HTF REVIEW: "Bull Durham" Special Edition (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 6, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Bull Durham

    It's all about sex and sport.
    What else is there?

    Having reviewed Slap Shot earlier this
    morning, this makes my second sports movie review
    of the day. Not bad for a guy who really isn't
    into movies involving sports.
    So how do you turn a guy like me onto the game?
    You fill it with a superb cast of actors and a
    warm, interesting story to match. The result is
    Bull Durham.
    Veteran minor league catcher Crash Davis (Kevin
    Costner) is assigned to the Durham Bulls, a Class
    A minor league team. They have just brought on
    board a wild pitcher named Ebby Laloosh (Tim
    Robbins) who has a million-dollar arm with a
    five-cent head to match. Crash is asked to
    sit on the star rookie pitcher -- to teach him
    the discipline of baseball, and more importantly,
    to teach him to respect himself.
    Along the way, Ebby gets involved with a sexy
    baseball fan named Annie (Susan Sarandon), who
    worships the sport and its players as if it were
    religion. She reads Ebby poetry while he is
    tied to a bed, and eventually pins him the nickname
    of "Nuke".
    The person Annie really wants, however, is the
    older Crash Davis. His experience and confidence
    lights her innermost fires, and soon a love triangle
    between Annie, Nuke and Crash becomes wonderfully
    funny as it sets us up for some terrific baseball
    Though I felt the film was a little long in
    the tooth, I couldn't help but to be charmed
    by the beautiful Susan Sarandon who gives an
    Oscar worthy performance.
    How is the transfer?
    Almost exceptional.
    MGM has put together a remarkable anamorphic
    (1.85:1) transfer that looks as smooth as a baby's
    bottom. Colors look very natural, giving accurate
    detail to the player's blue and white uniforms.
    My only complaint is that the picture seems a
    bit too soft. I would have loved it to be a little
    sharper and more detailed. Other than that, I was
    most impressed with this transfer.
    This is one of my favorite shots from the film
    for explaining how good this transfer can look.
    There is a scene near the film's end with
    "Nuke" giving an interview to a female reporter.
    Look at how beautiful the colors are represented
    here. Bright yellow in the reporter's shirt complimented
    against a deep black jacket. In the background
    the reds, blues and grays of the stands all
    stand out amongst themselves.
    I have no complaints with the 5.1 Dolby Digital
    surround. Susan Sarandon's narration stayed
    clearly in the center channel, as action played
    crisply through the main speakers. The rears
    were brought up with the sounds of a cheering
    ballpark crowd, or to accent some of the great
    rock and roll music featured in the film. Sound
    was always robust, and well balanced between all
    the channels.
    Special Features
    One of the first things you will notice about
    this Special Edition is the slipbox cover. A
    white, heavy cardboard cover sporting baseball
    stitching and raised title lettering covers the
    Amaray case inside. Nice touch!
    MGM has put Bull Durham on a 2-sided
    DVD with the widescreen version on one
    side and the full frame on the other.
    Upon inserting the disc, we are greeted by a
    somewhat elaborate animated menu that throws two
    baseball bats against a baseball diamond that
    becomes a screen for cuts of the film's footage
    being shown in the backdrop. As you make your
    menu selections, your viewing angle suddenly
    moves across a field to an adjoining wall where
    another menu appears.
    There are two separate Audio Commentaries
    presented on this DVD. The first is a commentary
    with Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins. The other is
    a commentary by Director Ron Shelton.
    I listened to the first few minutes of the
    Costner/Robbins documentary. The guys hit it
    it off real well, providing an energetic
    commentary where they quiz each other on baseball
    players, talk about their admiration for Susan
    Sarandon's vigor in pursuing the role, and even
    laughing it up as Robbins talks about how good
    his ass once looked.
    Three Documentaries are presented for
    Between The Lines - The Making of Bull
    Durham introduces us to Writer and Director
    Ron Shelton, who I was surprised to learn was a
    player in the minor leagues. He points out that
    the two greatest concerns for a ballplayer is
    keeping a job, and looking for girls. Ron wanted
    to make a movie about Sports that the fans knew
    very little about. It's also interesting to
    know that every studio had turned down the script
    twice as the film was just deemed to expensive
    to make. This 28-minute documentary interviews
    Costner, Robbins, Sarandon and Wuhl, as they talk
    about their awkward auditions with the studio.
    Remember when Kevin Costner was one of America's
    fastest rising stars? Well, he is quoted as being
    such in a Kevin Costner Profile. Filmed in
    1988, this very short 2-minute promotion shows
    Costner on the film's set talking about the movie
    as many of Bull Durham's stars talk up about what a
    great actor Costner is. Snoozer!
    Sports Wrap is another happily-narrated
    2-minute promotional piece for the film that is
    mostly filled with scenes from the film with
    supporting comments from the film's Director.
    Both the Theatrical Trailer and the film's
    Teaser Trailer are included. There are
    also trailers for MGM Special Editions: Rocky,
    When Harry Met Sally and The Terminator.
    A small crop of photographs make up the Photo
    Gallery, though there are so few and having them
    categorized fools you into thinking there are more
    than there are. Most of the shots are of the
    Director and cast getting scenes right. There are
    shots of the cast and crew hamming it up for the
    camera as well as the Sarandon and Costner pose
    shots for the film's poster.
    Final Thoughts
    MGM has stepped up to the plate (pardon the pun)
    and put together a really nice Special Edition.
    Other than the film's making-of commentary, the
    extras aren't overwhelmingly interesting, but
    nonetheless, the film speaks for itself as being
    a wonderfully strong story about the insides of
    baseball that the normal fan never gets to see.
    Highly recommended!
    Release Date: April 2, 2002
  2. Chad Gregory

