Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Carl Reiner (Where's Poppa?) brought comic Steve Martin to the screen in this mostly funny 1979 movie about a relentlessly stupid but innocent man, whom we get to know from childhood (where it never occurred to him that he... more »
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Good movie, deserves better treatment in the DVD format
terpfan1980 | Somewhere near Washington DC, United States | 01/03/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"NOTE: review below was in regards to the Full Screen or Pan & Scan version of The Jerk that was the initial DVD release. A later edition was released which does respect the movie and offer it in widescreen format. If you are purchasing, be sure to get the anniversary version of the movie so you'll see the ENTIRE movie and not lose the images on the edges of the screen. Remainder of original review left as is. Thanks!
First off, I love this movie. It's silly, it's funny, it's touching in some places, but mostly, it's just entertaining.
My biggest complaint with this DVD is that it's one that offers little to no bonus value, and, to me, commits the cardinal sin of not putting the movie in it's original format - instead offering only a Pan and Scan Full Screen presentation.
I've hoped for several years that this movie would get a 'special anniversary' or other 'collectors edition' that would offer the original wide screen format and some decent special features, but finally had to break down and purchase this 'original' release of the DVD because my wishes seem to be going unanswered.
Please note that I rate the movie itself here a full 5 stars (* * * * *), but the DVD gets only 2 stars, for it's lack of respect to the buying public.
The movie was a classic when it was released.
Steve Martin, the ultimate 'white guy' finds himself 'born a poor black child', without rhythm and unable to figure out why he doesn't fit in with his Black brothers and sisters.
He gets motivated to go off and discover himself, and his adventures along the way are a total riot.
In many ways a model that could have been used for the original "Rain Man" character, Navin R. Johnson (Martin's character) had a simple charm and naive streak that was almost unbelievable, but too funny not to laugh at.
This movie is a comedy classic, and it deserves a Special Edition and better treatment on DVD. Hopefully someday it will get just that."
Movie deserves 5 stars while "Anniversary" edition 2
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Surreal to the point of silliness, "The Jerk" captured the atmosphere of comedy perfectly in the 70's. Before Robin Williams broke through to a larger audience on the big and little screen, Steve Martin was THE JERK. As dense as a brick, Martin doesn't so much as act like a jerk as become one. Opening like a variation on all those Hollywood tales where the hero of our story is down on his luck but soon to be redeemed (of course, this IS a comedy so it's unlikely he'll get the redemption we expect because, well, that wouldn't be funny), Navin Johnson (Martin) mentions at the beginning that he was "born a poor black child". Adopted by a poor African-American family living in poverty, Navin is horrified to discover that not only is he adopted but he's always going to be Caucasian and have absolutely no rhythm. Navin discovers he does have rhythm after all ("praise the Lord!") when he listens to a radio playing dance music from the time. Navin eats his Twinkies, learns the difference between sh-t and Shinola and hits the road hoping to be rich. Armed with the advice his family gives him ("God bless the working man...and remember never trust whitey!"). He hitchhikes getting his first ride which takes him to the end of a fence getting about twenty feet away from home. Needless to say, life is more than an adventure for Nathan and his dog Shithead; it's a vocation.
Receiving a very nice transfer, "The Jerk" looks typical of a film from the late 70's with noticeable film grain and while the colors aren't quite as vivid as I would have thought, they're acceptable. This is the first widescreen presentation for the film so that's something to be thankful for. There's quite a bit of analog debris in the form of dirt (in fact it looks as if this is exactly the same transfer as the previous edition). The 5.1 remastered Dolby Digital Surround Sound mix has nice presence but (not surprisingly) it doesn't use the format particularly well.
In addition to the original production notes from the previous edition and theatrical trailer we also get 1 extra and 1 featuring footage cut from the film. "The Lost Filmstrips of Father Carlos Las Vegas De Cordova" is a "continuation" of the film within a film where we see Martin play various characters doing things like verbally abusing a plant, dressing a bulldog in a clown suit as the audience cheers and takes pets in a bizarre parody of cock fighting. It's really footage that was cut from that sequence. "Learn to Play `Tonight You Belong to Me'" includes sections where you can learn to tune a ukulele (something I've been dying to learn), play it, play along with the Ukulele Gal and, finally, play along with the jerk himself. It's bizarre to say the least. The last bit is just a scene from "The Jerk" where Navin serenades his sweetheart at the beach.
No commentary track from Martin or Reiner. Honestly, you'd think they were embarrassed by this film! Or, maybe they weren't asked to do it or wanted too much money. While an improvement on the original edition of the film, that improved is slight at best. The featurettes are pleasant diversions but the real reason to get "The Jerk" is that this is the first time it's been presented in widescreen. The image quality could have been cleaned up quite a bitas there's quite a bit of analog debris that appears early on in the film. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this unless you're dying to have the widescreen version of this classic comedy.
MY Favorate Movie Ruined!
terpfan1980 | 05/15/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I Love Steve Martin and The Jerk Remains one of my favorate Flicks, HOWEVER, I also own the VHS Tape Version of this Film and there are SEVERAL FUNNY Quotes and Lines that were cut from the DVD. Why on Earth would they do that. The DVD is supposed to be packed with extras, or at the very least, THE COMPLETE MOVIE VERSION. I am very disapointed with the DVD becasue parts of the Movie were actually removed. What a SHAME to bastardize a CLASSIC. Right from the begining of the Movie when Steve Martin goes to the Gas station to use the bathroom, Jacky Mason and Steve's lines were cut. I was so upset that I didnt watch the rest of the movie and who knows what else was cut. I want the DVD in it's origonal form. There was no reason to cut those lines.. They were not offensive in any way and really added character and laughs to the movie..Where they asleep when they edited this DVD. HEADLINE: "WHAT A SHAME, CLASIC MOVIE RUNIED"
Great movie... substandard DVD
Mr. Letson's class | 02/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fantastic movie... even though I love many of Steve Martin's movies this is the one that I can quote from beginning to end and still laugh constantly! My main complaint, like others, is that it is NOT WIDESCREEN! The sad thing is, if you look at the packaging for "The Steve Martin Collection" 3-pack it shows "The Jerk" as originally being slated to be shown in the widescreen format, however for some reason they decided to keep in Pan and Scan anyway.... Ugh!Another sad thing is that this movie HAS DELETED SCENES but they are NOT INCLUDED in the DVD! Anyone who has seen the movie syndicated knows that there are additional scenes which are shown on TV but for some reason are left out of the DVD! Hopefully Universal will soon release a version of this movie comparable to their great DVD releases of AMERICAN GRAFFITTI and ANIMAL HOUSE... until then, this version will have to do I suppose."