Mill Creek Entertainment‘s Retro VHS Blu-ray releases might be my favorite product they put out. Sure their TV box sets are great (and affordable), but there’s something so satisfying about getting Blu-rays with slipcovers that look like retro VHS tapes. I grew up going to video stores and artwork was a super important part of the experience. Great cover art caught your attention and brought you over to look at it. I love these releases because of it.
Up first is Fear starring Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, William Petersen, Amy Brenneman, and Alyssa Milano. I’ve always had a soft spot for this film that helped put Wahlberg on the map as a serious actor. Witherspoon was the cute young girl falling for Wahlberg’s slightly older bad boy. If you’ve seen it you remember the roller coaster scene for sure. It’s a thriller sort of like Cape Fear and Wahlberg certainly brought the creep factor. It definitely feels and looks 1990s, but I’m ok with that because that’s my favorite decade. It’s also bizarre that its director not only did Glengarry Glen Ross, but more recently directed the two Fifty Shades of Gray sequels. The film makes me wish Wahlberg did darker characters more often instead of the hero or good guy.
Second we have Problem Child. John Ritter was a comedic god and movies about kids not fitting in always work. I watched it a lot as a kid and it still holds up well now. Ok it’s not perfect and there’s a lot that wouldn’t fly in today’s world, but if you watch it with the eyes of someone of that time period, it still works. It spun off sequels and the boy was perfect in the role. Ritter was a master of these everyman roles and the film is filled with laughs and heart. You laugh when Junior doesn’t fit in and hits people with a baseball bat. You cry when Ritter realizes his adoptive son isn’t a monster and has to get him back. I always forget about the killer guy in it too for some reason. But look at that slipcover, it’s just delightful.
Last we have The Fan. Despite starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes (who was big at the time) and coming from director Tony Scott, the film was pretty much panned and was a commercial flop. I can see why, but I’ve always kind of liked it. It’s De Niro going dark, I’ll always support that. He plays an obsessed fan who loses his job, has a restraining order against him so he can’t see his wife or kid and decides he needs to take out his life’s issues on Snipes’ star player character. He doesn’t like that Snipes doesn’t support the fans especially after De Niro does something gruesome for him to get his #11 for him. It’s pretty dark and De Niro is good as usual. It has grown to be more respected over the years so I’m glad it’s getting this new release.