    Chad Gregory Supporting Actor

    Oct 11, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Looks great, Ron. Thanks for the review.

    This disc is right up there in anticipation with The Ususal Suspects. So I hope you don't mind me asking, but can you post a pic of the slipcover?


  3. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Jun 19, 1999
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    Between the Bull Durham: SE and The Usual Suspects: SE DVDs, there has been nothing but positive reviews so far.
    Is MGM in the zone, or what?
    Bring on Fargo: SE !!
  4. Ross Waite

    Ross Waite Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 13, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Thanks Ron for a great review!

    I had put off purchasing Bull Durham, waiting for the SE to be released. It is nice to know that it was worth the wait.

    Nice pics too!

  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
  6. Gavin_L

    Gavin_L Second Unit

    Aug 24, 2001
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    thanks ron for the great review, I'm totally picking up this wonderful movie and dvd. looks like mgm did quite a great job with it
  7. Chad Gregory

    Chad Gregory Supporting Actor

    Oct 11, 2000
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    Thanks Ron. [​IMG]
  8. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

    Aug 1, 1997
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    Ron, out of curiosity, have you compared it to the earlier Image DVD (which also sports an anamorphic transfer). I've heard rumors that they used the same transfer.

    Wondering if it is worth upgrading.

  9. Brian O

    Brian O Second Unit

    Apr 27, 1999
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    Also, I was wondering if the Ron Shelton commentary is the same one as the first DVD release? Thanks
  10. Chad Gregory

    Chad Gregory Supporting Actor

    Oct 11, 2000
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    FWIW, the dvdfile review states that the Ron Shelton commentary is the same as on the previous dvd and laser.

  11. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

    Jul 11, 1999
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    Had this pre-ordered since it was announced. Looks like MGM has hit a home-run. Oh, the puns, the puns!

  12. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

    Jul 23, 2001
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    Oh yeah, I'm all over this one, having never purchased the original. Can't wait!
    Thanks Ron, for the review and the pics of the slipcover.
  13. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

    Jan 29, 1999
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    Thanks for the review, Ron.

    This is one of my favorite movies, so I already have the original DVD. Since the Shelton commentary is the same, I'm not so sure it's worth an upgrade, essentially for Costner's comments and new packaging.
  14. Tina_H_V

    Tina_H_V Supporting Actor

    Mar 25, 2000
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    Real Name:
    Nice going, Ron. [​IMG]
    You have convinced me to go ahead and pick this one up today--as I shall, along with Bandits, another MGM DVD release debuting today. [​IMG]
    Way to go!
  15. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer

    Feb 20, 2001
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    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    The comment that Tim Robbins makes about his own posterior (I won't ruin it) is easily the funniest thing I have ever heard on a commentary track. It is worthy of Bruce Campbell and almost made me spit out my drink. [​IMG]

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