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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist For 2021!

That time of year is upon us again, as we take a look at films that have still yet to arrive on Blu-ray in the year 2020. Looking ahead to next year, there are STILL so many terrific and worthy films of the format upgrade. Things seem to be shifting too, and we are in a spot where the home video landscape is pushing more toward the collector than ever before. Aside from Disney, the studios seems to be recalibrating their efforts in bringing more titles and better versions of those titles to our players. Paramount especially has been active this year with both its Paramount Presents label and just getting some stuff the hell out regardless (IE: The Two Jakes, Private Parts). The independent studios are getting the reigns on bigger titles and the studios themselves are putting in a bit better effort. Sony is killing it with polling collectors for the Columbia Classics line which hopefully becomes an annual set. I ask those who cry out to proclaim the death of physical media regularly, then why am I increasingly happier and happier year in and year out?

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PREVIOUS WISHLIST ENTRIES

I’ve been doing the wishlist article since I started writing for Why So Blu back in 2013. Its pretty terrific to look back at that first piece as see that there are only 2 titles remaining from it yet to hit the format; Nick of Time and Series 7.  And that one included some rather stacked entries on the “14” which had 1 entry begging for ALL the rest of the Universal classic monster films (CHECK) and about 5-6 Hitchock titles (CHECK).

As per tradition, we start with titles from wishlist past that made the jump (or have been OFFICIALLY announced) to Blu-ray in 2020 or beyond.

Half Baked, Top Secret and Hard Eight All three of these films have been or are soon being released in Australia only. The comedies come from Umbrella Entertainment and Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut is from Via Vision’s Imprint label. These are all pretty much improved video and audio releases with any bonus material that was around in the DVD/Laserdisc age.

The Irishman Us Scorsese collectors can breathe a sigh of relief. Not only is the Netflix film coming to a physical form, its Blu-ray AND its a Criterion Collection release. You can pre-order it now or wait for the usual November Barnes & Noble Criterion 50% off sale. It arrives on November 24th.

Jungle Fever Kino unleashed a nice batch of 5 Spike Lee Joints and Jungle Fever was indeed in the mix. Jungle Fever featured a really nice presentation, but unfortunately no bonus materials. However, getting to Blu-ray is in itself a bonus nowadays.

A Night In Casablanca Classic Flix is living up to its name with this release as well as spearheading a campaign to restore Little Rascals shorts. On a past set I wanted to see a DVD box set that included this film, but I’ll take them one by one if that’s how it must be. I’m looking forward to this one in December!

The Two Jakes The Chinatown sequel received a pretty basic release, but it never had much fluff to begin with. Thankfully it just flat out made the jump. The film speaks for itself and while it pales in comparison to its predecessor, its still pretty damn good in its own right. Many don’t even know of its existence and really should seek it out.

Urban Cowboy Paramount put out a really nice (and inexpensive) 40th anniversary edition of the film over the summer. A rock solid character drama with some of Travolta and Winger’s best work. A film that’s really hard not to fall for.

Wonder Boys Just in the nick of time for this article, Paramount has announced that this title will release on November 24th!

A QUICK REMINDER; To qualify for the wishlist, a title must not be available on Blu-ray in ANY Region. For example – If the movie/tv show is available or has been available on Blu-ray, but only in United Arab Emirates, its not making the list.

And now…onto the Blu-ray Wishlist For 2021!

Dead Presidents (1995)

The Hughes Bros follow up to Menace II Society seems a forgotten film. The advertising for Dead Presidents looked very much like a robbery/heist film, focusing on the face painted assailants. Once into the film, you’re a bit caught off guard as this is very much a Vietnam tale and the fall out for some soldiers. In a way, that’s not unlike Spike Lee’s recent Da 5 Bloods. In all honesty, the film is pretty damn good. Its soundtrack, a popular funk and soul classics mixture wound up being popular and had 2 volumes released. Unfortunately, this one belongs to to Buena Vista, which is Disney. Chances for a Blu-ray are severely slim at this point in time.

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Honestly, its pretty crazy that Angelina Jolie’s Academy Award winning performance has no home on Blu-ray. Add to that, it has a stunning cast and has a notable director in James Mangold. Reception was rather mixed, but personally I really liked the film, which is based on personal memoirs. Back then and now, I’d watch anything starring Winona Ryder and this one felt pretty top tier. Sony has the rights to distribute this one. Perhaps they or an sublicensee could give this the upgrade its deserving.

