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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Bob Clark
Cast:
Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight, Roger Wilson, Cyril O'Reilly
Writing Credits:
Bob Clark

Tagline:
You'll be glad you came!

Synopsis:
This hilarious, raunchy comedy hit takes an unblushing look at teenage adolescence in the 1950's. It follows the comic misadventures of six high schoolers whose most fervent wish is to find some sexual satisfaction at Porky's, a notorious honky-tonk strip joint. When they're ripped off and thrown out by the owner, they plot a revengeful scheme that is truly unforgettable.

Box Office:
Budget
$4 million.
Opening Weekend
$7.623 million on 1148 screens.
Domestic Gross
$105.500 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Stereo 2.0
English Monaural
Spanish Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 5/22/2007

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Bob Clark
• “Porky’s Through the Peephole: Bob Clarks Looks Back” Featurette
• “Porky’s: A Classic Comedy” Featurette
• Trailers and TV Promos
• “Porky’s Video Game Sales Presentation”


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Porky's: One Size Fits All Edition (1982)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 10, 2007)

Things I’ll never understand, part one: why my father owns a DVD copy of Porky’s. This is Mr. Classical Music, Mr. PBS, Mr. Dopey-Little-Art-Film - what in the world use would he have for a cheap piece of teen junk like Porky’s?

I refuse to broach the issue with him because I’m afraid the answer will relate to the movie’s famous shower scene. If there’s one thing I don’t want to hear, it’s my Dad telling me how naked, nubile young women turn him on. I mean, if that does work for him, more power to him; God knows it works for me! Nonetheless, that topic falls very low on the “wanna chat to Dad” list.

In any case, I can think of no reason other than puerile thrills for my Dad to own Porky’s on home video. Frankly, I can’t think of a reason other than solid full-frontal female nudity for anyone to possess Porky’s on home video; this is one lousy little movie.

Porky’s boasts a completely forgettable cast. I took the liberty of hopping over to the IMDB to see what fame and fortune this group had gone on to after Porky's. I mean, this movie had a large pool of characters from which to choose; some of them had to go on to be stars, right?

Let's look at some similar movies: Animal House, the fairly direct inspiration for Porky's, not only turned Belushi into a movie star, it also featured young actors like Kevin Bacon, Tom Hulce, and Karen Allen. Beetlejuice, as noted in another review of mine, included then-unknowns such as Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, and Winona Ryder. Fast Times at Ridgemont High offered a veritable mother lode, as it featured Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Forest Whitaker, Nicolas Cage, and others who’ve had notable careers.

So who's the biggest star to emerge from Porky's? Kim Cattrall. Sure, she’s had a decent career, mostly due to Sex in the City, but I wouldn’t call her a huge name – and it took her almost 20 years to escape the stench of Porky’s.

After her, the top film success story on the roster is Tony "Meat" Ganios, who played a bit role as a terrorist in Die Hard 2. And that's all she wrote! Actually, when you check out their résumés, you see that most of the cast members of Porky's went on to appear in its two sequels and that was about it. Susan Clark and Alex Karras, of course, moved on to the evergreen pastures of TV's Webster, but they don't count because a) they were already established actors by the time of Porky's and b) Webster? C'mon - I'm sure these people have enough pain in their lives without having us remind them of that debacle.

How is this possible? Even huge stink bombs like 1985's Moving Violations can boast the presence of both Jennifer Tilly and Don Cheadle. Porky's was a giant hit, dammit! Someone should have been able to use it as a launching pad.

Okay, now you might insist that the number of rising stars in a movie shouldn't be used as a gauge of the quality of the film, and you'd be right - the picture should stand on its own. Taken in that light, Porky's can be seen for what it really is: a tremendously juvenile and uninventive film that uses its focus on sex to try to generate a few cheap laughs.

You might laugh at parts of Porky's, but you will feel cheap if you do so. I was only fifteen when I first saw it, so I could try to excuse myself for the guffaws it generated at that time. However, I'm too embarrassed to even attempt that form of apology. What was wrong with me? Was I that much of a moron? (Note to readers: that was a rhetorical question - please do not e-mail me with any comments upon my current or past levels of idiocy.)

