Wednesday, October 11, 2017

DUDES (1987) (Shout Select Blu-ray Review)

DUDES (1987)
2-Disc Collector's Edition BD/DVD

Label: Shout Factory/Shout select
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 90 Minutes 

Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo with Optional English subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Penelope Spheeris 
Cast: Jon Cryer, Catherine Mary Stewart, Daniel Roebuck, Flea, Lee Ving 

In the Penelope Spheeris (Suburbia) directed punk rock western Dudes (1987) we have three NYC punkers; Grant (John Cryer, Pretty In Pink), Biscuit (Daniel Roebuck, River's Edge) and Milo (Flea, The Big Lebowski) who are tired of their go-nowhere scene and decide after a particularly crummy night that they're moving to Hollywood, CA, anticipating a West Coast punk-rock paradise. They pile into Grant's blue Volkswagen Bug and ht the road westward bound, stopping along the way to help a stranded rodeo entertainer named "Daredelvis" - an Elvis impersonator/rodeo clown! 

Later that night they stop off for the night and gather around a campfire in the desert when they are harassed by a group of violent rednecks led by Missoula (Lee Ving of punk rockers Fear), who rough up the boys, leading to a chase through the desert, culminating with a defiant Milo being shot point blank in the face by Missoula. Biscuit and Grant escape and approach the local cops the next morning about the murder, but because of their punk rock looks don't get any help other than to be told to leave town. 

Without any help from law enforcement the two punkers decide they will track down Missoula and avenge the death of their friend. The determined pair follow the violent rednecks through the desert, along the way meeting a cute and independent tow truck driver Jessie (Catherine Mary Stewart, Night of the Comet)who admires their tenacity, and a love story evolves between her and Grant. They stay with her for a few days, with both Grant and Biscuit begin having hallucinatory visions of a lone cowboy and Native Americans, and eventually the pair begin to adopt certain aspects of the cowboy and native Americans.  

The film has a weird tone, it humorous but there's a murder/revenge aspect to it, so the tone might be off-putting to a few but I enjoyed it, this makes for a breezy watch, it's not too serious and flies by, plus the song selection is phenomenal. This is by far my favorite thing Cryer has ever done, the nice guy-pun rocker with a lot of tenacity, Cryer's not exactly pulling off  the punk rock thing all that well, but I like his character a bunch, it's great to see Cryer as the hero who gets the girl for a change, none of that "Ducky" shit! The movie must have been a hard sell when it first appeared, a punk-metal western, buddy revenge film that doesn't fit comfortably being pigeon-holed, but if you're the sort that loves Repo Man (1984) and River's Edge (1987) I cannot help but think you're gonna love this strange and rocking roadtrip/revenge film.   

Audio/Video: Dudes (1987) arrives on Blu-ray/DVD combo from Shout! Factory imprint Shout select, this is a release that's never had a DVD release, this is the first release on digital home video, once again shout! rescue another one from decades long VHS-obscurity! The image is quite good, a bit on the grainy side with white speckling and debris present, but overall the source looks solid and clean, colors are good, fine detail is decent, too. 

The lone audio options is a DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0 track with optional English surtitles. Everything seems order, the track is well-balanced and clean, the dialogue is never hard to decipher and the western-tinged score from Charles Bernstein (The Entity) sounds great, plus we get a great selection of punk and metal tunes from The Vandals, Jane's Addiction, Carl Perkins, Wall of Voodoo, Keel, W.A.S.P., and loads more, Like Repo Man and River's Edge this is has a killer soundtrack. 

Shout! comes though with a surprising amount of extras for this one, we get three interviews conducted by Spheeris with Jon Cryer, Flea and Daniel Roebuck - all of which are lively and info packed, it's great to hear about the making of the film, how it was scripted as more of a serious thriller and how it translated more as a comedy. There's also a 13-min interview with actress Catherine Mary Stewart  and a 14-min sit down with Writer J. Randall Jahnson And Producer Miguel Tejada-Flores. Finishing up the disc we have a vintage EPK, trailer and gallery. 

The 2-disc DVD/BD release comes in a standard Blu-ray keepcase, the artwork is not reversible but the reverse side features a shot of the three punkers in the VW through the windshield, with each disc featuring it's own unique artwork.  

Special Features: 
- NEW “Duckie Dude” – Jon Cryer Interviewed By Penelope Spheeris (32 min) HD 
- NEW “Suburbia Dude” – Flea Interviewed By Penelope Spheeris (26 min) HD 
- NEW “Dude Looks Like A Lady” – An Interview With Catherine Mary Stewart (13 min) HD
- NEW “Mohawk Dude” – Daniel Roebuck Interviewed By Penelope Spheeris (25 min) HD
- NEW “Writer And Producer Dudes” – An Interview With Writer J. Randall Jahnson And Producer Miguel Tejada-Flores (14 min)
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) HD 
- Vintage Featurette: “Making of Dudes” (7 min) 
- Still Gallery

Dudes (1987) was a film I never has the chance to see in the theater, I had the soundtrack on cassette for a long time, I watched it on VHS, but the damn thing never hit DVD until this release, I doubted we'd ever see it, but Shout! Factory have been championing the early films of Spheeris, with Suburbia (1983) on DVD as part of the Roger Corman Cult Classics Collection, The Decline of the Western Civilization (1981) and its sequels on Blu-ray, and now we finally get Dudes, so it's great to see her pre-Wayne's World movies getting some HD love, particularly with these jam-packed collector's editions.