- Actors: Brendon Small, H. Jon Benjamin, Melissa Bardin Galsky, Janine Ditullio, Ron Lynch
- Directors: Loren Bouchard
- Writers: Brendon Small, H. Jon Benjamin, Loren Bouchard, Bill Braudis, Kenn Navarro
- Producers: Bonnie Burns, Carl W. Adams
- Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 3
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Shout! Factory
- Release Date: Nov. 15 2005
- Run Time: 390 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B000AXWX70
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,653 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
Critics and fans alike have described the third season of Home Movies as the animated series' finest moments, and now viewers that haven't immersed themselves in the wry and offbeat world of 8-year-old Brendon Small and his friends will get a chance to see for themselves with this three-disc set. Part of the reason for the season's high marks among admirers is the readjustment of its focus to rest squarely on the squiggly shoulders of Brendon (voiced by series co-creator Brendon Small) and his pals Melissa (Melissa Bardin Galsky) and Jason (writer Jon Benjamin) as they navigate the hazards of parents, adults (like the always odd Coach McGuirk), and school itself, and capture it all in their films. The shift allows for more development of these three unique characters, and in turn, their unique perspective sharpens the humor in the bizarre circumstances they often find themselves in, like a berserk Renaissance faire (the much-lauded "Renaissance"), detention hall ("Time to Pay the Price"), and in the path of an oncoming storm ("Storm Warning").
While Home Movies is unquestionably funny and eclectic, the show also has a sweet side, which is best summed up in the season closer, "Coffins and Cradles." That this warm and affectionate aspect never comes across as treacly is both a credit to the show's creators, and another reason why fans have taken the show to their hearts and helped bring it back from a premature demise in its first season. Said followers get an amusing nod in the set's supplemental features; the short featurette "Some Home Movies Fans" sets to music some photos of the fans greeting the creators at a convention, while actor/co-writer Jon Benjamin's "A Featurette for People Who Don't Necessarily Like Home Movies" should charm longtime aficionados with amusing testimony from the likes of David Cross and Todd Barry. Viewers can also have fun with the "Decide Your Own Doom Interactive Game," which allows them to participate in an adventure (of sorts) based on "Renaissance." Finally, there are commentaries by Small and co-creator Loren Bouchard on seven episodes, as well as a lengthy radio interview with Bouchard and Benjamin. Though there's enough in this set to charm the diehard admirer and the first-time visitor to the Home Movies mini-verse, another season (the series' last) followed. --Paul Gaita
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
One thing I love about "Home Movies" are the well-developed plots, with frequent subplots which eventually intersect in unexpected ways (again the analogy to "Seinfeld" is appropriate); season three contains some of the most entertaining plots of any of the seasons, with standouts being "Storm Warning" (Walter and Perry are especially good in this episode), "Time To Pay The Price" (which I love for all the snippets of movies the kids have made in the past), "Renaissance" (featuring the most hilarious premise of the season; Mr. Lynch and Coach McGuirk are at their dichotomous best); and "Improving Your Life Through Improv" (featuring another hysterical plot, and wonderful "improv" from a horrid sensitivity training seminar where McGuirk steals the show.) Truly there are no bad episodes in the season, and the characters become more well-defined than ever before.
Of all the shows Adult Swim has ever aired, "Home Movies" is at once the funniest, the most understated, and the most intelligent. This DVD set yields not only all the episodes from one of the very best seasons of "Home Movies" but also many extras such as commentary tracks, animatics, and several featurettes and interviews.
This is a great set. It is one of the very few DVD sets that I watch repeatedly and frequently, and I recommend it highly.
For the uninitiated, Home Movies is about a young boy, his camera, and his unquenchable dreams (and also his friends and his harried single mother and his slovenly soccer coach). Eight-year-old Brendon Small spends his spare time acting, directing, editing, and co-executive producing his own short films with his two school chums (It kind of makes you wonder about what you did when you were his age. I was hitting fireflies in my backyard with a wiffleball bat, mostly). The movies themselves, though usually ending up as subplots, are always memorable and prove to be one of the show's most defining elements. Plus, no matter what genre of film you can think of, from Hammer House-style horror to Memento-esque twisted thrillers, you can bet that Brendon, Jason and Mellissa can cobble the props and costumes together from household products and lawn gnomes and film it for your viewing pleasure. Rounding out the primary cast is Brendon's ersatz father-figure Coach McGuirk, the oft-described "youth soccer coach who hates soccer and isn't all that crazy about youths". He's a lazy sod, he constantly dispenses bad advice and utter non-wisdom (like my review's title), and basically he should join the ranks of TV's most lovable depraved reprobates, like Bender from Futurama, Larry from Three's Company, or Dr. Troy from Nip/Tuck.
The main draw of this set, of course, is that the third season contains easily the best episodes that the show had to offer. The premiere, Shore Leave, features extremely good animation for a show that's actually rather crudely drawn; the climactic moment that crosses references from El Mariachi and the Graduate is an absolute highlight of the series. Renaissance, which is about a heated rivalry between a Renaissance Festival and a Sci-Fi Convention, was like a wet dream for my nerdy self (Mental Note: show this episode at my D&D game this Friday). Guitarmageddon may have lifted the plot from the Karate Kid but it features some blistering guitar riffs from Brendon Small (The actor, not the character. The character can't actually play worth a lick, as you'll see). Finally, in Time to Pay the Price, the kids' trip to a minimum security prison for a Scared Straight program is totally overshadowed by a .6 second-long shot of the main cast dressed as the X-Men (McGuirk as Colossus! Jason as Wolverine with colored pencils coming out of the back of his gloves! Brilliant! Plus there's a new rendition of that scene of the cover of the second slipcase! This is the best DVD set ever!). Alright, so I'm a little biased towards that episode, but I can say with total objectivity that the other nine shows on this set are all great too, you can trust me on that.
What's also great are the extras. You've got commentaries on select episodes from Small and co-creator Loren Brouchard. They may not be as thorough and involving as your average Simpsons commentary, but I thought they were each worth a listen (By the way, the commentary of Time to Pay the Price sounds like it's going to be one long jazz fusion ad lib from start to finish. Don't worry though; they actually start talking once the second act starts). The Decide-Your-Doom game is a cute expansion on the Renaissance show with new inspired artwork that features almost every character that's ever been on the program. If you persevere and reach all three endings, you'll unlock Easter Eggs that you may have missed from the earlier box sets. Last and definitely not least, we have an NPR radio interview of Loren and cast member H. Jon Benjamin. Between Jon's ludicrous robot voice modulation machine and his tragically flawed improv acting lessons with the call-in Petey, I was pretty much rolling on the floor and laughing the whole way.
Why do I like Home Movies so much? I think it's because it combines some of the best aspects of the most popular current animated shows. It has the simple but distinctive animation style plus the extremely precocious kids angle of South Park, the off-the-cuff pop culture references of Family Guy, and the well-developed characters and writing of the Simpsons. It really is a shame that the show never found its niche and lasted only four seasons (Personally, I blame the eye-straining Squigglevision and sub-par unscripted episodes of the first season on UPN). It will be a little cathartic to pick up the final DVD box set when it comes out, especially since the final episode is one of the saddest series finales since the Ice Age killed off all of the dinosaurs on Dinosaurs.
That's why I wanted to take the time to talk about the superlative third season now. Well, Home Movies, at least we'll always have the student's lounge.