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Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 05.25.04
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Ah, those DVD 'extras'

We were tickled in the Murray house earlier this year to get our first DVD player. This is a giant leap technology-wise. We don't even have cable in our house.

We have perhaps the only pair of rabbit ears within a 100-kilometre radius. This leads to conversations like this: "What's on CBC?"

"It's either Peter Mansbridge or a ferret with male pattern baldness."

The DVD player, I must say, offers a crystal clear picture. Now that we've figured out how to rewind the CDs, we've been regularly enjoying this new state-of-the-art viewing experience.

However, I'm not completely sold on the so-called "bonus features." It seems a DVD is not complete without jamming extra material on there as well - deleted scenes, alternate endings, and other second thoughts.

All of which begs the question, if they were really worth seeing, wouldn't they have been in the movie in the first place? And if you've just endured a viewing of, let's say, American Pie 7: The Viagra Years do you really want to subject yourself to more?

That's like saying, "Thanks, Doc. Now could you take out the other kidney too?"

Then there are the commentaries -- from actors, directors, producers, writers, sound editors, key grips. I'm sure you, like me, are the better for knowing Ashton Kutcher's motivation in Dude, Where's My Car?

One of the first DVDs I rented was the film Phone Booth. It's set mainly in - surprise! - a phone booth.

Among the bonus bits, was a feature that allowed you to watch the film with the director's running commentary voiced over the entire film!

("Uhh, here we shot the phone booth with a 220 zoom lens. And then we decided to shoot the phone booth on a dolly. This is where we shoot inside the phone booth. Okay, that's the phone booth again.")

Some DVD extras are, of course, worth seeing, ones that explain special effects, like how they give lifelike qualities to Terminator machines and Jack Nicholson.

And then there are the DVD extras that don't exist but perhaps should:

  • Commentary from the makers of Gigli: "What it feels like to bump Mariah Carey's Glitter as the punchline to latenight talk show jokes."
  • A DVD extra for any David Lynch film entitled, "What Th'.?!?"
  • Woody Allen DVDs that digitally erase Woody Allen (post-1990).
  • This bonus song deleted from the original The Sound of Music, sung by Baroness Elsa to Maria:
    Who's the Hottie Here Anyway? French couture, polished nails, Come-hither look that never fails, I've got all the fellas on the run.
    You wear beige, hair like a boy, In Austria, you're a homely goy, And let's not forget, my dear, that you're a nun.
    Who's the hottie here anyway? I'm beginning to think the Captain's gay. What's a flibbertigibbet like you got over me? I'm the sexpot in this mix. I'm a 10, you're not quite 6. Your hills ain't so alive, far's I can see. You can keep his lousy brats, Just give me the man and lots of cash.
  • Alternate ending for
  • Citizen Kane: Reporter Thompson lingers in Xanadu just long enough to see the sled "Rosebud" thrown on the fire. He grabs it from the furnace.
    "Rosebud was his sled!" he cries. "That's it! We've solved the riddle. The great man loved winter sports."
    Word spreads and soon Kane's wealth is consolidated to fund annual winter games in New York State, spurring the economy and helping young athletes from across the country. Kane is hailed as a hero and in death receives the fulfillment he never had in life. In the final scene, an orphan bobsledder says to Jimmy Stewart (in a surprise cameo), "Teacher says every time a skater lands a triple axel, an angel gets his wings."
Fade out.
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