Radiant City starts as an interesting documentary takedown of suburban sprawl; then the stench of self-righteousness and gimmickry sets in. The vignettes of one family's suburban life seem at first like highlights, and then you realize that the kids are a little too clever, their mother a little too theatrical in her soccer-mom brittleness. It's because they're actors — a fact not revealed until the final ten minutes. It's supposed to be a jab at how phony the suburbs are, complete with a cavalcade of experts who keep saying we, when they obviously mean those lame-os who live in the suburbs. (Author James Howard Kunstler, in particular, is as smug as a freshly wiped asshole.) There's a lot to condemn the suburbs for, but this kangaroo court ain't doing it. — Jordan Harper
SNL in the '80s: Lost and Found
Originally a two-hour special that aired in 2005, this peek at the backstage backslide following producer Lorne Michaels' 1980 departure provides all you'd want and more than you'll need about Saturday Night Live's most turbulent period. The extras prolong the original two-hour special by another hour, chronicling the show's fall from grace and rise from the ashes — and it's a tremendous add-on too, filling in the gaps with more about Damon Wayans' mid-sketch "meltdown" and eventual firing, and delving into allegations that the show's nothing more than a finishing school for pasty Ivy League boys. It skips little, providing clips of everything from Charlie Rocket's on-air "fuck" to Eddie Murphy's hot-tub highlights to the Dana Carvey-era high points, of which there were many. Still, no Phil Hartman as Ronnie Reagan or Larry David as disgruntled writer. — Wilonsky
The Love Boat: Season One, Volume One
John Ritter in a dress, Bill Bixby in a wheelchair, not to mention Milton Berle, Suzanne Somers, Scott Baio, Jaclyn Smith, Sherman Hemsley, Jim Nabors, Leslie Nielsen — the list is endless...no, bottomless. Watching this addictive collection of twelve episodes from the first season of Aaron Spelling's B-list buffet is like stumbling upon someone's stash of moldy People magazines from the Carter administration. It doesn't get more '70s than this: Each episode usually commingled an empty-headed T&A plotline with the story of a couple either meeting cute or getting divorced, and a third tragic tale — like that episode with Bixby, itself a mini-movie of the week occasionally interrupted by Charo. You don't want to watch, but you will, you will. — Wilonsky
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