The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Side Out (1990)

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I discovered in doing research for this film that it's not in fact direct to video. I always thought it was made for like HBO or something, but imdb said it grossed just a shade under a half-a-mill in the box office. ( You learn something new everyday.

In high school, a buddy of mine, who had HBO, introduced us to this film. We instantly loved it-- so much so, that a few of us (including me) were kicked out of gym class for acting out the film while we were playing volleyball. The teacher didn't find us as amusing as we did, and I ended up reading The Great Gatsby in in-house suspension.

Side Out is a volleyball film with C. Thomas Howell as a law student who goes to LA to work for his uncle, Bernie Lomax. He gets mixed up in a sinister plot to win a pro beach volleyball tournament, despite the fact he only did a little 6-man back in school. Peter Horton from Thirtysomethings is the grizzled old volleyball veteran who still has some magic, and he and Howell make it all the way to the end. Also, Howell dates Allison from Melrose and Kathy Ireland of Alien from LA fame is Bernie Lomax's secretary.

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There are some amazing scenes and lines in this gem. A guy gets hit with a spike, and someone says "Spaulding tattoo." There's a guy named Moot, I think, and he has this great serve where he flips the ball around his left arm, then jumps and serves it. I mastered this serve myself, and pull it out in the summer when I make the cook-out circuit. Also, Moot's buddy calls Howell "dick cheese" and moons the two of them by showing his blue undies (no cheeks). Howell responds to this mooning by saying "In your FACE!" It was so great.

There are some bad points in this film. Howell suddenly becomes Evil Howell in a match in the middle of the movie, and breaks his teammate's arm. I guess this was a plot device used to enable Peter Horton to jump in and be Howell's new teammate, but it looked straight ridiculous. I would've had him break his ankle trying to do the Vanilla Ice dance move where you hold one leg and jump the other one through it. It would've been more believable.

People always put out these lists of the best sports movies ever, and I never see this one on them. I don't get it. I'm a huge sports guy: I watch and play pretty much everything; but the sports movie landscape has gotten very barren in the past few years. This trend toward real life Bad News Bears rip-offs like Remember the Titans and that Marky Mark one is stifling intellectually, and Side Out is a throwback to an era when sports movies were great, not "based on a true story" sacks of asscrack that take themselves too seriously (Bend it Like Beckham wasn't that bad, but also it's an original story, not a Hollywoodized adaptation of true events.). We need more No Holds Barred and Rocky III and IV, you hear me?

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You should be able to find this for $5 at any store that sells DVDs. It's worth it. I wouldn't pay more than that though. I'm not sure what its rental availability is. It was everywhere on VHS, but now that stores have gone DVD, I'm not sure many went ahead and picked this up again. If you see it for rental, I'd grab it. In school, we used to see it on HBO all the time, and with the large number of HBO channels now, I bet it will turn up on one of those from time to time too. It wouldn't hurt to do a search of your program guide for it and TiVo it.

For more info:


  1. Bernie Lomax - wasn't that the dead guy from Weekend at Bernie's?

  2. Hey Matt, I just got done writing up a review of this one. Check it out when you get a chance