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 (November)
11/03 - Californication - The Complete Series
11/03 - Getting On - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
11/03 - Hank (1965-66) - The Complete Series
11/03 - I Love Lucy - The Complete Series
11/03 - Men at Work - The Complete Second Season
11/03 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/03 - 'Til Death - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Remastered Series (DVD)
11/10 - Maude - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Final (Fourth) Season
11/17 - Cristela - The Complete First Season
11/17 - McHale's Navy - The Complete Series
11/17 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Fourth Season
11/24 - George Lopez - The Complete Sixth Seaon
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Thursday, November 26
The Muppets - "Pig Out" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The gang has an epic night out when they run into Ed Helms at Rowlf’s Tavern and they all perform their favorite karaoke jams, but Kermit is not pleased when no one shows up to work the next day. Meanwhile, Fozzie has an unfortunate accident during the show.
Fresh Off the Boat - "Huangsgiving" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Huangs are hosting Thanksgiving this year, and Jessica is determined to out-do her sister who has hosted in years past. Clipboard in hand, Louis puts Emery and Evan on table décor duty while he and Jessica prepare the perfect feast. But despite their best-laid plans, unexpected mishaps and hangovers force Louis and Jessica to scramble to get an edible meal on the dining table. Meanwhile, Eddie and his cousin discover the power of the Internet.
The Middle - "Thanksgiving VII" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
With the Heck house in disarray due to the kitchen sink hole and miniature dining room table, Frankie suggests that the family enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at the local King’s Feast buffet. But all does not run so smoothly when Sue invites her boyfriend Darrin to dine with the family and gets the feeling that Mike doesn’t like him very much, Brick invites his quirky girlfriend Cindy, and Axl is forced by Frankie to invite a girl he doesn’t even know to the holiday meal.
The Goldbergs - "In Conclusion, Thanksgiving" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
everly insists the entire family gather for the holiday, but tension builds when brother-in-law Marvin tricks Pop-Pop into thinking Thanksgiving was at his house.Meanwhile, Pops passes the torch to Barry and Erica to give the holiday toast, resulting in them trying to one-up each other.
Last Man Standing - "The Gratitude List" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repet)
Although Vanessa is disappointed it will only be her, Mike and Eve at the Baxter Thanksgiving table, she’s more let down when Eve bypasses one of their holiday traditions and calls it “goofy.” Meanwhile, Kristin finds out Mandy is lying to their parents about where she and Kyle will be spending Thanksgiving dinner.
Dr. Ken - "Thanksgiving Culture Clash" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Molly rebels and gets a Japanese tattoo, which spirals Ken and Allison into having a cultural face-off when Allison claims she is more Japanese than Ken is Korean. At a holiday dinner, they push their traditional dishes on their guests, while Dave documents the Thanksgiving events for a school project. Also, Julie, fearful of being alone due to a recent heartbreak, invites the office over to her place – but Damona and Clark try finding a way to leave early so they can make it to their other Thanksgiving plans.
The Big Bang Theory - "The Matrimonial Momentum" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After driving to Vegas to get married, Penny struggles with Leonard’s confession that he kissed another girl. Also, Sheldon doesn’t know how to act after Amy pushes pause on their relationship. Laurie Metcalf returns as Sheldon’s mother, Mary.
Life in Pieces - "Hospital Boudoir Time-Out Namaste" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Jen cuts her finger and Greg takes her to the hospital, they finally have the first quality alone time they’ve had in months. Also, John takes Samantha and Sophia to a restaurant where everything is named after feelings, Heather gives Tim a sexy anniversary gift, and Sophia is punished after Heather hears her swearing.
Mom - "Sawdust and Brisket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy is thrilled when Violet tells her she wants to spend more time together and improve their relationship. Also, Bonnie tries to make amends with her nemesis in the building, Beverly (Amy Hill). David Krumholtz returns as Gregory, Violet’s fiancé.
2 Broke Girls - "And the Maybe Baby" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When the girls run into Caroline’s newly engaged ex, Candy Andy (Ryan Hansen), Caroline wonders if she made a mistake when she sees how much he supports his fiancé’s career.
Thursday, November 26
- Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Catch Queen Latifah on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She reveals her unusual first job, her first big splurge, her latest obsession and more on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
- Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation/The Office) - Rashida stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Ty Burrell (Modern Family/Back to You/Out of Practice) - Ty appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Lake Bell (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/How to Make It in America) - Lake is a guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Jack Black (The Brink) - Jack will be on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia is a guest on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Keke Palmer (Scream Queens/True Jackson, VP) - Keke appears on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Jennifer Grey (Red Oaks/It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer talks about her Amazon show Red Oaks on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
- Judith Light (Transparent/Phenom/Who's the Boss?) - Judith talks about Transparent on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
- Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo will be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
- Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry talks about World's Funniest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/The Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Sofia chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.