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Mainstream - Nickleodeon

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Ryan O?Neal, Brian Keith, Burt Reynolds, John Ritter
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Originally released 1976
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
121 / 124 minutes

The irony of Peter Bogdanovich’s Nickleodeon being on DVD should not be lost on anyone who has followed the major studios’ attempts to quash block showing movies on television, and later the VHS saying “it would put them out of business”. This is an irony that should especially not be lost with Nickleodeon as it is about the Patent Companies trying to stop small filmmakers from using their technology saying :it would put them out of business”.

Nickelodeon comes as a 2-for DVD with The Last Picture Show and is available in both the original version and the “director’s cut” which features 3 whole minutes of footage and a fake black and white version i.e. decolorized version of Bogdanovich’s movie. If you know anything about the early days of Hollywood and the silent era, this is a comedy you should enjoy even if it is a bit on the long side.

It is no coincidence lawyer turned screenwriter turned director Leo Harrigan (O’Neal in a nebbish role pretty much like in What’s Up Doc?) looks like silent film star Harold Lloyd and Nickleodeon opens with a few classic slapstick scenes. This is also Burt Reynold’s (a Patent Company heavy) only real turn at slapstick comedy as a character who is always in the wrong place at the right time (or is it the other way around?). Reynolds and O’Neal become romantic rivals.

Nickleodeon is an energetic, funny movie. It is quite messy story wise. Bogdanovich is more interested in stitching together funny scenes than the story itself. You could suspect Bodganovich stole his film making technique from the director played by Ryan O’Neal.

This comedy about the silent film era is not bad. Considering it comes packaged with The Last Picture Show, consider it a freebie.

The director’s commentary track is as banal as they come.

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