Author: Dean McCarthy

Dean McCarthy is a registered film fanatic with a near druglike addiction to DVD collecting. He has been writing in various forms for many years but most of his published works can be found here on Pop Culture Zoo. He is also the co-host of the podcast found at He is delighted you even bothered reading his article and can be easily reached HERE for any questions, queries, or quarrels.

DVDs With Dean – Casting A Net For The September 22nd Releases

This week both of the big new release movies are released without DVD features unless you get them on Blu-Ray. In related news I am in the denial phase of the death of the DVD format.

This Week’s Tastiest Morsel
30 Rock – Season Three
They have some nice unique features on the DVD set including their Emmy acceptance speeches (although Sunday’s win was of course too recent to include), Alec Baldwin’s SNL monologue, and they were able to get many of their guest stars to return for commentary tracks like Jon Hamm and Alan Alda. As if they show wasn’t worth purchasing on its own it is nice to see them burn some calories making a worthy DVD release. If you are a late-comer to the show, catch up with the Amazon Exclusive 3 pack of all the available seasons for 72.99.

Fresh Catches
Observe and Report
This movie suffered from Paul Blartitis and probably lost a lot of money due to their similar premises. It also suffers from no features unless you go Blu-ray.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
The tragedy of Matthew McConaughey is that he is actually a good actor who chooses to make terrible movies, but they are starting to lose money which may be a good thing. This DVD also has no features while the Blu-ray gets them all and a digital copy. Buy Frailty instead.

Battle for Terra
A stacked voice acting couldn’t save this film that looked so cheap and preachy from Box Office failure where it made almost nothing. If you want to see how humanity will ruin the universe after it ruins Earth and lights a baby on fire, this is your propaganda… I mean film.

Adam Resurrected
This is a drama starring Jeff Goldblum as a charismatic psyche patient in a hospital for Holocaust survivors in 1961. It co-stars Willem Dafoe and a largely German and Israeli cast.

Lymelife is an Indie drama that Alec Baldwin and Martin Scorcese fell in love with and produced all the way to the International Critics’ Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival. Alec Baldwin is supposed to be amazing in the movie, and I plan to rent it to find out for myself.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
From the twisted mind of Rob Zombie comes this strange animated movie about a Luchador who fights demonic forces. If you love dark cartoons or Rob Zombie’s original films like The Devil’s Rejects this might be a solid choice.

Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins
This is a new live-action feature length movie that has recast the roles with no-name actors and has given up on mass appeal and focused squarely on kids.

Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf or Death
Wallace and Gromit’s latest film can also be had in a cheap collection of four of their films including The Wrong Trousers, A Grand Day Out, and A Close Shave.

Castle: The Complete First Season
I have an established man-crush on Nathan Fillion from Firefly who returns as the star of Castle as a famous thriller novelist who has sweet talked the mayor into letting him shadow/assist a team of detectives on cases. The premise sounds like many of the other flimsy premises for procedural cop dramas but Fillion and lead detective Stana Katic keep things lively and compelling and have found their way into my DVR. The DVD comes with a few standard features with the standout being a feature on the creation of the character as an amalgam of other famous novelists.

Mitch Fatel: Mitch Fatel Is Magical
If you didn’t catch his special on Comedy Central last week, or if you did and loved it you can snag this DVD.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season
I can’t believe they canceled this and not Dollhouse, although I can believe that Joss Whedon might have Fox executives killed if he had another show canceled early. The DVD set it full on features with more than eight featurettes so this will be worth the money if you are a fan.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9
This season featured the legend Dan Henderson versus loudmouth Michael Bisping as the coaches in a US vs UK showdown. I don’t know if it includes the UFC 100 fight where Henderson hit Bisping so hard the Earth tilted on its axis.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes
If you have kids or a hangover you are sure to enjoy this massive fourteen disc collection of the best kids show on TV.

Ghost Whisperer: The Complete Fourth Season
This show has to be cheap to make. How else could it still be on the air? Jennifer Love Hewitt isn’t THAT hot to…alright my argument broke down. This year you get to see Patricia Arquette act in a fog on Medium before Ghost Whisperer on Friday nights for a supernatural twofer.

The Mentalist: The Complete First Season
I might have liked the show, but now I don’t know if I could shake the image of how terrible Simon Baker’s glasses were during the Emmy’s on Sunday night. Maybe everyone on the show is pompous as evidenced by the feature titled “Evidence of a Hit Series” after only one season.

Ugly Betty: Season 3
Are we done thinking this show is cute and fresh? This show was never for me so I should leave it alone, but I will mock it for being light on features.

