The weekend’s here. You’ve just been paid, and it’s burning a hole in your pocket. What’s a pop culture geek to do? In hopes of steering you in the right direction to blow some of that hard-earned cash, it’s time for the FRED Weekend Shopping Guide - your spotlight on the things you didn’t even know you wanted…
(Please support FRED by using the links below to make any impulse purchases - it helps to keep us going…)
Ignore all of the pale-wannabes and unfortunate attempts to adapt it for other markets, and stick with the original UK edition of Top Gear, hosted by the madman trinity of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond. If you don’t like cars, don’t worry - I could care less about cars, but love this show something fierce, and it all comes down to the energy, likeability, and humor of the presenters. Don’t believe me? Check out the newly-released Top Gear: Season 11 (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$29.98 SRP) & Top Gear: Season 12 (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$39.98 SRP) and judge for yourself. The 2-disc 11th season is barebones, but the 12th season contains audio commentary on the epic Vietnam and Botswana specials, deleted scenes, extended segments, and deleted scenes.
Tongs? Who wants use tongs when you’re cooking hot food! Heck, if you use tongs, you probably use oven mitts, too! Well, join the future and start on your journey to become more machine than man by getting a pair of Fusion Silicon Finger Tongs ($17.99 each), which are wearable heat-resistant implements that allow you to pretend you’re a cooking robot. Because you always wanted to do that. Right?
Jumping ahead of about 7 unreleased seasons, Springfield’s first family celebrates two decades on the air with the release of The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season (Fox, Not Rated, DVD-$49.98 SRP). Flying in the face of previous sets loaded with commentaries on every episode, this is a paractically bare-bones release, with only an abbreviated version of the 20th anniversary special by Morgan Spurlock. However, as this was the first season to feature episodes broadcast in widescreen HD, this is also the first season to be released on in a Blu-Ray edition ($59.99 SRP). The bonus feature is the same, but it looks oh-so-sweet in high-def. I just wish the episodes themselves were funnier.
I don’t know how much work he actually did on it besides lending it his name (or if he’s even read it), but George Lucas’s Blockbusting (It Books, $29.99 SRP) is a fascinating examination of 300 of the most financially and critically successful films in Hollywood history, examining their creation, production, marketing, reception, and legacy via factoids, tidbits, and contest that’s a page-turner for any cinema nerd. Like me. And, most likely, you.
If you’re not yet aware of the work being done by the fine folks at La-La Land Records, let this be your wake-up call. They’ve been quietly releasing a whole slew of limited edition, much-requested soundtracks to classic flicks, and the latest to get their treatment is Caddyshack (La-La Land Records, $19.98). Not only do you get the tunes (”I’m Alright”, “Any Way You Want It”), you also get cues from Johnny Mandel’s score.
I’m always game when someone shakes up the chat show format with a unique take - made all the better when it’s hosted by someone that you actually want to spend time with. Such is the case with Elvis Costello’s Spectacle (MVD, Not Rated, DVD-$49.95 SRP), which combines live music performances by his guests with candid conversation that doesn’t come from heavily pre-planned, all-too-brief talk show appearances. The 5-disc first season set features the likes of Elton John, Lou Reed, Smokey Robinson, James Taylor, Rufus Wainwright, Roseanne Cash, and more. Bonus materials include bonus songs and backstage interviews. A Blu-Ray edition ($69.95 SRP) is available, with identical bonus materials.
Combine an anniversary of an evergreen title with rather unfortunate recent events, and you get a 10th anniversary special edition of the Shakespeare in high school 10 Things I Hate About You (Touchstone, Rated PG-13, DVD-$19.99 SRP), which shovels on a retrospective documentary, an audio commentary, and deleted scenes. A Blu-Ray edition ($28.99 SRP) is also available, with identical bonus materials. Also available is the first volume from the TV series of 10 Things I Hate About You (ABC Studios, Not Rated, DVD-$29.99 SRP), featuring 10 episodes, the pilot, audio commentaries, featurettes, and bloopers.
