This week, our resident movie reviewer, Jeremy Morrison, is back with a fresh review of one of Olive Films most exciting new releases, “The Ratings Game,” directed by the legendary Danny Devito and starring Devito, Rhea Perlman, Gerrit Graham, Louis Giambalvo and Vincent Schiavelli.
First, a quick synopsis of this release: The Ratings Game stars Danny DeVito as a New Jersey trucking magnate who’s only dream is hitting it big as a Hollywood producer. Luckily for him, he has a girlfriend (Rhea Perlman, TV’s Cheers) who works for the TV ratings service. Together they pull off a hilarious scam on television’s sacred ratings system. DeVito makes his directorial debut with this critically acclaimed satire.
The Ratings Game features an impressive cast that includes Gerrit Graham (Phantom of the Paradise), Louis Giambalvo (Weekend at Bernie’s), Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns), Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Barry Corbin (TV’s Northern Exposure), Michael Richards (TV’s Seinfeld), Ronny Graham (Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood), Huntz Hall (The Bowery Boys) with a cameo by Jerry Seinfeld (TV’s Seinfeld).
SPECIAL FEATURES: • Collection of rare short films directed by Danny DeVito • Collector’s booklet • Behind the scenes featurette • Deleted scenes
REVIEW: A TV Movie from 1984, “The Ratings Game” first debuted on The Showtime network. A fun glimpse inside how show ratings work, even today, when the practice is dated and out of touch with the advent of the DVR and various streaming devices. The film was directed by and stars Danny Devito, and stars all of his friends in the industry like Vincent Schiavelli, Frank Sivero, and Rhea Perlman, his wife of many years, just to name a few.
“The Ratings Game” is a fabulous effort by Devito who plays Vic de Salvo, a would-be television producer that has recently come into some money and is desperate to fit in on the Hollywood Scene. After several failed attempts at various networks around town, de Salvo manages to weasel his way in to the office of a recently fired network programmer for the struggling MBC Network. As a fuck you of sorts, the disgruntled former employee green lights de Salvo’s project and rushes the series to pilot.
Garrit Graham plays the sleazy Network President with the right amount of ooze. After the taping of de Salvo’s uninspired pilot, Graham’s Parker Braithwaite announces to de Salvo his plan to bury the pilot premiere in October against game 7 of the World Series. Luckily for de Salvo and his gang of mafia pals turned celebrity entourage, de Salvo has been falling in love with Rhea Perlman’s Francine Kester, and wouldn’t you know it, Francine happens to work at the very firm that collates all of the ratings data across America.
Once de Salvo’s property is an over night success, MBC finds itself in a tight spot and look to de Salvo to help turn the fledgling network around.
THE VERDICT: “The Ratings Game” has a lot going for it. I found myself loving it more than originally anticipated and would highly recommend the blu-ray to any fan of industry satire. The disc also comes packed with bonus content in the form of a featurette, deleted scenes, and a handful of Danny Devito’s short films.
Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder