Wookiee Mistake

Jan 16, 2008 at 4:00 am
Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest
As someone with no use for Seth MacFarlane's potty-mouthed Simpsons rip, I'll admit to choking out a few giggles during his Star Wars send-up — though, truth be told, it's slightly less daring than Spaceballs and, sure, Porn Wars. Stunningly faithful to the 30-year-old franchise, MacFarlane's homage gets in a few good lines — like, oh, when Darth Stewie cracks that his diaper's gone over to the Dark Side, heh. But it's little more than a pop-culture grab bag full of stunningly outdated references (Vacation, Breakfast Club, Grey Poupon ads) that are more groan-inducing than laugh-getting. Far better is MacFarlane's embarrassingly Farleyesque interview with George Lucas — really, he hums Star Wars music and asks his hero to name the scene. He's awesome. — Robert Wilonsky

An Affair to Remember: 50th Anniversary Edition
When Harry Met Sally . . .: Collector's Edition
Swell timing for these re-releases, even if the double billing's a little off; it was, after all, Sleepless in Seattle that stole its premise from Leo McCarey's wondrous weepy about lovers whose Empire State Building rendezvous is tragically thwarted till the rapturous finale. There are many essential add-ons affixed to the Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr twofer, not least of which is a doc about McCarey — a three-time Oscar winner whose "life is more interesting than his movies," says one historian with brass 'uns. The Harry collection is less crucial, as its deleted scenes have appeared on previous editions, and the new featurettes more or less retread the whys and hows of other making-ofs. How many infomercials for itself does one DVD need, anyway? — Wilonsky

Oswald's Ghost
For approximately the 3,853rd time, a filmmaker revisits the scene of the crime — Dealey Plaza in Dallas, to be specific — to ask the question: "Did Lee Harvey Oswald really kill John Kennedy?" To which director Robert Stone, with the help of respectable historians and wing nuts and Norman Mailer in his final days, offers the resounding answer: Dunno. Which isn't the sole point made here, thank God. Stone also wants to connect our yesterdays with our todays; he insists that the unsolved mystery still haunts us today, bringing with it aching paranoia and seething anger and blinding hatred and a soul-stirring restlessness that will never dissipate, so long as we trust no one and suspect everyone. — Wilonsky

He Was a Quiet Man
(Anchor Bay)
Christian Slater always had a weirdness to his teen-heartthrob image. (Look at him in Heathers — dude is a Jack Nicholson-aping wax statue.) The ravages of time and crap films have laid Slater low enough to make him the perfect sad-sack office nebbish in this, the best work of his career. But the movie itself, an ambitious failure of a black comedy-drama, lets him down. It tries to meld Taxi Driver and Office Space with the visual audacity of Fight Club, on the cheap. And for about 10 minutes, it has a shot. But then it drowns in CGI talking goldfish and one-dimensional characters and too many ideas. Slater will make you squirm long after the rest of the film goes off the rails. Elisha Cuthbert is unremarkable as the office goddess brought low, and William H. Macy sleepwalks through his few scenes as a shitheel boss, leaving Slater to carry the load. He's good, but not that good. — Jordan Harper