Um. Okay. If anyone ever asks you for a quick definition of “niche marketing,” hand them this DVD. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m hopelessly out of touch, but I’d never heard of backyard wrestling before now. If you’re like me, here’s your chance to correct that oversight.
Scott Hamm and Walter Emanuel Jones play ambitious backyard wrestlers (wrestlers who take part in amateur bouts staged in, yes, backyards). They enlist Bree Turner to film their exploits and market them ov…r the Internet. The film follows their cross-country travels and gradual rise to fame in the scene.
There’s something a little bit perverse about a zero-budgeted film showing up with 5.1 surround, but there you are. The sound, I’ll admit, is better than I thought it had any right to be. The music, in particular, is LOUD, blasting full-force out of front and rear speakers. Of course, given the limitations of the source material, you don’t generally get background music, and the original sound recording is what it is (though certainly clear enough).
What’s true of the sound is even more true of the picture. The transfer is trouble-free, but the original picture (shot on mini-DV) is not. You get all the warts of the original, but what do you expect when the DVD package probably cost more than the film itself? A note on the format: the box boasts that the film is presented in both full screen and 2.35:1 widescreen. I was suspicious of the latter claim, and was right to be so. The picture is in full screen only, but when was the last time you saw a shot-on-video film presented in Cinemascope?
There are more features here than on films with a thousand times this pic’s visibility. The menu is fully animated and scored, right down to the scene selection boxes. (There is, though, a hesitation at the end of each transition before the animation gets going.) The commentary is provided by director Robert Boris and cast members Scott Hamm, Walter Emanuel Jones and Dale L. Evans. The effect is not unlike sitting down for a beer with these characters as they talk about their movie. You’ll certainly know plenty about the making of the film by the end.
If nothing else, you have to admire the enthusiasm that went into this piece. If you’re into backyard wrestling, then track this down. And kudos to Artisan for providing so many extras on such a specialized disc.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer
- Photo Gallery
- Biographies and Filmographies