Ringmaster

I’ll admit it I’ve seen “The Jerry Springer Show” more times than I care to admit. Why? Because it makes me feel good about myself. My life is a cakewalk compared to the poor white (or insert any race here) trash that parades across the stage each and every day.


ringmasterThis modern day freak show is a great catharsis for whatever ails you. Your daughter pregnant? At least she’s not sleeping with a transsexual tap-dancing biker nun who raises sheep as love partners. Get the idea? As out right entertainment, “The Jerry Springer” rates right up there with high speed chases on the Los Angeles Freeway and a bad traffic accident.

You can’t help but watch as the human train wreck crashes on stage. What makes the Spring television show watch able is the fact that the guests (well, most of them anyway) are the real deal. Sure, I imagine that some of the more outrageous guests were actually putting us on, but there’s real emotion going on during the show. Television is one thing. A movie about “The Jerry Springer Show” is another.

Well, actually it’s not really “The Jerry Springer Show.” The owners of the show wouldn’t allow the creative forces behind the movie to exploit their freak show. So now it’s just “The Jerry Show.” Same guy, same premise, different name. Yeah, right. The premise is the same. Guests come on and shout at and attack each other like clockwork. You can set you watch by it.

So that Springer fans felt that they were getting more than just a big screen version of his show, writer Jon Bernstein has concocted a silly story about two separate groups of people who eventually wind up on “The Jerry Show.” One is a mother-daughter team who are both sleeping with mom’s new husband. The other is a woman who wants to teach her best friend a lesson for sleeping with her man. The set-up is that both have been booked for the show, and the film follows them as they go through the process of appearing on a live television broadcast.

There’s the usual backstage patter, including all the guests trying to get on Jerry’s good side. Once settled in the hotel, the guests start behaving just like Springer guests. There’s lots of fooling around and backstabbing. With friends like this, who needs enemies? The sad part is that since all of the guests are played by actors, what made the original show fun on television fails to entertain on the big screen. It’s no fun watching recognizable faces play the trailer trash (literally) who inhabit this seedy world. It’s all a big show, and that’s a shame.

There’s none of the excitement or spontaneity of the television show. Everything is so calculated it hurts. Springer basically plays himself, so he doesn’t get much of a chance to stretch his acting muscle. Unfortunately, the filmmaker’s have gone to great lengths to make sure Springer gets the opportunity to sing. Yep, I’d pay $7 to se that, not! The rest of the cast is pretty indistinguishable, possibly a blessing in disguise for all involved. I have the Unrated Jerry Springer videos of his television show, and I’ll tell you, that’s entertainment! “Ringmaster” is nothing but a pale imitation.

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: [ X ] 20/20 [ ] Good [ ] Cataracts [ ] Blind

Talk about trade-offs. Honestly, does it seem fair such a crappy movie should have such a superior digital transfer? I’ve got several great films with crappy transfers. Where’s the justice? For those who even give a rat’s ass beyond this point, the DVD features an absolutely clean transfer in the film’s original 1:85:1 widescreen ratio, enhanced for widescreen televisions. Good, strong colors and excellent flesh tones, plus industrial strength blacks. Attention to detail is good, while the color saturation is strong with no bleeding. I didn’t notice any compression artifacts or pixelation. So the bottom line is you get a great picture, but is it a picture you really want to watch?

HEARING: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Minor Hearing Loss [ ] Needs Hearing Aid [ ] Deaf

Once again, an excellent 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack makes good use of stereo effects and ambitious ambient noise. The dialogue track is strong, while the stereo split is effective and used frequently. The front-to-rear spatial split is obvious but hardly definitive. Not much use for booming basses, but the high ends are clean and noticeably absent of hiss or distortion. The musical score sounds great.

ORAL: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Poor

Closed captions in English for the hard of hearing.

COORDINATION: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Clumsy [ ] Weak

Here’s another rub. “Ringmaster” comes with an audio commentary by director Neil Abramson. Why? I watched “Happiness” on DVD several weeks ago, and if one film really called for an audio commentary track by the director, it was that film. The audio commentary on “Ringmaster” is a waste of time. I’m not putting Abramson down, it’s just that there’s really not much here to talk about (it’s his first real film). It’s an interesting lesson in futility. The DVD also features the original theatrical trailer, production notes and cast & crew bios & filmographies, a music video, and the usual main and scene access menus.

PROGNOSIS: [ ] Excellent [ ] Fit [ X ] Will Live [ ] Resuscitate [ ] Terminal

If you’re into this sort of thing, un-hitch the trailer and rush right out to rent it. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

VITALS: $24.95/Rated R/95 Minutes/Color/36 Chapter Stops/Keepcase/#60736

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John LarsenPATIENT: RINGMASTER

BIRTH DATE: 1998

HMO: Artisan Entertainment



Comments are closed.