Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film offered a good but not great image.
Overall definition was positive. Occasional shots looked a bit soft, but those instances weren’t a major factor. The majority of the movie seemed crisp and well-defined. No issues with moiré effects or jaggies occurred, and source flaws remained absent.
Colors worked well. The movie often went with a fairly golden tint typical of the period pieces lampooned here, but that tone didn’t overwhelm things. The palette broadened in a satisfying way with some vivid hues. Blacks looked deep and dense, while shadows were clear and well-developed. Despite some minor drawbacks, the movie came across well most of the time.
One would expect a flick like Walk Hard to emphasize music, and one’s expectations would be met with this good Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. The score and songs displayed very nice stereo imaging and also used the surrounds to open things up in a satisfying manner.
Effects played a decent role as well, though not as often. Good environmental information came along for the ride, and some more active sequences also gave us solid material. The surrounds weren’t tremendously involved, but they added pizzazz when necessary.
At all times, audio quality succeeded. Music remained the most important element, and the various tunes and score seemed lively and full. Speech was natural and crisp, without edginess or other concerns. Effects were also distinctive and vivid, and the track boasted nice low-end response. I liked this soundtrack.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the 2008 Special Edition DVD? Audio showed greater range and fullness, while visuals appeared tighter, smoother and more vivid. The Blu-ray improved on the DVD.
The Blu-ray duplicates the DVD’s extras. On Disc One, the big attraction comes from the presence of two cuts of the film. In addition to the theatrical release (1:36:00), we find an extended unrated version (2:00:19) of the film.
Called “American Cox: The Unbearably Long, Self-Indulgent Director’s Cut”, most of the extra footage comes from extensions of pre-existing scenes. Some of these added snippets are very brief – like a couple seconds more with Buddy Holly – but a few others are a bit more substantial.
Those little tidbits add up to the majority of the extra 24 minutes, but one significant new thread develops. Dewey’s life in the 1970s and his TV series get a lot of play here. We find guest stars Cheryl Tiegs, Cheryl Ladd, Morgan Fairchild and Patrick Duffy in that part of the movie, and it creates a different story for that period. Dewey actually marries Tiegs, apparently solely so the flick can use the pun “Cox-Tiegs”. (Traditionally the woman’s maiden name comes first when she hypenates, but “Tiegs-Cox” would kill the gag.)
Does any of this material make the movie better? Nope. I already thought Hard was too long at 96 minutes, so 25 percent more footage doesn’t help. Some of the bits have value and can be reasonably entertaining, but two hours of Hard is just way too much. The additions would’ve been more interesting as simple deleted scenes.
Disc One also gives us an audio commentary from director Jake Kasdan, writer/producer Judd Apatow, executive producer Lew Morton and actor John C. Reilly. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. Note that the same commentary accompanies the theatrical cut of the film and the extended version; the former just edits the longer chat.
The commentary looks at the project’s roots and some development, how Apatow got the participants on board, cast, characters and performances, script choices and altered/abandoned concepts, music, cinematic inspirations and influences, changes made for the unrated cut and a few other production stories.
Like other commentaries for Apatow flicks, this one becomes informative and entertaining. It covers the appropriate aspects of the movie well and does so with style. It’s a fun listen that serves the film nicely.
With that we head to Disc Two and its components. For more music we get 16 Full Song Performances. These include “Gamblin’ Man”, “Walk Hard”, “(I Hate You) Big Daddy”, “A Life Without You”, “Let’s Duet”, “Guilty As Charged”, “Dear Mr. President”, “The Mulatto Song”, “Royal Jelly”, “Hey Mr. Old Guy”, “Farmer Glickstein”, “Billy Don’t Be a Hero”, “Starman”, “(You Make Me So) Hard”, “My Girl” (The Temptations) and “Walk Hard (All Star Band)”. Taken together via the “Play All” option, they fill a total of 41 minutes, 22 seconds.
Most of these are good to see, though a few are more interesting than others. “President” reveals a lot of lyrics not in the final film, and in this “Jelly” we see that Dewey’s on the Ed Sullivan Show. “Hero” gives us some more 70s cheesiness from Dewey’s variety show, and that makes it fun. “(You Make Me So) Hard” is the full Lil’ Nutzzak music video in all its glory; with its insanely raunchy lyrics, it’s a hoot. This is a good collection of pieces, though it goes a little overboard on the Dylan-influenced folk songs; obviously these would’ve become tiresome if they all appeared in the flick.
10 Deleted and Extended Scenes go for a total of 19 minutes, 23 seconds. We find “Basement Songwriting” (0:54), “Drug Deal” (1:10), “Prison” (1:41), “Rehab #1” (3:30), “Beatles” (4:25), “Alternate Acid Trip” (2:00), “Rehab #2” (0:17), “Gail MacNamara” (1:11), and “Eddie Vedder Speech” (4:13). “Beatles” is the least interesting to me, perhaps because I don’t like the shorter scene in the final flick; more of that stuff doesn’t amuse me. I actually prefer the “Alternate Acid Trip” to the animated one, though, and the others have some funny bits. However, “Gail” is a disappointment since it focuses on Reilly’s character; I hoped to get more from Jane Lynch.
