Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Room With a View

These days, commentary tracks are becoming more and more of a tipping point for me between buying or renting a DVD. I rent way more than I buy, but for the movies that I rented once, liked, but didn't totally fall in love with, I straddle the fence about buying later down the line. If I find a gently used copy a movie with a great commentary track for dirt cheap, I'll pick it up, even if the movie is not in my Top 100 favorites. Amazing how far a great commentary track will go for me.

Case in point, Eli Roth's films. Despite initially saying I didn't want to see Hostel or Hostel: Part II, I saw them. As grossed out as I was with certain scenes (and didn't necessarily find them to be great movies), I thought they were good movies overall. What totally sold me were the multiple commentary tracks for each film. Informative and entertaining, I found listening to them to be very worthwhile. Roth's solo commentary tracks for all of his films document how he got into films and filmmaking, thus making a really intriguing, step-by-step audio-biography of his career.

Another example is The Exorcist. The original and "The Version You've Never Seen" still terrify me, and there's a certain scene that is really hard for me to watch (it's during Reagan's final test before they choose to do the exorcism), but I can't deny how amazing William Friedkin's commentary track is on the original theatrical cut. Detailing what's onscreen while sharing lots of fascinating stories behind the making of the film, it's probably one of the best tracks I've ever heard.

Most recently, I decided to purchase the 3-disc Hot Fuzz DVD set simply for the extras not found on the Region 2 disc (and so I could share the movie with friends that don't have Region-free DVD players). While it may seem a little excessive, I couldn't pass up a chance to hear Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino talk movies (and quite a few of them -- here's the list). Hearing two guys who like movies in general, from the highly-lauded to the critically-derided to the popcorn-friendly to the forgotten-by-a-mass-audience, is refreshing. I've listened to enough nitpickers in my life as a movie fan, so it's nice to hear these guys be less-discriminating than what I'm used to.

I've rambled enough about commentary tracks before, but I don't think I've ever said why I like them. Well, they're simply a way to get a better understanding of where movies come from. Though I don't aspire to make a movie, I like to hear from people who actually got something made. It's the general, "this is how it got made, what was fun about it, what wasn't fun about it, what I learned, and what I hope to do in the future." Of course, not all commentary tracks are like this. Enough of them start and stop with praising everybody (from the lead actors all the way to grips) as "brilliant" and/or "genius." Plenty simply narrate what's onscreen -- and it's aggravating.

These days, I find myself having a little more free time since I'm not in the thick of writing and editing a book (and am in beginning of the brainstorming stage for the next one). So, when it's time to cook dinner and wait for everything to warm up, there's usually something in the DVD player. This is the life.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sounds like work

Just thought I'd share some video clips found online that have made me laugh hard. Really hard. Usually I write some long tirade about why I like what I like, but I can't seem to come up with exactly why I like these. Maybe it's just the absurdity.

First, Jason showed me this clip from Music Idol, the American Idol for Bulgaria. Laughing hysterically at the garbled English in this interpretation of the Badfinger-penned, popularized by Harry Nilsson in 1972 and Mariah Carey in 1994, song, "Without You," then I come to find a follow-up performance, as well as a Wikipedia page for "Ken Lee." Wow.

Also, thanks to Frank, I was reminded of this spoof of the Mr. T. cartoon from the Eighties. "If you believe in yourself, drink your school, stay in drugs, and don't do milk, you can get work." Priceless.

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends.

Today, Eric posted a fourth collection of songs considered emo/post-hardcore from the Nineties. This time it's at a crucial turning point between underground visibility and mainstream visibility. I pinpoint 1999 as a major turning point since the Get Up Kids' Something to Write Home About, the Promise Ring's Very Emergency, and Jimmy Eat World's Clarity were all released that year. By 2001, with the crossover, platinum success of Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American, things have not been the same, for better or for worse.

I don't blame people who don't follow music like I do to just gloss over the transition years between Nevermind, Dookie, OK Computer, and Bleed American. However, a big motivating factor for me is to remind people that nothing really happens overnight or out of thin air.