Brotherhood: The Final Season
This looks like a good show that very few people watched, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it did well on DVD and Netflix.

Double Dip DVDs
Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection
This compiles all the movies and the features that were on the 2-disc “Director’s Edition” special editions that were pulled out of print a little while ago. It also replaces that stupid set that included Star Trek 1, 3, and 5 that was released a few weeks ago that made no sense whatsoever.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection
Unlike the Original Series collection this set has half the features that were previously available unless you buy them on Blu-Ray. I say we revolt…or wait until next years triple dip edition.

DVDs With Dean – Back To School September 15th

This Week’s Tastiest Morsel
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Season 4
The show continues to get stronger and was unbelievable in the 4th season. The DVD comes with footage from a live version of “The Nightman Cometh” and a blooper reel. This show is worth sleeping outside to get early on Tuesday.

Fresh Catches

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy)
The Blu-ray has a lot of exclusive features which is frustrating, but you can get most of them and a digital copy with the two disc special edition. The single disc is nearly devoid of features as usual.

Easy Virtue
A light week for new releases provides more exposure for this British romantic comedy made more popular by the inclusion of Jessica Biel in fancy dresses. This is based on the Noel Coward play of the same name and has received mostly good word of mouth.

Next Day Air
Next Day Air is a new weed comedy starring Donald Faison from Scrubs with some nice support help from Mos Def and Mike Epps. The movie was annihilated at the box office, but I bet the movie was made to be enjoyed in the privacy of your own home, perhaps with herbal supplements.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season
The second season drops with a gag reel and a fun feature on the real life Physicist/College Professor who consults for the show.

My Name Is Earl: Season Four
This is the final season of Earl and sadly it is light on features. Besides some deleted scenes and a gag reel you only get a Fan Mail feature and a trailer for “2 the Max”.

Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season
This episode eclipses the 100 episode mark so expect to see this medical drama in reruns for years so you can forever enjoy Katherine Heigl making out with a ghost during this “serious” drama. They celebrate the milestone with the lone featurette besides a gag reel.

Sanctuary: The Complete First Season
The show has big shoes to fill on the Sci-Fi (SyFy) network now that Battlestar Galactica is gone, but the show has a growing fan base and is pushing the special effects limits on TV as it is filmed almost entirely against Green Screens. Check out the 13 episode first season to see if it fills the Battlestar sized hole in your soul.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Clone Commandos (TV Series Season 1, Vol. 2)
Who ever said Lucas’ mining of the Star Wars series was financially motivated just got a big proof here as they release the show in 4 episode blocks to squeeze all the money possible out of you.

CSI Miami: The Complete Seventh Season
Is there any better proof of the stupidity of the American people that this is still on the air after seven seasons? It comes with a feature that compiles all the shots of David Caruso taking off his sunglasses and saying something embarrassingly obvious. OK, I made that up. Actually, I didn’t check the features, it actually might be.

Marvel X-Men Volume Three and Volume Four
The excellent animated X-Men show gets two more collections on DVD at a reasonable price. Each comes with about fifteen episodes, Volume Three includes both the “Savage Lands Saga” and the “Dark Phoenix Saga”, and Volume Four includes the “Proteus” and “Beyond Good and Evil” sagas.

Private Practice: The Complete Second Season
I wonder if it is smart to release this Grey’s Anatomy Spin-Off the same day as a season of the origin show. Perhaps they think their audience can afford to buy two seasons at once. Although it does have more features than its counterpart if you need to choose between them.

Doctor Who: The Next Doctor (2008 Christmas Special)
The 2008 Christmas special has two Doctors activating their twin powers to solve a mystery.

Transformers: Season Two, Volume 1 (25th Anniversary Edition)
This contains the first twenty-eight episodes of season two, which includes the Dinobots episodes on Dinobot Island and “The God Gambit” episode. Reissuing Transformers, G.I.Joe, and the X-Men is really screwing up my budget.

Stella: Live In Boston
These guys (David Wain, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black) are rather prolific so I recommend checking this out if you enjoyed the Stella show, Michael and Michael Have Issues, The State, or Wet Hot American Summer. The live show is uncensored and they threw a few bonus shorts and gags on the DVD for added value.

Double Dipped DVDs
I bet the upcoming remake won’t be half as raw and powerful as this movie, which you can enjoy with a bunch of features that I couldn’t find on the internet, but they filled two discs somehow.

Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood (Deluxe Edition) and Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (Deluxe Edition)
They next two special edition releases in this series are released, however you should be done paying attention now that they are up to Jason Takes Manhattan, which is where the series became a joke.

