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DEEPWATER HORIZON (Blu-ray combo)

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deepwaterhorizoncoverGrade: B+/A-
Entire family: No
2016, 107 min., Color
Summit Entertainment
Rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images and brief strong language
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Featured audio: Dolby Atmos
Bonus features: B+
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD
Trailer
Amazon link

Superstition has it that bad things come in threes. I don’t know how true that is, but disaster movies certainly seem to come in clumps, starting in the 1970s, when Airport was followed by The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Flood!, and Hurricane. The next bunch came in the late ‘90s—films like Twister, Titanic, Volcano, Firestorm, and Armageddon.

Last year’s San Andreas may have sparked another revival of the genre, with filmmakers discovering that it provides a terrific opportunity beyond sci-fi superhero movies to flaunt new advances in CGI special effects.

deepwaterhorizonscreen1True to its disaster movie roots, Deepwater Horizon gives only a brief introduction to the main characters—just a glimpse of their personal lives so we care whether they survive the calamity or not. The rest of the film unfolds with breakneck speed, hampered only by the amount of technical stuff going on and a combination of jargon and accented slang that can make deciphering dialogue somewhat difficult—especially given the background noise on a semi-submersible oil-drilling rig located some 250 miles from the Texas-Louisiana coastline. In other words, those who work on the rig designed to extract oil from a vertical depth of 35,000 feet must take a helicopter to get there. By boat, it would take forever.

But isolation is just one problem. There’s so much shoddy equipment onboard you could play a drinking game by hoisting a glass every time another piece of broken or malfunctioning equipment was pointed out—the result of oil giant BP, rig-builder Transocean, and oilfield services company Halliburton wanting to maximize profits by skimping on maintenance, repairs, and work hours. As the plot unfolds—as you watch test crews sent home before doing a requisite test, all because the project was running 40-some days late and it was costing the company too much money—you start to develop a real hatred for big corporations and their profit-over-safety decision-making. This was no small incident. The blowout explosion and fires killed crewmen and spilled roughly 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest disaster of its kind. Ever.

deepwaterhorizonscreen2As disaster movies go, Deepwater Horizon is pretty solid, with a cast that bridges three generations of moviegoers: Kurt Russell (Backdraft, Big Trouble in Little China) for the Baby Boomers, Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Entourage) for the Gen Xers, and Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) and Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) for the Millennials. And John Malkovich is on hand to add a little touch of the sinister. Though disaster movies are all about the action and special effects, they still depend on actors to “sell” the disaster, to make us all believe it’s really happening and to like them enough to where we pull for them to somehow make it out.

With a serious cast of big names and bigger talents, Peter Berg (Battleship) is able to go for realism rather than putting all the burden on the special effects team. Yet, when all is said and done, Deepwater Horizon is still a disaster movie, which means the disaster itself is the real star. For it to succeed, the special effects, visual effects, and stunts must be totally convincing . . . and they are. You’d swear you were watching footage of the real disaster, and if the oil rig looks real, it’s because the filmmakers built one especially for Deepwater Horizon, making it one of the biggest set pieces ever. Deepwater Horizon is a taut thriller, so intense that the PG-13 rating really holds true.

Fans of the genre can look forward to the September 2017 release of Granite Mountain, about a team of elite fireman who tackle a deadly wildfire that ends up taking a huge toll.

Language: One f-bomb and plenty of other language once the calamity strikes, but really your focus is on the action and the extremely tense and believable disaster as it unfolds
Violence: LOTS of violence, with some objects imbedding in people and fires and explosions and flying shrapnel everywhere
Sex: No nudity, but a man and woman kiss in bed together; that’s it
Adult Situations:  The entire film is an adult situation
Takeaway: Though a lot of oil-rig workers were worried a movie like this would dishonor the memory of those who died, it does just the opposite . . . especially since it ends with actual photos of those who perished

SULLY (Blu-ray combo)

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sullycoverGrade: A-/B+
Entire family: No
2016, 96 min., Color
Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Featured audio: Dolby Atmos
Bonus features: A-
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD
Trailer
Amazon link

For the first 30 minutes or so, Sully is a little like the film’s namesake, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Understated and unassuming. it’s a quiet one-man show, the kind that star Tom Hanks pulled off in Cast Away. In fact, in the early going it feels a little ordinary—just a well-crafted character study that capitalizes on an actual news story.

