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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jeff Kanew
Cast:
Anthony Edwards, Robert Carradine, Bernie Casey, Ted McGinley, James Cromwell, John Goodman, Curtis Armstrong
Writing Credits:
Jeff Buhai, Tim Metcalfe (story), Miguel Tejada-Flores, Steve Zacharias

Tagline:
They've been laughed at, picked on and put down. But now it's time for the odd to get even! Their time has come!

Synopsis:
Two buddies (Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards) matriculate at Adams College only to find themselves unable to join a frat due to their overwhelming nerdiness. Along with a very effeminate man, a pre-teen genius, a nose-picking slob, and a exchange-student photographer, the nerds turn to a previously all-black house for a charter and plot their revenge on the jocks who scorned them.

Box Office:
Budget
$8 million.
Opening Weekend
$1.513 million on 364 screens.
Domestic Gross
$40.900 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

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

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 3/6/2007

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Jeff Kanew and Actors Robert Carradine, Timothy Busfield and Curtis Armstrong
• “I’m a Nerd, and I’m Pretty Proud of It” Documentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Television Pilot
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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


Revenge Of The Nerds: Panty Raid Edition (1984)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 30, 2007)

My memories of 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds tend to be fond. That’s not because I could identify with any of the film’s dorky protagonists, of course - no, not a manly-man like me! (Or a teenly-teen, since I was 17 when the film appeared.) Sure, I wore glasses, was overweight, had trouble with girls, collected comic books, played videogames and liked computers, but that didn’t make me a nerd, did it? (Please don’t answer that question.)

In any case, I found Nerds to be a funny and delightful experience when I saw it theatrically in the summer of 1984. However, that was a depressingly long time ago. Would the flick still hold up after 23 years?

Yeah, sort of. While Nerds looks extremely dated, and I don’t find it to provide an especially amusing experience, it offers enough charm and fun to merit a viewing.

The story is simple enough. Two geeky friends - Lewis (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) head off to their first year of school, where they expect to have a wild time as college men. Well, Lewis expects that, at least, while Gilbert’s better grounded in the reality of their nerd-dom.

Unfortunately for the boys, Gilbert nailed the situation, and they receive a harsh reception, mainly due to the aggressive boys of the Alpha Beta fraternity. Headed by handsome quarterback Stan Gable (Ted McGinley), these jerky jocks make life difficult for our heroes, and things get even worse when Lewis and Gilbert link up other outcasts to create their own fraternity, Lambda Lambda Lambda. The film progresses through battles between the two sides until our geeks eventually emerge victorious.

The activities depicted will not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen a few teen comedies of the Eighties. There’s a fair amount of smuttiness and gags about bodily functions, but it all seems good-natured and inoffensive. Nerds isn’t terribly politically correct, as it features rather stereotypical portrayals of a variety of people - such as gays and Asians - but these aren’t done in a nasty or hateful way, so they didn’t seem bothersome.

That’s part of the appeal of Nerds. Although it makes fun of the nerds and a variety of other kinds of folks, it doesn’t do so into a mean-spirited manner. It’s also nice to see dorks as the main characters in a film, and presented in a positive way. Is it realistic that they succeed so terrifically? Probably not, but the severity of their nerdiness also is exaggerated, and the movie’s generally a broad comedy, so that’s not a big concern.

Nerds benefits from a solid cast. Both Edwards and Carradine are winning and earnest as the friends. They add enough charisma to endear them to the audience but not enough to make them seem too compelling - they still gotta be nerds, after all! McGinley is appropriately smug and slick as the head Alpha, and the supporting actors on both sides work well. In retrospect, it’s especially fun to see John Goodman in a wonderfully heavy-handed turn as the obnoxious nerd-hating football coach.

Revenge of the Nerds isn’t a classic, and what seemed funny 23 years ago often falls flat now. The film hasn’t aged well in many ways, mainly due to the laughably dated pop tunes and fashions. Nonetheless, Nerds offers a generally entertaining experience that seems much more charming than most teen comedies.


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

Revenge of the Nerds 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. Though not a bad transfer, it suffered from some flatness typical of its era.

Sharpness seemed somewhat problematic. Most of the film looked acceptably crisp and well-defined, but some of the movie came across as a little muddy and soft. These tendencies weren’t extreme, but the movie tended to show moderate softness at times. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no discernible concerns, and edge enhancement was minor. Print flaws were essentially non-existent. I noticed a couple of small specks, but otherwise the flick stayed clean.

Colors generally looked a bit heavy and muddy. Skin tones came across as blotchy and muddled, and the rest of the hues were similarly affected. Black levels seemed a bit flat but were acceptably deep, and shadow detail showed similar tendencies; low-light sequences provided watchable but slightly heavy shots.

