The Ratings Game appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While not without flaws, the image looked better than expected for a TV movie from 1984.
That’s mainly because Danny DeVito shot on film, not video, a factor that avoided the ugliness of the era’s tapes. Sharpness was largely fine. Some shots could be a bit tentative, and I can’t claim the movie boasted razor-sharp delineation. Nonetheless, it displayed appropriate definition the majority of the time.
I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws cropped up throughout the movie, as I saw specks and marks. These weren’t dominant, but they became a more frequent companion than I’d like.
Colors appeared acceptable. The movie tended toward somewhat pale hues, which again seemed to reflect the source. The hues lacked much vivacity but they came across reasonably well.
Blacks were fairly rich, and low-light shots delivered decent clarity. Nothing here excelled, but the image seemed satisfactory given the source limitations.
On the other hand, the DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Ratings Games provided a weak affair. Speech always remained intelligible, but dialogue tended to seem lifeless, and I heard a little edginess at times.
Effects showed a little distortion and generally appeared flat and lackluster, without any heft or range. Music was a little stronger, but not by much, as the score appeared fairly thin and bland. Even when I accounted for its age, this was a mediocre soundtrack.
When we look at the set’s extras, the prime attraction comes from four Danny DeVito Short Films. We find The Selling of Vince D’Angelo (20:37), A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening (13:48), Minestrone (11:51) and The Sound Sleeper (11:52).
Selling looks at a sleazy political campaign, and Evening shows the exploits of some violent practical jokers. Minestrone features a glimpse of the methods and madness of a filmmaker, while Sleeper views a mystery woman who leads a secret life.
The oldest of the bunch, Sleeper and Minestrone are both the weirdest and the least effective. From the mid-1970s, these seem like self-conscious attempts at edginess and they flop, as neither one goes anywhere.
From the early 1980s, the other two fare much better – especially the cynical and edgy Selling. It gives us a politician who exploits various forms of bigotry while he lies and taunts – that could never happen in a US presidential race, could it? Modern-day relevance aside, Selling provides a darkly humorous tale, and Evening works well, too.
Deleted Scenes fill a total of six minutes, three seconds. We find “Parker Seeks Professional Help” (3:07), “Vic and Francine on the Red Carpet” (1:18) and “Meet the Twins” (1:38).
“Help” shows more of the beleaguered TV executive, while “Carpet” gives us a little more of the awards ceremony. “Twins” just offers outtakes from the sitcom shoot. With a guest appearance from Lainie Kazan, “Help” entertains, but the other two seem less useful.
In addition to a Promo Spot (1:41), we find a Making of featurette. In this six-minute, 50-second piece, we hear from actor/director Danny DeVito and actor Rhea Perlman. The show offers a few basics about the production but it mainly goes for a promotional bent.
The package completes with a booklet. It features photos, production notes/materials and credits. It becomes a good addition to the package.
At times, The Ratings Game provides a smattering of laughs. However, it runs too long to sustain its thin premise. The Blu-ray brings us average picture and audio along with some interesting supplements. It’s interesting to see Danny DeVito’s first feature-length film, but the end result sputters.