After roughly two and three-quarter years of bizarre, byzantine delays, the Great Ishtar Bluray Delay Release Saga will finally conclude on Tuesday, August 6th, when Sony Home Entertainment’s Bluray will “street.” That day will sadly mark the end of a special time in the life of yours truly and Hollywood Elsewhere, as I came into possession of an accidentally sold Ishtar Bluray in January 2011 (i.e., a copy that escaped from a Toronto DVD store just before the Bluray was officially yanked). I just want to state for the record that for roughly 31 or 32 months I, Jeffrey Wells, was the only journalist residing on the North American continent who possessed a copy of the Ishtar Bluray.
“My Canadian-bought Ishtar Bluray arrived today,” I wrote the day after receiving it. “Watching it now, smiling, going with it, chuckling now and then. It’s a comedy, yes, but you have to forget about it being one. Laugh or don’t laugh, but either way it’s Ishtar — one of the best faintly funny farces ever made. About delusion, middle-aged failure, life without a net, the unbearable absence of talent, friendship, futility, pretty eyes, idiot shenanigans and dumb luck.
“Ishtar is a bit like a biplane that lifts off a partly muddy runway, rises 30 or 40 feet, comes down again, splashes through puddles, lifts off again…over and over, trying and trying, and you have to love it for that. The fact that it doesn’t roll strike after strike is what’s so endearing. Every so often you want to reach out and give it a nice hug. This is a great comedy about losing. And the Marrakech cafe sing-along (‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’) is one of the happiest scenes I’ve ever known.”