Then something surprising happens. As the tension builds inside the pilot who made headlines and became a national hero for successfully landing a full passenger jet on the Hudson River, so does the tension build in this film by director Clint Eastwood.

sullyscreen2Before you know it, you’re wrapped up in the drama as Sully and co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) have their actions questioned and must appear in front of a hearing panel of the National Transportation Safety Board. Could two men lauded as heroes for saving 155 people have put them needlessly in danger by choosing to land on the Hudson rather than returning to LaGuardia?

Like any good courtroom drama, Sully moves back and forth in time as everyone tries to piece together what really happened. Based on Sullenberger’s autobiography, this film doesn’t start at the beginning and build to the Miracle on the Hudson. Just the opposite. We join Sully soon after his January 2009 emergency landing as he is still obviously suffering from a mild form of post-traumatic stress syndrome and still trying to process what happened . . . all while dealing with the media spotlight. By film’s end—told from Sully’s point of view—you’re thinking that the real miracle was that this ordinary man was still able to keep his wits under such extraordinary circumstances in the bureaucratic crisis that came in the aftermath of the crash landing.

sullyscreen1In the tradition of disaster movies, we really don’t get much in the way of character development outside of Sully. His relationship with his family isn’t much scrutinized, and the clips we get in flashback only give us the most basic idea of his background in aviation. Mostly, the film stays with the forced landing, the aftermath, and the hearing . . . and it turns out to be plenty satisfying. That’s due, in large part, to Hanks—an actor my teenage son said he’d love even if he played a villain.

But Eastwood also knows how to craft a film, and just as he builds tension he brilliantly diffuses it with one of the best closing lines in Hollywood history. Some dramas have very little replay potential, but ones like Sully—in which you know the outcome already, which puts an added burden on the acting and directing—rise to the occasion. Years from now, when people have forgotten about the Miracle on the Hudson, the film will only grow more powerful than it already is. Now or then, it’s also a reminder for younger viewers that well-crafted and tense movies can be made without a lot of pyrotechnics and action. And yes, the way to see it is on Blu-ray, with its superior resolution and soundtrack and great bonus features.

Language: One f-bomb and maybe a few dozen milder swearwords
Sex: Squeaky clean
Violence: Apart from bleeding on one character, there isn’t anything besides the crash landing itself and the obviously panicked passengers
Adult situations: Sully has a drink at a bar, but there is no intoxication
Takeaways: Clint Eastwood sure knows how to make a film, and Tom Hanks can still carry one

STAGECOACH: THE TEXAS JACK STORY (Blu-ray)

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stagecoachcoverGrade: C-/?
Entire family: No
2016, 91 min., Color
Cinedigm
Not rated (would be PG for violence)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen (letterboxed)
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 5.1
Bonus features: C-
Trailer
Amazon link

Before we board this stagecoach let’s get one thing out of the way: country singer Trace Adkins looks like a character you’d see in the Old West, but he’s not much of an actor. Neither are some of the others who mouth poorly written lines or chew scenery in Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story.

Sometimes I’m hard on writers for dragging a movie down, but with this low-budget ($2.2 million) 2016 Western it’s the acting that mostly pulls you out of the experience and reminds you you’re watching a movie . . . and a slightly below average one at best.

stagecoachscreen1In the beginning, the film, shot in HD, looks promising enough, with some interesting camera work and a gritty, realistic depiction of a stagecoach robbery. But then it gets schmaltzy in the next sequence as we fast forward years later and see a level of domesticity and niceties you got from ‘50s sitcoms like Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver. Nathaniel Reed (Adkins) has put his past behind him and is a hardworking man now who’s married to the local teacher (Michelle Harrison, The Flash). They want to start a family, but times are tough (when weren’t they, for average folks?) and the villainy is shifted to the bank, which is ready to foreclose on them.

