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Headsup: Retro Conundrum 2: Retro Harder

Lots of people are putting stuff that they want you to buy. Constantly. These days especially you need to be mindful of what you drop coin on. I’m your tour guide, plowing through this mess so you don’t have to…

Cheech and Chong: Still Smokin I Love the 80s DVD cover art Coming to America I Love the 80s DVD cover artFlashdance I Love the 80s DVD cover artNaked Gun I Love the 80s DVD cover artTop Secret I Love the 80s DVD cover art

Another round of I Love the 80s DVD re-releases is here from Paramount. And I’m just as confounded as last time. They’re all a little over $13 as I type this–and what do you get? You get the same versions we’ve seen released before, except with a four-track CD, featuring the music of a-ha, Echo and the Bunnymen, INXS and Erasure. And each DVD has the same CD in it. Cheech and Chong: Still Smokin’, Coming to America and Flashdance are all bare bones. Naked Gun comes with a group commentary and Top Secret comes with a group commentary, alternate scenes and storyboards. But again, it’s the same stuff we’ve seen before. And even stranger, the price point again makes no sense. For example, Top Secret is available for less than $9 with just a different cover. And you can get all three Naked Gun flicks for about $2 more. So I have no idea who these are aimed at: people who can’t price compare, I guess. Pass.

A Streetcar Named Desire CD cover
Dead and Buried Blu-Ray cover art

[ad#rightpost]Caedmon has released Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire–but it’s not a proper audiobook. Instead it’s an archival recording from the 1973 revival at the Lincoln Center in New York. In the cast are James Farentino (the lead on the Blue Thunder TV series) and Rosemary Harris (Aunt May in the Spider-Man films). Now for the most part I want a ten year moratorium on new productions of Tennessee Williams, since they’ve been done to damn death, but archived ones–they’re fine. It’s two and a half hours across two discs. If you want to check it out–it’s $13.46 as I type this, but I’m thinking about replay value here. So Williams completists or theatre nerds might want to own it, but otherwise it’s probably worth checking out from the library. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

That’s right, from Tennessee Williams to an 80s horror movie–why? Because that’s just how we roll. Although here’s the freaky bit: they both star James Farentino. Wild, huh? Anyway, in Dead and Buried, Farentino plays the sheriff of a small town that’s experiencing a higher than usual number of murders. And since he knows he’s not living in England’s Midsomer county, something must be terribly wrong. And it just gets more wrong from there. This is on Blu-Ray from Blue Underground and, true to form, they give it a special edition to hell and back. Three, count em, three commentaries. One with the director, one with co-writer and co-producer Ronald Shusett and actress Linda Turley and the last with cinematographer Steve Poster. There’s also an FX featurette, a featurette on Robert Englund (who co-stars–this before his turn as the kindly Willie in V, even), a featurette with the other co-writer, Dan O’Bannon and more. This being both a Blu-Ray release and an early 80s horror film that can be seen to have had a modest budget, the idea that you’re going to get a pristine transfer just isn’t reasonable. So bear that in mind. If you’re a horror aficionado with the ability to go hi-def, you might want to consider this. It’s nice to have such a stacked release, so that’s in its favor. And as I write this, it’s going for $19.99 on Amazon. So that’s not bad either. I will let your fandom be your guide. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Alan Parsons Project: Ammonia Avenue CD cover art Alan Parsons Project: Gaudi CD cover art
Alan Parsons Project: Pyramid CD cover art Alan Parsons Project: Stereotomy CD cover art Alan Parsons Project: The Turn of a Friendly Card CD cover art

Sony Legacy has re-released five albums from The Alan Parsons Project, and I know that a re-release of an album these days is really no cause for notice of any sort. Even “digitally remastered” albums, because frankly most remastered jobs I can’t tell anything has changed with. Granted, I’m half-deaf and might not be the best judge, but I’m just saying. In this case, though, unreleased demos and tracks always get my attention because I’m a junkie who wants everything there is to be had about every movie, DVD, album, etc. For example, Ammonia Avenue comes with an early mix of “Don’t Answer Me” and a demo version of “You Don’t Believe.” And Turn of a Friendly Card has a rough mix of “Games People Play” and three different versions of “Nothing Left to Lose.” Each album is available by clicking on the cover art above, but even for reasonable prices like $10.49 (as I type this), do you need to snag them? I would say unless you’re an APP completist, then no. While some of the early mixes are nice to have, it’s not anything you’re going to probably listen to on a ongoing basis, so it’s good from an archival point of view, but that’s about it.

Dallas: The Complete Tenth Season DVD cover art
Dumped book cover art
Pride and Glory DVD cover art

So in the wake of quite possibly the longest dream sequence in television history, the tenth season of Dallas opens with Bobby back and everything back to more or less normality. J.R.’s trying to get control of Ewing Oil back plus knock his Arabian opponents out of the running and deal with more than one lady wanting his cowboy hat-wearing self. And more of the usual prime time soap fun. This has twenty-nine episodes across three discs. Trying to see if I could find out if it was being shown on the tube anywhere and I can’t find it–so I’m thinking if you’re a fan/completist, you might want to snag this. At $29.99 as I write this, that’s a skoche more than a dollar an episode–and there’s no extras provided, so I suppose it’s worthwhile to folks like that. Fans must decide. It’s out from Warner Home Video. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Josh Lewis’ Dumped is a cathartic and somewhat amusing activity book at being…well, read the title. You get to help out Sam and Samantha with their various post-relationship issues, added by helpful cartoon animals, like a buffalo, a walrus and a squirrel. Some of the bits inside work better than others. I enjoyed where Samantha is considering getting back together with her ex, where you play the game “Are You High?” In Sam’s section, the game “Choose Your Words!” comes after Sam tells his aunt that he and his ex will get back together when his aunt and his Uncle Jake get back together. “Sam’s uncle died nine years ago.” Nice. The attitude is right and it’s probably good for somebody who’s coming out the other end of That Long Dark Tunnel that exists at the close of a relationship. As with anything else, dealing with the emotionally mauled can be hazardous to your health, so you might want to hand it to the recipient using tongs. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Pride and Glory stars Edward Norton as a cop from a famly of cops who gets involved in an investigation regarding some dead cops. This leads him into conflict with his brother-in-law, a cop, played by Colin Farrell, who more than likely had something to do with it and is a Not Very Nice Guy. Oh, and there’s some more cops in there too. You probably feel like I do: that there’s not really a compelling reason to see this apart from the cast. And what’s up with Colin Farrell looking like he’s trying out for The Henry Rollins Story? Anyway. Given the fact it’s just got a docu on it (and the obligatory digital copy), then I would say it’s a good cast in a rentable movie and leave it at that. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)