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ARTISAN

MOVIE INFO
Director:
Jon Favreau
Cast:
Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Joe Goossen, Famke Janssen, Makenzie Vega, Jenteal
Writing Credits:
Jon Favreau

Box Office:
Budget $5 million.
Opening weekend $118,003 on 3 screens.
Domestic gross $5.308 million.
MPAA:
Rated R for pervasive language, some drug use and sexuality.

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround
Subtitles:
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 11/27/2001

Bonus:
• Action Commentary with Writer/Director/Actor Jon Favreau and Actor Vince Vaughn
• 3 Documentaries
• Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes
• Extended Scenes
• More Music Cues
• Scene Edit Workshop
• Trailers
• Cast and Crew Information
• Production Notes


PURCHASE
DVD

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RELATED REVIEWS


Made (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 12, 2003)

After the cult success of 1996’s Swingers, that flick’s leads reunite for 2001’s Made. Anyone who expects a reprise of the earlier film’s hipster ethos will likely leave Made disappointed. However, once one gets into the newer film’s spirit, it offers many of its own pleasures.

Set in southern California, the film focuses on Bobby Ricigliano (Jon Favreau), a struggling boxer who lives with his single mother girlfriend Jessica (Famke Jansen). She works as a stripper for bachelor parties, and he acts as her chaperone and driver. This causes problems, for he goes nuts when the party boys touch her.

Bobby also works as a mason, another job where he runs into problems. Largely that occurs because he insists that his boss use his buddy Ricky Slade (Vince Vaughn) as well, even though Ricky’s an irresponsible moron. Crime chieftain Max (Peter Falk) offers Bobby a new job, though, one that will give him a decent infusion of cash. Bobby needs to go to New York to act as hired muscle for a deal. This doesn’t elate Bobby, but he agrees with one caveat: Ricky gets to go along as well. Max remains cheesed over a deal during which Ricky lost a truck, but he agrees nonetheless.

The boys then fly to the Big Apple, where Ricky quickly gets into the spirit of things. They go first class all the way, and Ricky takes to this upscale living. Bobby just wants to be low-key and take care of business, but that proves impossible as Ricky insists on pretending to be a serious criminal powerhouse.

Inevitably, this complicates matters. The guys meet with Ruiz (Sean Combs) and try to work their way through this mysterious job. No one seems to know exactly what they need to do, but Ricky’s cocky and pushy attitude doesn’t help matters. Eventually they follow the task through to its surprising completion and then head home, where some additional complications arise.

In many ways, Made reverses the natural order from Swingers. In that movie, Favreau played the inept one, while Vaughn came across as more with-it and in control. Here, Bobby’s the smart and strong one, while Ricky’s nothing more than an obnoxious wannabe.

Without question, the second act of Made provides its greatest pleasures. The film starts slowly as it explores Bobby’s sad-sack existence, and the end gets bogged down in some bland character elements; the flick threatens to turn into an afterschool special at that point. However, the scenes of the boys on the job in New York absolutely crackle, and they recall the best parts of Swingers. Ricky’s abrasiveness seems quite amusing, and the film even tosses in to the funniest cameo I’ve seen in quite some time.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn’t quite keep pace with its middle. I felt the same toward Swingers. Both flicks aspire to be rich character pieces, but they don’t really sing unless they focus on the lighter moments. It seems like Favreau succeeds best when he deals with superficial and quirky comedic bits. This means that Swingers’ Vegas moments remain its most memorable, and the prime goofiness in NYC stands out as Made’s best work.

Although I’m not wild about the first and third acts, I still liked Made as a whole. It feels like a commendable effort with more than a few very memorable sequences. The film seems inconsistent and choppy, but it shows enough inspiration to merit a viewing.


The DVD Grades: Picture B- / Audio B / Bonus A-

Made appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A definite mixed bag, the picture often looked very good, but it demonstrated a mix of problems that seemed too intrusive for such a recent film.

Sharpness usually appeared fine. Some wide shots displayed a modicum of softness, but those instances didn’t become terribly problematic. Most of the time, Made provided a distinct and accurate image. Jagged edges caused no concerns, but I saw a little shimmer at times, and the image also displayed moderately prominent edge enhancement on occasion. The movie also suffered from a modest amount of print flaws. Interiors often looked fairly grainy, while other scenes showed some specks and grit as well as a nick or two. The defects never became overwhelming, but they popped up more frequently than I’d expect.

Colors usually looked nicely bright and vivid. The film mainly featured a natural palette, and the DVD replicated these tones vibrantly. The hues came across as lively and distinct, and they demonstrated no problems related to noise, bleeding, or other issues. Black levels tended to appear deep and rich. Shadow detail tended to appear somewhat dense, but low-light shots generally appeared fine. I thought the image seemed somewhat too bright and washed-out at times. Overall, although parts of Made presented an excellent image, the overall presentation included too many concerns to merit a grade above a “B-“.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Made didn’t show much ambition, but it worked fairly well for the material. The soundfield largely emphasized the forward spectrum. Music showed good stereo presence, while the sides also opened up effects nicely. Elements blended together cleanly and panned clearly from one place to another. The surrounds usually remained pretty passive, but they kicked into action well at times. One scene that featured many motorcycles really broadened the piece, and shots at the airport and onboard the plane also provided good use of the rear speakers. However, these remained exceptions to the rule.

Audio quality appeared positive. Speech seemed natural and warm, and the dialogue displayed no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Music appeared nicely bright and distinct, and the score and songs also displayed solid bass response. Similarly, effects appeared accurate and crisp, without any issues due to distortion. Range seemed fairly broad and lively. Overall, the soundtrack of Made lacked enough ambition to merit more than a “B”, but the audio worked fine for this film.

