When it comes to television I must admit that I don’t really watch much of it. Sure I’ve seen some of the big TV shows like Lost, 24, Sopranos and The Wire, but I did so when they were out on DVD. I like to decide for myself when I will watch something as it’s just more convenient. It also means that there are tons of shows I haven’t heard of or don’t know much about. One of them is “Everybody Loves Raymond” starring comedian Ray Romano. I know that a Dutch remake was made and that the original series aired over here as well, but I have never seen an episode of the show. So before watching this DVD I didn’t know anything about Romano and his comedy.
95 Miles to Go follows Romano on a tour he did in between seasons of his sitcom together with his friend and comedian Tom Caltabiano. As a viewer you get an intimate look into what life on the road is like, including the weird things Romano does. He comes across as someone who can easily become obsessed with the littlest of things. He’s constantly making mind bets with himself and when he loses them he tries finding loopholes to still do something he denied himself.
In one part of the documentary he keeps going on about the smell in the car when they have put foil on the windows to block the sun. He even rents a room for a few minutes. You might wonder why, but you have to watch to find out why he does that.
Caltabiano is the voice of reason in all of this, making sure everything goes smoothly. When it is time to do the shows and meeting fans Romano is excellent, always taking time out for his fans and doing the shows with ease. He is a very funny guy.
Because of an exclusive deal with HBO this documentary wasn’t available earlier (IMDB shows it was out in 2004), but is now out on DVD. It’s clear that this is older footage as it was shot on low budget handycams in a 4:3 format. The reason to use those was a conscious one as Romano didn’t want a big crew following him, which makes what you see feel a lot more intimate.
This documentary reminded me a bit of Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, where you also see what happens when a comedian hits the road. Although that film got very good reviews I didn’t like it as much, which probably had to do something with the fact I didn’t know much about O’Brien, so I only liked the bits when he was on stage. I had the same feeling with 95 Miles To Go. If you are a fan of Romano you will probably love seeing him off stage, getting to know him better (and you can easily add some points to the score I have given it). The things I enjoyed most on this DVD though were the extras and there are a lot of them. There are 2 Q&A sessions, a 30 minute set of Romano doing standup and great commentary tracks.
Score: 5 (for just the documentary)
Score: 7 (for the DVD because of the great extras)