Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Game

So, here I am, oping my second Oilers game. Third, if you count my first one, which was training and I did this under adult supervision. I got nuthin' to do but kick back and listen to the game, waiting until I have to play a commercial. Oh, what ever will I do?

How about a huge-ass blog entry?

So here's a "stream of consciousness" type thing. I'll just add to this until the game's done, in which case, I'll hit "publish."

First bit: hey, did you know that Disney no longer owns the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim? Disney sold them off last year. Hence the team's name change. Starting next season, say so long to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim! Say hello to the Anaheim Ducks. Nothing major...they just finally adopted the name that everyone has called them by since they were created.

Having a nice little panic attack right now...it's 15 minutes before game time. The one who trained me made me a nice little cheat sheet/checklist of everything I need to do. Of course, I have now lost it. That's OK. I'm certain I remember how to do it. Just let go...trust your feelings...use the Force.

Besides, I was frantically writing everything down until the one who trained me said, "Oh, don't worry. I'll make you a cheat sheet." I've got my notes to back me up.

And we're at the start of the first. Had a few glitches because I couldn't find that cheat sheet, but I figured it out.

I’m sitting here looking at the website for the Criterion collection. Boy, those are some nice DVDs.

Let me give you a bit of a pop culture history lesson. The Criterion company pretty much invented the concept of the special edition DVD. They started up in the mid-80s. They looked at the Laserdiscs popping up on the market, and they were not amused. They knew that, with the storage capacity on a Laserdisc, they could cram it full of things like documentaries about the making of the film, deleted scenes, and even…get this…a running commentary by the director, sharing behind-the-scenes stories! And thus, Criterion was born.

Their goal was to preserve “films of culture significance.” So, they went around to movie studios, explained what they were doing, bought the Laserdisc distribution rights, and started making these wonderful special edition Laserdiscs.

Now, what they meant by films of cultural significance were all aspects of culture. So that ran from high culture – indie and foreign films – to pop culture. I’ve been told that the Criterion Laserdiscs for Ghostbusters and The Star Wars Trilogy still blow the current DVDs out of the water when it comes to volume of bonus materials.

Naturally, Criterion was one of the first ones to jump on the DVD bandwagon in the late-90s. In fact, some of the very first Criterion DVDs were just the Laserdiscs copied onto DVD.

But then, DVD exploded in popularity. Companies weren’t interested in Criterion’s services anymore, as they were pumping out their own special edition DVDs. But Criterion has re-focused somewhat. Now, they’ve kind of dropped the blockbusters from their catalogue, and they focus more on indie and foreign films…plus a few forgotten classics.

But the Criterion name is still a big deal…it remains the Cadillac of DVD labels.

To date, I only own one Criterion DVD. Chasing Amy. In fact, Chasing Amy was one of those “Laserdisc copied onto DVD” deals. And I’m sure that that’ll be going out of print soon, as Kevin Smith has been hinting that we might be getting a new Chasing Amy: 10th Anniversary Edition next year.

While I’m not into the indie and foreign films, there are still a few titles on the Criterion label that I’d sure like to get.

Armageddon – Yup, the 1998 asteroid-hitting-the-Earth epic got a 2-disc Criterion edition…this came out in that grey area between when DVD first hit the market, and when it exploded in popularity. And actually, what’s on this DVD is a 3-hour director’s cut prepared by Michael Bay! Ever since I got my DVD player, I’ve lusted for this one. But, I have yet to see it for less than $80. there’s also a Criterion edition for Michael Bay’s The Rock, in case you’re interested.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian – Check it out. I’ve got to get this one to go along side my Monty Python and the Holy Grail special edition. Boasting long-lost cut scenes, and a new digital transfer supervised by director Terry Jones.

Brazil – Now, this shows how Criterion got their reputation. I’ve never seen Brazil, but it’s high on my list of “classics to see someday.” I’ve read up on it, and I know the problems it had getting to the big screen. So here’s what Criterion did for their 3-disc set. Disc 1 contains the 142-minute, final, authoritative edit that director Terry Gilliam wanted to do all along. Gilliam even did a running commentary. Disc 2 contains all your bonus materials: documentary about the making of the film, concept art, the trailers, all that good stuff. And, Disc 3 contains the infamous 97-minute “happy ending” version of the film that was released to North American theatres to make it more marketable…the version that Gilliam loathes. On this edit, a “Terry Gilliam expert” does a running commentary, explaining why it sucks. Someday I’m going to be rich and famous, and I’ll get this for a friend of mine, because she mentioned in passing once that she likes this film, and that factoid just kind of stuck in my head.

Oh, and for all you Gilliam-fans, there’s also a Criterion edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Before I go, I’ll share one interesting trivia bit. Indie director Wes Anderson is the only director that has an exclusive distribution contract with Criterion. So, all of Anderson’s films – Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tennenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – are Criterion DVDs.

Eh, this is going to be too much work. Slag it.

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