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Considering the title of the film, I think that more than a few people were surprised when GRUMPY OLD MEN ($29) struck gold at the box office. However, back in the early 1990ís, GRUMPY OLD MEN won over moviegoers, and in the fifteen-plus year since its release, the filmís popularity has grown, thanks to its appearance on cable and home video. GRUMPY OLD MEN stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as the title characters, a couple of elderly widowers, who in actuality, carry on like a pair of spoiled mischievous eight year olds for most of the movieís running time. As GRUMPY OLD MEN plays out, we learn that John Gustafson (Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Matthau) were boyhood friends who still live next door to one another, despite a fifty-year feud.

A snowy Minnesota winter serves as a backdrop for this tale of two idiots, who have the ice in their heads and hearts melted by Ariel Truax (Ann-Margret), the beautiful widow that moves in across the street from them. Ariel 's presence, certainly heats the animosity between John and MaxÖ as she become a new point of contention between these two feuding morons. All three leads in GRUMPY OLD MEN turn in warm and funny performances, with the lovely Ann-Margret proving that she only got better with age. Ossie Davis, Buck Henry, Kevin Pollak and Daryl Hannah lend support to the proceedings. Look for Burgess Meredith to steal the film out from under everyone else, with his performance as Johnís oversexed, nonagenarian father. Meredithís out-takes that run during the film's end credits are so hilarious, that they alone are worth the price of admission.

Warner Home Video has made GRUMPY OLD MEN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Considering that GRUMPY OLD MEN has never been released on DVD in widescreen, the 1080p presentation serves as a treat for longtime fans. While it will never make anyoneís list of demonstration quality discs, this is the absolute best I have ever seen this title look in the home venue. Image sharpness and detail donít come close to what one sees in a brand new movie, but GRUMPY OLD MEN looks the way a comedy from the early 1990ís should look. Much of the cinematography displays a slightly diffuse look, yet one will notice a nice level of fine detail in the close-ups. Colors are nicely rendered and reflect the colder hues of the exteriors and warmer hues of the interiors without incident. Blacks are just fine, as are the whites. Contrast is generally smooth, while shadow detail is sometimes a bit limited, but usually holds its own. The elements from which GRUMPY OLD MEN has been transferred appear quite clean. Grain is ever-present, and helps maintain a film-like quality.

GRUMPY OLD MEN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 2.0 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The fact that there is no 5.1 channel sound option is kind of odd, especially on an early 1990s title, but considering that the GRUMPY OLD MEN is almost complete dialogue driven, may explain why a full surround mix was not employed for the lossless encode. There is a bit of stereo imaging, and that is the extent of the life in this soundtrack. One really canít complain about fidelity, since the sound design is kind of sparse, but the musical component sounds fine. Dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. An English Dolby Digital 2.0 channel track is also included, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as, as well as a Theatrical Trailer.

For my money, GRUMPY OLD MEN is one of the funniest collaboration of its two stars, and the film makes a most welcome widescreen debut on Blu-ray. Lets hope that GRUMPIER OLD MEN will quickly be making its Blu-ray debut too. Recommended.



Grumpy Old Men [Blu-ray] (1993)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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