There's something to be said whenever I talk with people who were involved in some form or fashion with post-hardcore/emo, hardcore, and/or pop-punk in the mid- to late Nineties. They were defining years for these people, and they still think highly of them. Of course, they're not saying those were the best years of their lives, but there was something special going on for them. Be it putting on a show, letting a band stay with them, putting out a 7", doing a zine, playing in a band, and/or just going to shows, there was something more intimate -- moreover, powerful.

When asked why I should try to document this, I can't find a reason not to.

As I've gone over Post again and again in the last few months, I can't but think there's a Friday Night Lights vibe to it. No, I'm not comparing its quality to the book, film, and series of the same name. Rather, it's this sense of defining personal success over what is widely considered success to those that aren't directly involved (you know, winning the big game, getting the girl, defeating the villain, making lots of money, etc.). Only two of the bands I covered had records that sold over 500,000 copies, but that's just small potatoes compared to everything else I covered.

To me, if Friday Night Lights covered the undefeated season following the year they lost in the playoffs, it wouldn't have the same impact. Sure, we prefer happy endings, but there's a deeper, emotional reward that goes beyond winning a championship (or in the case of Post, getting a Gold record). The experience is what counts the most.

If I chose to cover Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, and Fall Out Boy, coupled with the Get Up Kids, At the Drive-In, and Jimmy Eat World, I don't think it would be that compelling of a read. Nevermind the fact that it would be a disjointed read, I personally like to hear more stories about the underdogs who've never had as much coverage as the popular ones. Recently reading Dean Wareham's memoir, Black Postcards, about his time in Galaxie 500 and Luna, was far more compelling than say, Marc Spitz's book on Green Day, Nobody Likes You.

But, that's just me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tonight or night

I don't mean to slight the wonderful, Eric Carmen-fronted Raspberries, but something I've wondered about ever since I received Overnight Sensation: the Very Best of the Raspberries involves a frequent lyric. Seems Mr. Carmen likes things at night . . . and preferably just at night.


". . . just how it feels at night to have to stand inside my shoes," from "Don't Wanna Say Goodbye."

"Please, go all the way/it feels so right/being with you here tonight," from "Go All the Way."

"I can’t sleep nights/wishing you were here beside me," "Baby let’s pretend that tonight could live forever," and "but for now let me just spend the night with you," from "Let's Pretend."

"If we were older/we wouldn't have to be worried tonight," "Well tonight's (tonight) the night," and "Hold me tight/Our love could live forever after tonight," from "I Wanna Be With You."

"All I ever wanted to be/was in your arms tonight," "Tonight/I'll be with you tonight/Tonight/You'll love me too tonight," "I'm making love to you, whoh, tonight," along with eighteen other mentions of "tonight" in "Tonight."

"I wanna woo you all night on the beach," from "On the Beach."

"Overnight sensation," from "Overnight Sensation."


While I think the tracklisting for Overnight Sensation is fantastic -- the first seven songs are all aces -- only one doesn't contain "night" or "tonight" in it. Yes, this is overkill (and makes me wonder what Mr. Carmen thought about the afternoons and/or mornings), but I can't but think this as I sing along to songs that still sound fresh today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come

This was completely unexpected, but once I saw it online this morning, I was quite pleased to see it: an interview with LOST writers/producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof conducted by Noel for the A.V. Club. The interview doesn't really fetch for the spoiler-hungry crowd (which is good, as there are plenty of those articles found here and here almost every day), but I personally enjoyed reading it. Plus, a big question behind the show's pace was answered (even though it was hinted in a podcast last year, but seems to be spelled out here): why did the first half of Season 3 seem a little slow to get off the ground?
The most liberating and significant event that's happened for us was getting an end date for the show, negotiated with the studio and the network. Before that, Damon and I didn't know if the mythology we'd created was supposed to sustain us over two seasons or six seasons, so it was very hard for us to do any sort of planning.

