My Fellow Americans (1996) (NTSC)

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Released 25-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Biographies-Cast & Crew
Production Notes
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer
Notes-Film Flash
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 101:09
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Peter Segal
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jack Lemmon
James Garner
Dan Aykroyd
John Heard
Sela Ward
Wilford Brimley
Everett McGill
Bradley Whitford
Lauren Bacall
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music William Ross


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish 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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, elections during opening credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    I am sure the Hollywood pitch meeting went something like this:

    "I can get Jack Lemmon, James Garner, and Dan Aykroyd together for a movie. Ain't that great?"

    - what's the script about?

    "oh, we don't have a script, but that's not important. Imagine the drawcard those three will make!"

    - well, there's a lot of interest in the Presidency at the moment. What if we make it about the President?

    "ounds fabulous! Which one will we make the President?"

    - what if we make them all Presidents? Two of them will have to be ex-Presidents, of course...

    "yeah, but what's the plot?"

    - who needs a plot? This will be a comedy...

    That's about the only explanation I can come up with for this movie. Three classic comedy actors thrown together, all of them playing Presidents (we get to see the rise and fall of two of the Presidents during the opening credits), but with a dreadful threadbare excuse of a plot. I'm not saying it isn't funny - I suspect that any one of them could make reading The Wall Street Journal seem funny - but it really doesn't hang together very well. There are fragments that are actually quite decent, quite a few laughs, and one or two twists that got my hopes up, but overall it is a fairly weak effort.

    It is not just the three leads who are recognised actors: Lauren Bacall plays Jack Lemmon's wife, and clearly relishes the few moments she gets on-screen. Wilford Brimley is a marvellous character actor, and Everett McGill makes a good undercover operative. All in all, it's a good cast - I just wish they had a script to work with...

    One night, when there's nothing on TV (that seems to be happening a lot recently...), and you are too tired to be bothered thinking, perhaps you might enjoy this.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is another NTSC region 4 disc - if your system won't play NTSC discs, don't bother with this one.

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced. I gather that the original aspect ratio was 1.85:1 (the laserdisc release was in this ratio). There are a number of scenes where the framing makes it quire clear that this film has been chopped down - this is a pan & scan effort.

    The picture is rather soft, but adequately clear. Shadow detail is fine. There's no low-level noise. Some of the softness looks like light film grain.

    Colour is excellent. Daylight scenes are cheerful and colourful. Even night-time scenes show decent colour (they are clearly not shot as day-for-night with blue filters).

    There are some film artefacts, but they are small and untroubling. There's some background shimmer, but it's light. There's minor aliasing, and one or two brief moments of moire. This is a fairly clean transfer.

    There are three subtitle tracks, including English. I watched the English subtitles; they are well-timed, accurate, and easy to read.

    The disc is single sided and single layered, so there is no layer change. I suspect that the film is a little over-compressed because of the single layer.

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

Audio

    There are soundtracks in three languages: English, Spanish, and French. I only listened to the English soundtrack, which happens to be a Dolby Digital 5.1 affair.

    The dialogue is clear and readily understood. I spotted no audio sync problems.

    William Ross gets credit for the score. It's nothing special, but it gets the job done. There's the occasional ironic observation in the choice of incidental song.

    The surrounds aren't used often, but there are moments of well-placed directional sound. The subwoofer doesn't get a lot of signal, but it does support the score and an explosion.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static and silent.

Cast and Crew Bios

    We get 9 bios, but they are only a few pages each.

Production Notes

    Just 3 pages of text.

Outtakes - Bloopers (~2:30)

    An amusing blooper reel, mostly showing Jack Lemmon breaking up. I did like hearing the clapper board guy say "Take 17". It's not time-coded.

Theatrical Trailer (~2:30)

    Presented in full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

Recommendations

    Recommendations for four other films - no trailer or description, just cover shots.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is nothing more nor less that the Region 1 disc given a Region 4 code. Amazon have the R1 on sale at US$9.99, while the R4 can be bought for under A$20.That's pretty much the same.

Summary

    A good cast and a poor script, presented on a pan & scan DVD. Perhaps you should rent this one?

    The video quality is fairly good.

    The audio quality is reasonably good.

    The extras are fairly lean.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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