• Suckers (Synapse Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Synapse Films
    Released on: August 25th, 2020.
    Director: Roger Nygard
    Cast: Lori Loughlin, Daniel Benzali, Louis Mandylor
    Year: 1999
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    Suckers – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Roger Nygard, 1999’s Suckers introduces us to a man named Reggie (Daniel Benzali), who works as a used car salesman and who will stop at nothing to get the sale. In fact, he’s made a bit of a name for himself training the other recruits on his team to use similar tactics to his own and to simply not take no for an answer. He’s got plenty of tricks, but more importantly than that, he gets results.

    Donna DeLuca (Aunt Beckie herself, Lori Laughlin), desperately wants her husband Bobby (Louse Mandylor) to get a job and is pressuring him to apply at the dealership where Reggie works. Bobby’s in pretty dire straits, financially speaking, owing a sizeable amount of cash to the kind of people you don’t want to be in debt to, and so without much in the way of options, he enlists. Under Reggie’s tutelage, Bobby soon becomes adept at swindling customers out of their hard earned cash in exchange for less than perfect used cars, but it isn’t long before the loan sharks that Bobby is in debt to find out where he’s working and start paying him visits on the job.

    If you’ve ever had a job in sales, this one might hit a little close to home, particularly the training scenes and the Saturday morning meeting scenes where Reggie is getting his equally greedy cohorts amped up to really bringing those big weekend dollars. There are moments that will seem way too familiar to anyone with an attachment to the business, because as over the top as some of his tactics might seem, they’re very commonly used in sales training courses all over the globe.

    With that out of the way, as cringe-inducing as this might be for some viewers, more importantly than that Suckers is funny without ever feeling forced. The script, specifically the dialogue, all feels very real and does a great job of capturing the relationships that evolve out of a highly competitive work place. It’s quite blunt in its depiction of how all too many sales people see their customers not as people with needs to fill, but as money and nothing more. This leads to some very effective and believable comedy, with the different cast of salespeople trying hard not to show their true colors or, against type, occasionally having a change of heart and doing the right thing. Most of the salespeople in the film are shown not as villains, but as humans, doing what they need to do in order to make the money they need to survive, so the movie wisely opts not to paint everyone with the same brush that it paints Reggie, but it is frequently less than flattering in this area.

    Production values are decent enough for a scrappy little indie comedy. It’s paced well and nicely shot. Performances are all pretty solid, with Daniel Benzali stealing quite a few of the scenes from the rest of the cast.

    Suckers – Blu-ray Review:

    Suckers arrives on Blu-ray from Synapse Films taken from an ‘all-new 4K remaster supervised and approved by writer/director Roger Nygard.’ Presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.78.1 widescreen taking up 27.5GBs of space on the 50GB disc, the transfer is pretty much spotless. There’s very strong detail and clarity noticeable throughout and excellent color reproduction as well. There are no problems with noise reduction, edge enhancement or visible compression. The picture quality here is great.

    The disc also includes a brand-new DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix, in the film’s native English language. Clarity is very strong, no problems with any hiss or distortion to note at all. The levels are properly balanced throughout. Optional subtitles are provided in English and the original DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track is also included.

    The main extra for Suckers is an audio commentary with writer/director Roger Nygard, writer/actor Joe Yannetty, cinematographer Nathan Hope, actor/composer Jimmie Wood and composer JJ Holiday. It’s a busy and engaging track with a lot of information about where the ideas for this picture came from, shooting the film, writing the script, research that was done for the movie, what it was like on set, casting the film, location work and loads more.

    Also on hand are two-minutes’ of full frame, tape sourced with time code deleted scenes. There are two scenes here in total, Ice Cream vs. Bills and Donna Held Hostage During Robbery. The Raw Takes section is seven-minutes of just that, raw footage, four takes in general of the boardroom meeting scene. A theatrical trailer for Suckers is also included.

    The disc also contains a bonus feature in the form of bonus film Six Days In Roswell, presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition taking up 17.7GBs of space with a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track in English. There are no subtitles or alternate language options offered. This was released on DVD back in 2000 by Synapse but this offers a substantially better looking and sounding presentation.

    Shot in 1997 on the fiftieth anniversary of the supposed Roswell crash, this ‘documentary’ is hosted by Rich Kronfeld, a quirky man who heads to the site hoping that he can somehow himself be abducted by aliens. Here, Kronfeld finds himself among a wacky cast of UFO aficionados and believers of various kinds, joining in the celebration and occasionally even taking part in the festivities himself. Along the way, Kronfeld interviews various people who are a part of UFO culture, and learn very quickly how many of the people who have played a part in this hope to make money off of the celebration. It’s seriously entertaining stuff, a wild look at some of the fringe elements of American culture, with Kronfeld serving as the perfect master of ceremonies for this veritable circus.

    Extras for Six Days In Roswell includes an audio commentary with producer/editor Roger Nygard, director Timothy B. Johnson and actor Rich Kronfeld. It’s an interesting track that covers pretty much all you’d hope that it would, such as the origins of the project, working with limited means to finish the film, shooting out in the desert, working with the different people we see pop up in front of the camera and a whole lot of other stuff related to the picture’s history.

    A featurette called The Making Of Six Days In Roswell is also included. It's a twenty-minute featurette that includes interviews with director Timothy B. Johnson, Roger Nygard and video producer/director Brian Dellis. It's an interesting enough look behind the scenes even if it does cover some of the same ground as the commentary track. There is a fair bit of behind the scenes footage here but there are some pertinent clips and photographs used throughout, though it's the interview clips that have the most worth.

    The original trailer for Six Days In Roswell is also included and the disc contains menus and chapter selection options for both features.

    Suckers – The Final Word:

    Having known absolutely nothing about Suckers before going in, the film turned out to be a pleasant surprise, a comedy with some edge to it that works quite well. Synapse has done a very nice job bringing it to Blu-ray with a very impressive presentation and a host of extra features. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Suckers screen caps!