I will note that the picture improved as the movie progressed. Sharpness became more concise, and colors grew more dynamic. Low-light shots like the one in the moon bounce also appeared clearer. The improvements weren’t stellar, but they were enough to bolster the otherwise mediocre transfer to “B-“ level.

In addition to the movie’s original mono soundtrack, the Nerds DVD presented a stereo remix. The soundfield remained anchored strongly to the front center channel. Some extremely light spread to the sides existed but not enough to make a difference. For all intents and purposes, this was a mono mix.

Audio quality seemed similarly unexciting. Dialogue usually appeared acceptably distinct and accurate. The lines could be a little thin, but they lacked significant edginess. Effects sounded relatively flat but they were fairly clear and without serious problems. The music seemed similarly forgettable, as the score and songs failed to present notable dynamic range. All in all, however, it’s a very lackluster affair.

How do the picture and audio of this “Panty Raid Edition” compare to those of the prior DVD? Other reviewers claim that they’re identical, but this is completely incorrect; both visuals and sound are different here.

In terms of picture, the “Panty Raid” DVD is an improvement. Colors, blacks and delineation remain about the same, but the 2007 transfer loses the many specks and marks that mar the old DVD. This new one looks considerably cleaner.

Audio is different but not noticeably stronger in either edition. On the positive side, the “Panty Raid” DVD sounds better. It offers clearer music and dialogue, as it lacks the edginess prevalent in the old disc. However, the Dolby Surround 2.0 remix for the 2001 DVD presents a broader soundfield. It’s not a radically open track, but it broadens the music better. Both remain mediocre due to their flaws; I’d advise viewers to simply stick with the original mono mix that also appears on the DVD.

While the prior Nerds DVD included no significant supplements, this new “Panty Raid” edition adds some components. We start with an audio commentary from director Jeff Kanew and actors Robert Carradine, Timothy Busfield and Curtis Armstrong. The director offers one running, screen-specific track and the actors another; the results are edited together to create the impression that all four are together, but that’s not the case.

As for the content of the commentary, performance issues dominate. We learn about improvisation and changes from the script, cut sequences, sets and locations, costumes and music, cast and performances, and anecdotes from the shoot. The commentary proves moderately engaging but not much more than that. We get a smattering of amusing stories and interesting facts, but there’s just not a lot of substance for the participants to offer. This ends up as a mildly fun chat but not anything more than that.

Next comes a documentary called I’m Nerd, and I’m Pretty Proud of It. This 38-minute and 36-second piece presents movie clips, archival materials, and interviews with Kanew, Carradine, Busfield, Armstrong, and actors Andrew Cassese, Ted McGinley, Larry B. Scott and Julie Montgomery. The show looks at how the director and cast came onto the project, shooting in Arizona and extracurricular activities, the script and broadening it for the screen, raunchiness and ratings, characters, performances and the depiction of nerds, Kanew’s direction and the work on the set, and the film’s reception.

“Proud” provides a surprisingly frank assessment of the production. Plenty of funny stories come along the way as we learn of various issues and elements of the shoot. It’s a blunt and entertaining glimpse of the flick’s creation.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of eight minutes, 44 seconds. We get “Stan Owes Nerd Money” (0:48), “Gilbert Tells Judy How He Feels” (1:52), “Tri-Lamb Vegas Convention” (1:25), “Meet Uncle Meyer” (2:08), “Chariot Race” (1:55) and “Nerds Catch Jocks Destroying Their House” (0:35). A few minor excised story threads occur here, but they don’t get much exposition. It’s unclear where “Money” would have gone, and the elements related to Vegas aren’t productive.

“Judy” is a cute romantic scene but not necessary in the long run. “Vegas” is pretty funny, if just because the nerds wear African garb to “fit in” with the other Tri-Lambs. This takes a turn in “Meyer” when we meet Lewis’s racist uncle. It and “Destroying” are a little too dark for this flick. Some general exposition pops up in a few of these and the clips are interesting, but they’re not especially significant.

In addition to trailers for Nerds and sequel Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, we get the Nerds television pilot. The show lasts 24 minutes, 18 seconds and reprises many of the movie’s characters. However, none of the original actors appear.

Brady Bunch fans will be interested to note the casting of Robbie Rist as Booger; he played annoying Cousin Oliver in the earlier series. Nothing else about the show will intrigue anyone, though, as it’s a humorless dud. Still, it’s fun to find the pilot here as a curiosity. I won’t ever watch it again, but I appreciate its inclusion.

While not a great film, Revenge of the Nerds does its job. No, it’s not anything remarkable, but it’s generally fun and entertaining. The DVD presents adequate picture and audio along with a smattering of nice extras. It’s a good disc for fans of the film or others who want to indulge in some wacky fun, Eighties-style.

Should fans who own the original DVD upgrade to this one? Yup. It improves picture quality and adds a lot of good supplements. With a list price of only about $20, it’s a good package to snag.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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