DVD Extras

Why do we need DVD extras? Didn't all those people in the credits put all their hard work into creating a finished product? Aren't we happy enough not having to peek behind the curtain and second guess the final edit? Are we at a point where we're unwilling for any accomplishment to be left as such? Is the viewer necessarily so fascinated with the machinations of movie production?

I watched Stand By Me tonight, followed by the "making of" documentary which was basically interview clips intercut with scenes from the movie and a few production stills. It revealed very little except that everybody was very pleased and we all miss River Phoenix. During the viewing, I decided how I would change things for DVD's in general and Stand By Me in particular. Generally, I would wish to give the film itself more prominence relative to all the extras, and then maintain the clear position that the extras are for better understanding the production and context of the movie and are not in any way a part of the movie. So here are some quick suggestions:

1. No soundtrack loops, derivative artwork, cute cursor effects or animations with the menu. Just describe the selections in some ugly green-on-black DOS-type format with highlited text. Less is more. I've never seen this part of a DVD done nearly as well as the lamest actual title sequence. Ideally the movie should start automatically when you put in the disc unless you start mashing buttons to do otherwise.
2. Include searchable references as much as possible, and to the exclusion of sappy interviews. If we're so interested in the production, we'd get a lot more out of a prop list with sources and costs of every item than a warmly lit close up of Corey Feldman reminiscing about how Rob liked to mix it up on the set.
3. And... while I'm at it. Instead of interviewing the now-grown up actors of Stand By Me for a pointless self-serving documentary, wouldn't it be cooler to send them off on a little unscripted "Blair Witch" style adventure to exhume River Phoenix - let them really hash out their career frustrations and personal baggage within the same general framework as the movie? I would watch that.

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