From those clichés and cheesy moments the tone shifts again as the film becomes unintentionally funny with the appearance of a one-eyed marshal named Calhoun (Kim Coates), a former victim of the stagecoach robbers who now has a female sidekick —the two of them acting as if they’d been cast as The Joker and Harley Quinn or characters in a Tarantino movie. Robbing a stagecoach suddenly seems less of a crime than scene stealing as these two monologue and methodically pursue the individual members of the gang that robbed him when he was working for the stagecoach line.

stagecoachscreen2“You shoot my eye out, that makes you guilty,” he drawls. Lines like that kind of tickle the funnybone, as does “It’s gonna take a lot more than dyin’ to kill Sid Dalton” or “There’s a bad hombre after us.” In fairness, there’s an inconsistency in the dialogue, with some lines ringing true and others seeming labored or studied or unintentionally funny—but that inconsistency draws attention to the dialogue, or rather, the way that those lines are delivered.

Adkins is stiff and his lines feel as if they’re labored; without a recognizable name he’d be an extra at best, rather than the outlaw-turned-respectable-turned-outlaw-with-an-alias. Meanwhile, Coates is over-the-top and flamboyant by comparison. As foils, they make for a curious pair, and they draw attention to the fact that they’re both acting.

Another head-snapper is the disjointed time sequence. After establishing a straight progression forward suddenly it goes from “Three Weeks Later” to “Two Weeks Earlier.” Huh?

Put it this way:  there are far better Westerns out there.

Language: Just Westernisms
Sex: Nope
Violence: People shot at close range, people beaten and bloodied, hand-to-hand fighting
Adult situations: Not as much drinking or swearing or chewing tobacco as some Westerns
Takeaway: Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story feels like a movie that could have been so much better with better casting and a few changes in the script

STORKS (Blu-ray combo)

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storkscoverGrade: C+/C
Entire family: Yes
2016, 87 min., Color
Warner Bros.
Rated PG for mild action and some thematic elements
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 7.1
Bonus features: B-
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD
Trailer
Amazon link

When an animated feature’s main weakness is the premise or basic plot, I can’t help but wonder, Who in the world green-lit this project?

Storks has a decent cast of voice talents, including Andy Samberg, Ty Burrell, Jennifer Aniston, Key & Peele, Danny Trejo, and Kelsey Grammer. The characters are drawn and animated in accomplished fashion. Yet, while the birds in the film take flight, the film itself never really gets too high off the ground.

Storks received a 63 percent “fresh” rating at RottenTomatoes.com, meaning 63 out of 100 critics liked it enough to give it an average score of 6 out of 10. Forty-two percent pronounced it rotten, and I’m inclined to side with that group—though I’d use the word “disappointing” instead of “rotten.” I’m always leery when the writer and director are the same person, and writer-director Nicholas Stoller has had his share of hits (The Muppets) and misses (Gulliver’s Travels, Zoolander 2). Storks isn’t a complete miss, but it’s not a hit either. It’s a little too manic and shrill too much of the time, without nearly enough spaces to absorb or appreciate what’s going on.

Part of the problem is intended audience. While Disney aims for the child in everyone and with The Secret Life of Pets Universal set their sights on animal lovers and pet owners, Storks couldn’t seem to decide whether it’s a retro takeoff on American culture geared for a wink-wink audience in the know, or a silly-but-sweet story of the flapping-arms variety that’s typically for children. It seems mostly aimed at children, but do today’s youngsters even know about the clichéd euphemistic explanation of how babies come into the world?

storksscreenWe’re told that storks used to deliver babies from their base at Stork Mountain until the CEO of the operation, Hunter (Grammer), decided it was more profitable to deliver packages instead and discontinued the baby line. But one infant remained behind—kind of like Buddy in Elf—and Tulip (Katie Crown) grew up with the storks and now tries her darnedest to please. Inexplicably, a young boy in the human world finds an old brochure from Cornerstone baby delivery service and places an order . . . and in a fuzzy sequence Tulip and Junior discover a shut-down baby factory on the Cornerstone property that is somehow activated by the order that she had dropped into a chute. If you can accept any of that, what follows is an episodic account of how Tulip and Junior (Samberg), who as top delivery stork has the same swagger as Sully in Monsters, Inc., try to deliver that baby.