Here's a summary of the opening scene of Porky's, one that very effectively tells you how the following 98 minutes will progress. Pee-wee - sort of our protagonist - wakes up in the morning. As he slowly escapes from the confines of slumber, the camera gradually pulls back from a close-up on his face to eventually show him from the groin up. At that point, we observe that Pee-wee suffers from a serious case of morning wood. Soon thereafter, his mother enters the room, so Pee-wee hurts himself as he flips over to hide his boner. Once Mom leaves, Pee-wee gets out a ruler and measures his manhood. After he consults his "growth chart," he notes woefully that "it's getting smaller!"

Believe it or not, it's all downhill from there. When a film frequently shows its characters laughing uproariously at the events around them, it’s an extremely bad sign. It seemed as though the filmmakers had little confidence in their ability to make the audience laugh. As a result, they decided that many of their scenes would consist of radically extended gigglefests in hope that the infectious nature of laughter would carry the day. It doesn't.

While the main focus of Porky's is to provide as many lame sexually oriented gags as possible, it seems to fancy itself as a poignant coming of age story. One boy has to confront his abusive father - why, we get to see our little Tommy grow to be a man. How touching! The film also provides sensitive explorations of such hot button topics as racism, anti-Semitism, and racist, anti-Semitic southerners. From careful observation and through much thought, I learned that all these things are bad. (Who knew?!)

The biggest drawing card for Porky's remains its most notorious segment, the famous "shower scene". We know that this portion is so famous because it plays prominently on both the DVD’s cover and in its main menu. While the scene actually provides an "important" plot twist - well, for whatever plot there is - it mainly exists so we can see a few minutes of some very nice female full-frontal nudity. And call me a pig if you must, but you’ll hear no objections from me. Thank God for DVD's digital freeze frame capabilities.

Otherwise, Porky’s is a nearly complete bust. The film offers exceedingly little humor and none of its characters - or the actors who portray them - provide any charm or fun. Teen sex comedies can be quite good, as was recently proved in 1999’s American Pie. However, that was an exception, while Porky’s is the rule.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio D+/ Bonus C

Porky’s appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the picture showed its age, it presented perfectly acceptable visuals.

Sharpness usually appeared good. Some softness interfered with a few low-light scenes, and interior sequences came across as a bit muddy as well. However, most of the film looked reasonably crisp and detailed. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no significant concerns, though some striped shirts strobed a bit. Print flaws were insubstantial. Grain could be a little heavy, and I saw a couple of specks, but the majority of the movie was quite clean.

Colors came across as fairly bright and vivid. The film takes place in Florida, so daytime exteriors lent themselves to the nicely bold and vibrant hues. Nighttime scenes seemed drabber, but the colors still were pretty accurate and tight. Black levels looked a bit bland, however; they were within the range of acceptability. Shadow detail was also decent, but some scenes came across as a bit too thick and heavy. At no point did this become a great image, but it was probably the best this film has ever looked.

Porky’s original mono mix was pretty bad, and the Dolby Stereo 2.0 remix found here wasn’t any better. The soundfield appeared problematic. Across the front speakers, I heard some fairly decent spread which created a mildly involving image. This never rose above the level of general ambiance - very little discrete audio came from the side speakers - but it seemed modestly lively.

However, the rear channels virtually ruined this effect. They provided a similar level of activity, but this seemed far too high for the nature of the film. The surrounds weren’t really all that prominent, but they took on enough sound to become a distraction. I found the rears to offer rather artificial and hollow reinforcement of the front spectrum, and this become pretty annoying. “More” isn’t necessarily “better”, as this surround track proved.

The weak sound quality of the old DVD didn’t improve over the last few years, as Porky’s still sounded pretty bad. A lot of the dialogue seemed poorly recorded and looped, as much of the speech simply did not integrate adequately with the actors. This artificial tone was compounded by the generally brittle and harsh sound of most of the dialogue; speech came across as intelligible, but it rarely seemed natural.

The remainder of the track suffered from similar problems. Effects were thin and lacked much realism, while the music sounded tinny and flat. The mix lacked any form of dynamic range, as both highs and lows were without much emphasis. As a result, Porky’s may have a new surround mix, but the quality remained low.

This was the third DVD release of Porky’s - how did the picture and audio of this 2007 version compare to those of prior releases? The 2001 double feature disc and this one offered identical audio, while the original 1999 edition presented similarly problematic mono sound. None of them seemed better or worse than the others.

As for the visuals, the 2007 disc looked best of the bunch. The first one was non-anamorphic, while the 2001 platter brought 16X9 enhancement but suffered from many other flaws. The 2007 DVD never presented great picture quality, but it was the best of the three.