A staple of Apatow releases, Line-O-Rama runs six minutes, 22 seconds. As always, it features alternate takes of certain scenes. These include a fair amount of interesting twists, so they’re entertaining to see.
A little more music comes with A Christmas Song from Dewey Cox. The two-minute and 45-second clip shows a music video style presentation in which Dewey sings a “Blue Christmas”-esque tune about how much his fans love him. It basically exists for the oft-repeated line “for Christmas, the people want Cox”.
A fake ad comes via a Cox Sausage Commercial with Outtakes. The whole thing lasts two minutes, 22 seconds as it shows a final version along with “mistakes” from Dewey. It’s fairly funny despite more “Cox” puns.
Song Demos come for 13 tunes. We get initial takes of “Walk Hard”, “Take My Hand”, “Let’s Duet”, “Guilty As Charged”, “There’s a Change Happening, “Beautiful Ride”, “(Have You Heard the News) Dewey Cox Died”, “Farmer Glickstein”, and “Your Eyes”. We also find demo versions of “Walk Hard”, “A Life Without You”, “Let’s Duet” and “Guilty As Charged”. The songwriters perform most of these; we get renditions by Marshall Crenshaw, Antonio Ortiz, Charlie Wadhams and Gus Seyffert featuring Eleni Mandell, Dan Bern, Mike Viola, and John C. Reilly. Fans will enjoy this compilation of demo cuts.
Six featurettes follow. Tyler Nilson: A Cockumentary runs five minutes, 56 seconds as it includes comments from Kasdan and actors Tim Meadows, Matt Besser, Chris Parnell and Tyler Nilson. It gives us a chat about Nilson’s penis; that organ also offers interview remarks. It’s a pretty dopey joke piece marred by way too many shots of Nilson’s dick. I may have nightmares.
For the three-minute and 45-second Bull on the Loose, we hear from producer Clayton Townsend, 2nd 2nd AD Ruby Stillwater, and transportation coordinator Denny Caira. The short piece shows how the filmmakers shot the scene in which a bull chases young Dewey and his brother. Despite its brevity, it throws out some cool observations and fun shots of the bull as he indeed goes on a rampage.
The Music of Walk Hard occupies 16 minutes, 42 seconds with notes from Reilly, Kasdan, Apatow, Morton, composer/music producer Michael Andrews, songwriters Dan Bern, Mike Viola, Charles Wadhams and Tom Wolfe, music supervisor Manish Raval, and actors Jenna Fischer, Jewel, Ghostface Killah, Jackson Browne and Lyle Lovett. The show looks at most of the film’s tunes and performances. Some great behind the scenes footage appears, and the comments help make this an informative little piece.
During the 15-minute and three-second The Making of Walk Hard, info arrives from Kasdan, Apatow, Reilly, Morton, Townsend, Fischer, Meadows, Bern, Viola, Besser, Parnell, production designer Jefferson Sage, costume designer Debra McGuire, and actors Kristen Wiig, Margo Martindale, and Raymond Barry. The program looks at the movie’s origins and influences, casting, characters and performances, cinematography, sets and production design, and costumes. At times “Making” leans toward fluffy promotion, but it gets good when it digs into the film’s visual and period challenges. The notes about the sets and influences are interesting and help make this a decent program.
A spoof comes to us with The Real Dewey Cox. It lasts 14 minutes, three seconds and features notes from Reilly, Lovett, Browne, Jewel, Ghostface Killah, Kasdan, Apatow, Wiig, Martindale, Townsend, Besser, Meadows, actors Ed Helms, David Krumholtz, Cheryl Tiegs and Harold Ramis, and musicians John Mayer, Sarah Evans, Sheryl Crow, Van Zandt, and Brad and Kimberly Paisley. This one looks at the influence of the “real” Dewey Cox and the challenges behind making a biopic. Yes, it’s a goof as it jokes about the truth of the matter, but it’s a fun goof, even with about 10 million “cox” jokes.
Finally, The Last Word with John Hodgman goes for 25 minutes, 58 seconds. This purports to show an interview program that specializes in subjects near death. Hodgman – who you’ll recognize as “PC” from those Apple commercials – chats with “Dewey” about his life and times. It also provides comments from Dewey’s band, Darlene Cox, his first wife Edith and Bobby Shad. It’s a good spoof of pretentious shows like Inside the Actor’s Studio and it consistently amuses. Actually, I think it’s more entertaining that Hard itself.
Despite my hopes that it’d provide a great little parody, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story only occasionally entertains. It provides a fine cast and a smattering of solid laughs, but most of it just plods along without much point or wit. The Blu-ray offers pretty good picture and audio as well as a terrific set of supplements. The movie doesn’t work as well as I’d like, but it gets a solid Blu-ray release.
To rate this film visit the original review of WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY