Homer and Eddie (1989)

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Released 11-Mar-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 95:43 (Case: 101)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Andrew Konchalovsky
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Whoopi Goldberg
James Belushi
Karen Black
Anne Ramsey
Beah Richards
Case Alpha
RPI $19.95 Music Eduard Artemyev
Robert Randles


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

"Homer is no mental giant, but he's OK...
Eddie's not such a bad guy, once you get to know her!"

    Homer (James Belushi) is an intellectually challenged man who lives by himself in Arizona. After a hit by a baseball as a child leaves him with a permanent learning disability, Homer's parents send him away telling him that they cannot afford to look after him. After years of not seeing his parents, Homer takes his savings and begins hitchhiking from Arizona to Oregon to pay his parents a surprise visit. He is not long into his trip when he falls afoul of highway robbers and soon has only the clothes on his back. Along the way, he meets up with Eddie (Whoopi Goldberg) who also attempts to rob him, and after her unsuccessful attempt (Homer having already been robbed once) eventually agrees to help him get his money back. Eddie has recently been discharged (or escaped, we are never quite sure) from a psychiatric institution and has an ongoing mental condition which makes her go into fits of rage and lash out violently. When Homer tells Eddie about his long lost parents, she reluctantly agrees to help him out. On the way, Homer discovers Eddie's violent streak, his own sexuality, Jesus (well, sort of), and the truth about his parents.

    This film has serious problems. Whilst we have two stars at the beginning of their respective careers (Whoopi Goldberg going on to do Ghost shortly after this and James Belushi fresh from Red Heat and K-9) and an accomplished director in Andrei Konchalovsky, this film seems to fall apart at the seams fairly early on. The screenplay seems to be only half done, as there is quite a bit of wasted potential here as plot goes by with little development or resolution. Is Eddie really mad? Does she really have a medical condition or is she lying? Do we really care? Half way though this film that is the real question we start to ask ourselves. While Homer's character is likable in a dopey kind of way, Eddie is almost repulsive with her careless and violent (in the extreme) attitude. She kills a convenience store clerk in one scene and not less than five minutes later, she is having a deep and meaningful conversation with Homer and we are expected to become endeared to Eddie's character? When this happens in a Quentin Tarantino film, you expect it as the script sets you up for that type of scenario. This film does not, instead setting you up for a comic road trip type of film, so acts of brutal violence seem out of place here. Also, there is the use of the "Jesus" character. We have brief glimpses of a "Jesus" character in some of the latter half of the movie. Is he real or a delusion of Eddie's? This type of character finds no place in such a film and stands totally out of place within the storyline - in the end, I don't believe its inclusion is justified.

    There are also some technical problems. The camerawork is amateur at best. We have combinations of handheld and fixed camerawork, sometimes in the same scene. This sometimes is not a problem if the techniques are used cinematically and consistently within a film. With this title, this is not the case. At times, we have the camera running after the subject in a disruptive manner, or moving side to side in documentary style. This is usually not a problem if it is consistent with the style used for the duration of the film, but here there is no hint of style and sometimes the camerawork seems totally foreign to the storyline.

    In the end, we have to hold the director (Andrei Konshalovsky) responsible for this mess. While he has had success with several films, both on the domestic American market and overseas (The Boy and the Pigeon:1962 and Siberiade, which in 1979 won the Cannes Special Jury Prize; and the popular Tango & Cash in 1990), this film fails to deliver on all fronts and at every level throughout. Despite the leads being good actors, including James Belushi before he went "Direct to Video" (although even some of his "Direct to Video" work is quite good) and Whoopi Goldberg (whose work in The Color Purple and Star Trek:  The Next Generation was fantastic), the performances here are adequate at best. The screenplay is half baked and could have been so much more. The camerawork is worse than first year film school. The cinematography is ordinary in the extreme. The script is totally average with little character development. We have seen all concerned here in better times. This reviewer's advice is as follows: Save your sanity, save yourself. Avoid this film at all costs!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video content here is not as bad as expected, though not anywhere near the high standard we aspire to with the DVD format.

