Film Length: 82 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
It's not just a place. It's a state of mind
Amidst all of the teen comedies that have
swamped movie screens over the past year, there
is one movie that stands above them all....of
course, it's the film I am reviewing, Orange
(photo from HTF meet)
I first heard about Orange County in
May of 2001 when I was on the Paramount lot for
a local HTF meet. For the first time in many
visits, the large water tank on the Paramount lot
was filled with water as a movie was being filmed
against the large fake skyline that sits on the
edge of the Paramount parking lot.
We heard that Tom Hank's son was in the water
filming a scene for an upcoming movie directed
by Jake Kasdan. At the time, I simply brushed
the whole thing off, thinking this was only to
be a small film, specifically produced for TV.
Instead, I was surprised when Orange County
opened up nationally in theaters earlier this year,
to many positive reviews. Suffice to say, I was
eagerly anticipating watching it when released
I swear, it has been a long time since I laughed
this hard at a movie. Orange County is
hands-down the funniest film I have seen in the
past year or more.
Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks), is a Straight A student
and an Orange County surfer who has developed a love
of writing following the surfing death of a friend.
It actually came to him when he found a book buried
in the sand by a noted author at Stanford who has
given Shaun the direction he has looked for. Shaun,
more than anything, wants to attend Stanford College.
The problem is, though his guidance counselor
(Lily Tomlin) says he's a shoe-in, she accidently sends out
the wrong transcript, and Shaun isn’t accepted.
Shaun seeks the help if his family and friends
to get him accepted. This certainly isn't easy
when your family consists of a neurotic mother
(Katherine O'Hara), drug-dealing brother (Jack Black),
a self-obsessed father (John Lithgow) and
environmentalist girlfriend (Schuyler Fisk).
Although the movie is filled with sex and drug
jokes that always dominate teen movies, one must
admire that the film also promotes the importance
of family values and remaining true to ones self.
Certainly, the best reason to watch Orange
County is for the performance of Jack Black,
who proves he is one of the hottest on the rise
comics around. This film is also a decent start
for Colin Hanks' breakthrough role as a starring
actor. There are times you close your eyes and
swear you were listening to his father.
How is the transfer?
It has become very easy to talk about transfers
by just saying the name of the studio. In this
case it's Paramount, who always delivers a
crisp anamorphic transfer. Picture is very
sharp, with only a hint of video noise. Colors
are very vibrant throughout. An all-out nice
transfer that will not disappoint.
The 5.1 surround mix is not very active, only
giving support to the film's heavy rock soundtrack.
There is the occasional sound of traffic noise,
but other than that, this is not a movie whose
purpose is to impress you with its sound.
One thing I must talk about first is the several
minutes I spent struggling to open the DVD case
for this movie. It wasn't until I had wasted
5 minutes that I saw the tabs on the side of the
box that must be lifted to be opened. Perhaps
this is exclusive to only Canadian discs, since
I think my screener copy came out of Canada. I
just want to put you on alert when attempting to
open this case.
The menu structure of this DVD is quite unique,
and I applaud the folks at Paramount for being
very inventive. The menu contents are aligned
in criss-cross patterns with motion sequences
from the film played in two small boxes.
The DVD features a full-length commentary by
Director Jake Kasdan and Writer Mike White.
There are 4 short deleted scenes that
* Lance (Jack Black) escaping from the police
after the University fire, and stumbling upon
Dean Durkett who is coming down from a drug high.
* Shaun (Colin Hanks) fantasy of being on the
Stanford campus and being adored by the college
* Lance talking about a rehab center while
riding in the car with Shaun and his girlfriend.
* Mrs. Cobb (Tomlin) getting revenge and on the
loose with a stun gun.
This is very interesting. How many ways
can you promote Orange County? The
studios use a very interesting advertising
technique known as Interstitals, which
to the best of my knowledge, is an alternative
to standard advertising on the internet. Studies
have found that more users click on interstitals
than on banner ads. There are 15 of these little
advertisements that are very funny to watch.
They feature mini-scenes produced at the time of
the initial filming, which end up as promotional
advertising. Some of the clips here show Jake
(Jack Black) writing a recommendation to Stanford,
or the English Teacher comparing Macbeth to
Shakespeare In Love. Watching these shorts is
as funny as watching the movie itself and I am
so happy that Paramount included these on the DVD.
Finally, the Original Theatrical Trailer
Orange County rises up above the typical
teen movie by giving us a little more than just
gross-out jokes. The film definitely packs some
laughs and showcases young new talent while
featuring some really cool cameos from several
older talents in Hollywood. To name them all
would just ruin the surprise.
Release Date: June 18, 2002