One of silent film’s biggest stars, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), enlists the talents of a down-on-his-luck Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) to help edit a screenplay she wrote in hopes of launching her big comeback. Little does Gillis know, the poor lady is off her rocker. But when you’re broke, you have to take work when you can get it. The pair watch her old movies with her trusty butler—who hides his own dirty secret—at the helm of the camera, but the more time Gillis spends with the ex-starlet, the more he becomes accustomed to the lavish lifestyle she provides him.
Steve Martin stars as Neal Page, an uptight advertising executive who misses his scheduled flight from New York to Chicago when an obnoxious salesman steals his cab. As fate would have it, the cab thief turns out to be a shower curtain ring salesman (John Candy) who just happens to sit next to Neal on his flight home. Due to inclement weather, their plane is diverted to Wichita, and when they land, Neal fails to secure a place to stay for the evening. Lucky for him, his new “friend” has booked the last room in town. Thus begins a relationship made in heaven—or hell, depending on your perspective.
In many ways, Norman Babcock is a typical kid trying to find his way in the world. He enjoys watching TV with his grandma, gets bullied at school, and what he wants more than anything is acceptance. Unfortunately, Norman has a certain ability that seems to turn people off—he can see and speak with the dead. In fact, his grandma has been dead for a while, and whenever he mentions to his family that he enjoys spending time with her, Mom and Dad kind of freak out. Poor Norman is considered the town freak of Blithe Hollow because of his ability, but little do the townspeople know that the young man is about to save them from a witch who was executed more than 300 years earlier and is seeking her pound of flesh.
Emotiva UMC-200 Preamp/Processor Audio Performance Video Performance Features Ergonomics Value
Price: $599 At A Glance: Audiophile audio quality at a bargain price • Customizable EQ solution • Outstanding value
I’m not an engineer, and no, I don’t play one on TV either, although I’ve been around the A/V business long enough to know the technological challenges manufacturers face when creating a new pre/pro or AVR from the ground up. This is especially hard for smaller companies with limited budgets in an HDMI-enabled world.
If you aren’t a fan of 1980s rock music or musicals, stop reading right now and save yourself a few minutes because you’ll absolutely hate this movie otherwise. For those of you who have stuck around, you’ll absolutely love this movie—as long as you aren’t turned off by actors bursting out in song in the middle of a scene.
Audio Performance Video Performance Features Ergonomics Value
Price: $900 At A Glance: Fabulous video processing • Audyssey MultEQ XT enabled • Apple AirPlay enabled
With over 100 years of history behind it, Denon Electronics has high standards for any product it releases. And in my experience, it generally delivers the goods. Its AVRs (audio/video receivers) are often among the best on the market and run the gamut from the budget category all the way up to high-end models that will set you back a few months’ worth of mortgage payments.
AV8801 Surround Processor Audio Performance Video Performance Features Ergonomics Value MM8077 Amplifier Performance Features Ergonomics Value
Price: AV8801, $3,599; MM8077, $2,399 At a Glance: Up to 11.2-channel playback with Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Sub EQ HT Apple AirPlay support
As A/V enthusiasts, we are constantly on the lookout for the best audio and video we can find, and when we reach that state of nirvana, we enjoy our equipment until the next CES or CEDIA when we then hear about something new and begin to worry that our system will soon be second best. Writing for Home Theater makes me an unwilling accomplice in this never-ending cycle of upgrade-itis, but truth be told, I’m just as affected by this as the rest of you. Thankfully, I’m able to get my fix by having lots of equipment moving through my rack, but every now and then, I fall in love with a piece and don’t want it to leave my possession.
Kicked out of his band and desperate for work, Dewey Finn intercepts a call meant for his roommate and lands an extended gig as a substitute teacher at Horace Green Elementary, a $15,000-per-year private school in the Northeast. The school’s uptight principal suspects something is amiss when the new teacher is less concerned about the students and is more interested in when the school day ends, but he gets the gig anyway. Dewey’s attitude changes when he hears the kids in their music class and realizes they have some serious potential if he can take them under his wing. He forms his own “classroom band” and involves the entire class with a costume designer, backup singers, security, and even a band manager with two goals in mind—to not get caught by the principal and to win the local Battle of the Bands contest.
Tom and Violet had the makings of a beautiful relationship. They met at a New Year’s Eve costume party in San Francisco, and exactly one year later, Tom popped the question on a rooftop building with the lit-up Bay Bridge in the background—only in the movies. While in the process of picking a wedding date, Violet gets a chance to study for a year with a noted professor of psychology at University of Michigan. Tom puts his career on hold to allow his future bride to further her education. Her initial study was only supposed to last one year but turns into a permanent position when the professor has ulterior motives. Can their relationship survive?
Outlaw Model 975 Surround Processor Audio Performance Video Performance Features Ergonomics Value
Price: $549 At A Glance: Audiophile audio quality • Excellent customer service • Meets or exceeds performance of processors costing multiples of its price
Remember the days when being the middleman of a business transaction reaped all kinds of rewards? Times have certainly changed in this regard with the invention of the Internet. The traditional distribution channels for electronics have been reshaped, and businesses that can't adapt—Circuit City, The Good Guys, and many specialty A/V retailers—are either extinct or on the express train to bankruptcy court. I'm talking about you, Best Buy.
How consumers buy electronics has evolved to where Amazon.com is king of the world, but there are some companies out there that are adapting in a different way. Outlaw Audio is a great example of this.