• Dudes

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: October 10th, 2017.
    Director: Penelope Spheeris
    Cast: Jon Cryer, Daniel Roebuck, Lee Ving, Catherine Mary Stewart, Flea, Pete Wilcox
    Year: 1987
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    The Movie:

    Dudes, directed by Penelope Spheeries (she of The Decline Of Western Civilization fame) tells the story of Grant (John Cryer), Biscuit (Daniel Roebuck) and Milo (Flea). This trio of New York City street punks has grown to be unhappy with life in the big city. Milo literally tells Biscuit that he’s sick of waiting for the world to end. To cure what ails them, they decide to hop into an old Volkswagen and head west to start a new life in sunny California.

    Along the way, obviously, they stop to rest one night, setting up a makeshift camp out in the desert. It’s here that the trio comes under attack from a gang of redneck bikers led by Missoula (Lee Ving). Grand and Biscuit manage to get to safety but in the attack Milo is shot dead. The two survivors go to the cops, but they boys in blue don’t seem particularly interested in help two young punks. As such, they decide to see that justice is served on their own terms and they decide to follow Missoula’s gang through the old west and pay them back in kind. As they go about this, Grant starts to have strange dreams that inspire him to embrace the cowboy lifestyle while Biscuit hallucinates, gets a visit from a Native American spirit, and begins to channel those traits himself. Along the way they get help from a tough but foxy tow truck driver named Jessie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and a “Horse trader, snake charmer, marriage counselor, divorce lawyer, musician, poker player, stunt driver, dowser, clairvoyant, actor, poet” Elvis impersonator/bullfighter named Daredelvis (Pete Wilcox).

    Shot in and around Cottonwood, Arizona and set to a killer soundtrack made up of contributions from the likes of Leather Nun, Faster Pussycat, The Vandals, Jane’s Addiction, W.A.S.P., Carl Perkins, Earnest Tubb and more, Dudes is a pretty fun way to kill an hour and a half. The desert locations feel ‘right’ for the film and give it some nice, appropriately arid atmosphere. The music works well in the context of the world that Spheeris and writer Randall Johnson have created in the film, the material playing to the director’s knack for capturing subcultures on film with authenticity (the aforementioned Decline films and Suburbia standing as the best examples, but Wayne’s World probably counts too).

    Grant, Biscuit and Milo are all pretty likeable – relatable, even, if you were ever a disenfranchised youth – and the cast play the parts well. There’s a good sense of humor to all of this and some decent action here as well. The supporting cast tends to steal a few scenes, however. Wilcox is awesome as Daredevlis, putting just enough swagger into the role to make it work. Catharine Mary Stewart is also really well cast as Jessie. She’s tough, smart, sexy and strong – an interesting character and a great role for the actress. Of course, there’s also Lee Ving to discuss. Here the frontman for FEAR is in fine form, chewing through the scenery in the best way possible and really getting into his character.


    Dudes, which never had a DVD release, comes to Blu-ray from Shout! Factory’s Shout Select imprint in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. No complaints here, really, the transfer is quite nice. Detail is solid throughout and color reproduction looks good. The image is very clean, showing no print damage outside of a few small white specks here and there. Grain appears naturally throughout, and there’s no evidence of any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression problems.

    The only audio option provided is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track. It sounds just fine, with clean, clear and properly balanced dialogue throughout. There are no audible issues with any hiss or distortion and the film’s ever important soundtrack has some nice punch to it. Optional subtitles are provided in English.

    There’s a surprisingly strong array of extra features included on this disc, starting with a thirty-two minute featurette entitled Duckie Dude wherein Jon Cryer is interviewed by director Penelope Spheeris. They talk about working together on the film, Cryer’s characters, his co-stars and more. Up next is Suburbia Dude, another interview conducted by Spheeries, this time a twenty-six minute long talk with Flea. Similar topics are covered here, with the two going into detail about how and why he landed the part and what he was able to bring to the movie. In the thirteen minute long Dude Looks Like A Lady we get to sit down with actress Catherine Mary Stewart who speaks pretty candidly about her experiences working on the picture, how she got the part and her co-stars. Mohawk Dude is a twenty-five minute long piece where Spheeris chats to Daniel Roebuck. He shares some amusing stories from the shoot and talks about his role at length. Writer And Producer Dudes gets writer J. Randall Jahnson and producer Miguel Tejada-Flores in front of the camera for fourteen minutes. Here they talk about where the ideas for the picture came from, what went into writing the film, working alongside Spheeris to get it made and more.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is an original theatrical trailer, a short but interesting vintage Making Of Dudes featurette, a still gallery, animated menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie is also included.

    The Final Word:

    Dudes is a different kind of western/road movie but damn it all if it isn’t a ridiculously entertaining picture. Spheeris keeps things moving at a great pace, the movie is really well cast and the performers are a blast to watch. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray debut is a good one, presenting the film in excellent shape, with strong audio and an impressive array of extras. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!