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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Spoof > People > Media > Contests > Australia > Politics > Baseball > Football > Cable TV > Angry Boys (2012/HBO Blu-rays)/Butter (2012/Weinstein/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Eastbound & Down: The Complete Third Season (2012/HBO Blu-rays)/The Game: The Fifth Season (2012/CBS DVD)/We Can Be Hero

Angry Boys (2012/HBO Blu-rays)/Butter (2012/Weinstein/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Eastbound & Down: The Complete Third Season (2012/HBO Blu-rays)/The Game: The Fifth Season (2012/CBS DVD)/We Can Be Heroes (2005/HBO DVDs)

 

Picture: B-/B- & C+/B-/C+/C+†††† Sound: B/B- & C+/B/C+/C+†††† Extras: C+/C/C/C-/C+†††† Main Programs: C+/C+/C/C/C+

 

 

A sort of subcycle of comedy has surfaced and it is not necessarily either funny or good.It involves simply being slightly weird, odd or different just a little and weíre supposed to notice the difference and laugh.That is not funny, but desperate.These recent half-hearted releases tend to define that category in their own way.

 

 

First we have a pair of very similar TV series where HBO is expecting Chris Lilley to be the next Tracy Ullman, the male Australian version.They have issued his earlier 2005 Australian show We Can Be Heroes and newer series Angry Boys (2012) on DVD and Blu-ray respectively.Lilley has the talent to rather convincingly becomes several characters per show good enough to make the viewer do double takes, but it also becomes formulaic very quickly and neither ever have big laughs.

 

Heroes has him as an old woman, school girl and several different guys who somehow might win the national honor.Mocking the lives of ordinary people who might be doing something extraordinary may be amusing at first, but goes nowhere leaving us to only marvel at his work.Running 6 episodes, they quit while they are ahead, but without him doing all the major roles, this would be as obviously flat as it tends to be.Boys has him still crossing genders (he plays several mad guys, plus a female prison guard and a Japanese mother of a famed skateboarder.Twins from the earlier series even turn up.

 

Unfortunately, it again only goes so far and when you add the political incorrectness (too many casual racism jokes get tired on arrival), you can see why this is only on cable TV.His oddest work is as an African American rapper in semi-blackface that really has his work jump the shark.Hip Hop cannot be spoofed enough, but this is territory that is dull and not very funny, even when the actors playing the parents are actually African American.Hope Lilley finds a new way to be funny, because this is headed towards a dead end.

 

Both sets have their share of Deleted Scenes, with Heroes adding Extended Episodes, Outtakes and a music performance while Boys adds Bloopers and a faux Music Video for his rapper persona of Símouse.

 

 

This trend extends to would-be satires.Jim Field Smithís Butter (2012) features small town people with small town ambitions whose big annual event and ďartĒ revolves around sculpting items out of actual butter.Jennifer Garner is on the money as the deeply conservative trophy wife of a former butter champ who takes over from him when he decides to retire and a young female African American intends to enter the competition.

 

That has implied racism at best and she is (yawn) precocious and the result is another one-joke film with hick stereotypes galore and a script that just never goes anywhere, even with Oliva Wilde, Alicia Silverstone and Hugh Jackman in supporting roles.There is a lack of energy, nothing is really funny and by the time Garnerís character is sculpting the Kennedy Assassination, this whole thing falls apart and proves that it simply could not sustain its lame high concept in the first place.See it for yourself if you dare.

 

Extras include a Gag Reel and Deleted & Extended Scenes.At least the actors tried.

 

 

Continuing as a hit despite its limited amusements, the formula that makes Eastbound & Down: The Complete Third Season (2012) possible.The older baseball pitcher Kenny (Danny McBride) is still on his irresponsible, ego-driven trek to wreck all in his way as a one-man train wreck that never stops.Again, it is a hit, so someone (baseball fans?) is amused and the show continues, but this too has its share of hick stereotypes, though they are comparatively warmer than those in Butter, which does not say much when we are comparing tired stereotypes.

 

We get 8 more episodes over two Blu-ray discs and in this case, you may not need to start at the beginning, but if you do and can tell the difference between that and this, you are a big fan to be.

 

Extras include audio commentaries on all 8 shows, Deleted Scenes and Outtakes.

 

 

 

Finally we have another show that has been a hit longer, but is even less discussed, yet also involved sports.The Game: The Fifth Season (2012) continues the almost soap opera-like cast of African Americans with money, sex and success connected to professional football plus any other trouble and high risk behavior they can find themselves in.Regressive from a standpoint of the best African American sitcoms (the 1960s Bill Cosby Show, the various Norman Lear classics, etc.), the laugh track seems very forced here and so does all the teleplays.

 

Acting can be shrill and the new stereotype is boring young African Americans replacing louder ones form the past.Everyone talks at each other, interactions are never convincing and I doubt it could have been any better in earlier seasons.We get 22 very trying near half-hours that start out as dull, stay that way and give football and money a bad name.I guess there is a passive audience for this somewhere, but it must be small because this is very forgettable and I wonder how much longer this one can go on.

 

Extras include Deleted Scenes, a Highlight Reel and Gag Reel that shows the cast as far more human than the actual show.

 

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Butter and 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Down and Boys are all HD shoots and even in playback quality with their share of stylized images that are not great, detail issues and motion blur more than a few times.The anamorphically enhanced Butter DVD is even softer and on par with the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentations on the Game and Heroes DVDs which are all watchable, but not great throughout.

 

All three Blu-rays have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, but Down and Boys are well recorded and have solid soundfields throughout their run of episodes, while the same on Butter has some sonic limits and can be towards the front speakers in some scenes so it is not as good.The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Butter DVD and Game DVDs are even weaker to the point that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Heroes (with or without Pro Logic playback) is their equal, so donít expect much form any of the DVDs sonically on this list.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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