Plus, in particular with the whole Jack/Kate/Sawyer-in-cages part of the first part of the season:
As for the people in the cages, it's been pointed out to us recently that when we were writing that arc, basically we were trying to negotiate for an ending to the show. We ourselves as storytellers felt like we were trapped in cages. And the story could not progress until it was progressing toward something.

For me, as a LOST fan, I like hearing about these kinds of difficulties with storytelling. Not in the sense of, "A-ha! See! They are making this up as they go along!" Rather, it's just a reminder that this is a TV show -- and not all TV shows last long enough to answer all the questions. LOST was a risk from the pilot episode on -- supposedly it got ABC exec Lloyd Braun fired for greenlighting it since its budget was so high. The show has broken the Twin Peaks curse of making an engaging show now in its fourth season. That says plenty. So, really knowing where the show is going from Point A to M to Z is probably one of the biggest reasons Season 4 has been great so far.

Along those same lines, the Nikki and Paolo plotline is addressed. To me, their introduction (and rather swift exit) seemed to represent the show in a holding pattern. I wondered, "We're hearing about what the extras were doing while the main characters were off in the jungle? Really? Where is this show going?" I never hated Nikki and Paolo, have never met anyone in real life who despised them, and found their flashback episode to be a great way of tying up loose ends with other characters (along with an absolutely wicked final scene). So, I liked how Damon and Carlton stand by where they were coming from, and explaining why the characters didn't seem to connect with the core audience.

Lastly, there's a lot of wisdom in this following quote (which is something I wish I could say more to myself, as well as those fanboys who claim to love something but later want that something murdered when it seems to go in a "wrong" direction):
You have to make mistakes in order to get it right.

Hello! We're all humans here on this planet -- and humans don't make every decision work for everybody. We make mistakes, but we shouldn't feel ashamed when we make them. Humanoids apparently don't mistakes. They don't feel love either. So, what are we really? We're audience members. And I'm looking forward to the rest of this season and the series.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Public opinion has a way of changing."

On one of the bonus features found on the Evil Dead 3-disc "Ultimate" edition, Bruce Campbell mentions how he realized how much had changed when a movie like Evil Dead could be found for sale at K-Mart. Evil Dead probably would have never shown up in a regular, retail store during its initial release. Though not as controversial as it was overseas (where it was consider a video nasty), it was not something you could say had a wide audience. If anything, the amount of gore and violence in the film still turns people off -- while others love that stuff.

In hopes that I don't sound like a future member of the Uptight and Humorless Adults Who Think Children Are Idiots club, I found things to be odd when I saw A Clockwork Orange on sale at Target over the weekend.

It's been reported/debated for quite some time as to why retailers like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target won't carry CDs carrying a "Parental Advisory" sticker while they carry R-rated movies on VHS and DVD. Rather than getting into that debate, I'm a little amused by seeing a non-mainstream movie be available in such a mainstream type of store. As much as I love Clockwork Orange, there's still plenty of stuff in it that disturbs me. Knowing my family, they'd probably find most of (or all of) the movie repulsive.

So it makes me think: what will I see next in Target? The unrated cut of Caligula?

I'm not saying movies like these should be hidden. I'm not saying movies like these should not be sold in stores like these. But it makes me wonder about the buyers that choose the stock. Can a once-highly-controversial film be considered tame by a mainstream buying audience in the future? I guess so. Still, isn't that strange?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sugar Coated Sour

I've seen a number of great shows at the Ridglea Theater. The best show I've ever seen was there (Fugazi in 2002), and I had not seen a show that powerful, chaotic and inspiring since. Well, that changed last Friday night.

With all due respect to Shaolin Death Squad, Dear Life, and the Bled, I was there to see the mighty Dillinger Escape Plan. And I got my money's worth, to say the least.

From the live clips I'd seen on YouTube and the Miss Machine DVD, I didn't see a radically different set-up. But that's OK. What I saw was pure fun and insanity during their 60-minute set. Playing a nice mix of their three records (especially Miss Machine and Ire Works), the band's schizoid progressive hardcore did not get old. To me, at least.

