Grumpy Old Men (PAL) (1993)

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Released 10-Aug-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 99:11 (Case: 98)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Donald Petrie
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jack Lemmon
Walter Matthau
Ann-Margret
Burgess Meredith
Daryl Hannah
Kevin Pollak
Ossie Davis
Buck Henry
Christopher McDonald
Steve Cochran
Joe Howard
Isabell O'Connor
Buffy Sedlachek
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Alan Silvestri


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Romanian
Russian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Outtakes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Grumpy Old Men was the 6th film that teamed up Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Together they made 9 films together (10 if you include their cameos in JFK). They first appeared together in The Fortune Cookie (1966), but it was The Odd Couple (1967), made a year later, for which they are best remembered.

    Grumpy Old Men is about lifelong bickering neighbours John Gustafson (played by Jack Lemmon) and Max Goldman (played by Walter Matthau). The two seem to share a love/hate relationship with each other. They find nothing more pleasurable in life than provoking and one-upping each other, whether it is during their shared passion of ice fishing or just carrying out their daily lives. John Gustafson has been having some financial problems and is trying desperately to avoid running into the IRS man. His daughter Melanie played by Daryl Hannah is going through a separation from her husband Mike (Christopher McDonald). Max Goldman’s son Jacob, who is played by Kevin Pollock, is running for Mayor and has had a crush on Gustafson’s daughter Melanie since adolescence. Tensions between our grumpy old men are escalated with the arrival of new neighbour Ariel Truax, played by Ann-Margret, as both men try their best to gain the attentions of Ariel.

    Lemmon’s and Matthau’s characters are interesting and their chemistry together is wonderful. The supporting cast, which contains many wonderful actors, seemed to have less to work with and their characters never seem to evolve much beyond purely supporting the antics of Lemmon and Matthau.

    While I found this movie enjoyable and often amusing, I felt the movie never quite lived up to its comic potential, and overall it felt rather shallow and lapsed into the use of clichéd sentimentality towards the end. Fans of Lemmon and Matthau will no doubt enjoy this comedy. The funniest moments, however, actually occur in the outtakes during the closing credits and should not be missed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is the second release of Grumpy Old Men. The first release was an NTSC 4:3 Pan and Scan transfer. You can read the review of that release here. This new release is PAL and is 16x9 enhanced. While definitely an overall improvement over the previous release it is still not without a few minor issues. During my review I was able to compare both releases and I’ll discuss the differences between them as I go along.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which is very close to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced. Compared to the original release the image is matted slightly top and bottom but contains noticeably more image on both sides. I would speculate that the original negative may have been matted at about 1.66:1. I felt the overall framing of this new release is preferable. Judged in isolation, the framing of the old transfer seems fine, however when compared to the 16x9 transfer of the PAL release it does occasionally feels a little confined.

    The transfer is never particularly sharp but the image detail is still quite good throughout and a slight improvement over the old transfer. I was able to make out some fine details that I could not on the old transfer. Shadow detail was only average and the blacks in some night scenes tended to appear a little murky although again this is a slight improvement over the previous release. I was able to make out details in shadowed areas that were not visible on the old release. Some minor edge enhancement was observed although it was never distracting and is roughly on par with the previous release. No low level noise was observed.

    Colours were a little muted throughout and never really vibrant, but seemed natural and I soon adjusted to the colour palette of the movie. Colour saturation seems slightly improved over the old release. Skin tones seemed quite natural throughout.

    In terms of MPEG artefacts, I observed some occasional minor pixelation in out of focus detail although it was never distracting nor did it draw attention to itself. I noticed this a little with the original release too when I looked for it. I observed some vertical streaking on bright backgrounds with the new transfer. For example, at 11:30 there is a pan following a car where the top half of the screen was solid blue sky and during the pan there was some thin stationary streaking in the bright sky. This was not present in the old transfer. Aliasing was not an issue with this new release, nor was it on the old one.

    The print used for the transfer is fairly clean, although some small white specks and sporadic dirt (especially noticeable against the snow) were occasionally observed, although I never found this very distracting. Both releases seem about the same.

    There are ten subtitle options on the disc. I sampled the English subtitles and found they matched up quite well with the dialogue and were easy to read.

    The transfer is presented on a dual-layer disc with RDSL formatting. The layer change occurs at 57:38 with a cut between scenes and is fairly well placed.

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

Audio

    The audio is provided in English, French and Italian all in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kb/s. The English soundtracks on both the new and old discs seem to be the same. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack decoded with Dolby Pro Logic II.

    With Dolby Pro Logic II engaged on my receiver the soundtrack is quite reasonable but nothing special. Dialogue was firmly anchored in the centre speaker and was clear and easy to understand. Both Lemmon and Matthau do have a habit of mumbling their lines occasionally, which made them a little harder to make out at times. There were no problems with audio sync

    The original score by Alan Silvestri is fairly subtle and does little more than to reinforce the on-screen action.

    The surround channels were used subtly to deliver background noises and music cues. While never drawing attention to themselves they added nicely to the overall soundtrack. My subwoofer really only came into play for a few music cues, most notably for some of the pop songs such as I’m Too Sexy around 40:20.

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

Extras

    This a bare-bones release featuring only the film.

Menu

    The main menu is a static image and is 16x9 enhanced. There is a scene selection menu to access the 33 chapters and a menu to choose audio and subtitle options.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 DVD appears to be identical to our original release which was presented in 4:3 Pan and Scan NTSC. Our new release is PAL and is 16x9 enhanced and overall is a better transfer. The original release does contain a Theatrical Trailer which this new one does not. However, given the improved transfer, original aspect ratio and 16x9 enhanced transfer, this new release is clearly the version of choice.

Summary

    Overall I found Grumpy Old Men an enjoyable and amusing film, but not one I think I would come back to very often .

    The video transfer is now PAL and 16x9 enhanced and a slight improvement over the previous release.

    The soundtrack is reasonable but nothing too special.

    There are unfortunately no extras on this DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS575-S Progressive Scan, using Component output
DisplaySony KVDR29M31 68cm PROGRESSIVE SCANNING. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

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