Excess Baggage

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Details At A Glance

Category Drama Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 97:04 minutes Other Extras Cast Filmographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Marco Brambilla

Columbia Tristar
Starring Alicia Silverstone
Benicio Del Toro
Christopher Walken
Jack Thompson
Nicholas Turturro
Harry Connick, Jr.
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music John Lurie

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement Yes

Plot Synopsis

    Alicia Silverstone: Annoyingly loud-mouthed.

    Benicio Del Toro: Annoyingly laconic.

    Jack Thompson: Annoyingly posh.

    Excess Baggage: Annoying.

    This is one of the worst movies I have had the displeasure of watching. I nearly gave up watching it on numerous occasions, but gritted my teeth and put up with it until the very end. Instead of being entertained by the movie, I have decided to entertain myself by telling you all about the movie and what was wrong with it, so if you don't want any plot spoilers, jump ahead to the Transfer Quality section.

    Excess Baggage stars Alicia Silverstone as Emily, a poor little rich girl who stages her own kidnapping so as to get some attention from her father, Alexander (Jack Thompson with the most annoying accent I have ever heard him try). Things go wrong when she locks herself in the trunk of her BMW in readiness for the "pick-up" and her car is stolen by Vincent (Benicio Del Toro) before her father can get to her. I'm convinced that Benicio Del Toro was either drunk or stoned or both throughout the shooting of the film as he slurs and mumbles his way through his pitiful lines. Vincent is portrayed as the sort of guy who couldn't put his underpants on straight, much less steal cars for a living. He is so laid back that his head scrapes along the pavement when he walks. Or maybe he just floats along in a little haze of his own.

    So, we get back to Vincent's garage, where he finds Emily in the boot. Time for some physical comedy which works quite well in the trailer but for some reason falls completely flat in the context of the movie. Vincent goes to talk to his friend and business partner Greg (Harry Connick, Jr.) about their predicament. Emily gets out of the boot. Vincent comes back. More attempted physical comedy which doesn't work. Emily has to pee. She pees. Vincent wants to put Emily back in the trunk but she won't get in.

    Vincent: "I ain't gonna hurt you..."

    Me (thinking): Go on, hurt her

    Emily: "I'm not going back in the trunk"

    Vincent: "I ain't gonna hurt you..."

    Me (thinking): Please hurt her so that we can get on with the plot

    Emily: "I'm not going back in the trunk"

    Vincent: "I ain't gonna hurt you..."

    Me (pleading): Just get in the goddam trunk and get on with it

    Emily: "I'm not going back in the trunk"

    She doesn't get back in the trunk. She sits in Vincent's car, sets his garage on fire without Vincent noticing and they drive off.

    Emily wants to get out of the car. Vincent doesn't want Emily to get out of the car. Emily wants to pee (didn't she just pee before they left the garage?).

    They keep driving, until they get to the middle of nowhere.

    Vincent wants Emily to get out of the car. Emily doesn't want to get out of the car now.

    Vincent kicks Emily out of the car. Emily whines. Vincent lets her back in the car.

    Vincent drives closer to civilization. He kicks Emily out of his car. He drives to an all-night food stop, where he sees news footage of his garage going up in smoke (duh). He drives back to Emily.

    Vincent wants Emily to get back in the car. Emily doesn't want to get into the car. Emily gets into the car. Vincent puts Emily up in a motel and goes home. I'm thinking: why?

    Get in the car, get out of the car. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WOMAN!

    Emily's uncle Ray (Christopher Walken) is dispatched to find Emily. Ray started the movie looking like he was going to be one of the bad guys, but now it looks as if he is the good guy. Ray finds Vincent. Now Ray is the bad guy again. Vincent takes Ray to Emily. Ray's still the bad guy. Vincent and Emily escape but then they meet up with Ray again. Ray is still the bad guy, but he's about to become the good guy again.

    One of the other bad guys miraculously disarms Ray in another garage (how this could possibly happen is totally beyond me, the continuity and the credibility of this scene is so ludicrous that it has to be seen to be believed). Emily saves the day.

    Oh yes, and Emily and Vincent fall for each other (of course, I could see the attraction from the very first time they met...not).

Transfer Quality


    Well, you now know what I thought of the movie - so what about the transfer? In a word, perfect.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was very sharp and very clear. Shadow detail was excellent. There was no low level noise apparent.

    The colours were excellent, though mostly the cinematography was of very drab locations.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts were not seen. Film artefacts were not seen.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded, English Dolby Digital 5.1, and French Dolby Digital 5.1. The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded soundtrack. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand except for Vincent, whose lines were often quite mumbled and indistinct.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by John Lurie is unremarkable.

    The surround channels had reasonable use for some of the action sequences, some ambience and for the music. Overall, the soundtrack was moderately enveloping.

    The .1 channel had intermittent heavy use, but was generally silent during this movie.


    This disc has the typical Columbia Tristar extras. The Sony DVCC splash and the Dolby Digital City trailer are on the disc.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    We miss out on;


    The menu design is standard Columbia Tristar 4:3 fare.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The trailer actually makes the movie look good, and is far better than the movie itself. I noticed that there were a number of scenes in the trailer that were not in the final cut of the movie.

Filmographies - Cast

    A basic and incomplete-looking listing of who has been in what.


    Excess Baggage is strictly for fans of Alicia Silverstone.

    The video quality is perfect.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
21st July 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer