DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: THE BREAKFAST CLUB (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Writer/director John Hughes solidified his standing as the cinematic voice of ‘80s adolescence with this well-acted 1985 comedy/drama that remains one of the era’s bestloved films.
It’s an average Saturday at a suburban high school, where five archetypical students have been given detention. Emilio Estevez plays the jock, Anthony Michael Hall the geek, Judd Nelson the rebel, Molly Ringwald the debutante and Ally Sheedy the misfit. Paul Gleason (who bids fair to steal the film) plays the grouchy principal and John Kapelos the cynical janitor, who drop by occasionally.
With its confined setting and ensemble cast, The Breakfast Club is strongly reminiscent of a stage play, and Hughes the director tends to give Hughes the writer a very long leash. (Group therapy, anyone?) Nevertheless, the film eschews the raunch of so many teen sex comedies of that era and attempts, more successfully than not, to offer an insight into the characters’ personalities and their emotions. It still holds up.
The “30th-Anniversary Edition” is available on DVD ($14.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.98 retail) – both replete with special features including a 12-part documentary and audio commentary featuring Nelson and Hall. Rated R.
DINOSAUR 13 (LionsGate): Paleontologist Peter Larson and the Black Hills Institute’s 1990 discovery of the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil was hailed as an amazing find – until competition, condemnation and bureaucratic hurdles followed, all covered in editor/ producer/director Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary, based on Larson and Kristin Donnan’s book Rex Appeal, available on DVD ($19.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.99 retail).
THE EQUATION OF LIFE (Shelter Island/TDC Entertainment): Youngster Gerry Orz expands his anti-bullying Youtube short Day of Silence with this award-winning, semi-autobiographical tale of an 11-year-old (Orz) harassed by a classmate (Zane Paul) with problems of his own at home. Given its sincerity and usefulness, this is above critical reproach. Newcomer Kaitlin Morgan is touching as Orz’s older sister.
“HELLO LADIES”: THE COMPLETE SERIES & THE MOVIE (HBO) A DVD collection ($19.98 retail) of all eight episodes plus the concluding movie from the 2013 (and only) season of the HBO comedy series starring co-creator/ executive producer Stephen Merchant as an Englishman abroad – in Los Angeles seeking the girl of his dreams.
“THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL” (StarVista Entertainment/Time Life): A three-DVD collection ($29.95 retail) of highlights from the long-running (1972- ’81) late-night NBC music series, featuring performances by Steely Dan, Jim Croce, Heart, Van Morrison, Linda Ronstadt, Santana and others, plus comedy from Steve Martin, George Carlin, Billy Crystal, Richard Pryor, Freddie Prinze, Joan Rivers and others.
“NEW TRICKS”: SEASON 11 (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): Tamzin Outhwaite assumes command of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) for the 2014 season of the long-running, awardwinning BBC One comedy/drama series. The three-DVD collection of all 10 episodes retails for $39.99.
“PRETTY LITTLE LIARS”: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (Warner Home Video): Intrigue and mystery continue to haunt four friends (Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale and Shay Mitchell), each with hidden secrets, in all 25 episodes from the 2014-’15 season of the award-winning ABC Family series based on Sara Shepard’s best-selling novels. The five-DVD collection ($59.98 retail) includes bonus features.
“DE QUE TE QUIERO TE QUIERO” (Cinedigm): A four-DVD collection ($19.97 retail) of the 2013-’14 season of the popular, award-winning “Telenovela” (English title: “Head Over Heels”), a remake of the ‘80s series “Carita pindatas,” with Juan Diego Covarrubius as identical twins competing for the love of the same woman (Livia Brita). In Spanish with English subtitles.
“SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED”: THE SERIES (Cinedigm): A DVD collection ($24.95 retail) of all 10 episodes from the inaugural 2014 season of the awardwinning Hallmark Channel series about four postal workers (Eric Mabius, Kristin Booth, Crystal Lowe and Geoff Gustafson) who become “Dead Letter” detectives, tracking down recipients of undeliverable mail. Guest stars include Carol Burnett, Valerie Harper, Marilu Henner, Valerie Bertinelli and Della Reese.
SONG ONE (Cinedigm): Anne Hathaway produces and stars in writer/director Kate Barker-Froyland’s award-winning, PG-13-rated musical/drama about a young woman who seeks to better understand her estranged, comatose, musician brother (Ben Rosenfield) by seeking out his idol (Johnny Flynn), only to find romance. The DVD retails for $14.93, the Blu-ray for $19.99.
SON OF A GUN (LionsGate): Loosely based on actual characters, this typical crime drama stars a gruff, grizzled Ewan McGregor as a notorious criminal who shows troubled teen Brenton Thwaites the ropes – until a heist inevitably goes awry. Rated R.
“THAT SHOW WITH JOAN RIVERS” (Synergy Entertainment/Topics Entertainment/Film Chest Media Group): From 1968-’69, comedienne Joan Rivers hosted a day-time talk show for NBC. This four- DVD collection ($19.98 retail) includes 29 episodes, featuring such guests as Johnny Carson, Steve Lawrence, Ed Sullivan, Florence Henderson, Lily Tomlin and many more.
TOUCH OF THE LIGHT (Well Go USA Entertainment): For his award-winning feature debut (originally titled Ni guang fei xiang), director Chang Jung-Hi has expanded his acclaimed 2008 short The End of the Title and reunited the leads, Huang Yu-siang – upon whose life the story is loosely based – as a blind piano prodigy who partners with Sandrine Pinna as a young dancer. In Mandarin with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $24.98.
“WAHLBURGERS”: SEASON 2 (LionsGate): The family shenanigans in Beantown (and abroad) continue, as the brothers Wahlberg (Mark, Donnie and Paul) join mother Alma and chef sibling Bob in the running and promotion of the family restaurant in Boston, in all 9 episodes from the 2014 season of the A&E reality series, available on DVD ($19.98 retail).
“WELCOME TO SWEDEN”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Entertainment One): Sibling executive producer Amy and Greg Poehler’s NBC sitcom, created by and starring Greg, based on his life as it follows a New York accountant as he moves to Sweden to be with his girlfriend (Joseph Bornebusch). All 10 episodes from the inaugural 2014 season are available on DVD ($34.98 retail).
WINGMAN, INC. (LionsGate): The battle of the sexes begins anon in this R-rated romantic comedy pitting womanizer Kristopher Turner against man-eater Erin Cahill. The DVD retails for $26.98.
“WKRP IN CINCINNATI” (Shout! Factory): Hugh Wilson created this popular CBS sitcom about Ohio’s favorite rock ‘n’ roll radio station, boasting a fun-filled ensemble cast including Howard Hesseman (as Dr. Johnny Fever), Tim Reid (as Venus Flytrap), Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Richard Sanders, Frank Bonner and Jan Smithers. “Season One” includes all 22 episodes from the 1978’-79 season, where it earned Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Hesseman) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Anderson). “Season Two” includes all 22 episodes from the 1979-’80 season, where it earned the same three nominations plus one for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series and a win for Outstanding Video Tape Editing for a Series. “Season Three” includes all 21 episodes from the 1980-’81 season, where it earned Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Video Tape Editing for a Series. Each season is available on DVD (each retailing for $24.97). !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2015, Mark Burger.