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, November 18, 2009

Citizen Verdict (2003)


I've been meaning to watch this movie for a long time, ever since I saw a trailer for it on the Dolph film The Defender. I didn't really care what it was about, all that mattered was it had Roy Scheider, Armand Assante, and Jerry Springer. It could've been a remake of City Slickers or Grumpy Old Men, I didn't care. Anyway, for whatever reason, this kept getting pushed down on my Netflix queue. Between all the foreign films, new Dolph films, Gruner and Daniels, etc., I guess it just got lost in the shuffle. Well, the shuffle's done, and it's here now.

Citizen's Verdict takes place in Florida, where the crime rate is out of control, so the governor, Roy Scheider, decides on a drastic measure: he hires TV producer Jerry Springer to make a show where one of the most violent offenders is put on trial on TV, and the people of Florida can vote on his guilt or innocence. After, if he's guilty, his execution will be televised on pay-per-view. Armand Assante is hired as the defense attorney, and his first case, that of a man accused of raping and killing a national TV cooking celebrity, isn't the slam dunk it seemed at first. Can he prove this guy's innocence, not only to the courtroom, but the rest of Florida as well?


This wasn't that bad. Okay, who am I kidding? Without its three main stars, it would've eaten a fat dink. But it was just so awesome having them there. At the end, the three witness an execution, and all we hear is music and watch things unfold in slow motion, as the three of them sit there and react with only their subtle facial expressions. They just exude coolness. In all their faces we see "not so fast, younger generation. We still do it better than you. We're still just that much cooler than you." And they're right. There were a few other cool things, like a guy being taken away to the lethal injection room with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" playing. Still, beyond the talent, you really just had another "Should we give the people what they want?" moral dilemma movie that's more silly than poignant.

We'll start with Armand Assante. When we last saw him on the DTVC, he was a mobster organizing underground fights with Flavor Flav in Confessions of a Pit Fighter. He was great there, and he was great in The Killing Grounds as a Turkish cop in Berlin, but it was as a hot shot defense attorney who smells a rat in Citizen Verdict that's been the best role we've had him in so far. He was smooth not in a sleazy used car salesman kind of way, but in a I'm good at what I do, and I do it in style, but I'm also in it for what's right kind of way. There was no one else to root for in this movie, and Assante made it easy for us to root for him. I saw that he was in The Chaos Experiment with Val Kilmer. I may have to check that out now, even if it seemed like a silly concept.


Roy Scheider is stellar again playing a person of authority. He makes a great senator, president, FBI bureau chief, military general, bishop, company CEO, what have you. I think governor of a southern state is one of his best, though. He pulls off the sophisticated southern accent well. Very few have that capability-- they often hit us over the head with it, making it more hillbilly. Last Tuesday would have been his 77th birthday, and his imdb resume is huge. People have suggested putting him in the DTVC Hall of Fame, but something about him doesn't fit, like he's too good for it-- not to imply that the other members aren't great.

This is the second Jerry Springer film we've had on here, the first being Dolph's The Defender. I liked him better as the Pres than I did as a slimy TV producer. He's not a bad guy in real life, so to play a really bad guy in a movie is a stretch from him. At the end, though, when he gives a venom filled monologue, he's good. It's almost what I bet he wished his Final Thought could be on some episodes. I don't see anything else coming down the pike for him according to imdb, so this may be our last look at Jerry. At least it was a good look.


I'm not sure how many of my readers are from or are familiar with Florida, but I have some experience with it having family down there, most notably my grandparents. As a Mainer, I have a sense of uneasiness, especially at night. Their night isn't like our night. Bad things seem to happen at night there. Just the same, nothing bad has ever happened to me, so I can't complain, but I think if one would set a film like this anywhere, Florida would be it, even over Texas-- though I get the sense that bad things happen at night there too...

This is worth renting just for Scheider, Assante, and Jerry Springer. You'll enjoy it. I think it would've been better had they made this a Grumpy Old Men or City Slickers rip-off, and now that Scheider's no longer with us, that opportunity is gone; but what we got was plenty good enough.

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