Milking Mediocrity
April 28th, 2003


A few weeks ago I was enjoying one of my favorite hobbies, which is, of course, wasting time. And while I was walking through the DVD aisles of Best Buy, I was blasted with a sudden revelation. Ogling at the horror section, I found myself staring at FOUR separate versions of the movie Army of Darkness. Intrigued, I stopped to check out why any movie needs that many releases. I came to find that two versions are exactly the same movie version, just different covers. The other two versions include deleted footage and commentary, but the true difference is that one was titled "The Boomstick Edition." Yeah, that’s worth 30 bucks. Now, this is so ridiculous that I shouldn’t even say it…But this is ridiculous! No movie deserves four separate releases, let alone Army of Darkness, easily the weakest and silliest movie in the Evil Dead series. But the bastardization of this movie opens up a can of juicy tapeworms that are feeding off of our stupidity.

With the age of DVD's hitting a slick pace, we are seeing outlandish amounts of movies being milked for much more than they have to offer. Forgettable gems like Bounce have two disc special editions. Two discs?! Bounce?? No one cared about Bounce! That’s one of those movies people say they saw because it was on HBO for 106 days straight, and they accidentally caught a different minute each day. Movies like that should be regulated by a committee made up of me, where
I make sure they only get one disc that includes the movie and a bullshit

Speaking of bullshit featurettes, most of these two disc bastards are so full of vapid, ass-kissing material it makes me want to vomit all over myself and not clean it up, just so I have something more interesting to look at. Every DVD has one where the actors talk about how great the director was, and how great it was to work with Delroy Lindo. Everything is great. It's fun making movies, look at us! We never have any problems! Fuck that. Just once, I want a featurette where someone looks in the camera and says, "Eh, you know, fuck Tom Cruise. He’s a little bitch.” Or at least have someone be honest. I refuse to believe EVERY actor has a blast, and that every director is a true visionary. That’s why I’ve trained myself to ignore every word of these dick-sucking contests…Because they’re all propaganda.

But you know what this is truly about? Making money. And holy cow do they love to do it. Take the Lord of the Rings release, for instance. If you bought it when it was first released, you probably opened up the package and noticed a little piece of paper fall out. On this piece of paper, it basically tells you that you've been bent over and poked. They announce that if you would have waited a month, you could have gotten the gigantic, four-disc edition. For the uninformed, you wouldn't have known this edition existed unless you bought the first release. And by then it was too late. If you really love the movie, you'll naturally fork over the 30 bucks to get the special edition, but now you're also stuck with a bare-bones version of the movie. It’s so easy to feast on nerds and die-hard fans, because no matter how many versions you release, they’ll take the bait. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ve bought the original trilogy three times already. And that hasn’t even come out on DVD yet!

It’s easy to blame the companies for releasing so many versions, but they’re the smart ones. The real problem is that we are snobs when it comes to video release. When DVD players first came out, everyone was amazed at the vast quality difference between DVD and videocassettes. Everything was so crisp. As people started to mix their VHS collections with DVDs, they accepted the DVD quality as the standard. But soon, the high quality wasn't enough. VHS tapes were no longer selling, and are vanishing from shelves. People would get a DVD with a stupid featurette on it, and feel ripped off. Now if you're looking to buy a DVD, you have to make sure it's got more than just interactive menus, or it isn't worth the 15 bucks. This is the reality of that hypothetical progression of people who look at too much porn. Eventually, they'll get tired of a naked lady, and want to see a naked lady with a naked dude. Next thing you know, they're watching a horse drop some poo on rollerblading lesbian nazis. We can't let it reach that point! It's okay to demand higher quality from our DVDs, but right now our skates are strapped and the horses just ate. Rotten movies do not deserve star treatment. And good movies don't deserve to rub it in our faces with their crappy special features. Next time you’re in Best Buy, take a long look at the 4 versions of Army of Darkness, then take a long look at yourself.

If you want to elect me to my DVD selection committee of one, send your vote

© 2003 The Decking Crew