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Paramount Home Video presents
Beavis and Butt-head Do America (SE) (1996)

"Beavis, this is the greatest day of our lives."
- Butt-head (Mike Judge)

Review By: Ross Johnson   
Published: September 11, 2006

Stars: Mike Judge
Other Stars: Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Cloris Leachman, Robert Stack
Director: Mike Judge, Yvette Kaplan

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for continuous crude sex-related humor and language; a drug-related scene
Run Time: 01h:19m:20s
Release Date: September 12, 2006
UPC: 097360422948
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+A-A B+

DVD Review

This will be blasphemy to some, and an indicator of good taste to others, but Beavis and Butt-head, the show, never did much for me. This is true despite having been in the exact target demographic when their show started in the early 1990s. I think as a high-schooler it was a little too easy to shoot past the dumb-cool of B&B with my own brand of "I'm too cool for that." At the time, if you weren't paying much attention, it really did seem like the dumbest show that had ever been on television. For people under 25 or so, though, I think that the issue was more whether or not you were willing to admit laughing at the boys—because everybody could do the voices, and everybody could do the laugh. And who among us, I ask you, has not at times needed tee-pee for our bungholes? Ah, to come of age in the '90s.

So here we have Beavis and Butt-head, the movie, 10 years later. At the peak of the popularity of the MTV show, B&B set out to tour America. Actually, they don't ever "set out" to do anything but watch TV, and its theft is about the only thing that could possibly motivate them. In trying to find a new box, they run into cameo-voice #1, Bruce Willis, who convinces them to travel to Las Vegas to "do" his wife for $10,000. He thinks they’re hit men (wouldn't you?), while they think they're finally, finally about to score. What transpires takes them from Vegas, to the Grand Canyon, to Washington, D.C., and many points in between. On the way they're chased by the FBI, almost trigger World War III, and visit the museum of petrified wood (eh he eh hehehe). Cloris Leachman, Demi Moore, and the late Robert Stack all pop up in major roles, with several other celebs in smaller parts.

Oddly enough, though I never quite dug the show, I loved the movie the first time I saw it. It would seem that, while a little Beavis and Butt-head was not my cup of tea, a lot of them was just right. It was just nice to see them get off the couch, meet some celebrities and have a little adventure. This may be analyzing a bit much, but if there's any point to Beavis and Butt-head missed by the scolds and naysayers, if they serve any socially redeeming purpose, it's to remind us what not to do. They're likeable enough, but nobody actually wants to be Beavis, and nobody wants to be Butt-head. And that's a very good thing, all in all. As he would go on to do more gently in King of the Hill, creator Mike Judge expertly satirizes people that are offbeat, but just real enough that you know you've seen them around.

The movie gets a fairly reverential treatment here, with a nice array of extras, and good audio and video quality. Is it possible that enough time has passed that Beavis and Butt-head are a source of nostalgia? Or are they finding their way to a whole almost-new generation of fans? Either way, if you're already a believer, you'll appreciate this package (eh he eh heh heh). Sorry.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: I've seen Beavis and Butt-head at least a couple of times since it came out in 1996, and it looks as good here as it ever has. The colors are vivid, and though I was really on the lookout for some of the heavy artifacting sometimes present in sloppy animation transfers, this didn't have any problems of that kind, or any other for that matter. There's a bit of grain, but I think that that tracks back to the original animation. A very nice transfer that's faithful to the original presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: There's a Dolby 2.0 track here, but the real magic is in the 5.1. That track makes absolutely great use of the surround, moreso than many movies with much bigger budgets. Small sounds come in from the sides and the back, and conversations come at you from different directions. Maybe it has something to do with this being an MTV picture, but it's really a stellar audio track, especially noticeable for attached to a low budget movie.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
2 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Nacho Libre, Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection, Tommy Boy.
12 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Mike Judge and animation director Yvette Kaplan
Packaging: Amaray with slipcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. MTV News Celebrity Shorts
  2. The Smackdown - A montage of fighting scenes in the movie
Extras Review: everything here is great, but there's some nice new stuff and some vintage material that adds up to a pretty good package.

The first extra is a commentary by director Mike Judge and animation director Yvette Kaplan. You might expect it to be raucous, but it's actually pretty laid back. They both converse pleasantly enough, though both seem to struggle at times coming up with things to say. They dish out some good background information, but on the whole it's subdued track that doesn't necessarily add a lot.

Next is The Big Picture, a 21-minute making-of. They cover a decent amount of ground for the short running time, beginning with the original Liquid Television sketch that launched the series. There's a lot that overlaps with the commentary track, but they skim the origin of the movie with MTV, the celebrity casting, and the difference between the TV animation and film. Cloris Leachman and Robert Stack even show up via footage and interviews from the original recording sessions. The best bit of trivia involves potential casting for what might have been a live-action B&B film.

We're Gonna Score! is an unexpected but well made piece about the scoring of the film by John Frizell. The movie has a surprisingly cinematic score, and Frizell discusses his influences and choices for various scenes. It's light and free-wheeling, and a nice inclusion.

The Smackdown is a music video montage, basically, of several scenes from the film of people fighting.

MTV News Celebrity Shorts are fun flashbacks. These are promotional pices done for the film as MTV News pieces. Kurt Loder introduces Jennifer Tilly, Steve Buscemi, and Snoop Dogg as they discuss their experiences with B&B.

Finally, there are a couple of trailers and a dozen TV spots.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

In a very real sense, this movie is absolutely critic-proof. For fans, though, this is a better DVD than you might ever expect. You get a decent smattering of extras, good picture quality and great sound, while Beavis and Butt-head finally get a little respect. Be not ashamed, and by all means: "come to Butt-head."


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