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.


Monday, May 7, 2007

Simon Sez (1999)

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One night, when I was playing with a Ouija board with some people, we asked it who I was going to marry. I ever so slightly tugged the cursor so it would spell the name Dennis Rodman. No one knew I cheated, but it gained the desired hilarious effect.

I rented this film solely for the Rodman factor. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it had John Pinette and the brunette from Saved by the Bell: The New Class. On the other hand, there was a chubby, high pitched chubby guy by the name of Dane Cook, who was playing his part as the annoying sidekick to the hilt. Seeing him now in ads for Employee of the Month, I don't even recognize him as he was working opposite Rodman. I have to believe he was so annoying in this film because he had no clout in the industry at the time, and felt he couldn't make the character his own.

Simon Sez is about Dennis Rodman as a secret agent, looking to recover a stolen disc that controls some secret weapon. Cook is the rookie assigned to work with Rodman. The Saved by the Bell chick is the guy who invented the weapon's daughter, I think. There's an unconfirmed gay bad guy trying to gain access to the weapon so he can take over the world. Finally, Pinette along with some other guy play monks, a la the ones in Double Team who are experts in computers. Luckily for the world, Rodman is on the case, and he saves the day.

This film is amazing. Beyond the Cook character, Rodman shines and Pinette is Pinette. Why Rodman hasn't done more than just his few action roles is beyond me. According to imdb (, he's been doing other projects since Cutaway like the Lingerie Bowl and The Strippers Ball, which I can't help getting behind. On the other hand, he's made for bad action. imdb says he has three projects finishing up this year, and I hope one of them is as solid as his other three films.

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I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but the bad guy is gay. I think it's great, and it definitely fits Rodman's open-minded persona. It's about time gay characters do more than just sing show tunes or act as the female lead's shoulder to cry on in a romantic comedy. They can be bad guys and kick ass just as much as Jeremy Irons or Sir Anthony Hopkins. I wonder if this film influenced the casting directors of the X-Men films to sign on Sir Ian McKellen to play Magneto. It makes sense, no?

If you're a Dane Cook fan, I'd stay away from this. It's nothing like his stand-up or his role in Employee of the Month. This is the kind of part he describes in his memoirs as "paying his dues". Pinette's closer to the Pinette we know in it, though, so if you dig his work, and I know I do, it's worth it for him. I saw him once at Disney World, but I couldn't convince my mom to train the video camera on him for a second, because she was taping my younger siblings getting Mary Poppins' autograph. It was really too bad.

I've seen some bad reviews of this on the Internet, and I just don't get it. Rodman is the coolest thing since sliced bread, what can be better than an action film with him as the lead? I'd buy this at all costs, rent it if you see it at the video store, whatever you gotta do, see this. You can't be disappointed.

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