Thrown into the plot hamper is a side story about Junior being asked to fire Tulip because of her antics and inventions, and a subsequent need to board her flying machine because of his broken wing. Yet it all feels pretty standard except for a pack of wolves that, like nanobots, can transform themselves into such things as a suspension bridge and a submarine. That’s the most inventive aspect of the film, compared to an army of hostile penguins and a baby-making machine that runs out of control, all of which seem a little far-fetched and yet familiar. After that it gets even muddier and crazier—more uneven, too. The jokes seem less labored than in the early going, but the laughs are still too far apart. Meanwhile, it’s hard to shake an obnoxious little green bird who has a little too much gravel in his craw and keeps shouting. And Tulip, whose manic delivery and mannerisms might remind you of the younger sister in Frozen, often seems out-of-place in this labored animated comedy. It’s a kids’ movie trying to pass as family fun with the inclusion of a few caustic elements, when what would really make it suitable for the whole family was a more solid and inventive premise and plot.

Ultimately, this is a film that tries too hard. It seems forced, especially in the first half. That said, you should know that the public has been kinder to Storks than critics. Metacritic scored it a 5.6 out of 10, while more than 12,500 readers at the Internet Movie Database collectively rated it a 7 out of 10.

Language: Other than an out-of-place “suck it,” there’s nothing offensive at all
Sex: Again, nothing here
Violence: Wolves threaten and there’s also Three Stooges-style cartoon violence where a penguin uses a fork as a weapon
Adult situations: Nothing . . . unless the film prompts your kids to ask questions about where babies come from
Takeaway: Young family members will enjoy this more than the ones actually old enough to know where babies come from

2016 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS: CHICAGO CUBS (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray)

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chicagocubscollectorsedcoverGrade:  B+
Entire family: Yes
2016, 20 hours, Color
Shout! Factory
Not rated (would be G)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 2.0
Bonus features: C
Includes: 8 single-sided Blu-ray discs
Amazon link

There are plenty who would lay claim to the title of “World’s Biggest Cubs Fan,” but I think I could build a case as well. As a kid I attended one to three games per week over the summers, working to raise money to afford the $1 bleacher seat, 10-cent program, 35-cent Frosty Malt, and 15-cent bus fare. During the school year I faked being sick more than a few times so I could watch Jack Brickhouse call the games on WGN-TV. Once, a friend and I even bicycled six hours round-trip across the city to knock on the door of Cubs player Glen Hobbie to ask for his autograph (many players were listed in the phone book back then). So you’d have to say that I’m part of the intended audience for this 2016 World Series Champions: Chicago Cubs (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray.

But let’s be clear about what this eight-disc collection is, and what it’s not. The set includes a single Blu-ray disc for each of the seven World Series games plus a bonus disc of Game 6 of the NLCS that the Cubs won in order to advance to their first World Series since 1945. And each of those discs is a complete game telecast, sans commercials, 7th inning stretch, and pre-game show, and with only an abbreviated wrap-up—no locker room celebrations.

It’s too bad, though, that there’s not more postgame coverage. I don’t even remember seeing the Cubs carry David Ross around the field on their shoulders after Game 7, for example, but it was one of those moments that fans (and, of course, Grandpa Rossy) will never forget.

chicagocubscollectorsedscreenSome fans might also sniffle that the games seem to be 1080i instead of 1080p, but once that first pitch is thrown and you’re reliving the experience, you won’t care one bit. Plus, a nifty feature is that you can choose from four audio options—the original TV coverage or home radio, away radio, and Spanish-language broadcasts—making this watchable from different angles and points-of-view. In fact, that’s probably the best thing that this set has going for it, other than the games themselves.

Since there’s also a cheaper single-disc 2016 World Series Champions: Chicago Cubs that’s a nifty documentary with new interviews, you might expect the Collector’s Edition to contain that disc plus the seven World Series games. The bonus disc in this set could easily have been the documentary instead of Game 6 from the NLCS, but don’t blame Shout! Factory. At least they included a nice full-color booklet that gives complete stats for every game plus attendance, temperature, total pitches/strikes, a box score, and great trivia notes that point out all the firsts and records established in the series.

MLB has a way of doing things, and this set is similar to others that have come out in previous years. One suspects that bonus features and parade coverage are still coming, as Chicago fans will recall happened when the White Sox won it all in 2005. That means Cub fans will want to buy the single-disc documentary, this multiple-disc full-game set, AND whatever bonus features are yet to be marketed. It’s the way the marketing world works, but after waiting 108 years, I suppose it’s a small price to pay. Certainly, it’s cheaper than paying for a Game 7 bleacher seat, which started at $2,107.16. Enjoy!

