Chief Justice Michael Stailey is "Scrumtralescent!"
Our reviews of Saturday Night Live: The Best Of Will Ferrell, Volume 3 (published July 28th, 2010), Saturday Night Live: The Best Of Will Ferrell (published September 29th, 2003), and Saturday Night Live: The Best Of Will Ferrell, Volume 2 (published October 5th, 2004) are also available.
"I have a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!"
Taking a page from the Anchor Bay playbook, Lionsgate is starting to repackage their SNL content. It's not that the previous releases are out of print, or that there's a massive clamoring for this material; nevertheless, here it is.
Judges Erick Harper and David Johnson reviewed the original 2004 DVD releases of The Best of Will Ferrell Volumes 1 and 2 respectively. While Erick was not impressed and Dave was slightly bemused, there's no arguing Will is a talented comedian who has crafted memorable characters for both the big and small screens. The question is, do people really need a $15 DVD on their shelf to remind them of that fact? How often are you going to pull out something like this and watch it? If NBC Universal was smart, they'd start an SNL network that would do nothing but run all 35 years worth of shows, specials, and spinoff movies. That's something people would tune in for, when they need a comedic fix or when nothing else of interest is on.
But I digress…
What lies before us is 144 minutes of Ferrell shtick; some hilarious, some chuckle-inducing, and some mind-numbingly painful. The meat of the disc, labeled as "Feature," is made up of 72 minutes worth of full sketches and short clips from Will's run as a cast member, and later as a guest host…
• Marty (Will) and Bobbi Culp (Ana Gasteyer), directors of the music program at Alta Dena Middle School, performing a mandatory assembly on drug awareness. "Let's respect our bodies, protect our futures, and roll up a fatty full of fellowship and fun!"
• VH-1 Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult. A genius sketch remembered more for Christopher Walken's whacked music producer Bruce Dickinson, than Will's overzealous cowbell player, Gene.
• Dissing Your Dog. A classic SNL commercial, this one a puppy training infomercial with Dale Sturtevant correcting improper pet behavior with bitterness and sarcasm. A pre-cursor to Ron Burgundy's relationship with his dog Baxter.
• East Lake Spartan Cheerleaders (Will and Cheri Oteri), two characters who defined this particular cast of SNL, spawning Halloween costumes still sold today. This is their first (and funniest) appearance, cheering on the Chess Team.
• Robert Goulet presents "The Coconut Bangers Ball," accapella rap covers of Sisqo, Notorious BIG, Coolio, and more. Remembered more for 10 seconds with a stuffed big horn. There are funnier Goulet appearances than this.
• Montage 1: Late to a business meeting wearing a half-shirt and thong; Scooter-driving fashion empresario; Birthing a full grown man.
• Celebrity Jeopardy with French Stewart (Jimmy Fallon), Burt Reynolds (Norm MacDonald), and Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond). While there are a couple of hilarious moments, it would have been funnier to see a montage of riffs between Will's Trebek and Hammond's Connery over the years.
• Inside the Actor's Studio with guest Charles Nelson Reilly (Alec Baldwin). "You are a blinding brilliant light from heaven!" Will's impersonation of James Lipton is genius, but there are funnier Actor's Studio sketches.
• Devil Music. Satan visits a struggling songwriter (Garth Brooks), looking for a soul to steal. Only problem is, all of his "guaranteed" #1 singles suck out loud. Not really one of Ferrell's best.
• Montage 2: George W. Bush's health and well-being; Janet Reno boxes Rudy Gulianni; Clinton, Saddam, and Monica.
• Space: The Infinite Frontier with Harry Caray and guest Jeff Goldblum. As a native Chicagoan and Cubs fan, I never really understood the fascination with this character. It's just weird.
• Lovers Roger (Will) and Virginia (Rachel Dratch) Clarvin in the Welshley Arms Hot TUB, connecting with Dave (Jimmy Fallon,who can't keep a straight face to save his life) and Barbara HernanDEZ (Drew Barrymore). An immortal favorite in the first of their four appearances.
• Roxbury brothers (Will and Chris Kattan) are joined by their cousin (Jim Carrey) for a wild night of clubbing, prom and wedding reception crashing, and feeding applesauce to nursing home residents.
• Montage 3: Morning Latte (with Cheri Oteri) and a "Dog Show" seance (with Molly Shannon). They couldn't have pulled complete sketches for either of these characters? Really?
• Mr. Maddox, a hippie life model for guest Lucy Lawless' sculpture class. A waste of time.
• The arguing family (with daughter Sarah Michelle Gellar) have dinner together. And the point of this sketch is???
• Weekend Update voice-modulation-impaired guest Jacob Silj. Again, out of all the characters Will's done, this makes the cut?
To be honest, some of the bonus features are funnier than the featured content…
Will's SNL Audition—The interesting albeit bizarrely unfunny set which got him the job.
Bonus Sketches—A lovers sketch outside of the Hot TUB (and not funny); The ghost of Harry Caray on Weekend Update; Atlanta Braves racist pitcher John Rocker on Weekend Update; Self-pleasuring yoga class; the Bill Brasky boys; and Will reveals his secret marriage to Britney Spears on Weekend Update.
Dress Rehearsals—A series of sketches cut during the show's pre-broadcast run through. The Old Prospector bit is pretty damn funny.
Outtakes—More dress rehearsal insanity, the funniest of which is Winona Ryder's appearance in the Hot TUB, and Geroge W's hunting trip with his dad.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien—Two appearances on the couch, the first never breaking character as Robert Goulet. Classic.
Image Gallery—Seriously?! Talk about filler…sheesh.
Presented in their native full screen aspect ratio, with accompanying Dolby 2.0 stereo, there's no real complaints or praise I have for this release. But it still leaves me questioning why bother? What's more puzzling, is that a Volume 3 is scheduled for release in August 2010, which may mean the original Volume 1 is put on moratorium.
Netflix if you must, otherwise stick to catching the occasional reruns and surfing clips at Hulu.com.
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Scales of Justice
• SNL Audition
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