Happy, Texas: Special Edition (1999)

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Released 21-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Remember Me, Plots With A View, I'm With Lucy
Trailer-The Rage In Placid Lake
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 94:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:23) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mark Illsley

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Steve Zahn
Jeremy Northam
William H. Macy
Ally Walker
Illeana Douglas
M.C. Gainey
Ron Perlman
Mo Gaffney
Paul Dooley
Jillian Berard
Scarlett Pomers
Melissa Arnold
Cassie Silva
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music David Feinman
Peter Harris
James Stemple

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis


"Them prison's is leakin' like a macrame diaphragm"

    I think I was one of the few people who saw this independent film when it first came out in 1999. I enjoyed it thoroughly at the time and was very pleased to get the chance to see it again. It only took $2 million at the US box office but this should be seen more as a criticism of the US cinemagoing public than of the film.

    Happy, Texas is named after the town in which it is set. Happy, Texas does actually exist, although due to the budget of only $2 million it was shot in California rather than on location in the town itself. The story involves a couple of escaped convicts, Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr (Steve Zahn), a dumb car thief with an anger control problem and Harry Sawyer (Jeremy Northam), a con man and fraudster. Due to an opportunity rather than an actual plan to escape they abscond from their chain gang and steal a camper van for transportation. Shortly afterwards they arrive in Happy, Texas where the van breaks down and they are taken in by local sheriff, Chappy Dent (William H. Macy). They think they have been arrested, however, the town was expecting a gay couple, Stephen & David in a camper van who were going to organise a beauty pageant/talent quest for the young girls in the town. After the initial shock, they realise that the best way to avoid recapture is to play along and organise the pageant, something which neither of them has any talent for.

    While in the town, Harry also realises an opportunity to make a big score, by robbing the town bank, whose president is a pretty and lonely woman, Jo (Ally Walker). He decides to focus on this and leaves Wayne in charge of organising the pageant with hilarious results. Wayne slowly begins to warm to the idea, and the school teacher, Miss Schaefer (Illeana Douglas). Unfortunately, they are also being pursued by a Texas Marshall (Ron Perlman), and the homicidal maniac they broke out of prison with.

    This quirky romantic comedy is a lot of fun including some excellent comedic performances and some really good dialogue. William H Macy is fantastic as the lonely and vulnerable sheriff who takes a shine to Harry. Some of his facial expressions portray more feeling than other actors do in a whole film. Steve Zahn is very funny and the rest of the cast all do a good job.

    Recommended for fans of comedies which are a little bit out of the mainstream. It will leave you like Happy, Texas, 'The Town Without a Frown' .

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was very good. There was some very light grain throughout.

    The colour was generally very good, well saturated and natural. Some large expanses of colour such as walls showed some pixelization from time to time, however, I believe this is as the result of the MPEG compression rather than a colour artefact.

    Artefacts were not too bad but were in evidence. There was some minor edge enhancement and a very occasional film artefact. From an MPEG compression perspective there was a few instances of minor aliasing such as on the grille at 8:26, and the shutters at 11:26 and 19:22. There was also quite a bit of macro-blocking on large colour expanses such as painted walls, especially around the 60:00 minute mark. None of these were overly distracting.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer change occurs at 75:23 and caused a significant pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is good but disappointingly for a film of this recent vintage, only in stereo.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. Generally the soundtrack was a little quiet and I needed to turn the amp up above my normal level.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Peter Harris is combined well with some suitable songs and adds significantly to the overall feel of the film.

    The surround speakers added some mild directional effects and atmosphere when played using ProLogicII.

     The subwoofer was not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu includes motion, music and the ability to select scenes. It also uses a cute bull horns motif to highlight the selection you are on.

The Making Of Featurette (7:51)

    A short promotional puff piece which includes interview snippets with the director and cast, some behind the scenes footage and some scenes from the film. Reasonably interesting but certainly nothing spectacular.

Behind the Scenes Footage (3:57)

    A loooooong four minutes of boring behind the scenes footage with no explanation or voiceover.

Deleted & Alternate Scenes (22:04)

    A large selection of deleted/alternate scenes one after the other with no explanation or introduction. They are not arranged in the order they would have appeared in the film and some appear to be alternate versions of other deleted scenes. The first is probably the most interesting - a completely different opening credits sequence. The others involve mostly extra interaction between Harry & Jo and a number of alternate versions of the initial confrontation between Wayne, Harry and the homicidal convict who returns to share the loot. Basically, they don't amount to very much and don't make for particularly interesting viewing.

Cast & Crew Interviews (10:51)

    These are basically soundbites which would be best as part of an electronic press kit rather than a DVD extra. In fact, that's probably what they were to begin with. There are soundbites from Steve Zahn, Jeremy Northam, Ally Walker, William H. Macy, Mark Illsey and Illeana Douglas. There is also significant crossover with the making of featurette.

Theatrical Trailer (2:06)

    A good quality trailer which gives a good introduction to the film.

Photo Gallery

    10 stills from the film.

Cast Filmographies

    Text filmographies for Steve Zahn, Jeremy Northam, William H. Macy, Ally Walker & Illeana Douglas.

More from Palace Films

    Trailers for Remember Me, Plots with a View, I'm With Lucy & The Rage in Placid Lake.

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;

    On this basis, the Region 1 version of the disc is clearly the winner as the extras they miss out on are rubbish and the extras we miss out on are supposedly top quality.


    A great little quirky comedy made on a low budget with an excellent cast.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good but only stereo.

    The disc has a large quantity of extras which are short on quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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