American Werewolf in London – Full Moon Edition
Just before I get a chance to write a “Pitch Session” on how we need a nice special edition of this movie they release a stacked two disc edition to shut me up. This comes with a feature length documentary and a bunch of new features including a cast commentary, a make-up featurette, and an interview with John Landis. Put this on your wishlist.

Army of Darkness – Screwhead Edition
This is a crappier re-issue for a film that has been re-released more than any other movie by far, however this is the first one available on Blu-ray so beggars can’t be choosers.

Varsity Blues
Just in time for football season, which was clearly on their minds because most of the special features are about the football sequences and theory. They even have a Picture in Picture commentary to explain the X’s and O’s of the game John Madden style. You also get Ali Larter’s audition tape which I hope (for her sake) isn’t the whipped cream bikini scene.

DVDs With Dean – Catch And Release For September 8th

This week marks the official death of the stupid snap-case DVDs that Warner Bros released when DVDs first launched that didn’t fit as well on the shelf and were prone to fall apart. Warner has begun re-releasing many of the films that were only available in Snap-Case in standard DVD casing. This is a proud day for DVD nerds.

This Week’s Tastiest Morsel
Important Things with Demetri Martin: Season One
The Dave Chappelle format of having a host in front of a live audience kick to various pre-taped sketches which has been pushed upon every sketch comedy personality (Carlos Mencia, Frank Caliendo) has finally found a second comic able to work it to perfection. Martin’s comedy fits well into the sketch format and I expect the show to pick up more steam in the second season.

Fresh Catches
Crank 2: High Voltage
Don’t get the cheap single disc edition, grab the Two-Disc Special Edition which comes with special features and a Digital Copy. The features include a commentary from the writing/directing team and two behind the scenes featurettes. I thought the first Crank was a wonderful premise with lousy execution and so I have some hope that they got it right with the sequel.

Fringe: The Complete First Season
The show is working really hard to grow an X-Files type cult following, and while I think the show started off poorly they are fighting to make it up. One good sign is all the production value pumped into the DVD which is loaded with features including episode specific Behind the Scenes coverage which I haven’t really seen before.

The Office – Season Five
This marks the first season that will be available on Blu-ray and it comes with the usual commentaries and a gag reel and all the Webisodes that were available online for this season.

Parks & Recreation: Season One
A nice, affordable DVD set given that the first season is only six episodes long and the new, longer season kicks off in a few weeks.

MTV’s Nitro Circus: Season One
This is a turbocharged version of Jackass with guys performing stunts both skillful and stupid on a range of vehicles from Big Wheels to Baja busting rally cars. Starring the X-Games motorcycle master Travis Pastrana.

Criminal Minds: The Complete Fourth Season
The least of the procedural crime dramas soldiers on.

Double Dip DVDs
Homicide– Criterion Collection
A David Mamet classic starring Joe Montegna as a homicide detective investigating an anti-Semitic crime that becomes much murkier than originally imagined. It’s a solid film with an excellent cast which includes William H. Macy and Ving Rhames.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Just like Pete’s Dragon, the live-action, lesser known Disney films are getting cleaned up and released, but I wish they got the star treatment that the un-vaulted Disney animated classics were getting with nicer packaging and more features.

Friday, Menace II Society, Set It Off
Warner is releasing their three urban hits in new deluxe editions and for the first time in HD. Each comes with a new making of featurette and any accompanying music videos like “Keep their Heads Ringing” by Dr. Dre on Friday.

Triple Packs Galore
A string of horror movies are getting released in cheap triple packs this week including: Halloween, Scream, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Scary Movie.

DVDs With Dean – Release Date August 25th

Pick of the Week
Patton Oswalt – My Weakness Is Strong (DVD with CD)
Patton Oswalt returns to stand-up after cleaning up in Hollywood with Ratatouille and nine seasons on the hit show King of Queens. This DVD also comes with a CD version which makes for a nice value.

This coming-of-age comedy from the director of Superbad probably would have been the pick of the week but it looks like they scrapped their plans for a 2-disc DVD and released a single disc instead. The single disc case indicates it has features but it will surely be less than the Blu-ray which also has the Digital Copy.

G.I. Joe’s Channing Tatum becomes a bare knuckle boxer in his continuing bid to become an American action hero. The DVD is barebones with only deleted scenes although the Blu-ray comes with a digital copy.

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen star as two spies who becomes corporate operatives who decide to attempt a massive heist with some romantic interludes. The DVD is thin on features but does come with a commentary track from the Director Tony Gilroy and his editor.

