Stealing Home (1988)

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Released 19-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 93:55
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Steven Kampmann
William Porter
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Mark Harmon
Blair Brown
Jonathan Silverman
Harold Ramis
William McNamara
Richard Jenkins
John Shea
Jodie Foster
Christine Jones
Beth Broderick
Jane Brucker
Ted Ross
Thacher Goodwin
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.95 Music David Foster


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Vision throughout credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     If this is a movie that you just loved in or around 1988, then you may like to skip straight to the technical report - you already know you like the story.

     I didn't.

     I found the production formulaic, trite, clichéd and dull. The script was self-conscious and wooden, the actors had no environment in which to act, and a plot that had the potential to be quite heartfelt and nostalgic was served up with as much appeal and interest as a plate of cold scrambled eggs. And that's a pretty good description of the narrative of this film - scrambled.

     Billy Wyatt (Mark Harmon), is a burned out baseballer who is woken from his 14 year long "lost weekend" by the news that the childhood love of his life, Katie Chandler (Jodie Foster), has taken her own life and wants him to take care of her ashes.

     We go through the inevitable flashbacks and overdubbed narrations as Billy introduces us to his tragic past, his teenaged angst and his obligatory geeky boyhood friend. It's the ABC formula for 80's Americana cinema:

     A: Your principal character is currently a shadow of his former self, but with the potential for redemption.
     B: There is healing power in overdubbed narrations of the past. And the past will be troubled, but noble.
     C: The lessons of the past will take effect, resulting in our hero's reconciliation. We can tell this has occurred because our hero stops drinking or smoking.

     Ho hum.

     This film's origins in the 80s is utterly apparent, wailing saxophone and all. In all fairness, there are a lot worse movies out there, but when the back jacket assures you that this film will "fire.. the imagination and touch.. the heart," you may find that your heart's and imagination's zones remain entirely unmolested. Next!

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced, and appears to be true to the original format of the film.

     Overall, this film had a rather dull presentation. The shadow detail was acceptable, there was little low level noise, but the sharpness left quite a bit to be desired and it presented as a quite flat display. The transfer seemed best on close-ups, of which there were actually few in the film, leaving the general look a little soft and non-dimensional. Occasionally pans looked a little jittery and uneven.

     The colour held together relatively well, with no significant colour bleeds in evidence, but the skin tones frequently presented with an unpleasant ruddiness that did nothing to add to the attractiveness of the characters.

     There were minor instances of aliasing, but not normally enough to disturb the viewing experience. There was little evidence of film artefacts to mar the print, and the transfer was clean overall.

     Subtitles were accurate, timely and clear to read.

     This disc is a single layered, single sided disc, with no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

       There is one English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

      The dialogue is mostly clear and easy to understand. There was some hiss apparent during some of the dialogue, but it was mostly not too distracting. The spoken word did have a tendency to present a little sharply at times.

     Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer.

     The musical score really needs to be divided into 2 sections - the "nostalgic" tracks and the "theme" tracks. Amongst the nostalgic tracks are all the old gems; Bo Diddley, Burt Bacharach and The Everleys are all there to lend their energy to the 60s flashbacks, and they're as wonderful as they always are. But how much tenor saxophone can one soundtrack stand? A very 80s thematic soundtrack permeated the film.

     The front speakers performed all the work in this film, and provided a very flat and non-directional soundscape with no input discerned at all from the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There were no extras on this disc.

Menu

     The menu design is a static 16x9 design with no audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

     Region 4 looks like the winner.

Summary

     The wonderful thing about DVD is that there's something for everyone. This was not for me, but if you you've got a bit of a soft spot for 80s style movies of the ilk of, say, St Elmo's Fire, then you may really enjoy this. (Actually, I quite like St Elmo's Fire, but this one didn't do it for me.) If this is your kind of film, you'll find the technical presentation won't let you down too badly, and you can groove to the saxophone soundtrack to your heart's and your imagination's content.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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R1 vs. R4 -