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Paramount Studios presents

Finally Orange (2003)

"I'm just proud of this team."- Jim Boeheim, on his Syracuse Orangemen

Stars: Jim Boeheim, Carmelo Anthony
Other Stars: Jim Nantz, Roy Williams, Billy Packer, T.J. Ford, Gerry McNamara, Hakim Warrick
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 01h:51m:24s
Release Date: 2003-06-03
Genre: sports

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Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+BB D

 

DVD Review

This is the greatest DVD ever made.

Okay, it isn't really, but for those of us who have spent countless hours on too many winter nights watching the Syracuse University basketball team come up just short, who have nightmares about things like that first-round loss to Richmond, who got the heebie jeebies when, say, Derrick Coleman came to the free-throw line at crunch time, the 2003 NCAA men's basketball tournament was the sweet triumph and validation that we've been looking for, for years. (Being a Syracuse hoops fan is the closest I can come to feeling the pain of those who root for the Red Sox.) This DVD doesn't have a tremendous amount of suspense, but it is a more than adequate look back at the SU team's one shining moment.

The first portion of the disc, called Finally Orange (50m:25s), is a recap of the entire tournament. Narrated by Jim Nantz, it's a quick tour through the first couple of rounds—Butler's improbable victories over both Mississippi State and Louisville, the double-overtime game between Arizona and Gonzaga—and includes a disproportionate amount of footage of the late Jim Valvano, whose North Carolina State team won this tournament twenty years ago. The focus soon narrows to the quartet of teams making it to the Final Four—Marquette, with their young coach Tom Crean and the good vibes of the late Al Maguire; Texas, featuring T.J. Ford, the national player of the year; Kansas, with an emphasis on their coach, Roy Williams, whose Droopy Dog demeanor makes him extremely hard to dislike; and Syracuse, with Boeheim's reputation as a whiner intact, but this time with a roster featuring Carmelo Anthony, who was completing one of the greatest freshman years in NCAA hoops history.

KU blew the doors off of Marquette in the first national semifinal; and Syracuse had a much tougher time with Texas, but the championship game was set up—Boeheim versus Williams, one of whom was finally, finally going to win his first national title. There are the obligatory interviews with players and coaches, which aren't especially revealing (e.g., Gerry McNamara, Syracuse guard, before the championship game: "This is where we want to be, and this is what we've always dreamed of"), and then a well-produced highlight package of the game itself. Kansas was absolutely brutal at the free-throw line, going 12 for 30; Syracuse hung on to the lead, and the victory was theirs.

Only then is there the obligatory clip of the last seconds of the 1987 NCAA title game, with Indiana's Keith Smart draining a jumper to take the title from Syracuse—this goddamn clip is the Syracuse basketball Zapruder film.

Also on the disc is a winnowed-down version of the CBS broadcast of the entire championship game (01h:00m:59s), with no commercials and little pause between the action. I admit that, even knowing the outcome, I got some goosebumps watching this, and shots of people like Rony Seikaly in the stands, the ghosts of SU past, only contributed to that gnawing feeling in my stomach that somehow Kansas was going to find a way to vanquish the Orange. Sadly missing from this disc is Williams' postgame interview, in which he used some profanity on network television. Good luck in Chapel Hill, Coach Williams—you're a good man, and no doubt one day all this glory will be yours.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Video quality is what you'd expect from a network sports department—vivid colors, lots of contrast. The transfer to DVD looks more than adequate, with nice clarity and resolution.

Image Transfer Grade: B
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Play-by-play clips were culled from a variety of sources—the original CBS television broadcasts, network radio feeds, and some of the colleges' own sportscasters—and hence there can be a slightly ragged, staticky feeling to some of this. But then, there's no such thing as the perfect basketball game, even if your team beats Kansas 81-78 for the national championship.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 7 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The tournament documentary has five chapter stops; the game has one for each half. There are all kinds of things that could be here—more interviews, statistics, bios, the obligatory tournament-concluding One Shining Moment montage, even a tutorial on Boeheim's 2-3 zone—but no such luck. But believe me, and I think I can speak for all Syracuse fans: we'll settle for the victory.

Extras Grade: D
 

Final Comments

A bit of instant nostalgia for Carrier Dome season ticket holders and their ilk, this is a nice look at Syracuse's championship run, though the insights offered aren't exactly penetrating. Go, Orange!

Jon Danziger 2003-08-06