The glory days of Saturday Night Live are long since gone. While the show generally offers a great opening sketch, you might has well turn it off after that and concentrate on your butterfly decoupage project. However, when some of the old guard returns, there is still an inkling of the clever routines that once made SNL "must-see" TV. This weekend, for example, Will Ferrell returned for one of his Celebrity Jeopardy tournaments, portraying the show's host, Alex Trebek. For non-American readers, Jeopardy is generally praised for being one of the few remaining game shows that rewards intellect over theatrics. However, when the program occasionally invites celebrities on, it is mocked for having to dumb-down the questions. In the SNL routine, Tom Hanks appears as himself in a self-deprecating manner and squares off against Darrell Hammond's hilarious, sex-obsessed Sean Connery. Norm McDonald also returns to do his impeccable Burt Reynolds impersonation. To view click here
The Warner Archive, which offers a treasure trove of burn-to-order DVDs for consumers, has made available Soldier in the Rain, the 1963 comedy starring the oddball pairing of Steve McQueen and Jackie Gleason as two U.S. Army con men who live the easy life on a military base by swindling virtually everyone they encounter. Gleason is the top sergeant and the brains of the operation, while McQueen, playing against type, is his doofy Gomer Pyle-like right hand man. The two manage to connive their way out of doing any heavy lifting during their work day, and in the evening find ways to seduce impressionable women. The film was not well-reviewed in its day and was considered rather racy, with its abundance of sex jokes. However, I've always found it very enjoyable, even though McQueen is miscast. The centerpiece of the film is really Gleason, who is in top form as the crooked sergeant who knows all the angles. Critics complained about the climax of the film, which suddenly deviates from a comedy to a violent action sequence that still shocks in terms of its brutality. For my money, it's one of the screen's best brawl sequences, rivaling even that great pool room scene in Clint Eastwood's Coogan's Bluff. The film also benefits from a good supporting cast that includes Tony Bill, Tuesday Weld, Tom Poston and Adam West. Click here to order - and check out the latest batch of movies available only through the Warner Archive.