Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition


Sep 19, 2007 at 4:00 am
(Paramount) For all its camp-classic status as the ultimate disco-fever dream, John Badham's movie truly is remarkable -- a foul-mouthed, mean-streets masterpiece that just happens to feature a Bee Gees score that spreads like melted cheese 30 years later. And, of course, it contains the greatest performance in John Travolta's up-and-down-and-downer career. It's a thing of beauty, really -- all languid menace and juvenile posturing dolled up in that iconic white suit. This version gets right the special-edition moniker: the hour-long Catching the Fever documentary, which charts the making-of through the impact-of, down to the James Dean/Sal Mineo homage to the dance-floor getdown. It's a shame Travolta wasn't involved in the doc, but you can learn how to dance like him on a separate instructional segment. -- Robert Wilonsky

Wall Street: 20th Anniversary Edition (FOX)

"I was scared by Wall Street," says writer-director Oliver Stone at the beginning of the Greed Is Good documentary, among the copious new features affixed to Stone's best film -- which he likens to his Scarface screenplay. Kinetic and deep-felt, as it's as much an homage to Stone's financial-biz father as a dig at stock-dumping demons, Wall Street withstands 20 years of scrutiny. It's a nasty, funny, sharp piece of work about closing the deal and selling your soul, as timeless a theme as boy-meets-girl. The insightful new documentary features fresh interviews with traders and the actors. The newly released deleted scenes, with commentary from Stone, are worth a peek too: Who knew Penn Jillette was supposed to play one of Charlie Sheen's rich high-school pals? -- Wilonsky

Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof: Two-Disc Special Edition (Genius)

Grindhouse flopped because the only Z-movie fetishists willing to sit for three hours are film critics. They swooned over Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, but it was that film's endless chatter that slew the double feature's momentum. That you could have improved it by lopping off 15 minutes bodes poorly for an extended edition -- but guess what? The footage he left out is better than much of what he kept in, with more Kurt Russell and Rosario Dawson, plus a lap-dance scene. (Note to Q.T.: When in doubt, cut the chatter -- keep the lap dances.) The movie's final third remains a squealing success, thanks to the amazing stuntwoman/actress Zoë Bell. Missing is a commentary track; for such a chatty fella, Tarantino has delivered remarkably few. -- Jordan Harper

A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar (Camel's Back Films)

At once a damnation and a defense of lawyers, Eric Chaikin's film-fest favorite is a worthy successor to his Scrabble-fanatic doc Word Wars. Once more, with compassion and wit, he focuses on those for whom life is an endless pursuit of minutiae. He has a handful of law students and bar-taking would-bes -- among them, a man who's been out of school 30 years and hasn't yet hurdled the bar, despite trying more than 40 times -- mingling with TV talking heads (John Stossel, Nancy Grace), best-sellers (Scott Turow), stand-ups and actors (Michael Ian Black, Eddie Griffin), and familiar faces (Alan Dershowitz, Robert Shapiro) to lay out a case for and against law school. It's fascinating and not a little heartbreaking, this portrayal of people -- some who want to help, others who wouldn't mind just laying down a little hurt. -- Wilonsky