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, October 8, 2008

The Best of the Best (1989)


It's hard to believe we're coming up on the 20th anniversary of this bad boy. It seems like just yesterday this was new. Then you watch it and realize the music, hairstyles, and soda cans are hopelessly out of date, and at that point you become nostalgic. Or you laugh at it. One or the other.

Best of the Best has James Earl Jones as a martial arts coach leading a group of Americans against a team of South Koreans in a competition out in Seoul. It's a Bad News Bears type plot, only Eric Roberts and Chris Penn are two of the Bears, and James Earl Jones is cooler than Billy Bob Thorton (but not Walter Mathau). The ending was way more inspired than I ever considered a movie of this caliber could achieve. I'm serious about that.


This is a sports movie. Some of the sequels are action flicks, but this one is all about the competition. The beginning was pretty slow, and overall the piece was pretty formulaic, but the ending was nice, and the star power made for some solid material to make fun of. Also, the South Korean team's training videos looked like something smuggled out of Afghanistan. I didn't understand the rules of the competition, which left me completely at the mercy of the filmmakers as they artificially built up the drama. Again, the first 90 minutes were extremely silly, and the last 5 were both silly and inspired.

Eric Roberts is an interesting case. He seems to be everywhere, taking small roles in big movies, and big roles in small movies. He's even done some music videos. In this film, his hair's awesome, and later when he hurts his shoulder, he's awesome. Then watching him get choked up was a dream, it was just so hilarious. He's just all kinds of Eric Roberts and all kinds of 1989, which is a totally comedic combination.


James Earl Jones was almost completely wasted for me. He has only one scene, where he has a monologue about his team, that makes it worth it to have him instead of someone else. I'll take it for that one scene, but I feel like when I get James Earl Jones, I want more than the equivalent of a Verizon commercial, you know? There should be a James Earl Jones law in Hollywood so this kind of thing doesn't happen, but who knows if anything will ever get done about it.

Another Chris Penn sighting. I realize now that I reviewed Redemption, another Chris Penn film, only five short posts ago. My bad. I usually try to space these kinds of things out. He's younger, but on his way to the chubbiness that would see him through the rest of his days. He played a pretty good heel who changes his stripes as the film wears on. He reprises this role in the sequel, so that's something for us to look forward to.


Finally, I was under the impression that this even took place at the Olympics. They even had Ahmad Rashad Covering it. If that was the case, then wouldn't either the South Koreans or Americans get a silver medal just for showing up? If only two teams compete, the worst one can do is finish second. This, like the actual competition itself and the rules of the game, were never fully explained, and I guess they never had to be, so I should stop complaining.

Kind of a snoozefest and a little harder to make fun of after you see the nice ending. But the ending's a ways off, and there's 90 minutes of movie to mock, so why not give it a shot. Not bad, but not exactly good either.

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