October 21, 2009

It’s Garry Shandling’s Show

Also this week: Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Important Things with Demetri Martin, Monsoon Wedding, Wrong Turn 3

Highlight of the Week

It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series (Shout! Factory) Comprised of a whopping 16 discs featuring all 72 episodes from its four-season run, Garry Shandling’s mid-’80s cult-com returns to your living room in what is probably the year’s most comprehensive DVD package. Like Seinfeld with a stroke of Zack Morris, Shandling’s show is a fourth-wall-smashing, semi-autobiographical saga in which he plays his neurotic, stand-up comic self who frequently addresses the camera and stresses about his hair. With its clever touches (i.e., a theme song about writing the theme song) and meta guest appearances from Rob Reiner to Tom Petty,  there’s no denying the series’ impact on current, more trangressive comedy of the Larry David brand. Extras: 18 commentaries, six featurettes, original promos, episode outtakes, essays, more.

Also Available

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Those Aren’t Pillows Edition (Paramount) John Hughes’ pattern-breaking, adult-oriented comedy arrives eight days after Canadian Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean we can only revisit his 1987 classic once a year. No, it doesn’t take a national holiday for us enjoy the sight of John Candy spooning Steve Martin on a beer-soaked mattress in a motel room. Extras: making-of, featurettes, Candy tribute, deleted scene.

Important Things with Demetri Martin: Season One (Paramount) Taking Woodstock’s Demetri Martin delivers conceptual laughs in the first season of his versatile variety show that incorporates multi-instrumental music numbers, sketches, drawings and pseudo-stoner queries such as “I wonder what the word for dots looks like in Braille?” Consider that quote a love-it-or-loathe-it litmus test. Extras: deleted sketches, commentaries, free tiny poster, Zissou-style sticker. 

Monsoon Wedding (Criterion) A glossy parade of rich music, rich colour and rich culture underline Mira Nair’s multi-narrative dramedy about an arranged marriage in India that sets off an emotional chain reaction among family, friends and former lovers. Extras: Nair commentary, short docs and fiction films, new interviews, essay. Also available on Criterion’s badass Blu-ray catalogue.   

Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead (Fox) Third time around and the plot is still entirely foreseeable: kids take a wrong turn in the backwoods; kids fall prey to a group of inbred cannibal hunters. You’ve likely never encountered any of these actors before, and its doubtful you’ve seen director Declan O’Brien’s previous work. (Hey, we reviewed Cyclops.) But ’tis the season, and you can do worse than the Wrong Turn trilogy, which began fairly strong and still maintains a shred of dignity. Extras: three-part making-of, deleted scenes.