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NFL Greatest Follies Complete Collection

Warner Bros. // Unrated // May 17, 2005
List Price: $26.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted May 13, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Follies

As a huge fan of NFL football (and no, not just my beloved Philadelphia Eagles), I was pretty psyched to sit down and enjoy (and then review) NFL Films' new 2-disc collection of NFL Follies. But I was only about ten minutes into the first feature before it hit me:

"How the hell are you going to review this thing? It's nothing more than a bunch of football bloopers, blunders, and bald-faced badness!"

So to those perhaps unfamiliar with the astonishing intricacies and subtle nuances of Football Follies, here's a quick lesson:

Goofy things happen on a football field. Quite often, in fact. That's what happens when you have 22 massive guys chasing down an oddly-shaped ball that likes to bounce in the most unlikely of directions. And since there's about 614 cameras running at every NFL game, you'll find no shortage of goofy gridiron gaffes to fill a bunch of video-tapes, or in this case, 2 whole DVDs.

NFL Films has been producing the Football Follies collections since way back in 1968, and this new 2-disc DVD set delivers some of the coolest compilations -- with one glaring exception. But more on that later. Let's start at the beginning.

Disc 1

The Football Follies (1968) - The forefather of all football folly-fests, this original collection is so old that it doesn't even feature the immortal John Facenda as narrator! This are your father's (OK, grandfather's) NFL foul-ups, but I must admit that it's fun to revisit the ancient days of the NFL -- and realize that there were some seriously clueless players back in the day. (21:37)

The Son of Football Follies (1976) - Nobody's exempt from making a nation-wide spectacle of themself when the cameras are on; not the players, the refs, the fans or the coaches. This second collection of flubs and flounderings features the voice-over talents of John Facenda (who would soon become knows as the voice of NFL Films) and Mel Blanc. Yes, that Mel Blanc! It's a little disconcerting to hear Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig poke fun at the hulking football players, but hey, screw up big-time in the NFL, and you'll soon be immortalized forever. (21:42)

NFL Follies Go To Hollywood (1983) - Movies are theme this time around, as numerous knuckleheaded mistakes are presented in "movie trailer" format. Horror, mystery, drama, and disaster collide as kickers, quarterbacks and wide receivers trip, tackle, and collide all over the field. (22:22)

Disc 2

NFL's Greatest 100 Follies (1994) - Ranking the blunders into a Top 100 seems like a pretty cool idea ... so why not present the clips in order? Aside from the top (bottom?) ten, the clips are delivered all ajumble, which makes little sense. But this is probably still the very best bunch of blunders from both discs. Plus it has my #1 favorite piece of NFL infamy: The Miracle at the Meadowlands! (49:38)

Talkin' Follies (1997) - Remember earlier when I hinted that one of the six features really kinda ... stinks? Well, this is the one. Picture this: you're watching an NFL game with the sound on mute. In walks a drunk friend who's just sure he's the funniest guy in a 12-mile radius, and he breaks out his box of goofy voices and proceeds to talk along with the game. In Talkin' Follies you'll see a coach pick up the sideline phone as a helium-voiced narrator says "Uh, yeah. I'd like to order a pizza..." Yeah. It's that kind of "hilarity." And this stuff just goes on and on forever; maybe 10% of this entire feature offers any worthwhile "follies." The rest feels like a really bad episode of Saturday Night Live. (41:56)

21st Century Follies (2000) - Modern-day NFL craziness, from the rabid tailgating fans to the frequently exasperated coaching staffs to a whole host of bumbling ball-handlers. Fans of the most recent NFL seasons will want to start with this well-produced and entertaining collection (55:39), and then work your way backwards - skipping over Talkin' Follies entirely. Trust me on this.

The DVD

Video: Obviously all six features are presented in a Fullscreen format, and the picture quality improves as the years go by. The earliest "Follies" collections are predictably bleached out, grainy, and full of old flaws -- but they just add to the charm. By the time you get to the "21st Century" collection, your eyes will have re-adjusted quite well.

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Does the job crisply and effectively, but it's not an aural presentation to blow your lobes off or anything. Optional English subtitles are offered, which was a classy touch on WB's part.

Extras: Nada, unless you count the subtitles.

Final Thoughts

Frankly I'd rather spend a few hours with the "100 Greatest NFL Plays" or even those awesome "Bone Cruncher" collections, but this 2-platter compendium of Football Follies, full of NFL nuttiness both antiquated and current, should certainly prove to be a good time for the pigskin-addicted. It's not high art, but it's the stuff we're compelled to watch in between NFL seasons. Yes, we football fans are just that addicted to the game.

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