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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – June 6, 2014

Wishlist ShatnerI hope you enjoyed my May double feature editions of the Blu-ray wishlist.  We’re back now to single movies.  And today is one of my favorite comedies and movies in general and big time cult classic I guess you’d say.  Today, we’re boldly going where no wishlist has gone before!

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Free Enterprise Wishlist

Free Enterprise (1999)

Pitched and sold as the geek answer to Doug Liman and Jon Favreau’s Swingers, Free Enterprise is much much much more than that (though they both feature Patrick Van Horn).  And as a 17 year old film geek when this movie came out, it truly spoke to me.  It was almost like a sort of fun and somewhat dark look at what my future could possibly hold.  And also, this film actually gets geeks and geek culture right, something it would take almost 10 more years before mainstream movies and television caught on to what Free Enterprise had going from the start (And no, I’m not talking about The Big Bang Theory which gets all this stuff horribly wrong).

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For those of you who don’t know, Free Enterprise tells the tale of two Trekkie best friends living in LA and trying to make it in the entertainment industry.  Both are approaching 30 and are at different ends of maturity.  One has his professional career are all together, but doesn’t have much in terms of relationships.  The other has the relationships, but his career and finances are all sort of out of disorder.  One night while at a bookstore they run into childhood hero William Shatner and end up getting to have a chance to hang out with him only to find he’s a little screwy and wants to them to help him put on a musical production of Julius Caesar with him playing all the parts.

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Believe it or not, Free Enterprise was produced by Halloween 4’s Rachel Corruthers herself, Ellie Cornell (who cameos!).  Its a shame nobody behind the camera has yet to pop up with a major role in projects of this  caliber.  Writer Mark A Altman wound up writing House Of The Dead for Uwe Boll (as well as the sequel) and director Robert Meyer Burnett looks like he does a lot of “behind the scenes” bonus feature type work.  It stinks because this is solid directorial effort and an absolutely stellar script.  Eric McCormack was probably the person who launched the biggest from this movie as he went on to Will & Grace following this movie.  And I must say, McCormack is actually pretty damn amazing in this movie.  It may be one of my favorite straight man in a comedy performances of all time.  He’s that good.

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While they are the basis for a lot of the geekiness, the film isn’t limited to just Star Trek jokes.  Many other notable sci fi properties are referenced as such.  There’s even a great sequence in which a character has a dream sequence involving Logan’s Run (a side note, for my 30th birthday my wonderful wife made me a Logan’s Run birthday cake).  Gosh, they even talk about those lame Tombs Of The Blind Dead movies in this.  One of my favorite things that happens and recurring conversation topics is that of movie collecting.  There’s plenty of talk of box sets, criterion editions, seeing revival screenings and all sorts of stuff that hits quite close to home for me and my passion in movie collecting.  Hell, Phil LaMarr’s character even ditches the opportunity to hang out with everyone at one point because he’s got plans to watch his new Criterion DVD by himself which is totally something I would do. There’s even a sequence where one character tries to pick up a girl by bragging about his surround system and Japanese Import Laser Disc Planet of the Apes box set.  If you’re a film geek  and collector like me, and you maybe were growing up at the same time as I did, it almost feels like someone wrote this movie for us.

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There’s actually some real engaging and serious drama going on.  Especially in the dating realm and having a disconnect between someone who’s a film geek collector and someone who’s not.  The character of Robert feels like he wants to have the friendships and romances outside of his geek realm, but they are always damaged and end because while they show a desire to sort of learn these things about him, they’ll never ever really understand it and its a point of conflict which usually is the means to the end of his relationships.  While there’s a lot of comedy played with it, there’s plenty of real life going on there.

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I really wish this one would come out on Blu-ray.  The last studio to release it was Anchor Bay in a special edition in 2006.  That was 8 years ago, so they might not have the rights anymore.  Originally it was released by Geneon (which is a division of Pioneer), who I’m not sure even exists anymore.  The fact is that SOMEBODY needs to pick up this bad boy and distribute it.  It might reach and resonate more with people now than it ever did before do to a lot of geek lore being at the forefront of our culture nowadays.  Oh and let’s not forget how damn funny Shatner is in this movie.  I’ll leave you with what this movie is probably most notable for…and that’s Bill Shatner rapping!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – June 6, 2014”


  1. Gerard Iribe

    Never heard of this one but I am interested!