In the late 80’s when it made its debut, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$45.98 SRP) was bizarre, particularly when compared with the other Saturday-morning cartoons surrounding it. Under the supervision of Ralph Bakshi, our hero’s adventures became surreal and odd in a way that paved the way for the likes of Ren & Stimpy and Spongebob. If you don’t believe me, look no further than this 2-disc set, which contains all 19 episodes, plus a trio of classic Terrytoons Mighty Mouse cartoons and an interview-packed featurette.
It’s often overlooked as the odd period between Cheers and his recent renaissance on Damages and Bored To Death, but Becker (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$36.98 SRP) was an often dependable workhorse sitcom starring Ted Danson. The 3-disc complete 3rd season contains all 24 episodes featuring the Bronx-dwelling doc.
From the editors of McSweeney’s comes Heads On And We Shoot (It Books, $39.99 SRP), a wonderfully unique (in its presentation, at least) look at the making of Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. The books is presented in three sections, laid out as a book (with covers) literally within a book. See? Unique! And the behind-the-scenes info is fun, too.
You can feel the creak beginning to set in as we enter the 12th season of ER (Warner Bros., Not Rated, DVD-$49.98 SRP), even though Dr. Victor Clemente arrives on the scene and Maura Tierney’s Abby becomes even more front and center. The 6-disc set contains all 22 episodes, plus unaired scenes and outtakes.
Bring the classic run of the series to a close before the lackluster post-movie, set-in-the-future episodes with the release of Transformers Season 2: Volume 2 (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$29.99 SRP). The 4-disc set contains 21 episodes, a featurette, PSAs, toy commercials, and concept art.
Don’t let the often cornball series keep you from seeing the original feature Fame (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), a gritty, often bleak, yet uplifting look at the students of New York City’s High School For The Performing Arts. The new Blu-Ray features a reunion commentary, a vintage featurette, a look at the school that inspired the movie, the theatrical trailer, and a bonus CD sampler of the soundtrack.
They’ve become cable classics over the years, despite their last-gasp, 80’s style over-the-top action cheese, but my do Last Action Hero & Cliffhanger (Sony, Rated PG-13/R, Blu-Ray-$24.95 SRP each) look good in high definition, Last Action Hero is featureless, but Cliffhanger delivers audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, an introduction from director Renny Harlin, and more.
Lionsgate is releasing handful of their music & musician-centric feature films in a series their calling “Music Makers”, all of which come packed with a sampler CD featuring a track each from the musicians highlighted in the films (with an additional cut from Bobby Darin). The films in question are the Darin biopic Beyond The Sea (Lionsgate, Rated PG-13, DVD-$14.98 SRP), Ray Charles in Ballad In Blue (Lionsgate, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), Sammy Davis Jr. in A Man Called Adam (Lionsgate, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), and Buena Vista Social Club (Lionsgate, Rated G, DVD-$14.98 SRP).
Maybe it’s in films like Wrong Turn At Tahoe (Paramount, Rated R, DVD-$14.98 SRP) that Cuba Gooding Jr begins to claw his way back from such memorable missteps as Boat Trip and Snow Dogs. In this direct-to-DVD mob flick, Gooding is a Mafia protégé tasked with taking out a drug dealer. Unfortunately, he finds out the titular Tahoe works for a really big mob boss (Harvey Keitel) who expects payment for the lost revenue. Give it a spin.
I never really cottoned to the BBC’s recent slick & shiny take on Robin Hood (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$59.98 SRP), but I know a healthy fanbase has grown up around it, and are surely awaiting the third season’s arrival. Sadly for them, that third season is the final one, and this 5-disc set features all 13 episodes, plus featurettes and video diaries.
While you’re patiently awaiting the arrival of Sideshow Collectibles’ own premium format version of Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer, why not pick up the Real Action Heroes 12″ version of The Rocketeer ($164.99) from Medicom Toy - conveniently from Sideshow Collectibles. The tailoring is spot-on and the overall effect is nifty, and it’s certainly a fun piece. You know you want it. Admit it.
So there you have it… my humble suggestions for what to watch, listen to, play with, or waste money on this coming weekend. See ya next week…
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