Home Video Picks & Passes 02.18.18

A pick for President's Day

The Star (2017) — PASS

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) — PICK

Henry Fonda’s best-known performance as a legendary historical character in a John Ford film is as Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine. Yet Fonda was more aptly cast five years earlier in their lesser-known first collaboration, Young Mr. Lincoln, new on Blu-ray from Criterion.

Rangy, folksy, slow-spoken and self-deprecating, Fonda inhabits the young Honest Abe persona as comfortably and naturally as his frontier accouterments.

Like My Darling Clementine, Young Mr. Lincoln isn’t much for history, but it’s good, old-fashioned Americana hokum as only Ford could deliver it.

I wish I could recommend The Star, from Catholic animation filmmaker Tim Reckart and Sony’s faith-based label Affirm Films.

Families looking to supplement secular seasonal viewing with something having to do with the birth of Jesus have limited options — and there aren’t many Bible movies nowadays with a cast that includes the likes of Christopher Plummer, Oprah Winfrey and Kris Kristofferson.

Alas, the result is too much like The Nativity Story meets The Secret Life of Pets, for my taste, with haphazard plotting and lame gags, including butt and poop jokes. This is a net loss, not a modest gain.


Caveat Spectator: The Star: Mild menace and slapstick action; mild rude humor. Young Mr. Lincoln: A brief fisticuff; an off-screen murder. Both kids and up.