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HTF REVIEW: "Orange County" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 07 2002 - 10:54 AM

Posted Image

Orange County

Studio: Paramount
Year: 2002
Rated: PG-13
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

Posted Image
(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
to DVD.

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.

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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.

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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).

Posted Image

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
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.

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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.

Special Features

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.

Posted ImagePosted Image

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
is included.

Final Thoughts

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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


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Joshua Moran

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Posted June 07 2002 - 11:12 AM

I love Jack Black and was thinking about picking this one up just because of him. Sounds like it will be a worthy buy. Thanks Ron for the excellent review.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Gavin_L


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Posted June 07 2002 - 12:24 PM

thanks ron for the great review, i'll be ordering this one up soon, i have been looking forward to getting this movie on dvd that last few months Posted Image

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Wes C

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Posted June 08 2002 - 11:20 AM

This movie is MUCH better than I expected! I thought the two best things going for it are Jack Black and its length (82 minutes). These days its nice to see a movie that knows how long it should be.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_WM



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Posted June 08 2002 - 11:52 AM

I saw Orange County in the cheap second-run theaters in my city and I have to say, I thought it was damn funny. I'll certainly be picking this up.


#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Brett Hancock

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Posted June 08 2002 - 05:59 PM

I loved Orange County and am picking it up the day it comes out. Still, thanks Ron for making me anticipate this release even more.Posted Image

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Kajs


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Posted June 09 2002 - 04:24 AM

Sorry to disagree with everyone, but I thought this movie was a huge let down. All the funny parts were in the previews. I think I saw every Jack Black scene before I saw the movie, they were good, but they weren't funny anymore. To call this teen comedy "one movie that stands above them all" is a joke. There was nothing outstanding about it and it was like "let's throw in as many cameos as we can to save this movie," which appears that Austin Powers 3 is doing.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Matthew Chmiel

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Posted June 09 2002 - 04:46 AM

I'm probably going to buy Orange County used at Blockbuster as:

A) When I saw Orange County only four people in the whole entire theater were laughing (my friend, two guys in the back, and myself).
B) The audience who this film is targeted at (teens) won't like it as it's actually "smart" (I know a lot of people who are my age and just simply did not like the movie, yet like shit like Sorority Boys).

So I'm sure the used copy I buy will probably haven't been touched by anybody (like Mulholland Dr.). Posted Image

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Kajs


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Posted June 09 2002 - 05:11 AM

My friends I saw it with also saw all the funny parts already. I wouldn't call it "smart", maybe just "smarter". There was more behind it, but it was typical and predictable.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted June 09 2002 - 08:02 AM

Saying that Orange County is a better film than Van Wilder or Sorority Boys is kind of a back-handed compliment, isn't it? Of all the teen flicks made over the past three years (and there have been a LOT), this one does manage to rank near the top...but that's hardly high praise. Nice job with the review, Ron, and I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I wouldn't mind seeing it again on cable someday, but it's not one I plan on adding to my collection. Do any of the deleted scenes contain the Jack Black "Yo, Stanford...What's up?" scene that was in the previews but NOT the final cut?

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Matthew Chmiel

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Posted June 09 2002 - 08:30 AM

[quote] Do any of the deleted scenes contain the Jack Black "Yo, Stanford...What's up?" scene that was in the previews but NOT the final cut? [quote]
The Interstitals contain that line (I don't know if that was filmed for the movie itself or just for the Interstitals for MTV).

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   John Cain

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Posted July 07 2002 - 11:43 PM

I thought Standford was a University, not a College??? Am I incorrect??

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Jim Golden

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Posted August 04 2002 - 03:38 AM

This is one that I hadn't heard much about. I rented it last night, and thought it was the best comedy I've seen in a couple of months. A true hidden comedy, like Bowfinger, Jim

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted April 02 2003 - 08:12 AM

I remember an interstitial that is not on this disc. The one about poetry. It contained an extended quote from one of Missy Elliot's songs. Was there a rights problem?
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