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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
David Wain
Cast:
Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Ken Marino
Writing Credits:
David Wain, Michael Showalter .

Synopsis:
Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the day ends.

Box Office:
Budget
$5 million.
Opening Weekend
$17,481 on 2 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$292,102.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 5/12/2015

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer David Wain, Co-Writer Michael Showalter and Actor Janeane Garofalo
• “Soundtrack with Extra Farts”
• “10th Anniversary Event Highlights”
• “Live at SF Sketchfest” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Cast Comments
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Songs with Production Stills
• Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Wet Hot American Summer [Blu-Ray] (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 17, 2016)

In the grand tradition of bawdy 1970s/80s summer camp comedies like Meatballs comes 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer. A spoof of the genre, Summer takes up to late summer 1981, as the residents of Camp Firewood prepare to say adieu for the season.

Not that they don’t still have a lot of partyin’ and fun to pack into their remaining time! We see a mix of interpersonal issues resolve as well as the usual wacky hijinks.

Going into Summer, I felt it had at least two strong positives. For one, it lampoons a genre fairly near and dear to my heart. I was among the teenaged target audience for the movies it spoofs, so the idea of a parody appealed to me.

In addition, Summer packs a lot of solid talent. Among others, we find Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks, Molly Shannon and Paul Rudd. With a cast like that, how could the movie fail to amuse?

Good question – one I can’t answer. Summer has built up a strong cult following over the years – enough to inspire a 2015 Netflix series. Why does Summer inspire affection? I don’t know, as I can find next to nothing positive to say about it.

Shouldn’t a comedy produce at least an occasional laugh? Alas, virtually no amusement results from this self-indulgent snoozer, as it lacks even a rudimentary level of humor.

Maybe Summer fizzles because it attempts to spoof the unspoofable. The source material seems so silly that it becomes tough to make fun of it. How do you mock something as ridiculous as Meatballs?

I guess a parody could work if it went even more over the top, but Summer comes with an incoherent mix of dry humor and broad slapstick. The elements don’t coalesce and they make the movie look random.

I can’t figure out what went wrong. Summer has a ton of talent behind it and a decent premise, but the results fail to entertain. Even at 96 minutes, Summer feels drawn out and tedious.

Footnote: a little coda shows up after the end credits.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

Wet Hot American Summer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a decent but somewhat erratic transfer.

Sharpness was mostly good. A smattering of wide shots could be a little off, but the majority of the flick looked accurate and well-defined. I saw no issues with shimmering or jaggies, but light edge haloes appeared.

Occasional specks popped up, and I wondered if these were intentional to fit the period feel. However, they occurred so sporadically that this didn’t make sense; if the filmmakers wanted “intentional flaws”, I would’ve expected them to be more prominent. As it stood, the specks created a mild distraction.

Colors tended toward a warm feel that fit the period’s releases. The hues were fill and rich. Blacks seemed full and dark, while low-light shots generally seemed concise; a few looked a bit dense but usually these scenes worked fine. This ended up as a generally positive presentation.

Don’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack, as it tended toward a restricted feel. Music showed gentle stereo spread, and effects blossomed to the sides in a minor manner. However, none of this added much to the experience, so the mix remained uninspiring.

Audio quality was mostly fine. Dialogue occasionally sounded a little rough, but the lines were intelligible and mostly natural. Music showed fairly nice breadth, and effects appeared accurate enough. Those elements had little to do but they suited the story. I felt the soundtrack remained mediocre.

We find a bunch of extras here, and these start with an audio commentary from director/co-writer David Wain, co-writer Michael Showalter and actor Janeane Garofalo. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, locations and shooting conditions, music, period details, cast and performances, editing and deleted scenes, and connected subjects.

At the start, I feared that the commentary would be little more than a glib joke-fest, and some of that occurs. However, mostly due to the efforts of Wain, we usually get a good look at the film’s creation. At times, the participants do little more than list the name of actors, but usually we find a pretty informative view of the production.

Another alternate audio element, we can watch the movie via a Soundtrack with Extra Farts. As implied, this adds the occasional toot for extra impact. If that sounds fun to you, go for it.

For a new look at the film, we go to 10th Anniversary Event Highlights. This piece lasts 31 minutes, 33 seconds and provides a stage performance with Wain, Showalter, and Michael Ian Black. They also bring in guest spots from actors Marguerite Moreau, Janeane Garofalo (in character), Nina Hellman (in character), Zak Orth (in character), Jake Fogelnest (in character), AD Miles, Gideon Jacobs (in character), Gabriel Millman (in character), Judah Friedlander (in character), Joe Lo Truglio (in character), Ken Marino (in character), Paul Rudd, and Ashlee Rose Gaughan (in character).

The “Event” opts for a heavily comedic flavor – or it attempts humor, at least. I found little amusement here, but I suspect fans of the movie will enjoy it.

With Live at SF Sketchfest, we locate a 44-minute, 17-second reading of the script. It mainly features actors from the film but some substitutes appear; for instance, we get David Cross as Henry and Busy Philipps as Beth. Something like this might be fun in person, but on TV, it seems boring, to be honest. Why watch actors read the script on a stage when we can view the actual movie instead?

27 Deleted Scenes run a total of 12 minutes, nine seconds. As implied by the length of the collection, we don’t get much here. We find a minor thread in which the Goth Girl stresses her vegan nature, and the longest scene comes from a couple whose motorbike gets stolen. Occasional minor amusement results, but these snippets are so brief that they lack much impact.

We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from David Wain and Michael Showalter. They tell us a little about the excised sequences, but the clips fly by so quickly that there’s not much they can contribute.

Under Cast Comments. we get a compilation of interviews that fills a total of eight minutes, two seconds. Shot during the film’s production, we hear from Wain, Garofalo, Moreau, Showalter, Rudd, and actors David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, and Christopher Meloni. They offer general character/story notes, and they don’t tell us much beyond basics.

Behind the Scenes goes for 15 minutes, 38 seconds and takes us to the set. This provides a montage of footage from the shoot, and most of it falls into the banal category. If you want to hear some nerdy little kid talk about who he wants to “French”, though, it’s awesome. Normally I like this kind of raw material, but the compilation falls flat. We do get a mildly fun look at the counselors 10 years later at the end, though.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find Songs with Production Stills. With a total running time of 11 minutes, nine seconds, we hear four tunes and check out the expected collection of photos from the shoot. These aren’t especially good quality and they don’t provide much of interest.

Apparently Wet Hot American Summer enjoys a good cult following, but I can’t figure out why. Despite the involvement of a lot of talent, the film seems flat, uninspired and devoid of laughs. The Blu-ray brings us decent picture, mediocre audio and an erratic selection of bonus materials. Chalk up Summer as a dull disappointment

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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