HTF REVIEW: "Nothing In Common"

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

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Nothing In Common

    What I enjoy most about reviewing DVD product
    from Columbia is that they give me a list of
    titles to choose from. Naturally, I usually
    pick films I know that I am going to enjoy or
    that the membership here will have the most
    interest reading about.
    Nothing In Common was always a special
    little movie for me. It features one of the
    greatest comedy legends, Jackie Gleason, and one
    of the finest actors of our time, Tom Hanks.
    This film is a landmark of sorts, as it was the
    last film of Jackie Gleason's career (he died a
    year later), and it was the first film that truly
    showcased Tom Hank's superior talents as an actor
    rather than just a comedian.
    David Basner (Hanks) has a booming advertising
    career. He's young, full of life, and women
    absolutely adore him. His life suddenly comes to
    a halt when his parents become separated after 35
    years of marriage and his aging, unloving father
    (Jackie Gleason) becomes seriously ill. Now dealing
    with these serious issues in his life, David comes
    to an appreciation of his father whom he thought
    he had nothing in common with.
    I also want to note that this film is also
    highlighted with the talents of Hector Elizondo,
    in his funniest film role. He plays Hank's boss
    at the advertising agency. His relentless efforts
    to wear the perfect hairpiece will have you
    chuckling aloud.
    How is the transfer?
    The DVD sports a new anamorphic digital audio
    and video transfer. A menu at the start of the
    film immediately lets you select WIDESCREEN or
    PAN & SCAN.
    Unfortunately, this is not one of Columbia's better
    catalog transfers. In fact, to be honest, I don't
    quite know what to say about the overall video
    quality except that it is extremely uneven. From
    the start of the film, you will certainly notice how
    excessively grainy the picture is. Then, depending
    on what scene you are watching, the picture is either
    quite good, or just average. Let me give you some
    examples....
    Most of the indoor scenes generally look good.
    There's a scene where Hanks first visits the drama
    class acting like amoebas where you can't help but
    notice the beautiful vibrant blue chairs. In
    another scene later in the film, Gleason is picking
    through his clothing product line. There is such
    nice color detail in that scene from the clothing
    he holds up, to the blonde hair and blue eyes of
    the young women in his company.
    But take a look at several outdoor scenes and you
    can't believe how pale the picture looks. A scene
    on a golf course where Hanks plays his first round
    of golf looks as if it was shot through a sheer cloth.
    A scene in a horse stable comes off looking rather
    pale, with added video shimmer that may have been
    caused by florescent lighting used in that scene.
    It's hard to give the transfer a solid rating,
    because there are so many variances in this film
    that it seems every scene looks different from the
    previous one. Overall, it's not a horrible transfer,
    but I expected better from a studio that has put out
    some of the best consistent catalog transfers in the
    business.
    The audio is mono, and doesn't sound very bright
    or punchy. Overall, it sounds more slightly
    muffled than compared to other mono titles I have
    recently heard.
    Extras?
    This DVD contains the film's original trailer.
    Final Thoughts
    It's hard to say whether this is a title worthy
    of a purchase. It was for me. I am huge fan of
    Director Gary Marshall, and I think this film combines
    some of Hank's most entertainingly funny lunatic
    moments along with the earliest signs of his true
    acting talent. It also marks a sad farewell to
    "the great one" who's seen in the final shot of this
    film being rolled down a long corridor. His face
    seemingly shows a man reflecting upon his life.
    Release Date: February 19, 2002
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I'm also a big fan of this film, and I'm sorry to hear the transfer is weak. There's the beginning of a disturbing trend at Columbia, where lower-profile titles (catalogue films, arthouse and foreign films released by Sony Classics) get a lesser quality of release than high-profile films like The 6th Day. It's something we should all keep an eye on.

    But I'll be getting the disc anyway. I'm too attached to the film to say no.

    M.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm with Michael in that I can't pass this dvd up because I'm so much a fan of the film.

    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    It's really disappointing that all the "little" titles I've been waiting for since the advent of DVD are getting bad video reviews. My Bodyguard, Breaking Away, and now Nothing in Common. I guess "little" is the key, as the studios see no point in plowing a lot of money into what are basically niche titles. And, in all three cases, I'm forced to say, "I love the movie too much to pass it up in spite of presentation problems."
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I finally had a chance to watch this last night, and I must say that I'm relieved. The video struck me as quite good, and many of the issues that Ron pointed out appear (to my eye) to be limitations of the source material. For example, I agree with Ron that the "strobing" effect in the stable scene results from the fluorescent lighting, but I'd never noticed it before. As with so many other titles, the superior resolution of DVD brings out little things you otherwise might overlook.
    It's a shame this film doesn't have even a stereo track, given the extensive use of popular music. But the mono track is serviceable, and the film is carried primarily by its performances.
    I'm happy to own it. [​IMG]
    M.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Finally, watched this last night and it is such a good film. I've always felt movie critics underappreciated this movie and Hank's performance.

    Crawdaddy
     

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