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]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Announcement

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.

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

--Matt

Monday, January 4, 2010

National Lampoon's Pucked (2006)

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This was another of those Watch Instantly films that Netflix was removing so I figured I'd better watch it. With only three movies at a time, and only so many days in a week, if I can get a film on Watch Instantly I'll take it rather than waste a DVD rental on it. I also loved the idea of this film having Jon Bon Jovi in it.

Pucked has Jon Bon Jovi as a former lawyer who has given up practicing law in favor of trying to get rich quick by inventing the next biggest thing. His newest idea: a women's hockey league. But when he can't get financing he turns to credit cards, and with each one he maxes out, he's sent six or seven more, which he uses to pay off the old ones. Finally the hammer falls, but did he really commit credit card fraud? When he defends himself in court, he decides to put the entire credit card industry on trial.

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This wasn't bad. In fact, it was better than I expected, but only at the end. The first hour or so is your run-of-the-mill bad National Lampoon's DTV comedy, with the same bad slapstick jokes: the big woman who kicks ass, the midget thrown around, the homeless guy who gets tons of chicks, tons of boobs, dick and fart jokes, and of course, what movie like this would be complete without Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. The people who make crap like this must have him on speed dial. The two big differences between this and the others, though, were Jon Bon Jovi, which was surreal, and the indictment of the credit card industry at the end, which was unexpectedly well done.

Let's start with that second one first. Usually films dealing with the toll credit cards can take on human lives involve heart wrenching stories about real life tragedies which, quite frankly, can be hard to listen to, because no one really wants to hear about the horrible things other people go through. This film took a different track. Bon Jovi's character Frank was a dreamer, and he never intended to defraud the credit card companies, he expected to pay everything off once his league was successful. And therein lies the rub. Credit card companies all sell us dreams. That smug bastard in the MasterCard commercials telling us such and such is "Priceless" is really telling us: "There's a whole big wonderful world out there, and you only get one go around, why let something as silly as money hold you back from getting the most out of your life?" It just happened that Frank dreamed bigger than the average person, but can you blame a family of four for applying for credit or a loan to buy things for their two kids? That might be the biggest issue lost in the recent economic problems we're having in this country, that the credit card industry and the sub-prime mortgage industry were trading on our dreams, and it's amazing that a National Lampoon's DTV comedy starring Jon Bon Jovi was able to bring that point home better than anything else I've seen since the economic crisis began. And this film was made before the crisis, in 2004.

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So then there's Jon Bon Jovi. I don't even think growing up in the 80s makes JBJ bigger than life-- Bon Jovi is still putting out music and those songs are still being used for things like the MLB playoff promos. He had to be able to do a better film. He was in one of the worst films of all time, Pay it Forward, which still made a lot of money and was big in the theaters. I looked the band up on Wikipedia, and found that Have a Nice Day, which was really the one that marked their comeback, came out in 2005. At the same time, according to imdb, this was filmed in May of 2004. I guess it's possible to posit that JBJ was something of a has-been and was looking to start at the bottom as an actor, having no idea that his musical career would rebound like it did. Either way, it's still surreal to see him acting opposite David Faustino, comeback or no.

Cary Elwes career makes no sense to me, he just seems to be all over the place. He plays the DA or something in Pucked, and it's not a big role. Part of me thinks he did this to work with Bon Jovi, be he's done tons of bad ones in his time that I think he probably would've done it Bon Jovi or no. And then he still manages to do good ones too. He's like a Brion James or Dennis Hopper type in terms of the spectrum of movies he does, only with him, you'd just never guess it.

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For some reason this film took place in North Carolina. It seemed like New Jersey would have been a better fit, especially with Bon Jovi in the cast. I took a stupid quiz on Facebook to see which state I am, and New Jersey was the result. I don't even know what to think about that. MTV's new show The Jersey Shore is probably more an indictment of the (many would say ironically named) Garden State than it is making fun of Italian Americans. I personally can't comment, because, like many, my only experience with Jersey is through the Jersey Turnpike. I wonder too what other people from the rest of the country think of New Jersey. In the Northeast we have one idea, but what do people who have never been there think, or who live thousands of miles away? And for the record, my favorite New Jersey joke came on Conan O'Brien's old show, when he said their state quarter read "New Jersey: wishing we were New York since 1784." We kid because we love New Jersey.

I think this is worth checking out. It's rare that one finds a film that does such a great job commenting on an aspect of modern society, but to find it in a National Lampoon's DTV movie-- well, that's just ridiculous. Plus, the Bon Jovi factor is great.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407038/

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