Lit mostly by backlights and a light in Gil's bass drum, the guys ripped through the songs at speeds clocking faster than the speeds on the records. Couple that with Ben and Jeff throwing their guitars around, along with getting on top of the PA speakers, this was a sight to be seen.

Watching Gil play was inspiring even though I will probably never learn to play a Dillinger song properly on the drums. The amount of control that guy has behind his kit -- making the complicated seem easy while making the simple seem so pulverizing -- motivates me to just play rather than overanalyze. Getting to walk up and talk to him after the set reminded me of what I've always liked about the no-frills nature of hardcore.

Probably the best part of the set was the end. No, not because it was over. Rather, during the extended breakdown in "Sunshine the Werewolf," Greg went into the crowd with Jeff's mike stand and mike and hoped to have the crowd sing with him. Instead, the vocal mikes were turned off. So, during the final section, Greg led the crowd in singing the part, just like that part in Another State of Mind when Ian MacKaye leads the crowd in singing after the PA was shut off. Seeing this in person made all the difference for me.

What more could I say? I enjoyed the hell out of myself. And I didn't mind the apparent endless drive to Fort Worth.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One Hand Will Wash the Other

Until my Post-related Muxtape arrives, check out this fantastic profile of Jawbox (complete with videos and MP3s!) over on Popdose.

UPDATE: Eric has some fantastic MP3s from related artists up on his page.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Turn your mind off

I once knew somebody who often asked me, "Why can't you just turn your mind off when you watch a movie?" I just couldn't, and to this day, I still fully can't. The moviewatching experience has always been something I've valued, and movies are not something I take for granted. But I'm now seeing that it's good to do things where I'm not studying, analyzing and scrutinizing all the time.

Most recently, I picked up my old Variflex skateboard and started skating again. Nevermind the fact that my board is over twenty years old, it still works. Nevermind the fact that I can't do much other than turns, it's what I want to do. Since I just want to ride the darn thing, I'm not thinking about how soon I'll be doing grinds or kickflips, or ever fully learning that signature Lance Mountain move I never quite got down. Riding itself is the joy, and I find it quite calming.

The same can be said with drumming. I haven't played in an active band for a number of months, but since I set my drumset up in the house with muted pads on everything, I try to play every other day. I'm not thinking about when I'll start playing with a new band or how well my double-kick action is going. It's just . . . fun.

This is not to say I just goof on these things, but frankly, after feeling like I've been through graduate school writing this book, I've had a desire to do stuff like this. Kickball was a wonderful thing to do on Sundays, but when our informal league slowly fell apart, there was this void in my life. Meaning, doing something purely for the fun of life and without any ulterior motives. Since I'm not inspired to paint or take pictures everyday, I've wanted to do something else. Maybe this is more zen in my life, I don't know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Make a Muxtape - Don't leave out Husker Du

First, Keith posted a mix on Muxtape. Now Goose has one. In hopes that Muxtape hasn't vanished by the summer, would any of you like to see a mix devoted to artists featured in Post?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Internet Relay Chat with the Central Intelligence Agency

Though I've grumbled about anonymous, mean-spirited/catty comments left on blogs and message boards, I don't think I've ever hated all anonymous comments. If the comments are valid and mature, and allow open discussion without too much defensiveness, I see no harm. Deciding to post multiple comments in Jason's blog post about Engine Down/post-hardcore/emo, I've found the discussions to be pretty engaging. And this all reminds me of why I bother skimming through comment sections in the first place.

Back when I was a regular on the News Askew board, I always thought it was cool whenever Kevin would post and answer questions if he had time (I believe he still does this, but it's been a long time since I've been on there). This way, there's something that goes deeper than fancy, super-carefully-worded press releases. Of course, Kevin has shot his mouth off and paid for it later (the supposed "feud" with Jon Favreau, his dislike of Magnolia, etc.). So, I try to watch what I say.

