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 (October/November/December)
10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Sunday, November 23
The Simpsons - "Brick Like Me" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer wakes up in a world where his family and everyone in Springfield are made of Legos. Can he “put together” how he got there, and figure out how to get home before he’s stuck in a world of bricks forever?
Mulaney - "Patriot Acts" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
When Jane starts dating a marine, John and Motif, feeling guilty for their lack of service, try to sign up for a USO Comedy Tour. Meanwhile, Lou recounts how war – and improv – are hell.
The Simpsons - "Covercraft" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Homer has a mid-life crisis, takes up bass guitar and forms a cover band with some of the other dads in town. But the band’s modest early success is soon overwhelmed by the breakout potential of their most unlikely star, Apu.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "USPIS" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
While attempting to catch a drug dealer, Jake and Charles reluctantly join forces with the nerdy lead investigator at the U.S. Postal Service, Jack Danger (guest star Ed Helms). Meanwhile, the rest of the team helps Amy quit smoking.
Family Guy - "Grimm Job" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
From Grimm to Griffin, three classic fairy tales get a new Quahog spin, including “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Cinderella.”
Bob's Burgers - "Dawn of the Peck" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
While Bob is boycotting the holiday, Linda and the kids spend Thanksgiving at the First Annual Fischoeder Turk-tacular Turkey Town Festival. However, a wild bird attack leads to total mayhem.
Austin & Ally - "Relationships and Red Carpets" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Austin's record label wants him to hide his relationship with Ally; Dez considers moving to Los Angeles to attend film school and be closer to his girlfriend.
Liv and Maddie - "Hoops-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Liv is offered the lead in a basketball movie; Willow and Maddie help teach her how to play basketball.
Sunday, November 23
- Meredith Baxter (Family Ties/Bridget Loves Bernie) - Meredith will be featured on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 9pm ET/PT on OWN.
- Tim Allen (Last Man Standing/Home Impprovment) - Watch Tim on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Jennifer appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Ken Jeong (Community) - Ken is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - William visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He discusses The Gambler on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
- Ken Marino (Marry Me/Party Down) - Ken appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Will Arnett (The Millers/Up All Night/Arrested Development) - Will is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Tune in to see Jennnifer on a repeat of The Colbert Report at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
- Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Tom Lennon (Reno 911!/Sean Saves the World) - Tom is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - Brooke discusses her new book (There Was a Little Girl) on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Yara Shahidi (black-ish) - Yara stops by Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) and Marilu Henner (Taxi/Evening Shade) - Candace and Marilu will be on the Home & Family Holiday Special on Hallmark Channel at 8pm ET/PT. It repeats at 10am ET/PT on Tuesday. Candace will also be on Arise TV on their website at 3pm and on Centric at 3am on Tuesday. She is a guest on Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel at 8:30am. She will be on HuffPost Live at 1:00pm. Candace's Christmas Under Wraps premieres on November 29 at 8/7C on Hallmark Channel.
- Tori Spelling (Mystery Girls) - Tori and Dean McDermott talk about their fight to save their marriage on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
- Michael Urie (Partners) - Michael will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly will be part of the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Tim Meadows and Dan Bucatinsky (Marry Me) - Tim and Dan are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey talks about Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.