‘Saved By The Bell’ Rings Loud In Phil’s Picks 2018 top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues List

Courtesy: Shout! FactoryNBC

Box sets and standalone DVDs and Blu-rays are always critical to examine each year when it comes to year-ender lists.  That is because they really are their own categories.  They are not the only important categories to examine, though, when developing year-ender lists.

One of the most under appreciated lists that every critic should consider is the list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  This critic’s list is chock full of interesting titles this year, such as the Blu-ray re-issue of the classic action series MacGuyver‘s debut season, Saved By The Bell and even the classic biopic The Glenn Miller Story. Yes, this critic even included a biopic in the list, despite not exactly being a fan of the genre.

The top spot on this year’s list goes easily to none other than Saved By The BellThe Complete Series.  The original series has been released previously, however, never to the extent that it was presented in this new box set.  Add in solid pricing and extensive bonus material, and fans of the classic NBC series get a top notch set.

The second spot on this year’s list goes to the Blu-ray re-issue of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  This so-campy-that-it’s-great modern classic is incredible in its story, acting and special effects.  The addition of its bonus material makes it an even greater investment for movie buffs.

Third Place in this year’s list of top new DVD & BD Re-Issues goes to the re-issue of MGM’s Get Shorty.  The spoof of Hollywood’s many mob movies and Hollywood insider flicks couples with enjoyable bonus content and an affordable price point for a presentation that every movie buff will enjoy.

Also featured in this year’s list are re-issues of Bill & Ted’s Bogus JourneyDragnetBill & Ted’s Excellent AdventureCity Slickers and The Wasp Woman just to name a handful of titles.  The list’s top 10 titles are the best of the year, while the five that follow are honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New DVD/BD re-issues.


  1. Saved By The BellThe Complete Series
  2. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
  3. Get Shorty
  4. Dragnet
  5. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  6. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
  7. Cold Turkey
  8. The Wasp Woman
  9. MacGuyverThe Complete First Season
  10. City Slickers
  11. Dr. Detroit
  12. GarfieldNine Lives
  13. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
  14. The Glenn Miller Story
  15. The Sandlot

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Shout! Factory’s ‘City Slickers’ Re-Issue Is Entertaining, But Priced Poorly

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Three years after its most recent re-issue, Shout! Factory has re-issued MGM’s classic comedy City Slickers again as part of its ongoing Shout! Select series.  City Slickers: Collector’s Edition was released Oct. 16 on Blu-ray.  This latest re-issue of the classic buddy comedy/western is a good fit for anyone who might not already own the movie from its 2015 re-issue.  That is due in no small part to the movie’s writing, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included in this re-issue plays into that, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The Blu-ray’s average price point is another reason that this latest re-issue of City Slickers will appeal to fans of the movie who might not already own the movie in its previous releases.  Each item is key in its own way to the whole of the movie’s latest release.  All things considered, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of City Slickers is another welcome offering at least for those who do not already own this timeless story of friendship and personal growth.

Shout! Factory’s brand new re-issue of MGM’s 1991 buddy comedy City Slickers is a welcome addition to the home library of any fan of the timeless movie that might not already own the movie.  That is due in part to the movie’s writing.  The writing includes the story itself, which finds three longtime friends go on an “adventure vacation” following the 39th birthday of the movie’s main character, Mitch (Billy Crystal – Monsters, Inc., Monsters University, Parental Guidance).  Once the trio heads out west to New Mexico for its vacation, plenty of hilarity ensues and plenty of male bonding, too.  What’s really good here is that the male bonding in question never goes over the top.  Rather, that bonding is something to which plenty of male viewers can relate, making it that much more entertaining.  That is thanks to plenty of jokes about sports, life and some totally random subjects and general dialogue, certain to put a smile on any viewer’s face.

The story at the center of City Slickers is just one of the key portions of the writing that makes the writing so notable.  The story’s pacing is just as important to consider in examining the writing as the story itself.  The movie clocks in at just under two hours (one hour, 54 minutes), yet even considering that run time, the story moves relatively swiftly.  That is especially important to note being that the story, which was originally the idea of its lead star, is supposed to follow Mitch and his friends Phil (Daniel Stern – Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Bushwacked) and Ed (Bruno Kirby – Good Morning, Vietnam, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepers) on a two-week long cattle drive.  The writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel deserves its share of credit for this and for how it whittled down the original group of 12 to just three in the process.  The manner in which the pair addressed that part of the story and the very journey itself did an excellent job of keeping the story moving forward, even in some of the less action packed moments.  To that end, the writing that went into this movie forms a solid foundation for City Slickers.  It is just one part of what makes the movie’s latest re-issue so entertaining.  The bonus material included in this new re-issue ads to that enjoyment.