The thing is, I like engaging in conversations with people that are interested in what I'm doing with the book. Out of all the conversations I've had with people in the past four years, I've only really run into one big sourpuss in person. Though there were others with that Viva La Vinyl thread, I can't say there has been much resistance to what I'm covering.

And that's what been appealing about venturing out into comment sections. If people are willing to discuss stuff openly, then why not? Plus, if there are those that choose to be outwardly negative and bitch, it lets people know this isn't some secret bitchfest.

To me, I can't expect people to know exactly what's going on in my head. I can't fault people for having a different interpretation on the topic. I find it discouraging when authors want to rip readers apart for not understanding everything they wanted to put across.

As somebody who has felt ripped apart because I didn't interpret everything exactly as a certain person wanted to convey, I try to go light on the people who read my stuff. I'm still thankful anybody wants to read my stuff. Besides, why should I vomit and spit on a sounding board that might help me stay grounded? But for those that just want to start some sort of virtual fight because of factors that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, I just skip to the next comment.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

To Bury Within the Sound

Post received a nice little plug over on the AV Club blog yesterday. Though its topic is on Engine Down, Jason did a fine job explaining post-hardcore/emo's transitional years between the mid- to late Eighties and late Nineties. It's definitely a nice primer for what Post mostly covers.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will attend my first Texas Rangers game at the end of this month. Yes, after ten years of living here, I will finally see a professional sports game by an area team. That's right, I've never been to a Cowboys, Mavs or Stars game. As a matter of fact, the last time I went to a baseball game was a Baltimore Orioles game in Baltimore in '94. So, it's been a while.

Why it's been a while is simple: I've never been that inclined to go to a game.

A common mental equation I have going on in my head is this: will X-amount of dollars spent on a ticket and parking, plus the time spent driving and personal involvement in the activity itself be equal or greater than doing something I regularly do? Since I haven't been convinced in the last ten years, I've stayed away. The main reason I am going is because I was asked by some people I work with. Yes, it's that simple.

I think it's very safe to say that when I'm pondering doing something myself (and having to pay for it myself), I don't want to be let down. In the case of this Rangers game, I'm looking forward to spending quality time with people I don't often get to spend time with. Doesn't matter if the game sucks or not, or how bad traffic is around the ballpark, I'm quite sure I will enjoy myself.

Amazing how the personal volition changes when someone else suggests.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Bloody Valentine

Congrats to Richard for the nice mention of his site on American Movie Classics' Monsterfest blog. In honor of this, I present my review of My Bloody Valentine, which seemed to fall into a black hole after I e-mailed it off.

My Bloody Valentine
Directed by George Mihalka
Released: 1981 by Paramount Pictures
Starring: Paul Kelman, Neal Affleck, Lori Hallier

I think it’s safe to say that if it weren’t for an amazing Irish rock band supposedly taking its name from the film, My Bloody Valentine would have fallen into complete obscurity. Not to diss horror buffs who hunt down obscure movies, but there’s a reason why My Bloody Valentine sounds a little more familiar than Grapes of Death to the average horror fan. So, for the many that have spent hours delving into the band’s masterpiece Loveless, you might be let down by My Bloody Valentine the film.

Set in a small town with a large mine employing most of its twentysomething male residents, the town is getting ready for a Valentine’s Day dance. This will be the first Valentine’s Day dance since disaster struck twenty years ago. When townsfolk start turning up dead – supposedly by the town’s version of Michael Myers – the dance is canceled. However, when the attendees decide to relocate the festivities to the mine, the body count soon rises.

I have to give credit to the filmmakers for setting the film in a nontraditional setting. Letting a killer loose in a low-lit mine is better than say, a sorority house, a rundown mansion or a cabin. While that’s nice and all, the movie doesn’t really kick in until the third act.

Up until then, it’s the kind of movie that Student Bodies (also released in ’81 by Paramount) perfectly mocks. Everything needed for a splatter flick gets checked off here. You set the film around the day of a widely-known celebration. You see murders from the perspective of the killer (who sounds suspiciously like Michael Myers breathing through Darth Vader’s apparatus). You see plenty of blood, guts and organs. You see bare breasts from a well-endowed woman. You see sexually-crazed guys and girls get picked off one or two at a time. You have a sheriff that seems to be the only sheriff in town. And most importantly, you throw out logic once the real killer is revealed.

