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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The Honeymooners on TV.com
How I Met Your Mother - "Daisy" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Marshall enlists Ted and Barney to help him figure out where Lily went when she left in the middle of their fight.
2 Broke Girls - "And the Soft Opening" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Business booms for Max and Caroline’s new cupcake walk-up window when word spreads about a shocking incident involving a rock star.
Mike & Molly - "Rich Man, Poor Girl" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Victoria brings home a new boyfriend and the entire family wonders if he’s finally “the one.”
Mom - "Belgian Waffles and Bathroom Privileges" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Christy has trouble accepting how much easier life is with Bonnie in the house. Meanwhile, Baxter sets up camp in the driveway.
Monday, March 10
- Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Watch Steve on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on NBC's Today between 7-9am. Finally, he chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Busy Philipps (Cougar Town) - Busy visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Minnie Driver (About a Boy) - Minnie is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
- Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Weeds) - Kevin drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Nia Long (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Zulay Henao (Love Thy Neighbor), Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) and Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs) - The cast of The Single Moms Club are guests on The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
- Paul Scheer (The League) - Paul appears on The Pete Holmes Show at midnight on TBS.
- Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Krysten talks about her new movie Veronica Mars on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Jennie Garth (What I Like About You) - Jennie joins Clinton Kelly and prepares a savory layered dish with mushrooms and polenta and discusses her new book (Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde) on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Marcia Gay Harden (Trophy Wife) - Marcia chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Wendi McLendon-Covey and Troy Gentile (The Goldbergs) - Wendi and Troy will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings. Wendi will also be on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
- Chris Lowell (Enlisted) - Chris talks about the new Veronica Mars movie on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. He will also be on WPIX Morning News at 8:45AM in New York and on HuffPost Live.
- Jenna Elfman (Growing Up Fisher/1600 Penn/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
- The Cast of Mixology - The cast of Mixology will be guests on Pop Sugar on TV Guide Network at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
- Jason Ritter (The Class) - Jason appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/Silver Spoons) - Jason visits NBC's Today between 7-9am.
- Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer is a guest on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Busy Philipps (Cougar Town) - Busy appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.