing, The Cannon Group, Miramax, and Orion (just to name a few) were either born or expanded, and began producing and distributing modest-budgeted films to movie theaters (and later home video), hoping to cash in on the video revolution. Many (but not all) were box office duds, and what resulted was a glut of mostly forgettable movies on video store shelves, and by the mid-1990s, these mini-major studios were either bankrupt or had been acquired by a major studio.
Hiding Out was one of the last films to be released and distributed theatrically by DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group. Jon Cryer, currently enjoying something of a comeback on CBS’s hit comedy “Two and a Half Men” with Charlie Sheen, stars as Andrew Morenski, a Boston stockbroker who was unknowingly selling junk bonds as part of a money laundering scheme for the mob. When one of his partners is murdered, the FBI places Andrew into protective custody, but the hit men still manage to ambush Andrew and the two FBI agents. Andrew escapes to Delaware, hoping to stay with his aunt and cousin (played by Keith Coogan) until things blow over. After being mistaken as a high school student, Andrew decides to assume the identity of Maxwell Hauser (taken from a coffee can in the admitting office) and enrolls in his cousin’s high school. The bulk of the story has Andrew re-experiencing senior year, trying to stay under the radar while at the same time gaining popularity, and even running for class president.
Cryer puts in one of his better performances, playing a character five years older than himself trying to be a high school student ten years younger. Coogan is very funny as Andrew’s distracted cousin who desperately wants to get his driver’s license and meet girls. Annabeth Gish is delightful as the romantic interest, one of her first film roles (her next role would be in “Mystic Pizza”). Last but not least, the late John Spencer is great as Bakey, the colorful, cantankerous FBI agent hot on Andrew’s tail. Spencer’s performance as Bakey could very well be a much younger version of his FBI Director Womack from “The Rock.”
Video: out of
Lionsgate brings Hiding Out to DVD a second time (the previous release came from Anchor Bay) in an adequate 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. The print has a fair amount of grain and appears darker than it should, resulting in noticeable compression artifacts, particularly in reds (the DEG studio logo in particular) and in darker scenes. Otherwise, not a bad transfer, but not a great one, either.
Audio: out of
The audio is where this film really shows its age. Dialogue is thin, often tinny. The 5.1 remix is very front-heavy, almost mono, except during music montages, when the music bleeds to the rears.
Special Features: out of
Lionsgate has included a Trivia subtitle track as one of the few sparse extras on this disc. The tidbits of trivia are few and far between, and contain either information that is widely known or trivia so obscure (and often in the form of a multiple choice question) most people could care less about.
The film’s original theatrical trailer, in 1.33:1 full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 mono is included. The trailer does a good job of proving that one of DEG’s weaknesses as a studio was in marketing, as this trailer is just awful. It’s a shame they couldn’t have also included the original TV spots with Jon Cryer practically begging you to come see this movie.
To round things out, Lionsgate has included trailers for “My Bloody Valentine: Special Edition” (the R-rated red-band trailer), “Monster Squad,” and “Dirty Dancing: 20th Anniversary Edition.” I was a bit surprised that an R-rated red-band trailer was included on a DVD for an PG-13 rated feature.
Overall: out of
Hiding Out is one of the better films in Lionsgate’s “Lost Collection” series of DVDs, but the video, audio, and Trivia Track all could have been better. If you can find this at a bargain, then it’s worth picking up.