    This film is presented on DVD in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame, and is not 16x9 enhanced. While viewing the feature, you get the distinct impression that the transfer presented here on this DVD was intended to be matted to 1.85:1 and what we have here is an open matte fullscreen transfer. This is further hinted at by the appearance of the reflection of a microphone boom early on (6:12) in the film. We do not seem to miss any information on screen by having this film displayed full frame. That said, this film was shown theatrically in 1.85:1 and it is always a disappointment when we are not offered the original aspect ratio, no matter what the film.

    As to the sharpness of the transfer on offer here, it can only be described as adequate. Some of the darker scenes are okay in their level of detail, though not anywhere near reference quality.

    The quality of the colour on this disc is okay with the majority of the scenes having a rather earthy tone. Other than that specific note, colour use during this feature and on this disc seems to be fairly natural and presents no technical problems.

    There are some slight MPEG artefacts and chroma noise visible at 8:37, but this type of flaw is not too frequent. Aliasing is no real issue with this title. There are quite a few film artefacts to be seen during this feature with white and black flecks and  marks evident during the entire movie. There is also a fair amount of grain to be seen throughout this feature, although it is not to the extent of being overly distracting.

    No subtitles are available on this DVD.

    Since this disc is single sided and single layered, there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    The sole English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio mix present on this DVD is adequate.

    Dialogue quality is not a problem on this disc and the spoken word presented has no major problems. Audio sync is not a problem with this disc and seems to be quite natural and accurate.

    The music was composed for this feature by Edward Artemyev with additional music being credited to Robert Randles. Mick Fleetwood also did some instrumental music work with the soundtrack of this film.

    The surround channels were used minimally with their contribution being almost totally atmospheric.

    Despite there being quite a few music tracks used throughout this film with many featuring strong bass lines, the subwoofer is quite subdued and is called upon very rarely. There is little on-screen action that calls the subwoofer into use, either.

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

Extras

    A small number of extras are on offer with this disc. After the distributor logos and the copyright warnings, we are presented with an animated menu based on a scene in the film with Whoopi Goldberg gesturing to us to come in and partake of the wares on offer. The start up choices are:     The menu is full frame and is not 16x9 enhanced. Music from the soundtrack plays in the background during the main menu selections. The menu stays on screen for 44 seconds and if no selections are made from the menu during this time, the disc automatically defaults to Play Movie.

    The Scenes menu allows you to choose from a selection of 3 out of the 9 chapters that make up this DVD. The three chapters are listed by name on screen with static shots depicting scenes from two out of  the three respective chapters. An animation of a scene plays in a window and a music track from the film plays for 11 seconds. If no selection is made after this time, the disc defaults to the next three chapters and this loop continues until a selection is made. This menu is presented full frame and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround.

Theatrical Trailer

    We have the original theatrical trailer on offer here, presented full frame with a transfer displaying quite a bit of grain and film artefacts; much more so that the print of the film itself as seen on this DVD. There is no 16x9 enhancement and the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. The length of the trailer is 2:00.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has not been released in R1. A version was released in R2 Germany in 2001 with some minor additional features;     Also reported to be available on this disc are interviews with James Belushi and Whoopi Goldberg concerning this feature, although this could not be confirmed.

Summary

    This film turned out to be a very disappointing cinematic experience for me. Whilst a bad film can sometimes turn out to be a bit of fun (see Battlefield Earth and Plan 9 from Outer Space as prime examples), this movie was unfortunately a pain to watch. We have seen both the leads in much better form and in much better films.

    The video was adequate although film artefacts and grain are readily apparent during the feature.

    The audio was adequate with an average mix using little more than the front channels.

    If you are completing a collection of James Belushi or Whoopi Goldberg films on DVD, then this might be a film to get. For all others, save your money and avoid this title. Not recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Thursday, April 18, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output
DisplayHitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2090
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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