Like many of the clips that make up the bulk of its content, the Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary special suffers from that malady specific to almost every SNL sketch: it starts out brilliantly, loses steam about halfw... more »ay through, then slowly but gamely limps to the finish line with occasional spurts of humor. This special (which actually marks the show's 24th anniversary, but never you mind about those small details!) gathered almost all of the Saturday Night Live alumni--well, the funny ones, anyway--for a celebration of the show's entrenchment in the cultural landscape. It's basically an occasion to show a lot of clips, ranging in time from the Coneheads to Mary Katherine Gallagher, put together in a sprightly, rapid-pace manner and interspersed with occasional live audience-interaction bits. An hysterically funny Bill Murray kicks things off as a lounge singer at an Indian reservation casino who hobnobs with the celebrity audience members; Tom Hanks, a fave guest host, offers up a lively Q&A session (with a dryly funny Christopher Walken, among others); and Billy Crystal revives his Fernando persona to great effect. Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman, and Steve Martin provide the best cast tribute, warmly remembering John Belushi while wryly offering up memorabilia for online auction, and Jan Hooks introduces a heartfelt short film featuring her and the late Phil Hartman. Other cast members, with the notable absence of Eddie Murphy and the surprise appearance of Norm MacDonald, pop up for various intros of clips--some are funny (Dennis Miller), some are not (Adam Sandler), some are obviously uncomfortable (David Spade), but at about the halfway mark it all starts to wear on you, like most tribute shows. Still, the stable of classic skits (including a surprisingly strong showing from the current cast) make this worth sticking around for. And at least this time, unlike during the live broadcasts, you can fast-forward through the unfunny parts. --Mark Englehart« less
"Amidst the perennial criticism of _Saturday Night Live_, it's easy to forget just how big an impact the show has had on our national artistic identity. This retrospective is a great place to begin that (re)discovery. Through its vast collection of clips from the show's 25-year run, one gains a real appreciation of the hundreds of colloquialisms, impressions, and comedic commentary this program has added to our national identity. What makes this show uniquely satisfying, however, is that it has significant original programming, including remarkable new material from Billy Crystal, Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, Mike Meyers, Robert Smeigel, various "Weekend Update" anchors, and the Eurythmics. There's also a fascinating montage on the production of a typical episode of SNL. True, this segment is in some ways cleverly-edited eye candy, but to my knowledge, it's the only SNL-produced filmed exposition of the backstage process at SNL. (There are three press bits on the DVD-version of the product which greatly amplify one's appreciation of the show, but SNL itself has still not produced a significant exploration of its own machinations.)It is a difficult thing, I would imagine, to make an anniversary show where so much material already exists. The temptation for Lorne Michaels was probably to air many more clips than his staff ended up including. For every bit that was included, there were at least five that I personally might have included as well. What Michaels and company were going for, though, was not an anthology, but an anniversary party. And that's what they ended up with. The show is in no way like the "Best of [insert performer's name here]" series that SNL has recently been releasing. You won't find this to be a exhaustive record of any aspect of the SNL experience. You won't even find that many complete sketches here. And you certainly won't discover anything but oblique references to the show's colorful off-screen history. Rather, _SNL 25_ very much feels as though they've gathered a few hundred of their closest friends (some of whom pointedly refused to show up) and have said "Hey, remember when we did this?" Happily, not only do we remember how good they were, this anniversary special lets us see how good they still are."
A Funny Retrospective
Shawn Weil | 04/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How many Saturday Night Live alumni can you think of right off the top of your head? How many of their skits can you remember? How many movie-spin offs? If you are like many Americans, you can probably rattle off many of these figures. After 25 years, it is quite an impressive resume.This 25th anniversary retrospective is filled to the brim with star power. From Chevy Chase to Molly Shannon, all generations of SNL personnel were represented in person, along with frequent guest-hosts like John Goodman and Steve Martin. You won't find your favorite skits in their entirety in this compilation, nor will you see the same tired episodes of the famous recurring characters. Instead, there are five extended montages of each five-year period since SNL's initial broadcast. The skits are edited down, but in many cases, that is a blessing - we all know that some of them go on a lot longer than they should.Along with these montages come the memorial segments. For each departed cast member, a skit highlighting his/her work was presented in its entirety. They were truly funny people. Also included in this retrospective were highlights from "Weekend Update" and some of the most memorable commercials.The funniest new moments of the evening came during Bill Murry's lounge style introduction, and Billy Crystal's "mavalus" chit chat. It is hard to work an audience of your peers, and they did it better than the rest.If you missed this when it was aired last fall, this is a must see."
This show was greatness in every way if you love SNL
Mark S. Mallett | 09/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All that I can say is buy it now if you love SNL. So many greats made appearances such as Steve Martin, Dan Ackroid, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Sandler, Spade, and the list goes on. It's a SNL fans dream. Throw in numerous guest appearances, one from Jerry Seinfeld, and you definately get your money's worth. But the Icing on the cake would have to be the Beastie Boys/Elvis Costello combo on the song Radio, Radio, of course reinacting the original infamous incident. The Beasties start out on Sabatage, and Elvis comes out, stops the show once again, and you know the rest. Go Buy it now!"
brian beirne | 01/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a semi-regular viewer of SNL, and having missed this when it was broadcast, I jumped at the chance to get it. It is classic SNL, from the begining with Bill Murray as a host at an Indian Casino, to the intro by Chris Rock who has the funniest line about SNL and movies, this is non-stop laughs. The show is broken up in 5 year segments with cast members from those years introducing them. There are retrospectives of the deceased cast members with touching intoductions, the best by Jon Lovitz, followed by a favorite skit. The Weekend Update with all the anchor's was great. The audience is star studded. A well done very enjoyable program. A fitting tribute to a show that has been on the air for 25 years. Billy Crystal is hilarious interviewing audience members."
Not quite what you might expect
Mark S. Mallett | PA USA | 01/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After seeing most of the Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary Show, including some of my favorite clips, I thought this would be a great DVD to have. I was somewhat surprised when I received my order that it contained only 1 disk. I wondered how a 4+ hour show could be condensed to one disk, but since it was DVD, anything was possible. The content on the disk is NOT the complete show. Many of the clips shown in their entirety where greatly shortened. While this is a nice remembrance of the 25th anniversary show, don't buy it thinking all of your favorite clips will be there whole."