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:
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