Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

DVD will provide 'happy happy joy joy'

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Ren & Stimpy Show: Seasons 3 and a Halfish

How does one explain Ren & Stimpy to someone who has never seen one of the cartoons before? Well, imagine the love/hate relationship that Ralph and Ed had on the The Honeymooners taken to the point of paranoid madness, tossed together with a parody of bad 1940s cat and dog cartoons with a generous hit of LSD.

The cartoons, originally broadcast on Nickelodeon in the early 1990s, were an instant hit, not necessarily with kids but with their older MTV-watching brothers and sisters.

Ren & Stimpy became a phenomena and their creator John Kricfalusi became well known the first animator since Ralph Bakshi to become a media darling. Ren & Stimpy proved to be an extremely influential series ushering in the age of creator-driven animation and the acceptance of gross-out humor in material supposedly for kids.

Folks who were growing up at that time will undoubtedly rejoice that Paramount is releasing all of the Ren & Stimpy cartoons on DVD, including these that were produced after John Kricfalusi and his Spumco studio was fired by the management of Nickelodeon.

Kricfalusi has his version of why he was removed from his own series and Nickelodeon had their version. Nickelodeon kept producing the series using many people who had once worked for John K. (as he referred to himself) and using the backlog of stories from Kricfalusi's studio.

Now over a decade later these shorts are collected in this new DVD set, and John K. and many of his loyalists provide audio commentary for many of the shorts that they did not make. It gives them the opportunity to criticize the later cartoons and the people who made them. The commentaries also give Kricfalusi the chance to explain his way of producing animation.

For many viewers the differences between the John K. shorts and these might be difficult to see. Like earlier Ren & Stimpy shorts, some are winners and some are simply inexplicable.

If you're a Ren & Stimpy fan, though, this is a DVD you have to have.

For more information, log onto



This 1975 Burt Reynolds police drama has a great cast (Catherine Deneuve, Paul Winfield, Ben Johnson), a talented director (Robert Aldrich who made The Dirty Dozen, among other better films ) and absolutely one of the worst scripts ever put to paper.

An unrelentingly bleak, obscene, callous film, Hustle is about an investigation into the murder of a young call girl. While the subject matter is not that shocking, the story is told in the nastiest of terms.

No one comes out of this film with his or her dignity intact. I can't even imagine why stars of this caliber actually thought this script was any good.

Avoid this terrible movie like a door-to-door salesman.

For more information, log onto


Three Violent People

I don't understand why Westerns often have titles that have little relationship to their stories, but Three Violent People isn't about violent people. Perhaps one couldn't say "Three Screwed Up People" back in 1957 when the film was made.

Charlton Heston stars as Colt Saunders, a Texan returning to his ranch after serving in the Confederate Army. Impulsively he marries a young woman (Anne Baxter) who is hiding the secret of her past and he has to deal with his bitter one-armed brother upon his return to Texas (Tom Tyron).

He also has the threat of the provisional government trying to take his ranch.

Heston excelled in the role of a proud macho guy who has conflicts this one involved trying to deal with his wife's questionable past and few actresses could play the role of a woman with a shady past as well as Anne Baxter. Tom Tyron has the thankless part of the younger brother trying to handle his disability and his hate for his brother.

This is a good example of an "adult" Western in which character and plot count more than riding and fighting.

For more information, log onto