|Available at Amazon.com|
It’s often interesting to see how different generations view certain actors, and what work they are most remembered for. If a actor is very successful, their career can span across many decades. Take Billy Crystal for example. If you were born before 1980, Crystal might be most remembered from When Harry Met Sally or his appearances on Comic Relief. If you were born before 1990, you might Crystal better from a film like City Slickers, or if you have been born since then you might not remember him at all.
In City Slickers, Mitch (Billy Crystal) is a middle-aged big-city radio ads salesman. He and his friends Ed (Bruno Kirby) and Phil (Daniel Stern) are having their own forms of mid-life crisis. They decide the best birthday gift is to go on a two week holiday in the wild west driving cattle from New Mexico to Colorado. There they meet a cowboy named Curly (Jack Palance) who not only teaches them how to become real cowboys, but also one or two other things about life in the open air of the west.
Billy Crystal is a strong lead in this film and he is surrounded by strong supporting actors as well. Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby are both equally funny in their own ways to Crystal, and they all have strong chemistry with each other on screen. One of the reasons this movie works is because there are not three “star” comedians in these roles. No one is trying to outdo the other for the spotlight. Everyone in City Slickers is doing their best to make the movie funny and entertaining. But the best supporting role has to go to the legendary Jack Palance, though. His character, Curly, often steals every scene he is in.
The idea behind City Slickers is fairly unique. You take three “city slickers” and drop them in a dude ranch where they have to herd cattle across the wilderness for days. There is lots of potential for comedy here, and for the most part City Slickers is hilarious throughout. Of course, you have some side lessons about mid-life crisis and such as well, but it never feels too “preachy”.
City Slickers may not be the best or funniest film that Billy Crystal has starred in, but it’s definitely one of his better ones. It helps that he has a strong supporting cast that only betters the film. This is still a unique film today even though we have seen this type of “buddy comedy” in other forms. There are worse things to be remembered by than starring in City Slickers. Just ask Robin Williams.
The video is given in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The video is pretty good. Nothing spectacular, but there are no major problems.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, English Dolby Digital Surround sound, French 1.0 Mono sound, or Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. So no major problems here either.
Audio Commentary –
This is a full-length commentary with the director, Ron Underwood, and stars, Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern. This is hilarious as you might imagine. Every entertaining and fairly informative, so recommended for sure.
“Back in the Saddle: City Slickers Revisited” Featurette –
This runs 30 minutes and it features comments from cast and crew of the film today. They talk about the film and the fond memories they had making it. This is pretty interesting.
“Bringing in the Script: Writing City Slickers” Featurette –
This runs 21 minutes and we talk to Billy and the rest of the writers about how the script was written. This is again pretty in-depth and intriguing.
“A Star Is Born: An Ode to Norman” Featurette –
This runs 6 minutes and it’s all about Norman the calf. Crystal and the rest of the cast and crew talk about how Norman became a bigger star than anyone in this film. Pretty funny actually.
“The Real City Slickers” Featurette –
This runs 9 minutes and we get a look at real city slickers who decide to go to dude ranches for vacation. Another solid and entertaining featurette.
Deleted Scenes –
There are 2 deleted scenes and they total 3 minutes. There is an introduction from the producer, Ron Underwood, about the scenes that didn’t make the final cut. He explains why they are not in there. It’s fairly funny.
This is a hilarious buddy comedy. If you are a fan of Billy Crystal, you will want to buy this for sure. If you haven’t seen this film yet, you should at least rent it. You will mostly likely enjoy it enough to buy it.
MGM Home Entertainment presents City Slickers. Directed by Ron Underwood. Starring Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern. Running time: 114 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: June 3, 2008. Available at Amazon.com