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  • This American Life: Season 2
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This American Life: Season 2


List Price: $19.99
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This American Life: Season 2 + This American Life - Season One + This American Life: Stories of Hope & Fear
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Showtime Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00274SIVU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,943 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Ira Glass returns to Showtime to shine a light on more surprising citizens. As before, each episode combines short documentaries with more in-depth profiles. Though some viewers liked the way he remained seated throughout the first season, others criticized the impression of detachment. Glass responds by ditching the the desk and filming the introductions himself using a flip camera (in the special features, director Chris Wilcha says it cost $100).

In the first piece, one of the best, Glass meets Mike Phillips, a 27-year-old with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), who finds a way to live independently, even though he can't walk, talk, or address any of his basic needs without assistance, usually from his no-nonsense mother (the theme is escape). One of Mike's favorite actors, Johnny Depp, reads the e-mails he exchanges with Glass. In other stories, an Iraqi immigrant sets out to speak with Americans who supported the invasion of his country, two boxers known as "opponents" or professional losers prepare for the fight of their lives, and a man who suffered a brain injury after a beating channels his fantasies of romance and revenge by photographing World War II re-enactments with action figures.

In the final piece, the longest and most affecting, Glass introduces seven men named John Smith, all at different points on the age spectrum, from 11 weeks to 79 years. He sees it as a means to survey an entire life in one hour, which sounds questionable, but works remarkably well. The set concludes with commentary from Glass and Wilcha on "Escape" and a live preview of the season featuring the bits that were cut. Altogether, their second set represents another strong effort from Glass and his collaborators, including co-director/cinematographer Adam Beckman, who adds a poetic flair to every show. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

The widely popular, award-winning Chicago Public Radio show of the same name is now a Showtime show. Drawing on a different theme each week, viewers hear compelling stories from everyday folks culled from six months on the road. Host Ira Glass and company create a captivating look at the American Life in a series that’s not quite documentary, not much of a news magazine and definitely not a reality show – it’s simply unlike anything else.

Customer Reviews

Just like the radio program, this series is hosted by Ira Glass and focuses on portraying compelling stories from real, everyday American people.
Amanda
I recommed this honest, thought provoking, non-sentimental look at life and love through the eyes of a young man with severe physical and medical challenges.
Louann M. Larson
It's simply one of my favorite pieces of film ever made, ever, and I've spent the better part of my life sifting through eclectic movies and television.
J. S. Sevakis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Sevakis on January 28, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This American Life is easily the best show on the radio, and with season 2 it can safely be said that its television adaptation joins the ranks of the best on that medium as well. While Season 1 faltered slightly, constrained too much by the differences in format and perhaps a bit too indulgent in stories that weren't as interesting as the producers thought, Season 2 is nothing short of astonishing. It's funny, it's deeply moving, and introspective about what makes us all human. The final, longer episode, "John Smith", reduces me to a sobbing mess every time I watch it. It's simply one of my favorite pieces of film ever made, ever, and I've spent the better part of my life sifting through eclectic movies and television.

Unfortunately somebody at CBS DVD made the bone-headed decision to stuff all six episodes onto a single disc, which is a shame. With almost five hours worth of video including the extras, it's very over-compressed and some of the gorgeous cinematography really suffers. I would kill for a Blu-Ray of this series. Or even the exact same thing on a two-disc set.

With that limitation in mind, you simply need to see this show. Skip season one and head straight for this extremely low-priced disc. You will not regret it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By ReadingSound on July 30, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This American Life was the first radio shows with which I became absolutely enthralled, revolving my Saturday morning schedule around its airing until other means of listening came along. So I was happy about Showtime picking at up, and not at all skeptical that a TV version would disappoint.

And it didn't, at first. Season one of the television show did not disappoint, and neither, truthfully, did season two. If I were to judge season two by nixing any preconceived notions about This American Life (either in radio format or the format laid out by season one of the TV show).

Something in season two was lacking for me right off the bat. It remained pure speculation as to why season two did not strike the same chord with me. I finally figured out that it was lack of Ira Glass's narrative. You see, the DVD has a live presentation as a bonus feature. And in it I see Chris Wilcha (co-director of the TV version) and Ira Glass discussing how they chose in season two to have Ira Glass be involved as little as possible(!).

This was the profound difference between season one and two. Chris Wilcha and Showtime mistakenly believed that it was wise to relegate Ira Glass to the background as much as possible, instead of letting him narrate the show as he had done in season one. From what I gathered, those whom had misgivings about a TV version agree that episode one of first season soothed those fears. The show was still lovable. No matter how many moving pictures were added, it was definitely still This American Life. Believing that Ira Glass wouldn't surrender so much creative control, I had none of these misgivings and the TV show did not disappoint-- in season one. That was season one though.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 2, 2009
Format: DVD
I still remember when I first came across the radio show for This American Life. My wife and I were first dating, and, coming back from a movie, we sat in the car from 11pm to midnight, listening to the story that so captivated. In the 12 years since, I have never missed an radio show.

Ira Glass has taken his ear for story and married it to a beautiful eye. Each episode this season is lovingly filmed, the themes running through each episode are familiar, yet meaningful, and the stories will stay with you for most of your life.

From the first episode in the series, "Escape", which chronicles the life of an young man striving to be on his own but constrained by a disease that leaves him physically helpless, to the last episode in the series, "Meet John Smith", which chronicles a year in the life of 7 men named John Smith at different ages, this is what you Edward R. Murrow must have hoped TV would become.

Not a wasteland of reality TV shows and laugh tracks, but a respectful and deep record of the dignity and challenges surrounding everyday life.

I got this season on iTunes, but I would highly recommend that you pre-order this season. You will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Buck-tumo on July 20, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Why can't TV shows be made for adults? Why can't TV shows trust the audience to be intelligent and curious? This American Life is one of the rare shows on TV that aspires to bring something more to the medium.

Subtle, easy-paced, and ultimately, enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Louann M. Larson on August 14, 2009
Format: DVD
I recommed this honest, thought provoking, non-sentimental look at life and love through the eyes of a young man with severe physical and medical challenges. It explores profound questions about freedom vs. security, about love between two people (mother/son, girlfriend/boyfriend)and how it gets expressed when one party is completely physically dependant on the other. Does the "freedom to take risks" define human adulthood? How does one person's need for life-sustaining care and another person's need to be needed combine / collide? How does a parent who has devoted decades of her life to that child's physical care come to terms with her adult child's need for independence, self-expression, privacy, a life apart?

I work for a disability service agency, and we will be using this video to spark awareness and discussion.
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