Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Home Movies - Season Four|
Actors: Brendon Small, H. Jon Benjamin, Melissa Bardin Galsky, Janine Ditullio, Ron Lynch
Director: Loren Bouchard
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television, Animation
Home Movies is a cartoon about children who are more like adults made for adults who like cartoons. The series spotlights third-grader Brendon Small, a young filmmaker who writes, acts, directs and "co-executive produces" ... more »
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Brendon, Jason, and Melissa take their final bows.
J. A. Hazelwood | Frederick, MD USA | 07/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm sure that all Adult Swim fans in 2003 knew that the current fourth season of Home Movies would be its last. All the signs were there: an eight month hiatus between seasons, no advertising, all episodes shot off in succession as quickly and quietly as possible. This was no stretch for my imagination; I was also a Futurama fan so it was nothing I hadn't seen before. But I still couldn't easily accept why the show didn't draw more viewers than it did. Cartoon Network was the perfect channel for the show and yet that wasn't enough. Perhaps it wasn't "avant-garde" like its concurrent original shows Aqua Teens or Sealab 2021 (and by that I mean it had linear plots that weren't subsumed by unmitigated chaos). In any case, there's nothing we can do about it now except to settle in, pop the final season's DVD's in your players, and watch Home Movies' swan songs.
The writing staff definitely gave us their best, most imaginative episodes for the final season. In the opener, Camp, guest-starring the two Johns from They Might be Giants, Coach McGuirk is pursued through the woods by a Robert Bly workshop-esque cabal of cloaked touchy-feely men while the kids suffer through a soul-crushing week at a performance arts camp. "It looks like we've got an INDIE filmmaker here," the instructor says with as much disdain in his voice as possible, and then he proudly yammers on about all of the big-budget popcorn flicks that he's catered (apparently, James Cameron loves clementines). Never before has Hollywood weathered such a scathing satire! Bye Bye, Greasy sees Brendon helming his school play in which he must deal with extortion, epinephrine, and Fenton's insufferable capering as the lighting guy. I can't say why, but the scene where Brendon lets Jason give him his audition after he leaves the theater always makes me giggle. In Wizard's Baker, Brendon tries to distance himself from his stunningly awful rock opera about a tyrannical wizard and his one-year-old, can-inhabiting personal baker. An oblivious Jason and Melissa continue to seek out investors for their copious special effects requirements. "We need and ice sculptor and an ice puppeteer which I'm not sure if it exists, but we need to find one" chirps Melissa. Meanwhile, McGuirk tries to find uses for his new set of exorbitantly expensive swords, like slicing butterflies in half, trading them for beer, or hacking his way into a Pinewood Derby. McGuirk fans can elsewhere find him dancing in a kilt, explaining how studying is analogous to cheating, getting disturbingly large pecks, and much, much more. In my review of the previous DVD set, I mentioned how the last episode, Focus Grill, is "one of the saddest series finales since the Ice Age killed off all of the dinosaurs on Dinosaurs" and I stand by that statement. I'm glad that the show was given a fitting ending, but I didn't expect it to be so tinged with melancholy. Honestly I could go on for several paragraphs talking about the rest of these excellent episodes; suffice it to say that the series ended on high notes.
Earlier sets featured creator commentaries on only a handful of select episodes, but the producers gave us a smorgasbord of audio tracks for this one. Each of the thirteen shows has a track by actor Brendon Small and producer Loren Brouchard. Their discussions don't follow the progression of the episodes much, but they do give interesting elaborations of the project as a whole (even though Brendon claims on at least three separate occasions that he's run out of things to say). Actors Melissa Galsky and H. Jon Benjamin host other more jocular commentaries with guest stars like Sam Seder and Eugene Mirman (who gave a hysterical, possibly true account of how he was turned away from an acting gig that advertised for a Eugene Mirman-type). Plus there are "fan" commentaries by ostensible musicians Modest Mouse and the Shins, which consist of half-hearted attempts at observational humor ("That guy's wearin' a beret, he looks French"), uncomfortable silence, tirades about the mentholated eye drops that they use, belching, and admissions that they've never seen the episode they're watching before. Thanks for nothing, guys! Faring better are the installments by writers from the exceptional humor website/newspaper the Onion. These gentlemen are real fans of the show and while they have their moments of irreverent fun, they still do what I personally expect from TV commentaries, i.e. comment on the TV show. I loved it when they pointed out that Jason's bulbous right eye casts a shadow across his face in a film noir-ish scene from Psycho-Delicate (I thought I was the only one who noticed that). Overall, the sheer number of commentaries is large and completely unexpected, but the quality doesn't quite compare to the quantity.
The other extras include two misses and one big hit. First, Mr. Brouchard gives us an extremely dry look back at the improvised tracks from the series pilot. The recordings have very scattershot and lifeless material on them, and Loren purposely airs them out of order (um...why?). I truthfully didn't make it all the way through the first time, and I wondered why this wasn't put on the first season set to begin with. Several scores of funny rambling lines of improvised comedy can be found on the Audio Outtakes Jukebox. Unfortunately, they can only be accessed at random and without their original context. The third season boxset of the Simpsons had an Easter Egg with comparable contents, but it listed what each line was about and what episode it came from. I think that system would have really helped here. Last but not least, this set comes complete with a CD stuffed with original songs, instrumental pieces, and other various musical numbers from the show's entire run. It has extended versions of several songs, such as "Welcome to Hell" from Camp or the Bob Dylan-y "Coffee Song" from the second season, as well as medleys of some music-heavy shows like Psycho-Delicate and Bye Bye, Greasy. There are some regrettable omissions like the second "Compliments" song that thwarted the villains in the History episode and the "Taste the Fame" lick that was performed by They Might be Giants, plus one perfectly OK omission in "Freakie Outie" (I can't speak for everyone, but I would never have a reason to listen to that grating, screaming anti-song in my own spare time). I honestly feel a little let down by the lack of diversity in the extras, especially in regards to the other sets (Where are the interviews? The Decide-Your-Doom games? The Small/Benjamin short films?). Even so, for long-time fans with a trained ear, the CD alone can make this set a worthwhile purchase.
