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Home Movies - Season 1


Rating: NR

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Release Date: November 16, 2004
Review posted: November 29, 2004


Reviewed by Dennis Landmann




The irreverent animated comedy hit television series chronicles the life of pint-sized, aspiring filmmaker, Brendon Small. Brendon - a jaded third grader who happens to have the brain of a twenty-something - uses his video camera to cope with the trials and tribulations of his pre pre-pubescent life.




With its witty characters and humor, Home Movies is genuinely funny, and it also tells some interesting stories. The scripts have a kind of formula to them, but that's not a bad thing. Animation-wise, the show looks pretty low-budget, with limited detail and backgrounds, but it works towards the show's charm. Aside from fun stories, the dialogue seems down to earth and realistic, but sometimes is also a bit silly. Show co-creator Brendon Small, now a young adult, voices the character based on him. While he does a good job, he also talks very slow and many times the character sounds unsure about things, but that seems to be the nature of Brendon. The other voice cast is good, too, especially Jon Benjamin who voices Jason and Coach McGuirk.


The first episode, Get Away From My Mom, sets up the tone quite well, for it develops the aspirations of Brendon becoming a filmmaker. The best part about it, though, are the confrontational scenes between Brendon and Coach McGuirk, who happens to be dating Brendon's mother. Other highlights include The Art of the Sucker Punch, Brendon documents his challenge to take on the town bully, Director's Cut, both Brendon and McGuirk face some competition, and School Nurse, Brendon and McGuirk compete for the affection of the nurse. All of the show's thirteen episodes that make up the first season are entertaining overall, although as it is with most shows, some stories work better than others, and therefore a few episodes don't have equal caliber.




Shout! presents Home Movies in fullscreen format. The animation looks a bit jittery, or like there could be something wrong with pixelation, but the video is not at fault. Colors look pretty good, sharpness and detail are fine, and overall the presentation is pretty decent.




Shout! presents Home Movies in English 2.0 Surround. The front speakers emit all the sounds with clarity which makes dialogue and the limited sound effects easy to understand.




Each of the three discs features several bonus features, so let me briefly break it down.

Disc 1 provides audio commentary with Loren Bouchard, Brendon Small, and Jon Benjamin on four episodes (Get Away From My Mom, The Art of the Sucker Punch, Brendon Gets Rabies, and Yoko). There's much joking and telling stories, but information about the show is relayed as well.

The Interview with Loren Bouchard, the show's co-creator and executive producer, is an in-depth discussion, actually, and therefore covers good ground and information. At twenty-four minutes, it's longer than I expected. Also available here is an animation gallery as well as a short film by Brendon Small. Do some digging and you can find an Easter egg that lists instructions for a Home Movies drinking game.

Disc 2 offers commentary on two episodes (Director's Cut and It Was Supposed To Be Funny).

The Interview with Brendon Small is a bit odd but nonetheless intriguing. It appears he makes up some things about how the show started, and so on. Well, see for yourself, but it's not going to be easy to figure out which of Small's stories are true or not. Also available is another animation gallery, animatics for Director's Cut, a short film called Baby Pranks, and an Easter egg.

Disc 3 offers commentary on three episodes (School Nurse, Mortgages & Marbles, and Brenden's Choice). Additionally, School Nurse can be viewed in animatics with commentary.

The Interview with Jon Benjamin runs twenty minutes in length and also presents a bit of a mock detailing of events. The Interview with Bouchard, Small, and Benjamin, who all sit together, runs sixteen minutes in length, and pretty much serves as a making-of with a variety of stories and information on the show. Once again, there's an animation gallery, animatics, and another Easter Egg.




Home Movies is a neat find, especially for people who have never seen an episode, like myself. Fans of the show are treated to a worthy DVD collection here that includes surprisingly nice extras.




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