SUICIDE SQUAD (Blu-ray combo)

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suicidesquadcoverGrade: B
Entire family: No
2016, 123 min., Color
Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Featured audio: Dolby Atmos
Bonus features: B+
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD
Trailer
Amazon link

 Suicide Squad is a high-concept film that asks, What if you plug characters from the DC Universe into the old Dirty Dozen plot? Instead of having a bunch of badasses tackle a war mission, have these imprisoned supervillains agree to work together to foil what is presumably a super-supervillian named the Enchantress in exchange for reduced sentences.

suicidesquadscreen1Sounds fun, right? But while it’s imminently watchable, Suicide Squad isn’t as fun of a ride as Guardians of the Galaxy. It could have been, with more performances like Jared Leto’s and Margot Robbie’s as The Joker and his henchwoman/partner-in-crime, Harley Quinn. Those two really go over-the-top with their roles and push their characters from celluloid right back onto the pages of a comic book, while the rest of the supervillains are played a little straighter . . . perhaps because they weren’t given as meaty (and savory) roles. But I suspect that these two just found inspired ways to play their characters.

As superhero movies go, Suicide Squad is entertaining enough to add to the family video library, but it has one big flaw. The PG-13 rated film takes a full 40 minutes to introduce the characters and basic set-up, and after that, as if making up for lost time, zips along at breakneck speed through the mission itself. What that means, of course, is that family members might squirm a bit in the early going and then sit there with raised eyebrows for the remainder of the film. It can get a little confusing. Then again, so can the set-up. You’ll want to rewatch it just to get a better handle on what’s going on, and to look for things you missed the first time around.

The action takes place after Superman’s death, when Col. Rick Flag suicidesquadscreen2(Joel Kinnaman) takes charge of a team of supervillains assembled by an intelligence officer named Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). What’s to keep them from bolting after they’re released? A micro-bomb injected into their necks that can be detonated if they even think about going rogue. But here’s where it gets confusing: one potential recruit is an archaeologist (a girlfriend of Flag) who is possessed by the witch-goddess the Enchantress, and faster than you can drag race a car she turns into a destroy-the-world threat. Meanwhile, The Joker finds a way to disable Harley’s bomb and springs her loose. In a confusing turn of events she ends up joining the original group as they battle the Enchantress . . . though this is no simple good vs. evil confrontation.

Honestly, though the Task Force X team of supervillains includes the pyrokinetic El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the mutated Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), assassin Slipknot (Adam Beach), and superthief Captain Boomerang, Suicide Squad is the Batman and Harley show. Some will say it’s hard to top Heath Ledger’s Joker, while others will be suicidesquadscreen3fans of Jack Nicholson or even TV’s Caesar Romero. That’s the way it is when you have multiple actors playing iconic roles. To be able to add something new and still believable to the character is a real feat, and that’s what Leto does here—same with Robbie. You are mesmerized whenever they’re onscreen, and because of them and the action and special effects you don’t mind as much that the plot can seem muddled. In fact, that’s all the more reason to watch it again—though this one is definitely only for teens and older. The Blu-ray comes with an extended cut that adds 11 minutes of mayhem.

Language: One f-bomb and frequent uses of other swearwords and a mention of that term President-Elect Trump used that no one seemed to mind; additional sex talk
Sex: A strip club features dancers in the slightly blurred distance, while Harley gives a tame lap dance to someone and kisses another woman; Deadshot is shown butt-naked in a darkly lit room only briefly
Violence: Shootings and mass destruction, mostly, along with prison torture and plenty of hand-to-hand fighting; the most extreme are a character whose head is blown off and others who are shot in the head point-blank, but with no blood to speak of
Adult situations: Drinking and implied smoking
Takeaway: Letto and Robbie make this film fun to watch, and a little more of that from the other characters and a few more lighter lines would have been a welcome balance to some of the more violent and serious scenes

2016 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS: CHICAGO CUBS (Blu-ray combo)

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cubscoverGrade: A-/B+
Entire family: Yes
2016, 90 min., Color
Shout! Factory
Not rated (would be G)
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 5.1
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD
Trailer
Amazon link

Every year, Major League Baseball comes out with a World Series Champions clip-show for fans to relive the series highlights, and this year it should appeal to an even bigger audience than usual. It features the two teams that had gone the longest without a title: the Cleveland Indians of Major League fame and the Chicago Cubs, the lovable losers from the Windy City’s North Side who play in their “ivy-covered burial ground,” as singer-songwriter Steve Goodman (“Go Cubs Go”) joked in a song titled “The Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.”

