Review: Jake’s Corner DVD

STUDIO: Monterey | DIRECTOR: Jeff Santo | STARS: Richard Tyson, Diane Ladd, Danny Trejo, Tony Longo, BJ Thomas
RELEASE DATE: 3/2/2010 | PRICE: DVD $26.95
BONUSES: behind-the-scenes footage with B.J. Thomas, Fox News segment with director, more
SPECS: PG | 97 min. | Drama | 2.40:1 matte | 5.1 Surround | no subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

First off, Jake’s Corner star Richard Tyson (Moscow Heat, The Glass Cage) and supporting players Tony Longo (The Cooler) and Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn) are three guys who usually pop up playing bad-asses in movies big and small, so it’s nice to see them taking a breather from the fisticuffs and snagging a paycheck on a family-friendly independent film. And a very pleasant one, too.

Tyson is an ex-football star who retired early in his career to open the titular watering hole in a small Arizona town. Tyson’s life — and those of the townsfolk who work, drink and hang at Jake’s Corner — gets a bit livelier when his nephew Spence (13-year-old Colton Rodgers in his debut) is forced to live with his uncle following the death of his parents in a car crash, which Spence thinks they’re recovering from in a hospital. As is predictably but sweetly the case, Spence’s innocence and faith leaves its mark on everyone, all of whom are quietly coping with their own personal tragedies.

Unobtrusively mounted by writer/director Jeff Santo (whose 2004 This Old Cub is one of the great baseball documentaries of the last decade) and warmly shot by Paul Sanchez, Jake’s Corner clicks with its subtlety and clearly etched characters. Even the spiritual message about belief in a higher power and its help in reflecting on one’s life is presented with a gentle clarity that avoids being preachy.

Also featured in the ensemble are Diane Ladd (Chinatown) as a seemingly wacky trailer park denizen and songster BJ Thomas of “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” fame who performs five numbers in his role as the bar’s house musician.

Thomas is featured in a behind-the-scenese featurette on the DVD, and Santo talks up the film in a Fox News segment. All in all, the disc offers a decent special features package for a small film from a small DVD supplier.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.