The death of a celebrity usually brings sadness to many of their fans. However, whenever a celebrity does die, you can definitely expect a best of or some type of collection to find its‘ way to your video store shelves as soon as possible. After Richard Pryor died in December, Universal decided to wait one short month before releasing this four disc movie collection which features four of Pryor’s films that he either starred in or had something to do with. While the film’s contained her are not the best work of Pryor…s (other studios have rights to those particular works), the film’s Universal chose are pretty entertaining and remind us of the genius that Pryor was.
First up is the film Which Way is Up? which is re-make of the 1972 Italian comedy The Seduction of Mimi. The Italian version concerns the mob, but this version concerns Corporations and Labor Unions, where the workers at an orange-picking field want to form a union to ensure better and less-dangerous working conditions. Pryor steps up the plate when he falls off his ladder one day. Pryor is asked to leave the town by the big bosses at the orange corporation. This causes him to move to the city, fall in love with a union supporter, and funny comedy simply ensues. While the comedy presented is nothing that will have you laughing on the floor, it did have me similing many times simply because the type of comedy is something we can all relate to. The comedy is about human beings and their life lessons through family and work.
The second film up is the film Brewster’s Millions. This film is probably the best known of the four film’s included in this set. The film co-stars the hilarious and late John Candy. Pryor plays a minor-league relief pitcher who is brought to a New York law office. There he discovers that his last living relative has just passed away leaving him $300 Million Dollars (!!!!). The catch is that Pryor must spend $30 Million Dollars in 30 days and have nothing to show for it, otherwise he can kiss the inheritence goodbye. While this does sound like a typical plot, I was a bit surprised at how entertaining and enjoyable the film turned out to be. There are numerous funny sequences, especially some from John Candy. The film is easily the film with the highest minute to laugh ratio in the set.
The third film is the film Car Wash and is the best of the entire set. This comedy takes a look at the day in the life of a handful of young Car Wash workers in the Los Angeles area. While Pryor’s role is nothing more than a cameo (this was one of his first film roles), the film is more chuckling type laughter than loud laughter. George Carlin also stars in this comedy as a taxi cab driver looking for a big, blonde, black woman. While the concept of the film is nothing new (everyone seems to have done this from Kevin Smith to the recent comedy Waiting), the characters are just enjoyable to watch.
The final film in the set is Bustin‘ Loose and is the film that you watch only once and never again. While the film is not bad per say, it just lakes the humor of the other three. In the film, Pryor plays a professional thief who isn’t very good at his job. His parole officer blackmails him into driving his wife and a group of eight misfit orphans across the country in a broken-down bus. While this does sound like a comedic type film more similar to the later Ernest films, the film is definitely not one to watch in front of any children as many a cuss word is thron around. Pryor also deals with kids who are blind, abused, pryomaniacs, child prostitutes, run ins with KKK type shysters. The whole film is very predictable, but there are a few laughs here and there. Nothing amazing here, but still pretty enjoyable that one time through.
All of the films are presented in an Anamorphic Widescreen Aspect Ratio of 1:85:1. There was some grain in a few scenes and a few edge enhancements from the bright sun. Otherwise from that, the colors are pretty sharp and bright and the picture is a pleasure to look at.
All of the films are given to us with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio Track. Audio was pretty impressive with the center channel providing us with clear, accurate dialogue and clear lows from the rears. The source has lasted all of these years with little to no distortion. I did find the funny sounds made when characters fell quite humorous. Like the picture, the audio is just fine.
Barely anything here!
- Trailers: We just get Trailers for the film Car Wash and Brester’s Millions.
Despite absolutely no real quality features here, the fact that you get four films for the MSRP of $19.99 that are funny, delightful, and a memory to the comedic genius that was Richard Pryor is such a fabulous deal. This set comes highly recommended simply on the note of how many classics are including here.
Special Features List
- Car Wash Trailer
- Brewster’s Millions Trailer