The bonus material included in Shout! Factory’s brand new re-issue of City Slickers is important to note because it is exactly the same bonus material included in the movie’s 2015 Blu-ray re-issue from MGM.  That includes even the feature-length audio commentary from Crystal, Stern and director Ron Underwood.  That content is also the same as the bonus material included in the movie’s 2011 “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray, also re-issued via MGM.  On the surface, some might argue that is a bad thing, but on a deeper level, it is clearly important.  That is because it does not force audiences to choose between one re-issue and another.  From the primary bonus feature, “Back in the Saddle: City Slickers Revisited,” which takes audiences through a series of discussions on the movie’s story, the importance of the movie in Hollywood’s history and other related topics, to an equally in-depth discussion on the movie’s script to the even funnier (and shorter) discussion on the unlikely star that was Norman the calf, to even the discussions on the deleted scenes, the bonus material included with the movie offers so much entertainment.  In turn, that entertainment (and insight) adds even more appreciation for the movie.  Case in point is the discussion on the movie’s original final scene, which saw Mitch and company actually release the cattle from the farm as one of the deleted scenes.  Underwood reveals that this scene, which is presented as a bonus, was the original finale for the movie, but was cut because of audience response and concerns from the movie’s creative heads.  Knowing that this scene was cut from the final presentation actually presents a smoother and happier ending.  “A Star is Born: An Ode To Norman” is interesting as it reveals how the cast and crew shot the now famous scene of Mitch birthing Norman.  As it turns out, that scene was shot in three separate locations due to weather and scheduling.  The full explanation will be left for those who have yet to see the movie.  “Back in the Saddle: Revisiting City Slickers” reveals as one of its most intriguing notes that Jack Palance (Sudden Fear, Batman, Shane) was allegedly so nervous on his first day of filming that he had a rather loud outburst against Underwood, but later apologized for it to Underwood and to Crystal.  Even more interesting is the revelation from Crystal that he believed he might have in fact lived a prior life, and that life may have had some connection to the old west.  That discussion is certain to create its own share of discussions.

The items noted here and plenty of others presented in the movie’s primary bonus material offers plenty of its own entertainment and interest for audiences.  It certainly is not the only interesting information shared through the bonus material.  The bonus feature-length commentary reveals that Mitch’s Mets outfit was the result of a connection with the New York Mets.  Crystal reveals that as a Yankees fan, he wanted to wear Yankees gear in the running of the bulls scene, but because of some charity work from the Mets, he ended up wearing their apparel.  That’s early on in the movie, of course.  He later reveals that the inspiration for the movie’s initial development came after watching a program on television about adventure vacations.  Going back to his discussion about his sense of déjà vu from being out west, one cannot help but wonder if in fact, he might have lived before.  Even later on, the discussion turns to Crystal’s friendship with Palance.  Hearing the emotion in his voice (and that of Stern and Underwood) is a moving moment from the trio who is otherwise light-hearted throughout the movie.  When one considers all of this and more along with the entertainment and insight offered through the movie’s main bonus material, the whole of the movie’s bonus material proves integral in its own right to its new re-issue.  When it is considered along with all of the positives in the movie’s writing, the two elements give audiences more than enough reason to add this re-issue to their home library.  For all of the positives offered through this latest re-issue, the movie’s price the movie’s only con.

At the time of this review, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of City Slickers is listed only on its own website.  It is not listed at the websites of Walmart, Best Buy, Target or even Amazon.  The 2015 re-issue is the most recent re-issue listed.  Its average price point is $9.97.  That is determined using prices from Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.  The movie is listed at Target only as DVD.  The price listed on Shout! Factory’s store for this new re-issue is $24.99.  Considering this, that pricing is a bit high since all of the material is exactly the same as those previous re-issues.  The only thing that makes this price acceptable is the bonus poster that comes with the movie in its online store.  To that end, the price is still somewhat high, and being that the 2011 and 2015 re-issues can also be ordered online at a far lower price (even with shipping & handling), it just makes the price that much more questionable.  To that end, one can only wonder what the outcome will be for this addition to Shout! Factory’s ongoing Shout! Select series.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of MGM’s City Slickers is an interesting new offering in its Shout! Select series of movies.  That is because it offers audiences the exact same presentation put forth in the movie’s past two re-issues from 2015 and 2011.  Audiences who do not already own one or the other of those re-issues would be recommended to pick up this copy, if not for the movie’s price, as it is currently listed only on Shout! Factory’s website.  That price is not competitive in comparison to the movie’s previous re-issues.  Keeping that in mind, one cannot help but be at least somewhat disappointed, if only for that pricing.  Other than that, it is an enjoyable presentation.  Hopefully this will lead to a price reduction that is more affordable for consumers.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory




