Grumpy Old Men (NTSC) (1993) (NTSC)

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Released 11-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Biographies-Cast & Crew
Production Notes
Theatrical Trailer
Notes-Film Flash
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 103:17
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Donald Petrie
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jack Lemmon
Walter Matthau
Ann-Margret
Kevin Pollak
Daryl Hannah
Burgess Meredith
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Alan Silvestri


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Grumpy Old Men. No, this isn't the collective noun used to describe a team of reviewers when given the task of reviewing a Region 4 NTSC disc that is presented in the wrong aspect ratio (!), but it'll be pretty close if we get too many more of them.

    Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau star as John Gustafson and Max Goldman, two cantankerous, and naturally enough Grumpy Old Men. The two have lived next door to each other since they were boys and have been arguing and fighting over the most stupid of things for just about as long. Forever engaging in a battle of one-upmanship when it comes to fishing, and just about everything else they do, they are seemingly always at war and trading insult after insult. When a stunning widow named Ariel (Ann-Margret) moves in across the street, the boys find yet something else to argue over as they both fall over themselves clamouring for the attentions of their beautiful neighbour. All manner of laughs occur as they battle for her affections, with each trying to outdo the other and sabotage the other's chances of scoring. There's lots of old people and death jokes, and old age sexual innuendos abound in this comedy that really lets Lemmon and Matthau shine.

    This is one of a small number of films where I find that the most memorable scenes are actually the outtakes that appear during the end credits. The sight of Walter Matthau in the bath complaining about the nude scene is hilarious. And just watch for the performance of Burgess Meredith as the father of Jack Lemmon's character. He gets some of the funniest one-liners ever delivered and I reckon most of them were made up on the spot. He is a classic, but he gets even better in the sequel Grumpier Old Men, made two years later, and also released on DVD at the same time as this original.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is one of those dreaded Warner Home Video Region 4 NTSC transfers. There is a small label on the top right corner of the case advising this, so beware, as you will need a suitable display to view this disc. There is also a message displayed at the commencement of the film, stating that this feature has been modified from its original aspect ratio in order to fit your television. Of course, if you own a widescreen display then it has been formatted so it doesn't fit your television! Go figure.

    Presented in the modified screen ratio of 1.33:1, the transfer is also not 16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical aspect was 1.85:1. To be fair, there is not a great deal of picture information missing and this is still perfectly watchable, even though it really does feel like a cheap VHS rental as a result.

    This is not an overly sharp transfer, with a reasonable dose of edge enhancement, though it seldom becomes a problem. Shadow detail is handled well with no lost clarity in the darker scenes. Grain is present, but managed quite well and does not dominate any scenes. There is no low level noise.

    Colours aren't exactly vibrant, which is probably mostly a legacy of the NTSC formatting and the fact that it was filmed in almost arctic conditions in Minnesota during winter. There are no problems of any sort, but the colours do lack any real artistic punch.

    No MPEG artefacts are present. Unfortunately the dreaded 3:2 pulldown artefact is evident in virtually every scene. Whenever anything moves it becomes very obvious and is very, very distracting. I can imagine that on a larger sized display, this would be even more noticeable and render the picture almost unwatchable. There is little evidence of aliasing. Film artefacts are present in reasonably large number, but do not become an overly large distraction as most are limited to the usual small white specks.

    There are only three subtitle options available. I watched part way through with the English stream on and found them mostly accurate and easily read.

    This is a single layered disc only, so no layer change is present.

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

Audio

    There are only two audio tracks available, these being English and French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround tracks. Obviously we get the French soundtrack for the benefit of the French Canadians amongst us.
   
    Dialogue is placed squarely in the centre, with few problems, and certainly no audio sync issues.
   
    The score is credited to Alan Silvestri and is really nothing remarkable. A couple of early nineties songs are played. I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred brings back a few memories.

    There is no surround channel or subwoofer use.

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

Extras

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Reasonably detailed bios and filmographies for the main cast and director Donald Petrie. Not particularly current, being at least 5 years old.

Production Notes

    Various notes about the location and the story. It also includes bio details for Burgess Meredith and the writer and composer. Not sure why these weren't included in the bios section. As out-of-date as the bios, it mentions that Lemmon and Matthau are slated to work together in a couple more films. A little difficult, considering that both are sadly no longer with us.

Theatrical Trailer

    The trailer is also presented full screen. It does not have any time code information included, but runs for approximately 1:50 minutes. Doesn't spoil too many of the gags.

Notes

    Four other titles from Warner Home Video's catalogue. Cover pictures only are shown.

R4 vs R1

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

    With this being a dual coded Region 1 and Region 4 disc, our version is obviously exactly the same as the version available in Region 1, right down to the NTSC formatting. There is no reason to favour one over the other.

Summary

    A few laughs are to be had if you have never seen this before. This is about the third or fourth time I have watched it and must admit that the laughs do start to wear thin after a while, but the bloopers during the end credits are a hoot no matter how many times you have seen them.

    The video is extremely disappointing. Incorrect aspect, NTSC formatting complete with rampant 3:2 pulldown artefacts, and a generally cheap feel to the whole thing.

    The audio is also nothing remarkable but does not suffer from any problems. It does the job required of it.

    The extras are quite poor in quantity and quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R4 vs R1 - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)
Another Warners DVD I will not be buying... - Ian M (Biological imperfection run amok) REPLY POSTED
This wil be in my collection for sure - Average person
Widescreen... - Paul B