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Blu-ray Review: Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)

December 13, 2021

By John Corrado

The MTV animated series Beavis and Butt-Head was a pop culture staple of the 1990s, following the misadventures of two idiot teenaged slackers voiced by the show’s creator, Mike Judge.

A feature length film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, was released in theatres at the height of the show’s popularity on December 20th, 1996 and was very successful, debuting atop the box office and having the biggest December opening of its time (a record that was incidentally broken by Scream 2 a year later). Now Paramount is celebrating the movie’s 25th anniversary with a new Blu-ray edition.

The film begins with couch potatoes Beavis and Butt-Head waking up to find their TV stolen. In their attempts to get it back, they end up being hired by a drunk hitman (Bruce Willis) to “do” his wife (Demi Moore) in Las Vegas. Thinking they are gonna “score” with a babe, Beavis and Butt-Head end up on a plane and bus trip across America, inadvertently becoming wanted fugitives smuggling a dangerous bio-weapon. Along the way, the boys encounter an ATF agent (Robert Stack) with a penchant for cavity searches, and a nice old lady (Cloris Leachman) who is hard of hearing.

There’s also, of course, the emergence of Beavis’ caffeine-induced alter-ego Cornholio. Yeah, it’s a lot, but Beavis and Butt-Head Do America moves at a fast-pace and is still pretty amusing in a juvenile sort of way. The film mixes the show’s crude drawing style and even cruder humour, as the two disaffected youth at its centre move through the plot making scatological jokes and giggling over funny words, with little clue or care about the havoc they are causing in their wake.

It’s all incredibly stupid but also kinda clever in that Mike Judge sort of way. Judge, who would go on to make the live action satires Office Space and Idiocracy, both cult classics in their own right, uses Beavis and Butt-Head’s puerile and single-minded journey to offer some sly commentary on a generation raised on television, with selfishness and stupidity seen as virtues. I think it holds up pretty well two-and-a-half decades later, and fans of the film and characters should be quite happy with this Blu-ray release.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray ports of a variety of legacy bonus features, which compliment the film quite nicely. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package.

Commentary by Mike Judge and Yvette Kaplan

The Big Picture (22 minutes, 42 seconds): Mike Judge, animation director Yvette Kaplan and other members of the production team reflect on the making of the film, and its surprise box office success, in this archival featurette. Judge talks about adapting the show for movie screens with fuller animation, how MTV initially wanted to do it in live action, how they got celebrities (Willis, Moore, Leachman and Stack) to voice supporting characters, and the Rob Zombie hallucination scene.

We’re Gonna Score! Scoring Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (10 minutes, 57 seconds): A surprisingly interesting featurette that finds composer John Frizzell talking about his use of music in the film, his ironic choice to do a big orchestral score for an animated comedy, and taking inspiration from Elmer Bernstein.

The Smackdown (2 minutes, 33 seconds): A highlight reel of various smacks, slaps and punches from the film.

MTV News Celebrity Shorts: Kurt Loder hosts these brief celebrity “interviews,” which aired on MTV in 1996 as part of a “moronathon” to advertise the release of the movie. It’s like a blast from the past.

Jennifer Tilly (1 minute, 8 seconds)

Steve Buscemi (1 minute, 38 seconds)

Snoop Dogg (48 seconds)

Trailers

Teaser Trailer 1 (35 seconds)

Teaser Trailer 2 (46 seconds)

TV Spots (6 minutes, 10 seconds): A dozen TV spots from the time of the film’s release, with the first few featuring Judge “directing” the two stars on set.

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 80 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: December 7th, 2021

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