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Shout! Factory To Re-Issue ‘City Slickers’ This Fall

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Castle Rock Entertainment’s classic 1991 buddy comedy City Slickers is getting the re-issue treatment again.

The classic comedy will be re-issued on Blu-ray October 16 via Shout! Factory as part of the company’s ongoing Shout! Select series.  The latest re-issue of the movie is presented in a never-before-released 4K HD scan and also includes a handful of bonus materials. Pre-orders are open now.

The bonus material includes retrospective Back in the SaddleCity Slickers RevisitedBringing in the ScriptWriting City SlickersA Star is BornAn Ode To Norman and The Real City Slickers.  A handful of deleted scenes are also included as extra bonus material.

The movie’s story follows Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal — Parental GuidanceMonsters Inc., Monsters University) as he heads out west on a mid-life crisis of sorts.  He doesn’t go alone though.  Also along for the ride, which turns into a heartfelt but funny journey of self discovery, are Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern — Home Alone 1 & 2Bushwacked) and Ed (Bruno Kirby — When Harry Met SallySleepersGood Morning, Vietnam). The late great Jack Palance (Sudden Fear, BatmanShane) leads the way on the journey.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:


Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory


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The Wonder Years Season One Is A Wonder-Ful Box Set

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/StarVista Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista Entertainment

Twenty-one years ago, one of the greatest television series in the modern era of television came to an end after six seasons.  The series in question is none other than ABC’sThe Wonder Years.  The Wonder Years was and is today one of the greatest series in the network’s history.  Few shows have made as much of an impact for ABC as The Wonder Years before or since.  That’s not to say that there are none.  There are those that obviously have.  But for that network alone, The Wonder Years remains today one of the network’s absolutely most beloved series.  While The Wonder Years did see some VHS releases after it ended its initial run, it had not seen the light of day since then.  That is until now.  Next Tuesday, October 7th, StarVista Entertainment and Time Life Entertainment will release the first season of this hugely acclaimed series to audiences alongside a pair of full series set for the series’ most diehard fans.  The complete series box sets are a bit pricey, needless to say.  That means that many fans will be aiming more for the first season box set that will be released alongside those boxes.  There is just as much to appreciate about the stand-alone Season One box set as those full series sets.  The most obvious factor that audiences will appreciate is the inclusion of all six (yes, six) episodes from the series’ first season.  The companion booklet included in the box set adds to the enjoyment factor even more.  And last but not least is the bonus material included with the set.  All three of these factors together make The Wonder YearsSeason One one of the most welcome new box sets this year.

The Wonder Years was one of the greatest series to ever come to television.  It is still one of the greatest in television’s modern era to this day.  The series worked so well because like so many series of its time, it had such substance and originality.  There was also so much heart to the show.  It all showed through clearly thanks to the hard work of the series’ writers.  This is the case even in the series’ debut season.  Audiences that pick up Season One will hear the cast and crew discuss in the bonus features that heart and substance among many other topics.  That will be discussed at a later point.  Getting back to the point, the writing within Season One’s episodes is the most important of factors in this season’s enjoyment and success.  That’s especially the case considering the fact that Season One lasted all of six episodes.  Audiences are taken back to 1968, well before most of the show’s audiences had even been thought of.  Despite this fact, the themes carried within each episode are timeless.  Families having to deal with personal loss, young love, and the general coming-of-age themes are ones to which even today’s audiences can relate.  Given, times have changed.  So the situations portrayed in these episodes might have evolved in a manner of speaking.  But by and large, they still remain just as relatable today as they were in the episodes’ original broadcasts.

