Soul Man (1986) - DVD Review

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matthew Chmiel, Mar 8, 2002.

  1. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    [c][​IMG]
    I got a screener copy of the Comedy Central favorite Soul Man earlier this week and I have decided to write a review on the HTF since maybe three people on this forum might actually like the film and want an early review of it. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Movie: *½ (out of ****)
    Mark Watson (played by C. Thomas Howell) is your average rich Californian teenager. He's always partying and having a good time (this involves drinking, doing drugs, and having sex), but one of his major goals in life is to get into Harvard Law School with his best friend (played by great thespian Arye Gross). Both are accepted, but at the last minute, Mark's parents end up taking the money they saved up for his scholarship and use it to buy time-shares. Mark has no money on him and he needs to get a scholarship as soon as possible, but the only scholarship out there is only for a black student. Mark takes advantage of this and with the help of tanning pills; he becomes a black man and gets the scholarship. When he gets to Harvard, he learns that people will treat him differently just due to the color of his skin.
    [​IMG]
    I will admit this movie does indeed have a great, wacky premise and if done right we could've had a great comedy on our hands. Sadly, that isn't the case and what you end up having is a complete and total disaster. Dealing with the film’s comedic aspect, there are only a total of five funny scenes that happen during the span of the film. Sadly all happen before the fifty-minute mark. The rest of the film plays like a really bad '80s made for television drama dealing with racism. Almost every character and the film itself is clichéd every which way possible and the acting is just awful (James Earl Jones, what the hell were you thinking being in this piece of crap?). In the end, stay away from this film unless you want to waste 105 minutes of your life.
    [​IMG]
    Video: *** (out of ****)
    Anchor Bay has included a new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer for their release of Soul Man. While the film might be crap, the transfer is actually pretty good. I’m amazed by the video quality, basically just for the fact the film is over fifteen years old. The transfer does end up looking soft at times and there is the occasional speck of grain, but other than that, I found no problems with this transfer (I didn’t even notice any edge enhancement or compression artifacts).
    [​IMG]
    Audio: **½ (out of ****)
    The DVD includes a Dolby Digital Surround Sound 2.0 track. The track suits the film fine, as the dialog is clear for the most part, but sometimes the songs on the soundtrack seem to sound a bit muffled.
    [​IMG]
    Extras: ** (out of ****)
    Anchor Bay has included a few interesting extras for the DVD release of Soul Man.
    First up is a newly recorded audio commentary track with Director Steve Miner and Star C. Thomas Howell. The commentary track is actually more enjoyable and funnier than the actual movie. Wow, who would've seen that coming? [​IMG] The two talk about many different subjects dealing with the film like: details about the film’s production, the controversy surrounding the film at the time of it's release, and that a film like this could never be made today. The two also don't stray away from the fact that the finished product was a complete mess.
    [​IMG]
    The other two features on the disc are a teaser and theatrical trailer both presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Also, on the disc’s main menu, you can listen to the full length version of Soul Man by Lou Reed.
    [​IMG]
    Overall, a good DVD for a horrible film. If you like the film, then pick up the disc when it comes out (the SRP is only $14.99 so you should be able to find it for under $10). If you've never seen the film before, then try and find a video store that has the DVD for rent (or just tune into Comedy Central one morning).
    DVD Details:
    - 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format
    - English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound
    - Interactive Menus
    - Chapter Selections
    - Audio Commentary with Director Steve Miner and Star C. Thomas Howell
    - Theatrical Trailer
    - Teaser Trailer
    Release Date: 3/19/02
    SRP: $14.99[/c]
     
  2. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Excellent review, Chimmy. I remember liking this flick, but that was about 13 years ago and I was much more retarded back then.

    Ok, not MUCH...
     
  3. Calvin Watts III

    Calvin Watts III Supporting Actor

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    Thanks,Matthew!

    This is one of those kinda guilty pleasures, so $10 will make it a buy for me.

    Calvin
     
  4. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    I remember liking this film a lot when it first came out. It's so very politically incorrect....I'll bet they'd string up the filmakers for even suggesting making this one today.[​IMG] Definitely a guilty pleasure for me...I will get this one eventually for 80s nostalgia sake.[​IMG]
     
  5. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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  6. David Illingworth II

    David Illingworth II Second Unit

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    Somebody help me out here and tell me I'm not the only one waiting for special edition releases of Just One of the Guys and My Secret Admirer (which also had C. Thomas Howell I believe). Is there anybody else out there???
     
  7. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    I'm with you David for Just One of the Guys. [​IMG]
    We also need a DVD release of Zapped Again (cause it's one of the very few sequels better than the original). [​IMG]
     
  8. Justin Hargis

    Justin Hargis Stunt Coordinator

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    Ordered it. [​IMG]
     

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