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Brewster's Millions: Collector's Edition (1985) - Blu-ray Review

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Brewster's Millions

Brewster’s Millions remains a screwball comedy that simply knocks it out of the park.  Home runs don’t get much wilder than this.  

"combines baseball with becoming heartbroke, penniless, and friendless as Monty learns some hard lessons about the responsibility of money and its unforeseen impact"


Movies about mad, mad money are nothing new.  That’s partly why this rags to riches story, based on a 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon, has been made and remade into various cinematic adaptations 13 times.  I’m sure more are to come, too. Everybody has the desire to spend money after all and the idea of getting even more money to spend carelessly is, as reckless as it sounds, a strange part of the American Dream, especially in the 1980s.

Regardless of the director, from Cecil B. DeMille to Walter Hill, the narrative behind Brewster’s Millions - concerning some poor slob having to spend a lot of money in a short amount of time in order to get EVEN MORE money - gets crazier and crazier with each version.  While the DeMille version is considered lost at the time of this review, there is nothing like revisiting Hill’s 1985 remake which is notable thanks to its more emotional touches.

Thanks to Shout Select, Brewster’s Millions has a brand-new sheen and a lot of valuable supplemental material which makes this task even easier.  Universal needed Brewster’s Millions to be a hit and it was; however, its legacy is far more remarkable thanks to the restrained and nuanced performance from comedian Richard Pryor as Monty Brewster, a minor league pitcher who gets the surprise of a lifetime thanks to his recently deceased great-uncle Rupert Horn (Cocoon's Hume Cronyn) and his $300 million fortune.  

Pryor, who was sober at the time and at the peak of his career, nails his performance as the down on his luck dude who agrees to spend $30 million in 30 days in order to get the $300 million.  He had a choice. After being bailed out of jail for a hilarious bar fight and flown to New York City to be informed of the will, he could have just walked away with a cool million. But he opted, as we all would, to spend, spend, spend and go for the bigger deal.  Brewster's Millions

The hook is that he can’t really disclose why he has to spend the money to his best friend (and catcher) and the paralegal (Lonette McKee) assigned to keep the receipts.  He also must not have any assets at the end of the allotted time period. The gags - from an inverted stamp to running “None of the Above” as a mayor’s campaign - are relentless and this includes an exhibition game between the Hackensack Bulls and the Yankees.  The 1985 adaptation was written by Trading PlacesHerschel Weingrod and Timothy Harris and, with Hill as the director, simply because he was tired of staging gunfights every 10-minutes, the film continues to be highly entertaining.  

Co-starring a raucous John Candy (Uncle Buck), Jerry Orbach (Law & Order), Pat Hingle (Batman), Brewster’s Millions combines baseball with becoming heartbroke, penniless, and friendless as Monty learns some hard lessons about the responsibility of money and its unforeseen impact.  To suggest that Monty’s world gets completely overturned in this comedy is an understatement. Everything goes wrong. And it is quite hilarious, proving to be worthy of its reputation.

This release from Shout Select proves that Brewster’s Millions continues to go the distance.

4/5 beers

Brewster's Millions

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- January 14, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Shout Select releases Brewster’s Millions on blu-ray with mixed results.  They are using the previous transfer, so there has been no new scan. Not a problem for some, but if you were hoping for a brighter scan, you will be let down a bit.  However, you will want to own this version thanks to its supplemental materials, which includes a GREAT commentary and a NEW interview with Trading Places’ screenwriter.

Video:

The scan of the original film is crisp and bright, adding a lot of pop to the city and interior locations used in the rags to riches story. Colors absolutely pop. Locales, both at night and during the day in the city, are vibrant. The city is full of depth and well-defined shadows and the ballparks look great. Black levels are solid and deep. Presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the 1080 transfer looks great. 

Audio:

There is the original lossless stereo audio which is fine for this release.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Because this is the same transfer as the previous release, the reason you will want to purchase this release is for the exceptional and fun commentary from Film Critics William Bibbiani And Witney Seibold, Hosts Of The Podcast Critically Acclaimed.

Special Features:

Shout Select delivers when it comes to supplemental material, which includes the 1945 adaptation with Dennis O’Keefe and Helen Walker.

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Film Critics William Bibbiani And Witney Seibold, Hosts Of The Podcast Critically Acclaimed
  • NEW Interview With Screenwriter Herschel Weingrod
  • Brewster's Millions – 1945 Adaptation Starring Dennis O'Keefe And Helen Walker (1080p, 1.33:1, B&W, 79 Minutes)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Brewster's Millions

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
102 mins
Director
: Walter Hill
Writer:
Herschel Weingrod
Cast:
Richard Pryor, John Candy, Lonette McKee
Genre
: Comedy
Tagline:
An American excess story.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Gentlemen, do you think I'm a lowlife?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 2, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 14, 2020.
Synopsis: Minor league baseball pitcher Montgomery Brewster (Richard Pryor, Car Wash) gets the surprise of his life when he learns a rich, distant relative has died and left him his entire fortune. But there's a catch: he must spend $30 million in 30 days as a condition of receiving his real inheritance of $300 million. And to complicate matters, he can't tell anyone why he's "throwing away" all that cash ... or he will forfeit everything! With the help of his pal Spike (John Candy, Spaceballs), he sets off on a frantic spending spree the likes of which would bring any self-respecting accountant to their knees.

Brewster's Millions

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