Paramount comedy classics are on the way

Paramount Home Entertainment is preparing a slew of comedies and satires to be released in July on DVD. Better Off Dead, Big Bus, Black Sheep, Gung Ho, It Came From Hollywood and Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy are all coming on the same day.

In “Better Off Dead”, after his girlfriend (Amanda Wyss) ditches him for a boorish ski jock, Lane (John Cusack) decides that suicide is the only answer. However, his increasingly inept attempts bring him only more agony and embarrassment.

A wonderful spoof of disaster films, “The Big Bus” is about the world’s first nuclear-powered bus – a 75-ton monster on 32 enormous wheels – and its maiden journey from New York to Denver. Jockeying the world’s greatest bus, of course, is the world’s greatest bus driver. His co-pilot is given to sudden blackouts and has a penchant for driving on the shoulder of the road. A pair of evil-doers vow to destroy the bus at the outset, thus providing lots of hilarious suspense.

Chris Farley is quite at home playing the “Black Sheep”. When dignified Albert Donnelly runs for the Senate, his team quickly moves to keep his slow-witted younger brother Chris out of the eye of the media. Whatever Chris does, he seems to create embarrassment, havoc and destruction, even though he means well. To babysit this klutz, the campaign assigns sarcastic Steve, who gets the experience of a lifetime when he tries to take Chris out of town during the election. In the end, however, this unlikely pair manage to save the day.

When Michael Keaton persuades a Japanese auto firm to reopen his hometown’s defunct auto factory, he’s a hero in “Gung Ho”. But when the Japanese hire him to enforce their policies among his American co-workers, he goes from hero to zero in seconds flat. It’s manpower vs. horsepower on the assembly line. Salami vs. sushi in the cafeteria. And a head-on cultural collision that’s enough to upset the world’s balance of laughter.

When was the last time you saw a really good bad movie? You know, the kind of film that has dubious dialogue, out-of-sync soundtracks and outrageously faked effects? In “It Came From Hollywood,” you’re in for some of the most outrageous, outlandish and out-to-lunch scenes from nearly 100 of the best of the baddest films Hollywood has ever made. Introductions and voice-over narrations from Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Cheech & Chong, and John Candy are crazy, corny and as camp as the films. Now, thanks to some fantastic ferreting of film footage, Malcolm Leo and Andrew Solt have put together a tribute that’s guaranteed to be a feast for the fanatics and followers who know just how good bad films can be.

Ever wonder what it would be like to “have a nice day” each and every day for the rest of your life? Find the answer-and plenty of laughs-in “Brain Candy,” the hysterically funny film debut from TV’s acclaimed comedy troupe, Kids in the Hall. The country hits cloud nine when obsessed scientist Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald) invents Gleemonex, a happiness drug. Soon everybody is taking the little orange pill. But Cooper gets a heavy dose of the blues when he discovers that early test subjects have slipped into comas. Can Cooper stop the people’s happy habit – before it’s too late? The Kids have never been more hilarious as they play over 40 wild and weird characters, including a heavy-metal god named Grivo (Bruce McCulloch); a corporate yes-man (Dave Foley); a sexually repressed husband (Scott Thompson): and a megalomaniacal pharmaceutical magnate (Mark McKinney).

Sadly, as is becoming an all too common trend from Paramount, a series of catalog titles will make a welcome debut on DVD, but with no extras whatsoever. Each title is presented in their original aspect ratio with their original sound mix and nothing else.

Priced at $24.95 each, all these Paramount comedies will come to DVD on July 16th.

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