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City Slickers – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Its not hitting any kind of anniversary milestone this year (Or next, for that matter), but City Slickers is jumping over to a brand new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Shout! Factory under they Shout Select banner. Return to join Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby as they take a cattle herding vacation with Curly (A role that nabbed Jack Palance his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). This looks to be pretty much a port of the previous edition with some new artwork (A slip cover) and a new 4K transfer of the film. Fans who order at Shout! Factory’s website from their store will get a free poster of the new art as a toss in with their Blu-ray. Or, if you want, you can help out our site by ordering your City Slickers – Collector’s Edition from the Amazon link below.

Film 

Every year, three friends take a vacation away from their wives. This year, henpecked Phil, newly married Ed, and Mitch — terrified of his midlife crisis — decide to reignite their masculinity by taking a supervised cattle drive across the Southwest. Under the supervision of gruff cowboy Curly, the men set out on a journey that turns unexpectedly dangerous. The three men bond along the way to conquering their fear of aging.

1991’s City Slickers feels like something of a forgotten hit. This movie was huge when it came out 27 years ago. Not only did it gain timeless notoriety for awarding legendary actor Jack Palance with his only Oscar, the movie did big business too. It was one of the top 5 films of the year, and a comedy that grossed just about $125 million dollars domestically and almost $200 million worldwide. There was even a sequel made to it 3 years later. City Slickers was a big deal. But, time has come and gone and I’m not sure many people return to it often. I sure don’t, but its not like I think its a bad movie or anything, its quite good.

The plot of the film features a nice loose scenario, that while heavily scripted, feels pretty open and loose to allow all of its players to sit and chew scenery naturally. Everyone here delivers from Billy Crystal to Helen Slater. None as much as that of Jack Palance, who is just money from the moment he enters the frame. Its a pretty amazing, aware performance. Curly is a bit of parody, but smartly a lifelike, genuine and real presence, not just figure to present jokes or silly scenarios. With how this movie is set up, it wouldn’t surprise me if the film is ever remade with a group of more modern comedic actors. Heck, the premise has surely been borrowed, and in the age of IP, this would probably sell (Or some exec would THINK it would sell).

Like all comedies, things do tend to date, and City Slickers is no different. But the overall narrative, character development and bit of adventure are timeless enough that the movie holds more than well on its own. And plus, much of the humor left here is pretty funny still in its own right. While I said earlier about this being a forgotten hit or wondering about its relevancy, I do need to note that this DID receive a Deadpool slip cover this year, so maybe it still is a good seller; just not the subject of many think pieces or referenced very often in others. Still, its a solid little comedy that seems to have done some inspiring for another generation on its own while boasting a pretty awesome cast and some good “modern western” action from a unique character perspective.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The one thing separating this disc from the previous releases of the film is this new 2018 4K transfer of the film. I wasn’t familiar with the previous Blu-rays, but I understand they looked pretty good. I imagine this transfer is a bit of jupm though. The overall look is crisp, retaining grain and full of detail and a strong, bold image overall. Its pretty impressive to see. I can’t imagine the original release look THIS good. This has to be a few notches above it, easily.

Depth:  Spacing and depth of field impress pretty good in this transfer. People and cameras move with smooth, natural confidence. There are also many moments with some good pushback looks on the background. No real issues noticed with blurring or jittering on rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty rich and manage to hold on to plenty of detail. They also really provide some cool shadow and shade work that impress. Grain is a bit more apparent in dark areas and things colored black. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors take on the more natural side of things and are full of browns. Blues look really nice and some little things do give a good pop. What is best is how full, thick and bold the colors do come across, even if this isn’t a vibrant, colorful film.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. One of the most impressive aspects of this new transfer is the details on the facial textures and features. Moles, wrinkles, scarring, stubble, make-up brush lines and sweat glistening come through quite clear from any given (And reasonable) camera distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: City Slickers contains the same 5.1 mix found on the previous Blu-ray releases of the film. It now brings to the table a 2.0 stereo mix. The 5.1 is rather solid and does a more than average job of getting the job done. The score can tend to take over, but never drowns anything out. Effects are pretty intricate and decently layered. They are about the same bump in the mix as the vocals.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Music gives a pretty big thump in the mix, but sound effects like trampling hooves and some other action can give some oompf when need be.

Surround Sound Presentation: Sound travel is pretty impressive here right from the jump with the running of the bulls. Cattle tends to run rampant from back to front as well. This isn’t some elaborte 5 channels masterpiece, but it’ll impress and get the job done more often than not with good bravado.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are pretty solid and natural sound in their environments.

Extras 

City Slickers – Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover featuring the original poster artwork. All the of the bonus features are ported over from a previous DVD release. However, just like the previous Man in the Iron Mask release, the playback on them is a little bit choppy.

Audio Commentary

  • By Director Ron Underwood and Stars Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern

“Back In The Saddle: City Slickers Revisited” (SD, 28:59) – The cast and crew reflect on the film in a vintage featurette from a previous DVD release.

“Bringing In The Script: Writing City Slickers” (SD, 20:59) – Billy Crystal and the screenwriters talk about the writing process for the film.

“A Star Is Born: An Ode To Norman” (SD, 6:14) – A little piece that has cast and crew talking about Norman the cow.

“The Real City Slickers” (SD, 8:55) – The ranch that featured in the movie talks about “the adventure vacation of dream fulfillment” and how their business boomed following the movie. They also interview many of the people vacationing because of seeing the movie.

Deleted Scenes (SD, 2:48) – Featuring the director and screenwriters interviewed and talking over them.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:54)

Summary 

City Slickers is still a pretty little funny movie about some dudes out of their element. Shout! Factory’s new Blu-ray boasts a good looking new 4K transfer. Surprisingly that’s the only new thing about it. It carries the same audio and bonus features as the previous Blu-ray releases of the film have had. That video image on the previous release, according to reviews I’ve found, was pretty good already. This is a good upgrade for the hardcore fan that also cares for the best presentation. Maybe I’m off about it, but it feels niche, but that’s the name of the game when it comes to Shout! Factory! If you don’t own City Slickers, then this is easily the one to get.

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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).

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