Video Picks Archive

June 13, 2001
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>

This week my picks are O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000 - ) and Saturday Night Fever (1977 - ).

Last night, I saw The Soggy Bottom Boys on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" -- an occurrence owing entirely to the first pick this week. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is Joel and Ethan Coen's attempt at translating Homer's Odyssey to Depression-era America. George Clooney stars as the Odysseus figure: a convict who escapes from a chain gang with two other men (John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) to reunite with his wife and children. While the film only did mediocre business, the soundtrack has made a huge cultural impact. It has single-handedly put traditional country music, in its pre-radio form, into the modern American consciousness. The Soggy Bottom Boys are the band that Clooney and company form in the film, but the music was performed by a real band that are not only on television now, but actually playing Carnegie Hall. Many people buying and enjoying the music never saw the film in its theatrical release, but you can expect that it will now be a big hit on video.
Full review from January 3, 2001

The best previous example of this phenomenon surrounded the second film. In 1977, disco music and dancing was a rapidly fading movement in urban America. Making a movie about disco suddenly became incredibly risky. However, once the synergy between the Bee Gee's music and John Travolta's dancing became apparent, disco was catapulted into mainstream America and made bigger than ever. Of course, underneath the phenomenon is an exceptional film about a young man struggling with his passage into adulthood. This is what keeps the film relevant and enjoyable even after the eventual "death" of disco by 1980.


For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) -- VHS
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) -- DVD
The Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer -- Hardcover
The Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer -- Paperback
O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc
Saturday Night Fever (1977) -- VHS
Saturday Night Fever: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc


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Capsule Reviews © 2001 Matt Heffernan