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 (June)
06/02 - Parks and Recreation - Season Seven - The Farewell Season
06/02 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series
06/02 - Soap - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
06/02 - The Abbott and Costello Show - The Ultimate Collection
06/09 - The Facts of Life - Season Six
06/16 - The Cosby Show - Season 7 (Mill Creek)
06/16 - The Cosby Show - Season 8 (Mill Creek)
06/16 - The Cosby Show - Seasons 7 & 8 (Mill Creek)
06/16 - Laverne & Shirley - The Complete Series
06/16 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series
06/16 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Twelfth and Final Season
06/16 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Series
06/23 - George Lopez - The Complete Fourth Season
06/23 - Workaholics - Season Five (Blu-ray)
06/30 - The Donna Reed Show - Season 3 (MPI Home Video)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Wednesday, July 1
The Middle - "Valentine's Day VI" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Valentine’s Day aims its sights on the Heck kids when a nervous Brick finds out that his quirky girlfriend Cindy wants him to kiss her on the special day, Darrin asks Frankie and Mike to help out with an exciting scavenger hunt he’s putting together for Sue, and Axl begins to question his girlfriend Devin’s request that he not give her anything for what she considers to be a lame tradition.
The Goldbergs - "Just Say No" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
As the presidential election approaches, Erica finds herself strongly supporting candidate Walter Mondale. After learning Beverly always votes for whomever Murray tells her to vote for, Erica sets out to educate her mother and goes horribly wrong when Beverly favors another candidate. Meanwhile, Barry wants to appear on an athletic game show to prove his prowess after losing a wrestling match.
Modern Family - "Rash Decisions" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil is starting to feel the teenage cold shoulder from Luke, and with Andy hanging around a lot recently as his apprentice, he easily steps in as his new right hand man. Meanwhile, Gloria and the doctors suspect that Joe might be allergic to Stella which leaves Jay in a very tough predicament, and Mitchell is doing some freelance legal work at Jay’s closet company and working with Claire becomes a very enlightening experience for the both of them.
black-ish - "Martin Luther Skiing Day" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
On the way to the Johnson family’s annual MLK holiday ski trip, Dre realizes his children may not know the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so he decides to inundate them with Dr. King history facts. Once they arrive at the ski lodge, Dre finds a unique way to prepare Junior for a real world that includes intolerance.
Melissa & Joey "The Parent Trap" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mel's father and Joe's mother hit it off better than Mel would like; Lennox and Zander explore being ``friends with benefits.''
Baby Daddy - "Wheeler War" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Ben tries to sabotage Ross and Riley's relationship by turning his charming adversary into a Wheeler; Bonnie attempts to join the boys' poker game.
Wednesday, July 1
- Adrian Grenier (Entourage) - Watch Adrian on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Connie Britton (Spin City/The Fighting Fitzgeralds/Lost at Home) - Connie is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Aasif Mandvi (The Brink) - Aasif appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Brian Posehn (The Sarah Silverman Program/Just Shoot Me!) - Brian is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Arden Myrin (Working/Suburgatory) - Arden will be on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Maya Rudolph (Up All Night) - Maya visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) - Amy talks about the new Pixar film Inside Out on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Yvette Nicle Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette appears on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
- Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti chats on a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT and on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
- Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Mario is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
- Mark Feuerstein (Good Morning, Miami/Fired Up) - Mark appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada talks about Magic Mike XL on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island) - Steve Harvey sets up Dawn on a date on a repeat of Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
- Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM Hits 1.