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Iron Man, Sports Night and Indiana Jones, an Unlikely Combination

By Bert Ehrmann
October 03, 2008

Sports NightThere are several interesting movies and a TV series new to DVD you should check out over the next few weeks.

I’ve been a big fan of writer Aaron Sorkin for some time now with movies like Charlie Wilson’s War and TV series like The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. But what first got me interested in Sorkin’s work was his first TV series Sports Night (’98-’00).

Sports Night focuses on a fictional news program of the same name covering sports on the Continental Sports Channel much like the real SportsCenter does on ESPN. Sports Night dealt with the behind the scenes happenings of producing the fictional Sports Night as well as interpersonal relationships from those working on the show. Sports Night was certainly a precursor to the “fast paced, camera always moving” style series like the The West Wing is known for and is one heck of a good show to boot.

Now, several years after a disappointing bare bones DVD set was released for the series, comes Sports Night: The Complete Series 10th Anniversary Edition. This DVD set contains loads of extras including commentaries and documentaries focusing on the series. The eight-disk set, out now, contains all 55 episodes of the series and retails for around $70, which comes out to around $1.30 per episode – cheaper than iTunes!

Iron ManAlso out is (what I’m guessing at least) the first release for the movie Iron Man on DVD and Blue-ray. In Iron Man, industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds a conscience after years of producing and selling weapons to the military and learning that some of these weapons are ending up in the wrong hands.  

I don’t usually comment on the visual effects (VFX) of a movie. But in my opinion, the VFX of Iron Man was top notch. At times it was so good I could swear the filmmakers had spent billions developing a real suit of Iron Man armor that could fly supersonic, dodge missiles and do battle with the evil massive Iron Monger.

Let’s put it this way. When I was a kid and imagined what a real life Iron Man would look, act and move like, what I imagined is essentially what ended up in the movie Iron Man.

There are at least three different versions of the Iron Man DVD available along with a Blue-ray edition and digital downloads via Amazon and iTunes.

A lot of people really were critical of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Indy 4) when it was released in theaters last May, not liking its sci fi elements or the addition of Shia LaBeouf as Indy side kick “Mutt” Williams. But, to be honest, I actually kind’a dug Indy 4

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullLet’s put it this way, if you can accept in Raiders of the Lost Ark that Indy can hold onto a German sub as it sails hundreds of miles in the open sea from Africa to some Nazi stronghold island or in Temple of Doom that he, Short Round and Willie can jump out of a crashing airplane with only an inflatable raft between them and the ground – and can somehow survive the fall – then you’ll probably also be able to accept the events of Indy 4 as well.

Nearly 20 years in the making, in Indy 4, Jones (Harrison Ford) and "Mutt” race the Russians from the U.S. to Central America in order to find Professor Oxley (John Hurt) who may have made an incredible discovery in the field of archeology involving a mystical and almost magical crystal skull. Jones and Mutt want to rescue Oxley and find out the true nature of the skull while the Russians, lead by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), believe the skull can be used as a weapon against the U.S. in the Cold War.

Now, I’m not arguing that Indy 4 is going to win any Academy Awards next year, but I think it’s a fun “ride” movie that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is out on DVD and Blue-ray October 14.