So there you have it, folks. Home Movies is another well-acted, well-plotted, vibrantly original, viciously funny little gem of a show that was cut down in its prime, a victim of the fickle finger of fate that is modern American media. I can still take comfort in the fact that I have the entire series to watch when I like, and I can look forward to the show's spiritual predecessor, Doctor Katz, making its long-awaited arrival to DVD as well. So long, Home Movies.
P.S. This is a notice to any official Amazon administrator. In the episode "Everyone's Entitled to my Opinion", Brendon was given $75 for every movie review that he submitted to a website. This is the 31st review that I have composed for your website, and so if you could just e-mail me the phone number of your bursar's office I will be happy to place my invoice for $2,325 with them directly. Thank you."
Excellent set, sad milestone
Geoffrey Sperl | Harper Woods, MI USA | 05/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, we've reached the end of the series... again.
At least this time we knew it was going to end and not linger in the uncertain vacuum Adult Swim had become by time they finally pulled HM off the air.
I think it's important to say that this is the best example of a cartoon about kids that wasn't meant for kids. It is the memories a lot of us around Brendon Small's (real) age have of our childhood - our friends, our families, our teachers and bullies. It's all there. Of course, I was the (fictional) Brendon's age when my father remarried, too, so that part of his experience (out of touch father and a single mother) really did hit home for me.
This is an excellent series which I heartily suggest to anyone I come across with an aptitude for animation.
There is one issue with this set, however: "Freaky Outy" isn't on the CD! What's up with that?!?"
Home Movies = Intelligent Toilet Humor
Rob O | Chicago, Illinois | 05/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes...the title of my post is absurd and stupid; but I will just have to live with it. I call HM "intelligent toilet humor" because the show was brilliant at intertwining low brow humor with some really intelligent and smart writing. The show can go from Jason picking "stuff out of his nose" to parodying Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis (Season 1).
Season 4 is very bittersweet, because all the while I watched this season; I knew that it was being cancelled. Adult Swim, riding on the wave of Family Guy/Futurama popularity, let HM take a backseat to their headliners. Yes, those shows are also great fun, especially Aqua Teen Hunger force, but the humor that came from HM was so relatable!
My favorite episodes from Season 4 are the episodes, "Curses" and "Camp"...I just loved it in Curses when Brendon shows his cursing robot movie to his classmates and they all cheer at all the terrible language in the movie. "Camp" had one of the most hilarious endings in HM history. When they perform the play depicting all their psychotic drama camp counselors/directors for the entire camp I could barely contain my laughter. I was literally doubled over because I was laughing so hard.
The last episode, "Focus Grill" had one of the most fitting endings for any show out there. I have to admit that my eyes did well up a bit when, at the end of the last episode, Brendon's camera fell out onto the road is ruined beyond repair. Very sad, indeed....
This show was absolutely brilliant! Why did I start watching it? It all goes back to a great show called, "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" That show almost defined everything about me in the 90's. I could totally relate to H. Jon Benjamin's "Ben" character from Dr. Katz and when I heard the same voice (Jon Benjamin) for Coach McGuirk; I was instantly hooked! Then I noticed that the show had a similar dialogue style; part improvised part conversational, and mostly hilarious!! If you have not seen the show, "Dr. Katz"; you're in luck! It is about to be released onto DVD! The first season will only have 6 episodes and all the seasons are squiggle-vision, but after you realize how awesome the show is, you will learn to live with the squiggles. Buy it! You will not be disappointed.
Back to Home Movies...If you are a fan or about to be a fan, pick up all the seasons (1-4) on DVD and take good care of them. When my kids are old enough to appreciate the humor of this show; I am going to experience the excitement of watching the shows all over again! It is that priceless...
Home Movies, I am sad you are no longer on Adult Swim. I wish we could have more time with Coach McGuirk on the soccer field giving young Brendon all the bad advice in the world. I wish we could have more moments between Brendon and his mother. (Such sweet moments), I wish we could have more experiences with Brendon, Jason, and Melissa living out their lives in front of Brendon's amateur movie camera. Isn't there another rock opera they could have made? Another movie they could have spoofed?
Home Movies...You were the best show ever! I will miss you so much! "
Nothing Like Home Movies
J. M. Moorhead | Hartville, OH | 04/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This show's completely original and always thoroughly enjoyable. to sound pretentious it's kind of like comedy jazz, a lot of improvisation and it puts you in just one of those "takin it easy" kinds of moods. even the smallest details can be hilarious, especially for film buffs. anyway what compells me to recommend this season especially is the bonus CD with all the great songs from the show, amazing!!! i've been waiting for something like that since it was the first show ever to be shown on Adult Swim back in, well, I guess it must have been 2000! if you've got a funny bone and a brain you can't go wrong with this..."