Goodman, whose ashes are reportedly buried under home plate, never lived to see the biggest win in Chicago sports history, and neither did a lot of fans. The Cubs last played in a World Series in 1945 and last won a world series in 1908, while the Cleveland Indians haven’t won it all since 1948. This documentary makes clear how generational being a Cubs or Indians fan has been, and the impact a win would have on either city. You couldn’t have written a better script than to have the two teams with the longest droughts squaring off against each other and needing seven games for the winner to finally emerge. The Cubs, who led the majors with 103 wins, went down 3 games to 1, and only four teams had come back from that deficit to win the World Series: the 1925 Pirates, 1958 Yankees, 1968 Tigers, and 1985 Royals. Throw in a rain delay at the end of regulation with Game 7 tied, and you’ve got high drama to rival any sports screenplay to come out of Hollywood.

Curiously, this Blu-ray/DVD combo is titled Cubs: 2016 World Series Champions, but at first the focus is evenly divided between the Indians and the Cubs, giving an abbreviated backstory cubsscreen2for the Cubs’ and Indians’ title droughts. Without going into any detail—Chicago fans, for example, are expected to know the story of Steve Bartman and the Billy Goat Curse—the film editors cut in plenty of visual cues to remind (or confound?) you as they combine vintage footage over the years with shots of 2016 fans. There’s not much in the way of analysis, though. There’s no mention of Kyle Schwarber’s miraculous return from injury and his medical clearance to be a designated hitter but not play any position, or how Cleveland’s home-field advantage actually turned into a Cubs advantage because of the DH rule. But this documentary does provide a nice retrospective of how the Cubs finally won the big one, with slickly edited game highlights, miked players, interviews with club personnel, fan reactions (taken from all angles of the ballpark), and, in the case of Chicago, shots of fans outside Wrigley Field and popular watering holes like Murphy’s Bleachers and Harry Caray’s downtown.

Just as curiously, though, the dual focus on Chicago and Cleveland dissipates, so that by the end of Game 7 we don’t get interviews from the losing locker room when maybe unbiased fans might want to hear from both sides. Instead, the focus shifts to Chicago’s celebration and the parade that drew an estimated five million people—making it one of the largest gatherings of humans in history.

Fandom 250 rated Chicago Cubs fans #1 worldwide, and the TV ratings and that massive gathering all but prove it. This Blu-ray is a nice way for fans to pinch themselves and prove that it actually did happen: the Cubs are 2016 World Series Champions. It’s too bad, though, that some of the individual stories aren’t covered more. We see Grandpa Rossy, as the Cubs affectionately called catcher David Ross, being hoisted onto the team’s shoulders at the end of Game 7, but it will take a while for non-Chicagoans to realize that this was Ross’s final year before retirement. We see Bryant stroke two home runs, but there’s no mention of Bryzzo (the Bryant-Rizzo friendship/partnership and friendly competition for MVP), or the phenomenal play of Baez in the postseason. There’s also no subtitle to let you know you’re hearing Cubs’ radio play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes calling part of the action in addition to Cub-hater Joe Buck, who in Game 7 was already drawing up a list of previous Cubs’ “choke” moments after Cleveland started coming back. Fans need to know all of this on their own.

Still, it’s a nicely put-together documentary that doesn’t feel as slapdash and profit-minded as these too often do. It’s a nice way to relive the experience, and to prove to a generation to follow that the Cubs did indeed walk away with the Commissioner’s Trophy. It’s squeaky clean, too, with no foul language spoken or even discernable on the lips. The bonus features aren’t nearly as extensive as you might wish, but if you’re a diehard Cub fan and you want more, there’s always the full-game Blu-ray that features all seven complete games plus the Cubs’ win over the Dodgers that put them in the Series.

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