This DVD release of Made packs a nice roster of extras, and we start with an “action commentary” from director/writer/actor Jon Favreau and actor Vince Vaughn, both of whom sat together for this running, screen-specific piece; producer Peter Billingsley also joined them as a periodic commentator, but he popped up infrequently. What’s an “action commentary”? Ala the Barry Sonnenfeld/Tommy Lee Jones track from Men In Black, the participants come equipped with a telestrator, and they use it to highlight various onscreen elements. Though the commentary works perfectly well without the visuals, those elements add a fun touch to the proceedings. A similar piece appears on the collector’s edition of Swingers.

If you heard that track, you’ll encounter something similar during Made. Both Favreau and Vaughn prove to be quite chatty and engaging, and they add a fair amount of information about the film. As with the Swingers piece, they occasionally spend too much time telling us the names of various actors, but those tendencies don’t seem overwhelming. Otherwise, they elaborate on the characters and the story and also let us know some useful production notes. Overall, the commentary appears above average.

The “Featurettes” area includes three segments that can be viewed separately or as one running piece. Getting It Made lasts nine minutes and involves Favreau, Vaughn, co-producer Billingsley, actor Peter Falk, composer Lyle Workman, and music supervisors Sean Ricigliano and Damon Booth. Overall, this program offers quick general notes about the movie. They give us a decent discussion of the film’s genesis but they don’t go into anything terribly compelling otherwise.

For the second featurette, we get The Creative Process. It lasts 14 minutes and 32 seconds and includes comments from Favreau, Vaughn, Falk, and Billingsley. It concentrates on writing, improvisation, Favreau’s approach to directing, script “embellishing”, and cinematography within those limits. This program seems more compelling than the prior one, as it presents a fairly good examination of these different elements.

Finally, Making the Music of Made features Vaughn, Favreau, Falk, Billingsley, music supervisors Tim Riley, Sean Ricigliano, Pete Giberga, and Damon Booth, and composers John O’Brien and Lyle Workman. This one starts off with a discussion of friends working together; much of the Made crew had close personal relationships before they created the flick. This focus then concentrates on music, since the four music supervisors are all friends with each other and with Favreau. “Music” offers the most interesting of the three featurettes, as it concentrates on these relationships. It also provides a discussion of the different musical elements as well as notes about the musical climate used for the different cities. Ultimately, the 15-minute and 51-second program seems entertaining and enlightening.

“More Made Footage” splits into three subdomains. Deleted Scenes includes five cut segments that run a total of six minutes, 36 seconds. None of these seem terribly useful. One or two appears moderately entertaining, but they add nothing to the film. The alternate ending is aggressively bad, actually. We can view these clips with or without commentary from Favreau and Vaughn. They provide decent basic information about the segments and also indicate why they failed to make the final cut.

Usually when a DVD includes Outtakes, they last about three minutes or so. However, Made packs a whopping 22 minutes and 41 seconds worth of this kind of footage. The clips alternate between entertaining improvisations and boring shots of mistakes. You’ll encounter a lot of goof-ups and giggling here, a fact that makes it tough to watch the “Outtakes” at times. For fans of the film, it’ll merit the effort to get to the intriguing improv shots.

Lastly we discover 10 Alternate Scenes that fill a total of 34 minutes and 42 seconds of footage. A couple of them seem interesting, such as the segment in which Horrace eats the dinner Bobby prepared for Chloe. However, a few of them go on way too long.

We also get commentary from Vaughn and Favreau for the deleted scenes and the alternate scenes. These remarks seem erratic. A fair number of gaps occur, and they suffer from more than a few lackluster moments. The participants don’t always tell us why the footage was omitted, which is the cardinal sin of this kind of track. Fans will still want to listen to the discussions, but they seem somewhat disappointing.

For additional audio material, check out the “More Music Cues” section. This splits into Used Cues and Unused Cues. The former features 12 clips and lasts a total of 20 minutes, 47 seconds, while the latter provides 26 bits and runs 47 minutes, 43 seconds in all. Frankly, these pieces did little for me, but folks who dig movie music should definitely get a kick out of them.

A fun feature appears next via the Scene Edit Workshop. This lets you choose four different snippets to comprise the scene in which Bobby, Ricky and Chloe interact at the ceramic store. For each segment, you choose from four possible clips. This offers an entertaining and enjoyable look at an alternate cut.

A few minor pieces round out the DVD. Within the trailers area, we get both the theatrical and teaser clips. Cast and Crew presents short biographies for actors Favreau, Vaughn, Sean Combs, Famke Janssen, Faizon Love, David O’Hara, Vincent Pastore, and Peter Falk plus director of photography Christopher Doyle. The Production Notes add some brief but informative comments about the film as well.

Folks with DVD-ROM drives will find a cool additional feature. Made includes a screenplay viewer, but it expands that concept considerably. Not only will it let you compare the finished movie to the script, but also it provides additional access to unused footage, cast members, and many other elements. Made offers the richest and most involving screenplay presentation I’ve seen.

Made stands as a fairly worthy follow-up to the better-known Swingers. The movie suffers from a few weaknesses, but it generally comes across as entertaining and amusing. The DVD presents decent but unspectacular picture and sound along with a simple terrific roster of supplements. With a list price of under $15, Made is a steal and it deserves a look.

Note: Artisan produced a two-pack that includes both Made and Swingers. This set retails for $26.98, which means you get Swingers for only $12 more than Made on its own. However, the version of Swingers is not the one found in the review linked at the start of this article. Whereas the review disc offers a new anamorphic transfer and many supplements, the two-pack Swingers presents a non-anamorphic image and virtually no extras. Since the Swingers special edition lists for only $19.98, I think it merits the extra money to buy it and Made separately and pass on the two-pack.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1428 Stars Number of Votes: 7
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