Sunshine Cleaning
Amy Adams (Enchanted) and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) star in this indie about two struggling sisters who start working as crime scene cleaners to make ends meet. The supporting actors are also solid including Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine), Mary Lynn Raskub (24), and Steve Zahn (Strange Wilderness).

TV and Reissues
House – Season Five
In this season you can check out the short lived inclusion of Kal Penn before he was quickly written out of the show to take a post in President Obama’s staff. This season also celebrates their 100th episode which is a big syndication milestone and they honor it with a featurette.

The Last Days of Disco (Criterion Collection)
Whit Stillman’s final film in his loose trilogy following the films Metropolitan and Barcelona gets the Criterion treatment so you can inject some class into your DVD collection. The film features a young Kate Beckinsale (Underworld) and Chloe Sevigny (Big Love) as two graduates who transition into adult responsibility in the waning years of big disco clubs like Club 54.

Lie to Me: Season One
I really like Tim Roth, but we do not need another procedural crime drama? This one focuses on the lie detection skill of the protagonist, and if you buy the DVD there is a feature to help you pick up on non-verbal cues as well.

Californication : The Complete Second Season
The Showtime dramedy has been green lit for a third season which starts in late September, so keep yourself up to date with the second season of self-destruction with David Duchovny.

Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season
For some reason the Blu-ray version doesn’t come out until November, although I can’t imagine why you would need to be buying sitcoms in HD. As usual the DVD comes with Bloopers and alternate takes for this 18 episode season.

Smallville: The Complete Eighth Season
Clark Kent continues to rise at the “Daily Planet” and we finally get a good dose of Doomsday, who is also the focus of one of the special features.

Samantha Who?: The Complete Second Season
The final season of Christina Applegate’s comedy drops with a few backstage glimpses from Applegate including a feature on her dance sequence and her life with the other girls on the set.

Life: Season Two
Another quirky procedural crime drama, this show follows a detective who was falsely imprisoned for many years and now solves crimes by employing the Zen principles he learned to endure life in jail. This season adds Donal Logue (Grounded for Life) to add some comedy edge as the new boss.

WWE: The Rise And Fall of WCW
I grew up watching the ever growing conflict between the WCW and WWF, but I wonder if the history will be properly recorded by the WWE who won the battle and have the ability to edit history in their favor since buying the WCW out.

DVDs With Dean – Release Date August 18th

The TV shows are beginning to flood the market before the fall seasons begin and we get two solid hits this week with The Simpsons and Dexter.

Pick of the Week
Dexter: The Complete Third Season
Showtime’s serial killer drama is worth subscribing to Showtime to see, but since they have been selling the seasons at a nice price point I have been scooping up the DVDs instead, and I strongly recommend you follow suit. This season adds Jimmy Smits to the mix but sadly deletes special features from the DVD.

I have been waiting with baited breathe for this documentary on the troubled ex-boxer. Usually these documentaries on someone’s fall from grace are done without their blessing, but Iron Mike does everything including the voice-over. The DVD features are heavy on Director James Toback including a commentary and a Q&A.

Hannah Montana: The Movie (Two-Disc Edition + Digital Copy)
This includes many of the music videos and such that you would expect, but if you get the Blu-ray you can make a wishlist of Hannah Montana memorabilia and other items shown in the film to purchase. If you have kids this might be exhibit A as to why you should just buy the standard DVD.

The Last House on the Left (Unrated Collectors Edition)
The Last House on the Left is a tamer remake of the Wes Craven classic about a family’s gruesome revenge against a gang for kidnapping two young girls and doing terrible things to them.

TV and Reissues
The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season
The Comic Book Guy graces the cover of this season and we even get a feature on his Greatest…Moments…Ever.

Pete’s Dragon (High-Flying Edition)
This is a soft release for the live-action/animation classic that is finally getting some special features including one on how they inserted animation into live-action back in 1976.

The Beast: Season One
Patrick Swayze’s crime drama that was treading in The Shield’s murky waters comes to DVD and will sadly not be coming back to TV. Swayze was apparently impressive as the dark agent but his health concerns made the show too risky to keep around on A&E.

Gossip Girl: The Complete Second Season
As an added bonus the DVD comes with the popular Audiobook Gossip Girl: You Know You Love Me as read by Christina Ricci.

Sons of Anarchy: Season One
Kurt Sutter the creator of The Shield came up with this show for FX about a rogue Motorcycle gang which might not be that compelling without Ron Perlman and Katey Sagal who play the lead character’s force of nature parents. The set comes with some cool extras including ones on the Bikes and on the prominent tattoos.