From The Stack On Top Of My Player

Posted: January 26, 2008 in 2006 NEW Reviews, The Roper Files

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The weather here has been ghastly for the last month; good thing I’ve got a stack of new DVDs to get me through it. First off is THE SIMPSONS MOVIE; saw this last July at the theater and it came out the week before Christmas. The one I’ve got is fullscreen; there is a widescreen available (why isn’t this a set-up choice?) The critics in general pretty much panned this when it came out in theaters but I love it. The animation is beautifully done; there’s two or three scenes in particular that involve the entire population of Springfield that are simply stellar in their presentation. In one scene the camera sweeps through a lynch mob with a fluid motion Peter Jackson loves to use in his films; you’ll want to slow it down just to take all the details in. But if you don’t like the tv show, I don’t think this is going to convert you so I think I have to recommend this one for the fans only.

volume-5-family-guy.png  Then there’s FAMILY GUY VOLUME FIVE. A three-disc set, there are 13 episodes from the last season on two of the discs and the third disc is so much “special features” filler I’ll probably wait until the next ice-storm to watch. Like the Simpsons Movie I think I’ve pretty got to restrict this one to fans of the show as well. SOUTH PARK last season took a shot at this show, and I fully understand their point. When watching these back-to-back the formula of their humor becomes more than apparent, so I recommend spacing these out say one episode per night. Favorite episode: Bill and Peters Bogus Journey. They trash Bill Clinton but good.

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Saved the best for last: RAMONES IT’S ALIVE 1974-1996 The good folk at Rhino have compiled two discs worth of live Ramones video here. It’s a mish-mash of television appearances and home video; guess which ones are more watchable. But this does replace an awful lot of previously available bootleg material. Disc One covers 1974 to 1977 and is mostly hand-held camera footage (with the notable exception of a Don Kirschner Rock Concert from 1977) Video and sound quality varies a lot here; some of this is really grainy and going to be of interest to the hardcore fans only. They have tried as hard as they could to cut down on repetition here; some tunes do repeat but they’re not back-to-back at least. Extras on disc one include camcorder footage from their first tour of Argentina, where they experienced a level of manic BeatleMania sort of popularity they never had to contend with here in the US. There’s also a Swedish tv appearance (Mandaghorsen) and three rare music videos.

Disc Two is The Shit; lots and lots of mega-rare tv appearances and more live footage that covers 1978 to 1996. A few hand-held camera live sequences aside the video and sound quality here are far superior on this disc. It’s great to have all of this compiled here on one disc finally instead of $20 a pop so some bootlegger can support his pot/nose candy habit. There are appearances on Top Of the Pops, Old Grey Whistle Test, another Mandasborgen appearance and a SHA NA NA appearance I wish they had left off but compared to the rest of the disc that’s a very minor complaint. No extras on disc two, however.

I saw the Ramones at least a half-dozen times in between 1984 and 1996. Like everyone else, I thought they’d be around forever and then they all started dropping like flies.

Now that three-fourths of the original line-up are no longer with us, thank Rhino for helping to keep the memory alive.

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