Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary (1999) – DVD Review
Written by Tina Fey, et al.
Directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller
Starring Bill Murray, Billy Crystal, Tom Hanks, Tim Meadows, Christopher Walken, etc.
- The Today Show Looks Back at SNL
- Media coverage from Access Hollywood
- Tim Russert Talks With Lorne Michaels
Released by: Lions Gate Home Entertainment.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Find a better SNL resource.
From out on the comedy edge to comedic institution, Saturday Night Live has survived twenty-five years through cast changes, controversy, and at times not being very funny. For their silver anniversary, NBC gave the show a full night, star-studded tribute. Along with the obligatory clips from past shows, several former cast members, like Bill Murray and Billy Crystal, break out some old characters to entertain the audience. We also see some very nice tributes to cast members no longer with us: Jim Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley, and Phil Hartman. And it wouldn’t be Saturday Night Live without music, so we see performances by the Eurhythmics, Elvis Costello with the Beastie Boys, and the Rev. Al Green.
This special is one big clip show. In the old days of television, this was a way for viewers to remember the highlights of a show, but with cable syndication and DVD collections, this format is unnecessary. All the skits shown are probably available on DVD or VHS in their entirety. With that said, some of the live bits in the show are good. Seeing Murray serenade Catherine Zeta-Jones and Crystal trying to seduce Susan Sarandon is funny. On the down side, bits with Adam Sandler and some of the writers for the show along with David Bowie and Jerry Seinfeld fall flat. The music acts are good, all the performers know how to please an audience and it’s cool to see Elvis Costello with the Beastie Boys as his back up band. But it’s not worth it to get the whole disc just for those good tidbits.
The special features donâ€™t help much either. There is a small piece that Today did. Mostly it’s sound bites from various cast members, so there’s not a lot of depth. Of course, you’re not going to get a lot of depth on a morning show. Also, we get a small interview of the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, by Tim Russert. The most memorable part of the interview is when Michaels talks about how they pick the hosts and musical acts based on talent and not on publicity. Come on! Is it a coincidence that a big movie, album, or television show always seems to coincide a host’s appearance? Russert definitely soft pedaled this interview. The last extra is Access Hollywood‘s coverage of the special itself with the quick shots of celebrities praising the show on the red carpet. Yawn. Frankly, the whole disc is not worthy of your attention. Donâ€™t bother.
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