Welcome back to my Home Movies! This week, the video game adaptation (of sorts) Gran Turismo comes home, alongside an indie horror offering, a new Criterion Collection release, and a Kevin Smith box set. What ended up with top honors? Read on to find out…
Joey’s Top Pick
Clerks Premium Box Set (CLERKS I-III)
It’s no secret that I adore not just Kevin Smith, but the Clerks franchise. Just how much? Well, my ranking of Smith’s films to date here should give you an idea. This special box set includes Clerks, Clerks II, and Clerks III, all in a design meant to look like the Quick Stop, which is pretty cool. As a reminder, Clerks III is the most recent entry, which I talked to Smith about here, as well as the cast here. In my rave review here, I had this to say:
Kevin Smith always goes back to the Quick-Stop. However, just because he’s now returned for a third Clerks outing, that doesn’t mean he’s doing the same thing again. Much like how Clerks II was about growing older and friendship, Clerks III builds upon that, while also reflecting on the career that Smith managed to build. In doing so, Clerks III has a weight that many of his comedies don’t. In fact, it wouldn’t be beyond the pale to call this one a dramedy. In going meta here, Smith is looking inward, but he’s also using every tool in his toolbox not just to make you laugh, but also to make you cry. Admittedly, this is a film that’s more or less made specifically for me, but I found it to be incredibly effective.
Clerks III is, in some ways, the movie Smith was born to make. It overtly references his real life heart attack, while also continuing the story of the characters that first got his career started. The choice pays off in spades, as he’s able to reach emotional highs and lows unlike anything else prior in the Clerks franchise. There’s even a boldness to this storytelling, as he leaves his heroes in places you’d never expect.
I found Gran Turismo to be a decently strong adaptation of a game. Part of it is how it’s only partly adapting a game, and as much as anything adapting a story about a gamer. The beats are familiar, but the execution is more often than not on point. My review here includes the following:
As much as a I love video games, I’ve never been too into racing simulators. The Gran Turismo franchise is something I know and have played, but I couldn’t dream of putting in the hours that those who love it do. In fact, some have gotten so into the series that they ended up with the opportunity to race for real. The story of one of those individuals is what the Gran Turismo film has opted to utilize, as opposed to making a game adaptation. The end result is a movie you’ve pretty much seen before, but a solid one, at that.
Gran Turismo is no Ford v Ferrari (though it shares a similar third act), but it’s no Need for Speed, either, doing enough right to warrant a recommendation. It’s a sports film at its core, taking the hallmarks of the underdog story and just packaging it within the world of a gamer entering the landscape. It’s not a subtle movie, or a particularly deep one, but it is entertaining and surprisingly effective.
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies (TV)
It Lives Inside
The Miracle Club
South Park: The Streaming Wars (TV)
Jackie Chan: Emergence of a Superstar
From The Criterion Collection: “Originally tapped as a potential successor to Bruce Lee, Hong Kong martial-arts phenom Jackie Chan soon established his own unique screen persona, blending goofball slapstick and bone-crunching kung fu into intricate feats of supercharged athleticism. Tracing his rise from breakout star to full-fledged auteur, these six unabashedly silly, unstoppably entertaining early-career highlights find Chan refining the lovably mischievous image that would make him a global icon, while also assuming greater creative control over his projects—first as his own martial-arts choreographer, and later as a writer-director who set a thrilling new standard for daredevil action comedy.”