The themes presented within each of Season One’s episodes are timeless.  They are themes to which audiences of all ages can relate even today.  That in itself is quite the statement to the work of the series’ original writers.  Collectively, they make up what is just one part of the whole that is such a joy for all audiences in The Wonder Years: Season One.  Another part of Season One that audiences will appreciate is the set’s companion booklet.  Yes, that’s right.  The booklet carries just as much weight as the episodes themselves presented in this season’s set.  The reason that the set’s companion booklet is so important is that it serves as far more than just another ordinary, run-of-the-mill episode guide.  Audiences get in the double-disc set’s companion booklet an episode guide.  They get a thorough history of the show, too.  There are in-depth notes about the show’s production, from Kevin (Fred Savage) and Winnie’s (Danica McKellar) first kiss to personal thoughts on the episodes and even music listings from each episode and more.  Audiences that might not have known will be interested to learn that Kevin and Winnie’s kiss in this season was also the very first for Fred Savage and Danica McKellar.  Both actors offer more insight on that moment in the bonus features included with the set.  And the show’s runners offer their own insight into the episodes and specific characters throughout Season One both in this booklet and the bonus features included in the set.  Again, the bonus features will be touched on later.  The music listing included in the set’s companion booklet is especially important to the whole as it was in fact that music rights that held up the series’ release for so many years.  Now, audiences get to hear all the great classic music from the series’ setting and even learn about said songs thanks to their listing and a brief history on those that performed said songs in each episode.  The inclusion of that brief history on the songs makes for a great introduction to a whole new world of music for audiences of all ages.  It helps to introduce them to music to which they might not have otherwise previously had knowledge or interest in those songs.  All of the collective information and insight provided in Season One’s companion booklet enhances the overall viewing experience.  Together with the timeless, solidly written episodes, the two factors make this set all the more of a must have for anyone that grew up a fan of this modern classic.

The timeless, solidly written episodes that make up The Wonder Years: Season One are themselves more than enough reason for fans of this modern classic series to add this set to their personal collections.  The companion booklet that comes with the set heightens the enjoyment of the box set even more.  That is because of the amount of information and insight included throughout the booklet.  It isn’t just another run-of-the-mill episode guide.  In direct connection to both the episodes and the set’s companion booklet, the bonus material included in Season One’s box set rounds out the package.  The most important of the bonuses included in this set is “With A Little Help From My Friends: The Early Days of the Wonder Years.”  This feature includes interviews with the cast and crew, including the show’s creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black, and from lead actors Fred Savage and Danica McKellar.  There is also some insight from actor Daniel Stern (Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, City Slickers, Bushwhacked) in regards to narrating the series and how closely certain episodes actually mirrored his own personal life.  As noted before, both McKellar and Savage discuss that first kiss.  McKellar laughs as she discusses the slight discomfort at having an audience for the scripted kiss.  That was the case being that it was the first kiss period for both actors both on screen and off.  Co-stars Josh Saviano (Paul) and Jason Hervey (Wayne) share their own thoughts on the show’s early days alongside Dan Lauria and Alley Mills who played Kevin and Wayne’s parents Jack and Norma.  The cast reunion highlights and personal interviews also included as bonuses each offer their own enjoyment.  But the look back at the series’ early days offers the most enjoyment of the bonus features.  That is because it is a direct compliment to the episodes themselves and the set’s companion booklet.  Together with the booklet and Season One’s timeless, solidly written episodes, that one bonus feature alone serves to make this box set complete.  It is that proverbial cherry on the banana split that is The Wonder Years: Season One.  Audiences will see that for themselves when they purchase this box set or order it for themselves when it is made available next Tuesday, October 7th.

The episodes that make up the first season of The Wonder Years are some of the most impressive from the debut season of any series in television’s modern era.  Their themes are timeless.  The result is a group of episodes that audiences of any age will appreciate today.  The companion booklet included with Season One makes this box set even more enjoyable because it isn’t just another run-of-the-mill episode guide booklet.  It offers an episode guide, yes.  But it also offers a history on the series, on the series’ music, and a certain amount of insight on the season’s episodes in particular.  That depth makes the episodes even more enjoyable for viewers.  And the bonus features pick right up where the companion booklet leaves off, rounding out the whole package.  The people at StarVista and Time Life obviously went to great lengths to make sure that each of these elements would make the biggest impact possible for fans of The Wonder Years.  They did that and more.  All three factors together prove The Wonder Years: Season One to be one of the most welcome new box sets of 2014.  The Wonder Years: Season One will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, October 7th on DVD.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Years-Season-1/dp/B00L9OPFTC/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1412286805&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Wonder+Years+Season+One.  More information on this and other releases from Star Vista and Time Life is available online at:


Website: http://www.timelife.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

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