Just A Home Video Packaging Pet Peeve O’ Mine

Just received Shout Select’s recent Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Streets Of Fire, a film I didn’t think too much of when it was new; while I didn’t hate it, I simply felt that it left a bit to be desired. With repeat viewings, however, the picture’s since become one of my favorites of its era.

sof blu

Perusing the back of the Blu-ray packaging, I noticed Shout, while listing the film’s principal cast members, has resorted to pairing each actor’s name with the most recent and/or well-known movie they’ve appeared in, i.e. (Diane Lane, Man Of Steel)…(Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters)…(Michael Paré, Bad Moon), etc.

Maybe I’m giving undue credit, but I’d like to think that if you’re inclined to pick up a Collector’s Edition of a major studio release from over 30 years ago, it’s not because you’re a first-time viewer. You’re a fan.

In other words, you’re already familiar with the movie. Being reminded on the packaging that Amy Madigan also appeared in The Dark Half is probably not going to factor into your decision to buy the Blu-ray. Just a guess.

Ten years from now, is Willem Dafoe going to be remembered primarily for his roles in Platoon, To Live And Die In L.A., The Boondock Saints, Shadow Of The Vampire, etc, or will he be remembered, as Shout Select reminds us, for his role in John Wick? I’d forgotten he was even in that movie. But it was a film that was recently popular, so who cares, right?

This kind of promotional gimmick for home video releases has always annoyed me. It’s always felt condescending, as if we’re supposed to swayed by, what’s basically, “If you liked that really popular movie So-And-So was in, then you’re gonna love this movie!”.

Maybe some people are sold on movies that way, but this is lowest common denominator stuff. I guess I expect better from a boutique label, such as Shout Select, specializing in, for lack of a better word, ‘cult’ films.

The Shout Select packaging also declares Streets Of Fire director Walter Hill as a ‘cult filmmaker’. This seems to me a polite way of either saying that he hasn’t made a relevant feature film in decades, which I feel a case could be made for (*), or that even his best films have been forgotten or ignored by a majority of modern audiences (which is probably true, unfortunately).

(*) From 1975’s Hard Times through 1992’s Trespass, Walter Hill made (mostly) terrific Action-Thrillers (I’ve never seen Brewster’s Millions or Crossroads). Hands down, Hill’s one of the best genre directors of the Seventies and Eighties, responsible for a slew of well-made, visually compelling Action flicks that easily rank among the best I’ve ever seen: The Driver, The Warriors, The Long Riders, Southern Comfort, 48 HRS, Streets Of Fire, Extreme Prejudice, along with the aforementioned Hard Times and Trespass. 1989’s Johnny Handsome was just average. Another 48 HRS was a sloppy mess. Everything he made after Trespass was fairly forgettable.

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