Saturday, July 30, 2011
Digital Digest: Exporting Raymond DVD Review; The Color Honeymooners - Best of Collection DVD Review
We don’t usually review movies at SitcomsOnline, but we’re taking unique exception with this one because it directly involves one of the most popular sitcoms in recent history. “Everybody Loves Raymond” was extremely popular during its nine-season run on CBS. In fact the show was so popular, that in 2009, Russian television executives decided they wanted to produce their own version of the show, that for purposes of the film and this review, we’ll call “Everybody Loves Kostya.” “Raymond” show creator and writer Phil Rosenthal was tapped to go to Russia t o help guide the producers of the new show, and that’s the basic plot of the film.
Russian broadcasters had great success with their version of “The Nanny” and wanted to copy that success with “Raymond.” Rosenthal decided it would be fascinating to bring a documentary film crew along with him to Russia to document his odd trip, which Rosenthal almost called off when he was told he would need “K&R” insurance. K&R, by the way, stands for kidnapping and ransom.
The main comedy of this movie comes from the “fish out of water” scenario—Rosenthal trying to adjust to how very different the Russian culture is from American culture, and yet adapt his highly popular American show to fit. And believe me, any culture that considers the work of Britney Spears to be art, is a very different one. One hilarious scene comes when Rosenthal has dinner with one of the Russian network executives, who reveals that the main part of his job is producing lasers. Yes, lasers.
One thing he did learn though, is that show business is the same everywhere. The Russian network interfered with casting choices, and generally made things difficult for everyone.
I found the movie to be, while not laugh out loud funny all the time, it did have funny moments, and as someone who works in the television business, I found the storyline fascinating. And as the packaging claims, you do not have to have ever seen an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” to appreciate this film. I received the Blu-Ray version to review, so it came in a standard blue keep case, with the movie’s poster as the cover… Rosenthal dressed in a Russian-style parka holding a large photograph of the “Raymond” cast, surrounded by critics’ reviews and acclaims from various film festivals. The back cover includes some shots from the film, a description, and a list of special features. The disc itself looks similar to the front cover.
The menu is well designed, especially for a Blu-Ray menu, which can be confusing if not laid out well. You have a choice of Play the Movie, Scene Selection, or Bonus Features. Russian-style music plays in the background while clips of the movie play. The disc has closed captions and subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. Chapter marks are in appropriate places.
Considering this is a Blu-Ray release, the video and audio quality are quite good. The film makes good use of the full 1080i afforded by Blu-ray, and some of the exterior shots of Russia are quite beautiful. Audio is in 5.1 surround. Although the Blu-Ray format affords 7.1 sound, I think the 5.1 sound is adequate here.
This disc really benefits from its special features. First is a commentary on the film by Phil Rosenthal, that I unfortunately did not have a chance to listen to before the deadline for writing this review, but I’m sure it’s quite entertaining. There are also roughly 11 minutes worth of deleted scenes, that while they were interesting, they were probably best left deleted. There’s also a theatrical trailer.
I did, however, get to enjoy what is probably the most important bonus feature: two episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and their “Everybody Loves Kostya” counterparts based on the same script. Both versions of each show were hilarious, which just goes to show that no matter what the cultural differences are, husband and wife problems translate to all languages. The Russian episodes, which include English subtitles, are quite hilarious and the actors chosen for the show are very talented. I sometimes found myself laughing before even reading the subtitles. One thing that could have been beneficial, especially since this is a Blu-Ray release, would be to be able to watch the Russian and American episodes side by side or picture-in-picture. While the timing would be way off, and the Russian episodes added subplots that were not in the original, I think that could still have been pulled off somehow. At any rate, I enjoyed getting to sample the Russian show.
Overall, this was a very entertaining movie, and I loved the bonus features. The film belongs in any “Raymond” fan’s library, but can just as easily be enjoyed by someone who has never seen the show. The fish out of water story is pretty universal, and some of Rosenthal’s reaction to the Russian wackiness is priceless. The discs are a bit on the pricy side, I suppose because it is an independent film, but you can likely find discounts. I highly recommend the film.
DVD Review - The Color Honeymooners - Best of Collection
The Color Honeymooners - Best of Collection (MPI, $9.98) brings together four of the "best" episodes from the 1966-1970 version of the classic series with the Kramdens and the Nortons on a single disc. Coming in now from Miami Beach, The Color Honeymooners is a little bit of the old in a whole new environment.
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New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)
09/01 - The League - The Complete Season Six
09/01 - New Girl - The Complete Fourth Season
09/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Two
09/08 - The Goldbergs - The Complete Second Season
09/08 - Mr. Belvedere - Season Four
09/15 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eighth Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Family Guy - Season 13
09/18 - black-ish - The Complete First Season
09/22 - The Cosby Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
09/22 - C.P.O. Sharkey - The Complete Season 2
09/22 - Cristela - The Complete First Season
09/22 - Good Times - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
09/22 - King of the Hill - The Complete 12th Season
09/22 - The Last Man on Earth - The Complete First Season
09/22 - Modern Family - The Complete Sixth Season
09/22 - The Nanny - Season Four
09/22 - The Partridge Family - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
09/29 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete First Season
09/29 - Mom - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Sunday, October 4
The Muppets - "Pig Girls Don't Cry (Pilot)" (ABC, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Miss Piggy is furious that Kermit booked Elizabeth Banks as a guest on her late night talk show Up Late with Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear meets his girlfriend’s parents, and Grammy Award-winning rock band Imagine Dragons performs their new single “Roots”.
The Muppets - "Hostile Makeover" (ABC, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In an attempt to make Miss Piggy happy, Kermit sets her up with Josh Groban who fills her head with ideas on how to make Up Late with Miss Piggy better. Meanwhile, Fozzie is invited to a party at Jay Leno’s house and everyone is annoyed that Bobo is selling cookies for his daughter’s troop.
The Simpsons - "Cue Detective" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Funeral" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Family Guy - "Papa Has a Rollin' Son" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The Last Man on Earth - "The Boo" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
K.C. Undercover - "All Howls Eve" (Disney Channel, 7:00PM ET/PT)
Ernie and Judy travel to New York during the Central Park Spooktacular to catch an evil wolf serum; K.C. and Marisa throw a party back home.
Best Friends Whenever - "Cyd and Shelby's Haunted Escape" (Disney Channel, 7:30PM ET/PT)
Cyd and Shelby teleport to New York for the Central Park Spooktacular and end up trapped in a haunted house with some familiar faces.
Austin & Ally - "Scary Spirits & Spooky Stories" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The group is inspired to tell their own scary stories after attending the Central Park Spooktacular in New York.
Liv and Maddie - "Haunt-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Maddie and Willow join in on the Senior Scare, in which high school seniors scare middle school students; Liv and Joey head to New York.
Monday, October 5
- John Stamos (Grandfathered/Jake in Progress/Full House) - Watch John on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. He also discusses Grandfathered on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community), Dave Foley (Dr. Ken/How to Be a Gentleman/NewsRadio) and Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken/Help Me Help You) - Ken, Dave and Suzy are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- David Krumholtz (Partners/The Trouble with Normal) - David is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Nathan Lane (Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!) - Nathan stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg/Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex) - Jenna talks about her new movie Big Stone Gap on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Kelly Jenrette (Grandfathered) - Kelly discusses her new series Grandfathered on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
- James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James talks about Life in Pieces on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran talks about her role in the animated movie Hotel Transylvania 2 on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Maura is a guest on People Now.
- Christina Milian (Grandfathered) - Christina appears on The Real, so check your local listings.