I figured something out this weekend. It’s hard to hate a movie now that they all come with DVD extras. Even the most boring movie gets seen in a different light when you sit along with the director for an hour and a half. The best example of this (at least for me) is Go. It was an ok movie, perhaps a bit derivative, kind of a teenage version of Pulp Fiction. For some reason I listened to the extras, and the director and editor added an incredible amount of stuff. They were very honest about the film, and by the end you hear how jokes didn’t work, what subplots were scrapped at the last minute, how filler shots were done in the editor’s backyard with a hose simulating rain on a car, and how hard they tried to make a great movie.
And then suddenly, you realize it was a great movie, if things went had gone perfectly.
This past weekend, I watched Me, Myself, and Irene, and the extras contained enough cut scenes that it went from Police Academy stupid to almost Something About Mary funny. If they hadn’t cut the ten minutes of footage on the DVD, it might have gotten good reviews.
Back when I was at UCLA, I took a sneak preview class where we saw preview screenings followed by someone involved with the film doing an hour of Q and A, and I remember it being a great learning experience. You find out how writers are screwed, how to get the studios to do what you want, how much everything actually costs, what it’s like to work with top actors, and you learned basically all the mistakes that got made, and how they’d avoid them in the future. And now, many DVDs contain the same information.
I hope the quality of movies skyrockets, given all that is available to learn from.