Less Than Zero (1987)

An 80s film with the likes of Robert Downey Jr, James Spader, Jami Gertz and Andrew McCarthy? How’s it not on Blu-ray? This one has a bit more of a cult popularity, but the collector audience is there for Less Than Zero. Its also not available to stream or rent or buy digital anywhere. The DVD is still around for a solid price. I’ve seen many a social media demand for Less Than Zero to be available to watch in good quality. Here’s the bad news. Its a Fox title, which is now Disney. So the best hope in the current climate is that it gets to be on Hulu for a couple months some day. Yay?

National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)

This is a funny little spoof movie in the vein of your Airplanes, Top Secrets and the like. It focused on the pure action genre and many of those tropes. At the time, the Hot Shots! movies (both of which aren’t on Blu-ray in the United States) were making quite a mark at the box office and pop culture. Done through National Lampoon’s, they seemed to want to get in on the action. Funny enough, while Charlie Sheen led the Hot Shots! movies, his brother Emilio Estevez takes the helm here. He and Samuel L Jackson are pretty great together, too. New Line owns the rights to this one, so it would be on Warner Bros to put it out. If nothing else, it would be a pretty big surprise if they put it out (even through the Archive line). So, there’s your chances.

Orange County (2002)

A decent enough and silly little teen comedy movie from the early turn of the millennium. Orange County was a film that felt like it was meant to showcase Jack Black taking on a big role in a film as well as introduce the world to Colin Hanks. I fondly remember the DVD for this getting a lot of spins when it came out (I didn’t see it in the theater). Paramount is the rights holder here, and I could see this getting one of their standard cheapie releases.

The Parallax View (1974)

Alan J. Pakula has himself a Political Paranoia Trilogy back in the 1970s. Many know of All The President‘s Men. Some know of his 1971 film that started the trilogy, Klute. But even fewer are aware of the Warren Beatty-led second film, The Parallax View. Its also the only one of them with no Academy Award recognition. Its quite good and up to snuff with the others. Unlike them, it resides at Paramount. This would make a perfect entry into the Paramount Presents canon or even better yet, as a fresh new spine in the Criterion Collection. I will say, that for the time being, its on HBO MAX and you should really check it out.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

Perhaps the most head scratching one not on Blu-ray yet this year is Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. I have forgotten to include this for many years in a row now, not realizing I meant to include it until after publishing. This is considered by many to be a top tier western and features the music of Bob Dylan (as well as appearing in the film too). “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was a big hit from this movie. Sure, the stars of the film aren’t quite of the super popular ones of yesteryear, but the director is of great stature and this one would be an instant pick up for collector’s. When Warner Archive Collection (Who has the rights to this one) put out The Ballad of Cable Hogue a couple years back, I was certain this was right around the corner. Yet, here I am still waiting.

Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)

A landmark in rock and roll and music cinema, this film deserves a nice pristine transfer. It also should have a glorious new surround mix, preferably utilizing the capabilities of Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. Sony has the rights and could make a real spectacle or revisit on the film with a some sort of grand release. They do terrific work and could really put together something special with maybe a movie + album dual release or something. This release would easily not just attract movie collectors, you bring in the music collectors and then just the Pink Floyd fandom into the fold. Hello, I could see this one being a nice Criterion release as well.

State and Main (2000)

State and Main was a lovely recommendation to me by someone back when I was in college. I instantly fell in love with this movie, as is so easy for a film lover (Or Academy voter) when a movie is a comedy about making movies. This has a stellar early 2000s cast and bumps and shakes for plenty of good laughs and set ups. Comedy that isn’t wholly reliant on raunchy meta improv also is a nice comfort to return to. Its also the film that led me to Francois Truffaut’s Day For Night, which led me to check out more of his catalog. Released by New Line Cinema, State and Main feels PERFECT for the Warner Archive Collection.

The Village (2004)

Right off the bat, I’ll let you know The Village is Disney/Buena Vista, so we are likely not seeing a Blu-ray unless Hell’s temperature gets to below freezing. I’m actually a fan of this M. Night Shyamalan film. At a core level, its really well made, well staged, casted, costumed and acted. Sure, there’s a part of this movie people just can go with or think that because they guessed the ending or didn’t care for it means the rest is tossed out. I once wrote a piece about an embarrassing admission and how my “keeping up with film news/press releases” bit me in the ass when it came to this movie. Honestly, in today’s pandemic climate, The Village might actually retroactively be more relevant than when it came out 16 years ago. Shyamalan is on a bit of a resurgence now, but pre-The Visit, this was seen as his last decent film.

That’ll wrap up this year’s wishlist. Any of these you agree with? What ones would you like to add or you are STILL waiting for? What films finally hit Blu-ray in the last year that you finally crossed off your list? Let me know below in the comments!

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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