DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: GLOW: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING (Docurama Films/Cinedigm)
Director Brett Whitcomb has fashioned a rousing triumph with the unlikeliest of topics — a documentary about the late-’80s cable-TV show “GLOW: The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.”For those who remember the series (and you know who you are), “GLOW” wasn’t so much titillating and exploitative as campy and silly. Few of the ladies had any real training in wrestling; most were just trying to get a break in show-biz. There was as much kitschy comedy as there were body-slams and headbutts.The ladies speak for themselves, recalling their days in the spotlight with wistful nostalgia and down-to-earth candor. The gang’s all here: “Little Egypt” (Angelina Altishin), “Hollywood” (Jeanne Basone), “Matilda the Hun” (Dee Booher), “Big Bad Mama” (Lynn Braxton), “Godiva” (Dawn Rice), “Ninotchka” (Lorilyn Palmer), “Mt. Fiji” (Emily Dole) and more.The film examines the inner workings of the series with a sharp eye, is a humorous ode to the crazy ’80s and, best of all, is a terrific tribute to the Gorgeous Ladies themselves. It’s wonderfully affectionate and warm-hearted and even moving at times. A welcome surprise all around. Who’d have guessed?
THE ADVENTURES OF BAILEY: A NIGHT IN COWTOWN (Entertainment One): The third in the family franchise centering around a golden retriever sees the perceptive pooch “goin’ West” and encountering dog-nappers. The DVD retails (no pun intended) for $14.98.
ALL THAT I HAVE (Alpha Home Entertainment): Vintage 1951 faith-based melodrama with small-town doctor Houseley Stevenson Sr. on trial for incompetence after doling out his wealth to Christian charities. Stevenson’s real-life sons Houseley Jr. and Onslow Stevens, Donald Woods, Russell Hicks, Tom Neal and Paul Cavanagh also appear. The highlight of this DVD is an episode from the ‘50s series “Crossroads” featuring Donald Woods and Richard Jaeckel.
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (Warner Home Video): Richard LaGravanese’s attempt to turn Kami Garcia’s best-seller into a big-screen franchise (a la Twilight) met with critical and box-office indifference, despite a cast including Oscar winners Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons, Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Alden Ehrenreich, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Eileen Atkins. The DVD retails for $28.98, the Blu-ray/DVD combo for $35.99. Rated PG-13.
BEYOND OUR OWN (Alpha Home Entertainment): This faith-based 1947 melodrama stars a pre-”Star Trek” DeForest Kelley as a physician who forsakes his stateside practice to become a missionary in war-torn China. The low-budget seams show, but sincerely acted by Kelley, Pierre Watkin as his brother, Douglass Dumbrille, Trudy Marshall and Richard Loo, who frequently played villainous Asians but is a sympathetic one here.
CAR’S LIFE 3: THE ROYAL HEIST (Entertainment One): The latest installment of the animated automotive children’s comedies involves a charity road rally rocked by scandal when a visiting dignitary’s jewels are stolen. Corinne Orr reprises her voiceover role as the lead car, Sparky. The DVD retails for $12.98.
CHARLIE: A TOY STORY (Entertainment One): Young Caden (Raymond Ochoa) and his faithful golden retriever (that would be Charlie) take on the would-be thieves trying ro break into the toy shop owned by Caden’s father in this family-friendly slapstick comedy ($14.98 retail).
“CHRISTIAN COWBOY DOUBLE FEA- TURE VOLUME 2” (VCI Entertainment): A DVD twin-bill ($9.99 retail) of Christianthemed animated children’s Westerns from producer Ken Anderson and director Art Davis: Tale of the Comet (1986) and Secrets of Sinbad (1988).
“DANCE ACADEMY” (Flatiron Film Company): The emotional and physical rigors of students at the National Academy of Dance in Australia are dramatized in this award-winning family series aired by Nickelodeon in the US. The ensemble cast includes Jordan Rodrigues, Xenia Goodwin, Alicia Banit and Dena Kaplan. “Season 1: Volume 1” includes the first 13 episodes from the inaugural 2010 season, “Volume 2” includes the final 13 episodes from that season; “Season 2: Volume 1” includes the first 13 episodes from the 2012 season and “Volume 2” the final 13 from that season. Each volume retails on DVD for $19.95.
“FRAGGLE ROCK”: 30TH ANNIVER- SARY COLLECTION (Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment): A self-explanatory DVD boxed set ($129.99 retail) of all 96 episodes from the entire 1983-’87 run of creator Jim Henson’s award-winning family series about an underground universe and its energetic denizens, which aired on HBO. Gaiam Vivendi is also releasing “Meet the Fraggles” ($14.93 retail), which includes the original pilot and five popular episodes.
“THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS: ALL ABOUT EARTH” (Scholastic Storybook Treasures): A DVD collection ($12.95 retail) of three environmentally-themed episodes from the popular, award-winning animated children’s series (based on an equally popular series of books), which originally aired 1994-’98 on PBS and has been in syndication ever since.
NICKELODEON FAVORITES: ONCE UPON A RHYME (Nickelodeon/Paramount): A DVD selection ($14.99 retail) of various episodes from such popular, animated Nickelodeon children’s favorites as “Dora the Explorer,” “Team Umizoomi,” “Bubble Guppies,” “Blue’s Clues” and others, all celebrating classic nursery rhymes.
“PHINEAS AND FERB: ANIMAL AGENTS” (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): A DVD selection ($19.99 retail) of 12 episodes from the award-winning, animated Disney Channel children’s series about the misadventures of the titular stepbrothers (voiced by Vincent Martella and Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and their crime-fighting animal allies.
SAFE HAVEN (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Boy meets girl … but girl has a past. That means problems for boy and girl. Josh Duhamel is boy, Julianne Hough is girl and this is the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and rated PG-13. The DVD retails for $29.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $39.99.
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN (Docurama Films/Cinedigm): This award-winning documentary ($29.95 retail) focuses on four Chinese teenagers who were adopted by Americans after the Chinese government implemented its “One Child Policy” in 1989.
“TEAM UMIZOOMI: ANIMAL HE- ROES” (Nickelodeon/Paramount): The title tells all in this DVD collection ($14.99 retail) of four episodes from the popular animated Nickelodeon series, designed to teach young children as it entertains them.
“TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: RISE OF THE TURTLES” (Nickelodeon/ Paramount): The “heroes in a half-shell” are back in action in this DVD collection ($14.99 retail) of five episodes from the inaugural 2012 season of the animated Nickelodeon series featuring the voices of Jason Biggs, Sean Astin, Mae Whitman and Rob Paulsen.
YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED (Docurama Films/Cinedigm): When the Donald decided to build what he envisioned the greatest golf course in the world in Scotland, he didn’t envision some residents to resist. Director Anthony Baxter’s award-winning documentary is hugely manipulative and one-sided (against Trump, obviously), but also well-assembled, highly watchable, and entertaining.
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2013, Mark Burger.