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.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Wrong Turn at Tahoe (2010)


I know, it's not 2010 yet, but that's the year imdb lists for it, so this is the first official post of the new year. The film was actually released last week, but I couldn't review it then due to our Golan-Globus celebration, so I tabled it until now. If you've seen it at Walmart, or in your local video store, and wasted your money because I didn't warn you in time, let me know. I can't refund your money, but I can at least offer a personal apology.

Wrong Turn at Tahoe is a Noir-ish thriller that borrows from everything from Pulp Fiction to Goodfellas to Ghost Dog (that's two Ghost Dog mentions in a week!). Gooding jr. plays a hatchet man for a local gangster (Miguel Ferrer) and finds out a local drug dealer, named Tahoe, wants Ferrer dead. So, unlike Robocop, Ferrer becomes proactive and takes the dealer out first. Problem is, he's the best dealer a local mafioso, played by Harvey Keitel, has, and now Keitel wants retribution. As things spiral apart around the warring gangsters, can Cuba get out in time before he's pulled under with the current?


There are two types of Film Noir in this world: the good, and the self-indulgent, and this was the latter. Conversations about foot massages and Big Kahuna burgers: very cool. Conversations about whether fat chicks give better blow jobs: stupid-- and even dumber when given to us as if it were very cool. The plot twist at the end, which I won't give away, made no sense based on the rest of the story, meaning the writers wrote themselves into a corner. I'm also not sure where this movie took place-- it looked like the Pacific Northwest in the winter, but everyone had New York plates. This just didn't work.

I think had it not been so obviously derivative, I would've liked it more. What made a film like City of Industry work, and a film like The Limey not, was the derivative-ness. It's almost like the latter was grabbed by a studio and remade to make it more like Pulp Fiction, while the former stood alone as decent Film Noir. Wrong Turn at Tahoe was different, in that the film makers seemed to just take every cliché out of the Tarentino rip-off handbook. Perhaps, in that sense, it was art, because it was like a collage of clichés pasted together in a Warhol-esque manner-- but that would be giving the film too much credit.


Ah, Mr. Gooding jr. Comfortable here? Feeling all right in the world of DTV? Can we get you anything, maybe to make your stay a little nicer? If you want, we can place your Oscar in one of our strong boxes we keep behind the front desk. I'm not sure you'll be needing it anytime soon. How did this happen? Somewhere in the mid-oughts his Radios and Boat Trips caught up with him, and Daddy Day Camp was not the right response. I'd ask why he's decided to do DTV actioners and Noir-ish thrillers, but why doesn't matter anymore, because he's done like 1o of them already, and I need to catch up, because I've only reviewed Hardwired, which was released less than a month ago. Like I said, Cuba, you'll be here for a while, and I can't wait to have you as a guest. The ice machine is right next to Mr. Lundgren's room.

Miguel Ferrer was not believable as a vicious gangster. That's it. And because he wasn't believable, it came off as him trying too hard, which wasn't a good look for him. He was amazing as the ode to young 80s greed in Robocop, so we know he's good, he just didn't do it here. What's crazy is how believable Cuba Gooding jr. was as the hatchet man, which is a stunner, because I think if you asked me going in who would work better, I'd say it was the other way around. Very disappointing.


We love Harvey Keitel at the DTVC. We've reviewed two of his films, Bad Lieutenant and Star Knight, and this third effort is certainly closer to the latter than the former, though the people making this would watch a Star Knight and think how much better they are than it, and watch a Bad Lieutenant and think how great they are at emulating it, and they'd be dead wrong on both accounts. It's funny that Cuba Gooding jr. is the one with the Oscar and Keitel isn't. I think Gooding should've won in '96 (though I wouldn't have argued with Macy in Fargo), and if you look at the people who won in the 90s when Keitel did some of his best work, it's hard to make a case for Keitel against the other winners, other than 1992, when Keitel should've won for Bad Lieutenant (which he wasn't even nominated for) over Pacino's lifetime achievement Oscar for Scent of a Woman.

Stay away from this. If you see it and think "I like Harvey Keitel", rent something else with him in it; or think "I liked Ferrer in Robocop", then rent Robocop; or think "Ooh, Cuba Gooding jr., I loved Pearl Harbor!-- well in that case you shouldn't be reading my blog.

For more info:


  1. Hell, you manage to poke fun at RADIO, BOAT TRIP, and DADDY DAY CAMP all in one post. If you had mentioned SNOW DOGS and CHILL FACTOR my head might have exploded.

    Sweet Jesus, Cuba Gooding, Jr. has an Oscar. That can never be undone, can it?

    Oh, and I'll be sure to stay far, far away from this and instead do as you suggest and watch ROBOCOP again.

  2. I forgot about Snow Dogs! It's because Boat Trip has an "aka" under it, separating it from Snow Dogs on imdb's list of his movies. What I liked about Chill Factor was it effectively killed Skeet Ulrich's film career, which was a benefit to us all.

    Yeah, Robocop definitely has a good Miguel Ferrar in it. This movie, notsomuch, which was a shame.

  3. Sadly, Skeet Ulritch just popped up in a new movie that, despite being completely DTV, went to theaters- Armored. What's great is that he doesn't say more than 7 words the entire picture.

  4. I can take Skeet in small doses(actually I really can't), but had he done something good, as opposed to Chill Factor, at that time, he might have become a mainstream star-- it was going that way-- so we lucked out there. And is Armored as bad as it looks?