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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Lost in America [Blu-ray]


(Albert Brooks, 1985)


Released in the UK on Blu-ray by Criterion in March of 2021:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: The Geffen Company

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #887



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:31:30.067

Disc Size: 45,788,024,956 bytes

Feature Size: 27,402,860,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.75 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 25th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none


New conversation with Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide (30:05)
New interviews with actor Julie Hagerty (11:15), executive producer Herb Nanas (11:51), and filmmaker and screenwriter James L. Brooks (14:33)

Trailer (2:39)
PLUS: An essay by critic Scott Tobias






Description: In this hysterical satire of Reagan-era values, written and directed by Albert Brooks, a successful Los Angeles advertising executive (Brooks) and his wife (Julie Hagerty) decide to quit their jobs, buy a Winnebago, and follow their Easy Rider fantasies of freedom and the open road. When a stop in Las Vegas nearly derails their plans, they’re forced to come to terms with their own limitations and those of the American dream. Brooks’s barbed wit and confident direction drive Lost in America, an iconic example of his restless comedies about insecure characters searching for satisfaction in the modern world that established his unique comic voice and transformed the art of observational humor.



The Film:

Albert Brooks, master of the slow burn, was the director and co-writer, with Monica Johnson, behind this masterful evisceration of the materialistic values of 1980s American yuppie culture. In a wicked parody of the Me Generation, Brooks' protagonists' ideals are presented as a dark reflection of the idealism that suffered such a hard death after the 1960s. Lost in America's satirical emulation of Easy Rider sees David and Linda Howard not traveling the American hinterland on a chopper but roaming interstates in a gas-hogging Winnebago and talking reverently of the cocoon-like comfort that their "nest egg" provides. Initially aimed at finding the "real" America (they want to "touch the Indians"), the journey ultimately leads to Las Vegas, the heart of the American Dream's darkness. The greed of an entire money-obsessed generation is spread out before us in these moments, and Brooks' ability to turn his horror and disgust into our amusement is without parallel in movies of the era. Implicit in his rage is a challenge issued to his generation: is this the best you can do? Both Brooks and Julie Hagerty distinguish themselves in a cast that includes a classic supporting performance by Garry Marshall, whose explanation of the purpose of a casino to a flustered and desperate Brooks is a masterpiece of comic understatement. Brooks is not exactly a visionary with a camera, but his dialogue sings, and his near-hysterical exasperation as David is exactly right for the movie, one of cinema's most effectively vicious and hilarious satires of the 1980s.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

A yuppie mid-life crisis is in the offing, and Albert Brooks has made it the basis for ''Lost in America,'' an inspired comedy in his own drily distinctive style. If Mr. Brooks isn't often laugh-out-loud funny, that's largely because so much of what he has to say is true. ''Lost in America'' follows the Howards, played by Mr. Brooks and Julie Hagerty, from a quiet dissatisfaction with their upwardly-mobile lives (''Nothing's changing anymore . . . we've just stopped ,'' Linda says) to an even bleaker realization of what their options may be. That it manages to find so much humor in so dismal a progression is amazing indeed.

The doggedness of Mr. Brooks's screen persona is his foremost survival skill, and as such it's part of his appeal. Applying his executive training, he finds himself eager to argue with anyone in his new capacity as a self-proclaimed social dropout. When Linda has too big a night in Las Vegas, for instance, David makes a stab at persuading the casino owner (Garry K. Marshall) that a show of generosity would be good for the place's image. This doesn't work. Neither do any of the other conversational gambits that have left David unqualified for anything but his previous job in advertising and his subsequent one as a grade-school crossing guard.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Lost in America looks thick on Blu-ray from Criterion and is cited as a "New, restored 2K digital transfer supervised by director Albert Brooks".  Of course, I couldn't find my DVD of the film, to compare, - that I have watched at least 20 times. It's surprising how heavy the Criterion 1080P transfer is. It looks strong in-motion, dark with true colors. The visuals are clean, rich, and consistent. There is minor depth and pleasing texture. This dual-layered Blu-ray, with max'ed out bitrate, reproduced, what we can only presume, is a highly accurate presentation.



















Audio :

Typically flat, linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps (24-bit) - the film has minimal effects but the dialogue is consistent and audible. The score is by Arthur B. Rubinstein (extensive TV work) that sounds quite bouncy at times. It sounds solid in the uncompressed transfer. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion include many new extras starting withy a 1/2 hour conversation with Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide as they discuss Brooks' unique humor, where it is derived from, Lost in America and other details. It was recorded by Criterion in 2017. There are also new interviews with actor Julie Hagerty for over 10-minutes, executive producer Herb Nanas who was Brooks longtime manager, and 1/4 hour with filmmaker and screenwriter James L. Brooks. There is also a trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Scott Tobias.




Lost in America is one of the best modern comedies I've ever seen. My friends and I are always quoting lines from it since it came out over 30-years ago.  It's brilliant - more power to the amazing Albert Brooks. I now subscribe to his twitter and always crave more of his humor. I hope Criterion bring Defending Your Life to Blu-ray, as well. This Criterion package is an easy recommendation. I'll not only continue to revisit this film for the rest of my life but also the supplements on this
Blu-ray. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

June 17th, 2017

Released in the UK on Blu-ray by Criterion in March of 2021:

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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