Appellate Judge Michael Stailey recommends this disc as the perfect background distraction for those uncomfortable holiday parties with your significant other's co-workers.
Ho-Ho-Humor to brighten your holidays
(Sung to the tune "Winter Wonderland." My apologies to composer Felix Bernard.)
"Sleigh bells ring, listen mee-ster
"Gone astray, a toboggan
"As a family we all trim the tree
"Later on, we admire
It's that time of the year again. Chestnuts roasting. Stockings hung by the chimney with care. Dad sliding off the roof, while adding just one more string of lights. Regardless of the festivity, Americans are there to capture each and every moment with their trusty camcorders.
Come on, admit it. We've all done it. Lord knows my family has enough material for a three-season reality series…and it's all thanks to the same man who gave us Battle of the Network Stars, uber-producer Vin Di Bona. His low-budget brainchild, America's Funniest Home Videos—now simply known as AFV—debuted in the fall of 1990 and has been going strong ever since. It's mindless, guilty pleasure entertainment of the highest degree.
The holidays have always been prime fodder for AFV. Every parent wants to preserve their child's first Christmas, the look on Grandpa's face as he opens that special gift, or Uncle Frank dressed up as Santa delivering toys to all the grandkids. In the process, of course, we manage to capture Aunt Judy stumbling face first into the Christmas tree, little Timmy dethroning a Wise Man in the church Christmas pageant, and cousin Fred passed out on the couch with the kids trying to shove as many cookies in his mouth as they can before he wakes up.
Who has more fun than people?
Shout! Factory has wrapped up a trio of holiday episodes to enjoy this season.
• 2003 Edition
• 1997 Edition
AFV: Home for the Holidays is presented in standard 1.33:1 full frame. While the 2003 episode is a sharp digital transfer with solid coloring and few enhancement issues, the same cannot be said for the 1996 and 1997 entries. Ported over from analog video, the colors are faded and the imagery is riddled with edge enhancement and artifacting. While the show's producers had a mixed bag of original source material to work with, it appears little was done to clean it up. Don't fault Shout! Factory for this one. In terms of audio, the Dolby 2.0 stereo mix is perfectly fine for the presentation, although there may be some clips where it's difficult to make out the dialogue. If you're interested, you might want to turn on the closed captioning. Then again, we're really here just to see the clips.
Not a trace of bonus materials. If the folks at Shout! Factory were smart, they would have requested Di Bona to supply a cache of holiday clips from all 15 seasons, for a rapid-fire seasonal barrage. It would have been more impressive than three mismatched episodes. Oh well, maybe next year.
This court exonerates AFV: Home for the Holidays, based solely on its ability to make us forget life's stressors—if only for a little while. We recommend Shout! Factory head back to the drawing board to mine the wealth of this series to create more effective future releases, while limiting our exposure to Bob Saget. Sorry, Bob. It could be worse. AFV could have hired Ryan Seacrest.
Happy Holidays everyone!
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