As a whole, My Bloody Valentine is not complete camp, but it’s not that great. Some of the acting is good, but the rest is soap opera level at best. A love triangle adds some great tension, but hammy plot exposition and an over-the-top score raise the level of camp. But it’s still worth renting if you’re that curious.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Front Row

A recent nickname a couple of my friends have kindly/jokingly called me is "Front Row." Meaning, I'm usually standing right up in front of a band before, during and after their set. Now I know my friends mean no harm in calling me such, but I have plenty of reasons why I stand where I stand.

If anything, my desire to have a good spot to watch comes from being at numerous shows where I didn't have a good spot to watch. Remembering what it's like to be up front and having a ball, I try to have a good vantage point at every show I'm at. And that usually means I stay put until the show's done.

I recall seeing the Dismemberment Plan on the Change tour with Goose at Rubber Gloves, and having a prime view right before the band hit stage. The place was packed with barely anybody moving. We weren't right up front, but we were close to the stage and could see over everyone in front of us. That was, until two large and tall people (a guy and a girl) decided to push their way up and dropped anchor right in front of us. Not even looking back and seeing what they had done, they seemed very self-centered and a tad arrogant. I wasn't too happy about this, and a female standing right next to us (who was shorter than us) could not see anything now. That's the price of general admission, right?

Well, there's just nothing more annoying than a situation like this. I want to watch the band play, not stand on my tippy-toes and/or look at tall person's neck or back in between glances. Since a lot of shows I see are for more than just enjoyment, I want to be in a spot where I can have the maximum impact. I like to sing along and have fun. I'll put up with whatever comes with the territory of being up front. I'd rather be there instead of lost in the shuffle.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The art of (diplomatic) complaining

Last Wednesday, our new (and very nice) upstairs neighbors had their cable and Internet connection set up. Not thinking much about it much when it happened, but things started to go awry when the cable company technicians knocked on our door first. I answered the door rather puzzled as one of the technicians asked which "apartment" was which. When I realized it was for our neighbors, the men went ahead and installed their cable and Internet. The deal was, as I found out the following day, the technicians not only unplugged our Internet connection, but cut the wire and left it dangling from the roof.

I checked with our neighbors to make sure their services were working, and when I found out they were, I called the cable company. The soonest another technician could come was Saturday afternoon, so I cleared out the entire day and waited. When the technician came out before 6pm, he was very friendly, and was done by 6:20. Now that things are back online (and I was credited for the days without service), all should be forgotten, right? Well, to me, this was a test of when to complain, and how to complain.

I've often said that my time in retail taught me that I shouldn't make a career in retail. But another result was dealing with complainers. There are the nasty ones (who often come out of the woodwork on the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas), the mean-but-not-nasty, the whiners, the diplomatic, and so on. Thinking about how I complain, I take some caution as I don't want to be nasty or whiny. Since the most amount of complaining I do is more of a way to vent, I try to not make it ugly. But it can be so easy.

I could have called up the cable company and chewed them out. I could have chewed out the technician that came out on Saturday for the ones that came out on Wednesday. I could have screamed at the billing people for the slight inconvenience. Hell, I could have unfairly blamed my neighbors for all of this. But no to all of these. I'm just not that kind of person.

It's like the small disclaimer that ran in every issue I wrote for Punk Planet: the views of the records are squarely those of the writer, not necessarily the entire staff. Still, to the world at large, the name of the company you work for is bigger (and more well-known) than its individuals. You definitely want to present something that is consistent for the whole company, but not everybody does everything right (and not everybody does everything wrong). Things go afoul, and instead of forever holding a grudge about it, I try to look for a way to get things fixed.

About the Author

Blogging took an unexpected break last week due to our home Internet connection going out (More on this later). Shall have a new post later today, but until then, check out this picture. It might be seen on copies of Post . . .

