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Double (and Triple) Trouble: Part 1

I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever double-feature discs ya got.
by Rob Gonsalves

At the store the other night, I was browsing the $7.00 to $9.00 rack and found the following double-feature DVD: "Raising Arizona" and "Johnson Family Vacation." Jesus wept. A bona fide Coen classic sharing an Amaray with some awful Cedric the Entertainer swill? Why? Oh, because they're both comedies and Fox owns the rights to both of them. To be fair, you can also find "Raising Arizona" as a double feature with "Fargo," and you can also find it in last year's "Nicolas Cage Collection" (alongside "Kiss of Death" and "Trapped in Paradise") and last January's "Perfect Date Movies Volume 4: Love & Laughter" (bundled with "Nine Months," "The Man with One Red Shoe," and "Me, Myself & Irene").

Point is, whoever comes up with the pairings (and triplings) for some of these double (and triple) feature DVDs must be smoking the good stuff. Next month seems particularly heavy on the twofer or threefer discs, so let's take a look at 'em. Some are natural combos. Others are just Crackhead Time. We'll start with the August 7 wave of combos.

Airplane and Top Secret - Perfect fit, these. Arguably the best efforts from the ZAZ factory (with an exception to be discussed later herein), with a nice retail price of $14.99. If shelf space is an issue and you enjoy having these two flicks in one place, there's not much downside. (Note that I have no idea whether this or any other double/triple-feature discs boast the extras found on their stand-alone counterparts. Still, if you don't care much about extras and just want the flicks, here you go.)

American Beauty and The Virgin Suicides - Um...the Dysfunctional Suburban Family Duo? Really, once you've seen one you don't need to see the other. Clueless parents with naughty daughters. One has a Best Picture Oscar, the other doesn't.

Death Wish, Escape from Alcatraz, and Uncommon Valor - The Bad-Ass Trio? One's an urban revenge flick, one's a prison flick, one's a rescuing-POWs flick. Together they fight crime. I guess you could give this one to your dad for Father's Day if you were really cheap and the store was out of soap on a rope.

Election and You Can Count on Me - Complete crackhouse. A high-school satire and a sensitive indie drama. Huh? Oh, wait, Matthew Broderick is in both. Shit, why not double up Project X and Glory while you're at it? Sometimes having a star in common just isn't enough to justify a pairing. This doesn't work.

Enemy at the Gates and Uncommon Valor - Wait, didn't we just see Uncommon Valor on here? I get it, they're war flicks. But they're different wars. And Uncommon Valor is more of a "winning the Vietnam War ten years after the war" flick. Bah.

Footloose and Flashdance - Sure, why not? Never mind that Flashdance is getting a new special edition in September. If you want a cheesy '80s dance marathon, the only thing missing here is Stayin' Alive. (More on that in a future installment.)

Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part 2 - Y'know, you can still get the 8-film From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set for about $45 if you shop around. That works out to about $5.60 per film, whereas this one retails for $14.99, or $7 a flick. But if you just want the first two, I guess this is your disc.

Hardball and The Bad News Bears - Guy gets saddled with a team of loudmouth losers. Not a terrible pairing, but a more organic double feature would be the two Bad News Bears sequels.

The Italian Job, Primal Fear, and The Score - Edward Norton a-go-go. His performance in The Score is sort of a heist-flick rewrite of his breakthrough turn in Primal Fear, so that's cool, but then they have to go and throw in The Italian Job, with the most bored-looking and noncommittal work Norton has ever put on celluloid.

Kiss the Girls and The Gift - Whuh? Wouldn't it make more sense to pair up the two Morgan Freeman-as-Alex-Cross thrillers, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider? Actually, last October, that's what they did in a triple feature tossing in Double Jeopardy for good measure, because it, like Kiss the Girls, stars Ashley Judd. But this combo makes no sense whatsoever.

The Last Castle and The Peacemaker - Remember the days when George Clooney had to be in crap like The Peacemaker? Sure you do. Do these two movies have a goddamn thing in common? Sure they don't.

The Naked Gun Trilogy - Awww, yeah. Granted, the franchise was kinda running out of steam by Numero Three-O, and since 1994 it's been kinda weird to watch O.J. in these things. But having these all bundled together is still a Good Thing. Although couldn't they have sprung for some new cover art instead of divvying up the cover art for all three flicks? These triple-feature discs look frickin' chintzy.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Summer Rental, and Foul Play - The ex-SNL set, I guess. Oh, wait, John Candy was SCTV (he did host SNL, though). Oh, whatever. A real mixed bag here.

The Prince & Me, Sabrina, and I.Q. - Cheap gift for Mom on Mother's Day. If you want her to remove you from her will. Also known as "Three Movies You'd Never Willingly Own All Together for One Low Price!"

Romeo & Juliet, Love Story, and Falling in Love - A tad more classy, though Love Story is legendarily sappy, and Falling in Love is notable chiefly for trying to shoehorn De Niro and Streep (in their Serious Days before they both branched out into comedy) into a conventional romance.

Serpico, Internal Affairs, and Narc - Sort of a clever thematic arrangement, and surprise none of them sucks. Also, you have Michael Corleone, Vincent Mancini, and Henry Hill. I thought Internal Affairs was a trifle stupid when I first saw it, but time has been kind to it.

Tales from the Darkside, Graveyard Shift, and April Fool's Day - Almost a Shitty Stephen King Trifecta, but then they toss in a Johnny-come-lately slasher flick having zilch to do with King. To be honest, I still haven't gotten around to catching April Fool's Day, though it seems to be well-regarded by slasher fans.

Tommy Boy and Black Sheep - Oh, dear, a Farley/Spade duo. The other day, one of these was on TV and I found myself saying that Spade has no stance from which to mock anyone else for making stupid movies. I mean, dude, you made The Benchwarmers. Anyway, a better fit than many on this list, I s'pose, but I sure as shit wouldn't be buying it.

Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke and Still Smokin' - Great, put one of C&C's best flicks with one of their worst. Fantastic. Thanks, but I'll hold out for the "High-Larious Edition" (yes, they're actually calling it that can we have a moratorium on idiotic, supposedly clever names for double-dip editions, please?) of Up in Smoke in September.

War of the Worlds and When Worlds Collide - Okay, this is a cool one a double shot of George Pal sci-fi epics. (Yes, this is the 1953 War of the Worlds, not the Spielberg version.) Not a bad way to end this installment. Next time, though, we've got some more stupid ones, as well as a couple of genuine grindhouse double features.


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=2225
originally posted: 07/17/07 12:38:31
last updated: 07/17/07 13:10:29
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