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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light but pleasing entertainment., July 4, 2007
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This review is from: The Sports Pages (DVD)
This DVD contains two works, presented together with introductions by James Brown (not the Godfather of Soul, the other James Brown).

"How Doc Waddems Finally Broke 100" is based on an older short story about a golfer, Doc Waddems (played by Bob Newhart) that could never break 100. One day, Doc Waddems is on top of his game, playing better than he ever did before and it looks as if he's about to break through into the realm of double-digit golf scores. Unfortunately, his partner for that day (played quite well by Kelsey Grammer) is a fanatic for the rules and assesses penalties for ridiculously minor infractions of obscure rules; which he quotes verbatim off the top of his head.

The tale is told as Doc Waddems is on trial for killing his golf partner . . . with a quick blow to the head from his putter. The ending is irony worthy of O'Henry himself while the production somehow manages to capture the look of the 1930s still maintaining modern dialogue and pacing. (The short story upon which this is based could have been written no later than 1937.) Newhart basically plays this in his typically understated manner while Grammer comes across much as he did in Frasier, believable but a smidgen over the top in places. IMO, pairing these two was absolute genius.

"The Heidi Bowl" is a fictionalized tail based on a true event, the interrupted coverage of a 1968 Jets vs Raiders game in the last few minutes in order to air a made for TV movie of the classic tale, Heidi.

The story is told through the actions of a handful of characters including a battle-fatigued Vietnam vet training to work in the control room at NBC, his mentor (who has $500 on the game), a gaggle of teen-aged cheerleader types in love with Joe Namath and a woman that works her shift as an operator at NBC while her home is invaded by uninvited guests that want to watch the game. The impact of this event upon all of these characters makes for a an amusing story that all revolves around one ill-fated decision; to interrupt coverage of a very big game to keep a program schedule on track. There are semi-serious moments in this story but overall the mood is light.

There are also interviews with a few well-known people that were in some way involved in the real-life events, former New York mayor Ed Koch, while not directly involved, provided some very entertaining comments as well.

Both of these pieces combined take less than 90 minutes to watch and make for a pleasant distraction. If you are looking for profundity, great cinema you won't find it here, but if you would enjoy great writing, fine acting and a couple of very human stories look no further.

FWIW, I detected no quality problems with my copy.
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