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

We've met before, haven't we?

I recently blogged about stumbling across books and DVDs that I didn't know existed, and being glad they existed. Well, sometimes I get rather annoyed when I find out new editions of DVDs have come out stateside, mere months after I paid a pretty coin for an import version. Today's "a-ha!" was thanks in part to Keith's review of a new DVD version of Lost Highway.

When I saw Lost Highway for the first time last year, I was quite taken with it. Despite it being on DVD, it was in full-frame, pan-and-scan and looked awful. Regardless, I really liked the movie as a whole and wanted to see it in its correct 2.35:1 ratio. Hearing that the Region 2 version had the movie in widescreen, as well as a second disc of on-set interviews with Lynch and some of the film's stars, I had to get it. (I should add that most of Lynch's films in Region 1 have scant supplemental features or nothing at all.) So, my casual desire for a region-free DVD player so I could watch U.K. bands' video collections has had some nice side effects.

Seeing as how the new U.S. release of Lost Highway has the film in widescreen, but with no extras, there's a sense of relief for me as a supplemental features fiend. However, when I heard about the 3-disc version of Hot Fuzz coming out in the states, I was rather miffed. Miffed because also in the shipment that brought me Lost Highway was the two-disc version of Hot Fuzz.

Since the 2-disc version of Shaun of the Dead (complete with a commentary track by zombies, along with three other commentary tracks) has never been released stateside, I highly doubted the 2-disc version of Hot Fuzz would come out here as well. When this 3-disc version was announced (containing all the features from the 2-disc version, as well as a new commentary track with Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino), I decided to pass on getting it. Even after these months, I still haven't listened to all four commentary tracks or gone through all the extra features.

To me, a major part of the DVD-buying experience is the supplemental features. Hell, it's what I go to first before I watch the movie again. (Whenever I rent a movie I have not seen the first time, though, I go with the feature first, then extras.) I'm in the midst of going through this year's Stanley Kubrick box set with the extras first. Then I rope back around to the films themselves with the commentary tracks turned off.

Looking back ten years ago, home movie watching for me was buying or renting one version on VHS, with no supplemental features, only once. Now I can't imagine watching a DVD without supplemental features or reading trivia about the film online. Plus, learning what I've learned about DVD releases, they can be long-in-development, but can't be believed until they actually arrive. I guess I should check Largehearted Boy a little more often for the week in DVD releases for starters . . .

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I'm not one to make a big announcement about something unless I'm at least 98 percent sure it's a go. Well, it's not like I'm a liar, but despite thinking I was done with the final, final draft of Post, I'm currently doing one more run-through for some very understandable reasons. The big reason: despite going through every single sentence (and reading every word aloud), I'm still finding a small typo here and there, as well as ironing out consistency with the spelling of certain words.

This, my friends, is aggravating. But, I'd rather go through this now rather than be stuck with it in printed form.

Why I decided to do another read-through was because of feedback I recently received from a trusted source. This is a person I interviewed for the book and knows quite a bit about the writing process (his second book is due out later this year). He asked to read a few chapters and gave me some very helpful constructive criticism. If I didn't agree with what he had to say, I wouldn't have done another edit. So, it goes again -- this time, adding a little more about myself in the introduction for a little more clarity and personality.

I understand typos are in all kinds of books -- from the noticeable to the not-so-noticeable. I found a few in Slash's biography, as well as the book I'm reading now, and still remember seeing a big goof in the seventh Harry Potter book. Typos look bad, and if your book is filled with them, each one chips away at the book's (and author's) reputation. It's frustrating, with very little room for human error -- something I'm still not convinced everyone is OK with.

Another facilitator for this edit is changing the font and format for submission to the printer. That meant a different font and size, as well as one space -- instead of two -- between sentences. Since I had to make sure everything came out all right, I figured I should do one more read-through.

So it makes me wonder, is this ever going to end? My answer is yes, but I won't lie, it will be better once it's all done for real.