Now in stores: Anger Management, Confidence, Return of the Secaucus 7.
Everybody wants a piece of Jack Nicholson — the bat-wielding Roger Clemens, basketball bad boy Bobby Knight, and the scourge of Wimbledon, John McEnroe.
These kings of public temper-tantrums all pop up in the Nicholson-Adam Sandler romp, Anger Management. Deleted scenes from the DVD show McEnroe and Nicholson in a screaming match, shortly before the tennis star curls into a fetal position with a teddy bear.
"There's the legend," says Sandler on the star's commentary, gushing over Nicholson's world-famous eyebrows. Those eyebrows and the screen legend's presence undoubtedly inspired amazing cameos, including Woody Harrelson in drag, John C. Reilly as a punch-drunk monk and Heather Graham as a violent chocoholic.
Indeed, it's intriguing to think of the nut from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as a deranged shrink who tries to adjust Sandler's attitude by moving into his home, sharing his bed, and forcing him on command to sing "I Feel Pretty."
In the DVD's extras, you even get Dr. Jack's "Skull Session" and self-help quiz, with questions like this one: If your lover breaks the "Threesome Code of Ethics," what would you do? Staple his/her lips shut?
The more pertinent question might be, "What sort of tantrum would you fly into on seeing Nicholson in a less-than-stellar performance?" Blame Sandler and vow never again to listen to "The Hanukkah Song"?
My answer: Console yourself that a slice of mild Jack is better is better than no Jack at all.
Having Nicholson and Sandler on the same set might have worked out better on paper than on film. The "Gag Reel" features Nicholson cracking everyone up with an unscripted gastric accident. Oh, the things you can do when you're a star.
Director Peter Segal shares the commentary track with Sandler, and declares calls the comic's role a complete departure from anything he's ever done. Sandler isn't so sure. "He's a cousin of everyone I've ever played," says the comic of his hapless character. Perhaps he's now Unhappy Gilmore.
Confidence chickened out at the box office. But now's your chance to catch Dustin Hoffman as a geriatric porn king who muscles in on Ed Norton's gang of grifters.
Big things are expected of director James Foley, who gave us Glengarry Glen Ross, and Confidence has all the ingredients — Hoffman cast against character, Norton as smarmy as ever, Andy Garcia as a disheveled FBI agent, and an ensemble featuring Rachel Weisz, Paul Giamatti and Luis Guzman as a heroin-dealing cop.
Still, the movie came and went, bringing in a paltry $12 million. Perhaps the script seems too much like a mishmash of Pulp Fiction, House of Games and any one of several efforts from David Mamet.
But Hoffman's turn as a sleezeball is worth viewing. You can hear him laughing through a commentary with Garcia and Weisz, clearly loving the role of the bad guy.
In a deleted scene, Hoffman gives detailed acting lessons to a pair of stripping sisters auditioning for his club, drawing the distinction between porn and perversity, at least in his character's eyes.
"My customers have families," he says of his grubby dollar-waving clients, with the sort of love-of-the-craft gusto that recalls his great outburst in Tootsie over the proper way for a thespian to portray a beefsteak tomato.
Return of the Secaucus 7 You know baby boomers are getting old when even their reunions seem dated. Return of the Secaucus 7 has long been seen as the blueprint for The Big Chill, but noting the passage of time makes it extra chilling.
In 1980, John Sayles made the jump into independent filmmaking, investing the money he got for writing the horror flick Piranha into this self-financed tale of former hippies who, 10 years after they were arrested on their way to a protest in Washington, have become lost in their adult lives. Now, they're older, fatter, and yet still caught up in old rivalries.
In the cast of unknowns, you'll find hard-working supporting actor David Strathairn (L.A. Confidential) fresh out of clown college and Gordon Clapp, who would join NYPD Blue as Detective Greg Medavoy.
Sayles put the whole thing together for $45,000 in less than a month, and, if nothing else, Secaucus 7 taught the director how to stretch a budget.
To shoot a rollicking car ride, Sayles actually strapped a cameraman to the hood with bungee cords, one of the many tidbits from his commentary.
Sayles himself has been on a wild ride. Somewhere along the way from Secaucus to Lone Star, he's become one of the great independent filmmakers of his generation — and the journey begins here.