Happiness

Happiness

4.5 2
Director: Todd Solondz

Cast: Jane Adams, Dylan Baker, Lara Flynn Boyle

     
 

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Arguably one of the most disturbing black comedies ever committed to film, Todd Solondz's Happiness finds its way to DVD courtesy of Trimark Home Video in a markedly bare-bones package that gives a fairly decent presentation of the film, though not much more. The crisp and sharp image, presented letterboxed at 1.85:1, bears little evidence of artifacting orSee more details below

Overview

Arguably one of the most disturbing black comedies ever committed to film, Todd Solondz's Happiness finds its way to DVD courtesy of Trimark Home Video in a markedly bare-bones package that gives a fairly decent presentation of the film, though not much more. The crisp and sharp image, presented letterboxed at 1.85:1, bears little evidence of artifacting or film grain and is the highlight of the disc. Offering lush greens, vivid blues, and bright yellows in addition to attractive flesh tones, the image remains true to the cinematographer's vision, complementing the garish suburban color scheme. The audio is presented in English Dolby Surround, and while adequate and fitting considering the film consists mostly of dialogue and has little need for a complex auditory scheme, it still might have fared well with a Dolby Digital mix. The large and easy-to-read yellow subtitles are offered in English, French, or Spanish and are fairly unintrusive though they are presented within the letterboxed image. The gaudily colorful but blocky and plain title menu fits well with the film and is easy to navigate, with "Special Features" including brief filmographies of cast and crew, a trailer for the film, and an Easter egg in the form of trailers for three other Trimark Home Video releases. Overall this is a decent presentation of the film, though a director's commentary offering Solondz's insight into this bleak interpretation of suburban life might have been an insightful treat that would have compensated for some of the disc's shortcomings.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Easily one of the 1990s' most controversial films, Happiness evoked a broad range of opinions and emotions. Writer/director Todd Solondz, who debuted with Welcome to the Dollhouse, a portrait of suburbia as the site of a young girl's misery, followed it up with this troubling and thought-provoking exploration of the unhappiness that lurks behind the facades of normality. Some viewers objected to (or were impressed by) the frank depictions and descriptions of sex and masturbation, others were disturbed (or impressed) by the very idea of humanizing a pedophile by showing us the world through his eyes, and still others were troubled (or exhilarated) by that fact that they were laughing through it all. Where some critics saw daring originality, others saw self-conscious shock. Diverse story lines are skillfully balanced, and Solondz coaxes great performances from his varied cast. Love it or hate it, few viewers could deny Solondz's success in ensuring that a scene in which the pederast explains himself to his son is one of the most chilling and unforgettable of the decade. The movie may not always be pleasant to watch, but it is startlingly effective in making us consider the banal evil that goes hand in hand with our quest for happiness.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/27/1999
UPC:
0031398702337
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
NR
Source:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[stereo]
Time:
2:19:00
Sales rank:
31,894

Special Features

Widescreen version; 2.0 Dolby stereo Surround Sound; Digitally mastered; Interactive menus; Scene access; Cast and crew information; Spanish, English, and French subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jane Adams Joy Jordan
Dylan Baker Bill Maplewood
Lara Flynn Boyle Helen Jordan
Ben Gazzara Lenny Jordan
Jared Harris Vlad
Philip Seymour Hoffman Allen
Jon Lovitz Andy Kornbluth
Marla Maples Ann Chambeau
Cynthia Stevenson Trish Maplewood
Elizabeth Ashley Diane Freed
Louise Lasser Mona Jordan
Camryn Manheim Kristina
Rufus Read Billy Maplewood
Anne Bobby Rhonda
Dan Moran Joe Grasso
Evan Silverberg Johnny Grasso

Technical Credits
Todd Solondz Director,Screenwriter
Maryse Alberti Cinematographer
John Bruce Art Director
Neil Danziger Sound/Sound Designer
Therese DePrez Production Designer
Nicholas Evans Set Decoration/Design
Jude Gorjanc Asst. Director
Ann Goulder Casting
Ted Hope Producer
Susan Jacobs Musical Direction/Supervision
Robbie Kondor Score Composer
David Linde Executive Producer
Kathryn Nixon Costumes/Costume Designer
Alan Oxman Editor
Jim Ryan Animator
James Schamus Executive Producer
Christine Vachon Producer
Damien Volpe Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Scene Index
0. Scene Index
1. Ashtray [6:12]
2. Dozen Eggs [3:18]
3. Elevator [2:58]
4. Sibling Nonsense [3:11]
5. No Problem [3:49]
6. Used as a Verb [4:17]
7. Face-lift [4:46]
8. State of Irony [4:12]
9. Rejection [1:25]
10. Cubicle [4:11]
11. Everything [3:26]
12. Scab [2:47]
13. Professional [2:32]
14. Tuna Sandwich [4:33]
15. Morning [2:18]
16. Home [1:58]
17. Measure [2:32]
18. Fresh Start [3:03]
19. Small Talk [3:11]
20. Busted [2:33]
21. Get Out [4:11]
22. New Jersey [4:24]
23. Tea [3:57]
24. Morning After [2:35]
25. Hospital [1:56]
26. 13 [3:53]
27. Return [3:45]
28. Tunisia [4:49]
29. Acceptance [2:58]
30. Pluses and Minuses [8:48]
31. Redial [5:35]
32. Loan [5:07]
33. Police [5:38]
34. Heart to Heart [4:36]
35. To Happiness [5:12]
36. End Credits [4:57]

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