Archive for the ‘Eighth Grade (2018)’ Category

Blu-ray Cover.jpg

Distributor: Lionsgate Films

Release Date: October 09, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:33:38

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Ratio: 1.85:1

Notes: This title is also available in the DVD format.

Growing up has always been hard. However, it is nearly impossible in this age where teenagers see magazine pages filled with flawless photoshopped images of models, films that feature characters with perfect bodies and radiant skin, and social media posts from individuals who filter the flaws from their selfies and post updates that are designed to create the illusion that they are living perfect lives. Worse, middle school and high school hallways usually have a small handful of boys and girls that seem to validate the legitimacy of these unrealistic images. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that these hallways are also littered with sociopaths who make it their mission to invalidate and abuse anyone who doesn’t fit into their particular clique. Everyone is someone else’s scapegoat. The social structure of the typical school isn’t unlike that of a prison—and this isn’t hyperbole. It would be nearly impossible not to develop an unhealthy dysmorphophobia about one’s image and an overwhelming amount of social anxiety.

This is why Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade is such a remarkable film. It taps painfully into this teenage hell with the occasional dose of awkward humor. Elsie Fisher is an attractive teenager, but she is allowed to be a human being here. Her body isn’t at all toned or athletic, her acne-prone skin is on full display, and these things are shown without ever becoming a story point. It is simply her reality. People need to see real people with everyday flaws in the films that are being released. Impressionable minds rarely take into account that the seemingly perfect-looking actors who saturate most mainstream films have personal trainers and a top-notch hair and make-up team to create this illusion (not to mention the fact that they are occasionally “digitally enhanced”). Films should, above all, attempt to arrive at some sort of truth, and Fisher deserves a lot of credit for allowing her true image to be photographed. Her flaws are one of Eighth Grade’s most beautiful attributes, and her performance here is really quite remarkable (not to mention remarkably brave).

The film covers quite a bit of territory: social anxiety, the pressure to sexualize one’s self for the attention or validation of others, sexual harassment amongst one’s peers, the heartbreak of feeling invisible, and so much more. This is proof that small movies about “everyday” concerns can pack a powerful punch and become successful at the box office. These may be small subjects but they have enormous power. It is time for the film industry to wake up and offer audiences more films about true to life problems instead of the brainless stream of generic comic book movies that studios have been dumping into theaters with such mind-numbing regularity.

The Presentation:

4 of 5 Stars

Lionsgate houses their disc in a standard Blu-ray case featuring a sleeve with artwork taken from the film’s original one-sheet. The difference here is that the image has been cropped at the top and bottom and the review blurb included is from Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) instead of Kate Erbland (Indiewire). The first pressing includes an O-sleeve featuring this same artwork.

One Sheet

The animated menus utilize footage from the film and are both attractive and intuitive to navigate.

Picture Quality:

4 of 5 Stars

Lionsgate’s 1080P transfer is quite solid. Colors appear accurate and natural throughout, fine detail is usually perfectly respectable (although Kayla’s video blogs are intentionally shown with less resolution), black levels are fine and do not seem to crush pertinent information. There are no distracting compression issues to report either. There is really no room for complaint.

Sound Quality:

4 of 5 Stars

The included 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track certainly showcases the film’s unusual music admirably and with great dynamic range. Other elements are also well handled and admirably prioritized with the sometimes mumbled lines of dialogue always coming across clearly. Most would probably agree that the mix isn’t terribly dynamic as surround activity is rather modest, but one must take into account the sort of film that they are watching. There are certainly a few directional effects on display throughout the length of the film. Reasonable viewers should be pleased.

Special Features:

2.5 of 5 Stars

Audio Commentary with Bo Burnham (Director) and Elsie Fisher (Actress)

Burnham’s informal conversation with Fisher is engaging enough for a single listen and will probably please most fans of the film. However, those who listen to these tracks for technical information, insight into the director’s artistic approach, production anecdotes, or anything else that might have been of practical use to the future filmmakers of tomorrow will find the track wanting. Basically, what we learn here is that the film was originally titled, “The Coolest Girl in the World” and that both parties are quite pleased with the final result.

Deleted Scenes – (11:55)

This is without a doubt the best supplement included on the disc. We are given a handful of deleted and extended scenes that were taken out of the final assembly of Eighth Grade and fans will be thrilled to have them here.

You’re Not Alone: Life in Eighth Grade – (14:49)

Those hoping for a comprehensive glimpse behind the making of Eighth Grade will be disappointed to find that this short featurette is simply a better than average EPK reel that finds Bo Burnham, Elsie Fisher, and a few of the other actors discussing the film’s story and themes in an extremely general way. There are a few brief glimpses at the cast and crew shooting the film, but this is really all anyone should expect.

Music Video – (02:33)

Frankly, this doesn’t add much to the package. It is a waste of disc space. They simply took footage from the film and applied various filters that make it look quasi-psychedelic (sort of like a really bad Instagram filter). This is accompanied by a piece of instrumental music from the actual movie. I would have preferred to have the film’s original theatrical trailer included here instead.

Final Words:

Eighth Grade has been embraced by audiences and critics for very good reasons. More small stories like this should be made. This is a Blu-ray that comes highly recommended!

Advertisements