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Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks, Lesley Ann Warren, Jeffrey Tambor
Writing Credits:
Mel Brooks, Rudy De Luca, Steve Haberman

A filthy rich businessman bets a corporate rival that he can live on the streets of LA without the comforts of home or money, which proves to be tougher than he thought.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 7/14/2015

• Audio Commentary with Director/Actor/Writer Mel Brooks and Writers Rudy De Luca and Steve Haberman
• ďDoes Life Really Stink?Ē Featurette
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Life Stinks {Blu-Ray] (1991)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 5, 2020)

Back when I was cheap Ė okay, cheaper - I used to almost exclusively attend movies at bargain cinemas. Normally flicks would make it to the dollar theaters after about three months. Big hits took longer, and duds showed up more quickly.

Back in 1991, I encountered what seemed to be the all-time speed champ, as Life Stinks hit my local bargain screens a mere two weeks after it premiered at the full-price theaters. Though I would see almost anything at the cheap venues, I skipped Stinks, as it looked like a total dud.

A viewing of the film confirms my old impressions: Life Stinks provides a total dud.

Ruthless tycoon Goddard Bolt (Brooks) plans to buy a decrepit parcel of land in Los Angeles so he can create the humongous Bolt Center complex. Another developer named Vance Crasswell (Jeffrey Tambor) owns the territory Bolt needs, and the two hit an impasse.

Crasswell solves the problem with a bet: if Bolt can survive in the slums for a month without any help, Goddard gets Vanceís land for free. Otherwise, Crasswell takes over the whole domain.

From there we see Boltís experiences on the streets, as he struggles to find food and shelter, and he eventually develops a small group of friends. He meets Sailor (Howard Morris) as well as Sailorís alcoholic friend Fumes (Teddy Wilson) when they go to the mission.

At one point, some thugs attack Bolt, and he escapes when bag lady Molly (Lesley Ann Warren) saves him. She does this only to protect her territory, but the pair eventually strike up a romance. All of this leads toward issues that complicate Boltís path to his old life.

Essentially Stinks just follows Boltís misadventures as he attempts to cope with life on the streets. Brooks canít quite decide if he wants to create a touching drama or a politically incorrect laughfest. This means that Stinks satisfies none of its masters and ends up as a flat and boring piece.

Actually, Stinks tries to play both sides of the political correctness coin. On one hand, Brooks tries to show the indignities heaped upon the homeless, and we see how difficult their lives can be.

However, Brooks also wants to have fun at their expense, as we check out a long roster of wacky characters. The issues of the homeless are presented in a simplistic and caricatured manner that makes them neither amusing joke fodder nor realistic personalities.

The performances donít help, and I donít know if Brooks has ever seemed quite so dull. He brings no spark or personality to Bolt, who just seems flat and lifeless.

Perhaps he scales back his acting to balance out the wild overacting of Warren, who presents a radically cartoony character. She appears aggressively annoying in her florid and screechy performance.

Neither pointed social satire or rich character piece, Life Stinks stands as one of Mel Brooksí crummiest films. Stinks just lays totally flat and enjoys no sense of life, spark, charm or humor. Itís a pointless exercise in pointlessness.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+ / Audio C+ / Bonus C-

Life Stinks appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though the image occasionally looked fine, it suffered from too many problems to ever rise above the level of mediocrity.

At times, the picture looked rather soft. The focus didnít seem terribly off, but it could appear oddly ill defined. Sharpness was acceptable through most of the film, but it lacked much consistency.

Jagged edges and moirť effects created no concerns, and edge haloes remained absent. As for print flaws, I saw occasional examples of small specks and marks. The defects didnít seem heavy, but they created a few distractions.

Despite the natural palette featured in the film, the colors of Life Stinks generally looked fairly drab. They came across as moderately accurate but they lacked life or presence. The hues mostly seemed a bit flat and dull.

Black levels looked decent but were somewhat inky at times, and shadow detail tended to be a bit thick. Ultimately, the movie didnít ever look terrible, but it seemed decidedly lackluster across the board.

The DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack of Life Stinks also appeared ordinary. I noticed decent stereo imaging for the score, and effects spread modestly to the sides.

I noticed some light environmental audio and a little panning, but not much occurred. Thunderstorms became the most active element, as this remained a chatty film without much sonic impact.

Audio quality seemed adequate. Speech felt acceptably natural, with only a little edginess. The lines usually came across with pretty good clarity.

Music sounded fairly full, while effects came across as reasonably accurate and distinct. As noted, they lacked much to do, but they felt appropriate. This was a competent rendering of a lackluster mix for a movie from 1991.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio showed stronger reproduction, but the soundscape remained limited given the filmís vintage.

As for the visuals, they seemed better defined and livelier. That said, improvements related more to the blah nature of the DVD than to real strengths here. While the Blu-ray unquestionably looked better than the DVD, it still felt pretty mediocre.

The Blu-ray repeats the DVDís extras, and we start with an audio commentary from writer/director/actor Mel Brooks and writers Rudy De Luca and Steve Haberman. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific track.

Despite the noted comic talents of Brooks, this commentary seems frightfully dull. None of the men speak much, and the vast majority of the movie passes without any statements.

When they do chat, they mostly just praise the flick or tell us who died since 1991. Almost no real data about Life Stinks emerges.

Brooks perks up when he talks about the dance sequence, and we also learn a little about the rat scene and a couple of other segments. However, the bad greatly outweighs the good in this dull and uninformative track. Even fans of the flick likely will find this one to waste their time, as this is one of the worst commentaries Iíve ever heard.

In addition to the filmís trailer, we get Does Life Really Stink?, a 14-minute, 14-second featurette. It brings back Brooks, De Luca and Haberman.

Each taped separately, they discuss some different elements of the production from writing the script to filming the slap fight to the movieís general theme. The program doesnít provide a lot of information, but after that dreadful commentary, it seems moderately useful.

Possibly the worst film ever directed by Mel Brooks, Life Stinks falls totally flat. It seems tremendously dull and unfunny with no substance to it. The movie seeks to enlighten but just bores. The Blu-ray provides mediocre picture and audio with lackluster bonus materials. Even major Mel Brooks fans should avoid this terrible movie.

To rate this film, visit the original review of LIFE STINKS