Whereas the old discs included virtually no extras, a complement of materials fleshes out this 2007 “One Size Fits All Edition”. We open with an audio commentary from director Bob Clark, who offers a running, screen-specific track. Clark discusses real-life inspirations for the story, characters and settings, problems getting support to make the flick, period details, his directorial style and choices, making the sequel and reactions to the film.

Sadly, this will go down as Clark’s final commentary; he died in a car accident a short while before the DVD’s release. Since it acts as his swan song, I wish I could state that Clark recorded a great look at his film. Unfortunately, the commentary is too spotty to be considered a good discussion.

On the positive side, Clark does give us some decent insight into the origins of the story elements, and we learn a bit about the production. However, two attitudes taint the track. For one, Clark often comes across as too full of himself. He lavishes praise on the project and acts like Porky’s was an important, seminal piece of filmmaking. We often hear how him tout his own talents and tell us about all the “classically trained” actors in the cast. Even if you like the flick, I think his tone will get tiresome.

In addition, Clark seems very defensive about Porky’s. That may sound odd given the ego he displays the rest of the time, but Clark devotes a lot of the track to a defense of the flick. He appears to believe that everyone had it out for him and worked incredibly hard to hurt the movie. We already heard some of Clark’s bitterness toward his critics during the commentary for A Christmas Story, so with 98 minutes to devote to Porky’s, he makes sure we get the full impact of his anger.

Clark clearly feels that none of the film’s actors went onto big careers because of their attachment to Porky’s, as though no one would cast them just because they appeared in this flick. I find that hard to believe. After all, Porky’s was a big hit, and the almighty buck speaks loudest in Hollywood; even if some folks did wish Porky’s harm, they wouldn’t ignore its success. Half an ode to his greatness and half a self-pitying screed against all those who didn’t believe in him, Clark’s commentary boasts some decent information but gets on the listener’s nerves – or this listener’s nerves, at least.

Two featurettes arrives next. Porky’s Through the Peephole: Bob Clark Looks Back runs 15 minutes and nine seconds. The director discusses his high school days and their influence on the flick. He tells us how he came up with the story, problems getting the movie off the ground, real-life inspirations for the scenes, the cast, and the film’s reception.

If you already listened to the commentary, you’ll not learn much new here, as Clark does little more than repeat information from his feature-length discussion. However, if you want to screen only one of the two, I’d go with “Peephole”. It’s not as filled with attitude and it conveys much of the same material. That makes it a better use of time and a more painless way to digest Clark’s details.

For the 11-minute and 19-second Porky’s: A Comedy Classic, we find notes from comedian Dante Rusciolelli and writer/comedian Greg Fitzsimmons. They offer off-color jokes about the movie’s sex, nudity and other elements. They’re not terribly funny and there’s nothing I’d call memorable in this pointless clip.

Some advertising elements finish off the set. We locate trailers for Porky’s and its two sequels as well as two TV promos for the original film. In addition, we get a Porky’s Video Game Sales Presentation. In this four-minute and 45-second piece, we see lots of movie clips and hear what a smash the 1983 video game will be. We also see a few shots of the game, but not many, unfortunately. I’d have loved to see more of that primitive effort. Really, the “Presentation” does more to sell Porky’s II than the video game.

Porky’s became a smutty hit in 1982. I liked it as a teen but now can’t find much amusement in this smarmy, tacky comedy. The DVD provided decent picture, weak audio and mediocre supplements. This is a passable disc for a dopey movie.

While that means this Porky’s release isn’t a great product, it does stand as the best of the film’s three DVD versions so it’s the one to get if you don’t have either of the others. If you do own one of those, then it’s hard to recommend the “One Size Fits All” edition. Audio is pretty comparable for all three, and picture only moderately improves over the others. We get some extras here but none of them work very well. If you adore Porky’s then get it, but otherwise stick with the DVD you already have.

Note that this version of Porky’s can be purchased on its own or as part of the three-disc “Porky’s: The Ultimate Collection”. That set also includes Porky’s II: The Next Day and Porky’s Revenge. Porky’s II previously appeared as part of a “double-feature” release with Porky’s, but this set marks the DVD debut of Revenge.

To rate this film visit the original review of PORKY's / PORKY'S II: DOUBLE FEATURE

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main