Devin’s Top 15 | Dave’s Top 15 | George’s Top 15 | Russ’ Top 15

One of the great aspects of this new digital video revolution we’re in (before the oncoming HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Civil War … this year) is that just about everything sees the light of day. 2005 was no exception. I spent a lot of time indoors this year, moreso than usual (insert conspicuous internet writer joke here), pouring over an abundance of fantastic films. Not only was this list one of the toughest of my short life, but it also wrestled me to the ground thrice nightly – before we made sweet, sweet love, that is.

A few caveats to start. I’m going to shy away from television (it’s a separate entity, really) in the main list, primarily because it’s not my bag and I haven’t had enough time to fully immerse myself into its world than I would’ve liked to. Secondly, I’m going to cheat a little bit and clump some titles together – not only because several of them work as terrific double (& quadruple) features, but also because there’s been a prosperity of splendor in digital video land this year.

Finally, some of the titles you may not agree with – that’s cool. Some of the movies will be listed and surely, they’ll suck mighty Rocky Mountain Oysters. In order for me to get a good cross-listing of DVDs, I took into consideration the film first and then the wealth of goodies spread across the rest of the discs. Granted, there’s no set scientific formula for such an equation, just things I horded into consideration when not arguing with myself (try it – it’s fun!). And that’s it for the disclaimer of sorts. So, without further adieu – here’s some wind for your sails, jerks!

Sin Citahy15. Sin City: Recut, Extended, Unrated Edition
(Purchase the DVD from CHUD!) | (Nick’s Review) | (Devin’s Review) | (Ian’s DVD Review)

I wasn’t particularly keen on Rodriquez, Tarantino and Miller’s film, considering some of the scenery chewing and repetitive sequences of the film. However, it’s within the rest of the discs where Sin City shines. Forget the previous barebones release (unless it’s holding up your tower of beer power). Recut, Extended and Unrated get all new meaning as the progression of digital effects in this experiment not only serve the film, but you, the consumer! Rodriquez has always loved DVD, and you knew that. So here he doesn’t disappoint with zillions of specialties – including his famed cooking schools (so you can make something for your mutinous crew) and his 15 minute film school, which proves it can be done. But, why, you might ask: the bottom of the list? Simply because of how I feel towards the film. The virtual plethora of goodies and the inclusion of Miller’s The Hard Goodbye (in miniature form – Nick might want to steer clear!) equal nothing short of one of the best presentations of horrendous days past.

Spectacular Extra(s): Watching the filmmakers during production with the actors interacting with … no one else. Next, watch them splice it together. Then watch it all zoom by in the high-speed green scene feature. Advil optional.

Look Out!: You’ll want to grow a whole new protective layer over your genitals while wading through this set. Don’t forget to hock your other one into the Hudson.

Big Rouge One14. The Big Red One: The Reconstruction
(Purchase this DVD from CHUD, Solider!) | (Devin’s Interview with the Cast and Richard Shickel)

Famed filmmaker Sam Fuller held many jobs throughout his life, each one informing the next. And that still didn’t stop others from messing around with his films, and his Big Red One was chopped to pieces, a victim of unfortunate circumstance. Such was the way these past couple of decades. Fuller has since gone the way of the Doodoo, but filmmaker and historian Richard Shickel somehow stumbled onto a treasure trove of newly discovered materials: more than 40 minutes of cut scenes in Lorimar’s Vault in Kansas City. Working diligently, Schickel pieced the finds, along with Fuller’s original shooting script, into the DVD we have available today – The Big Red One: The Reconstruction. Not only is DVD a perfect medium for such a feat, but the results are astounding. Fleshing out a myriad of characters, emotions, and gripping scenes with edge-of-your-underwear excitement, Fuller’s ode to the men who fought in the European Theatre during WW2 is now almost the way it was meant to be seen, even if you have to murder someone to view it. Sorry, I meant kill. That’s what they do, they kill. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do some “poussez”-ing…

Spectacular Extra(s): A profile from Schickel’s own Men Who Make The Movies: Samuel Fuller. Receiving a more hard-assed appreciation of Lee Marvin.

Look Out!: The larger than life portrayals of war are on full display here, and you’ll be shatting yourself minutely while the bullets whiz on by in Dolby Digital 5.1.

Unseen even by you!13. Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant Garde Film 1893 –1941
(Purchase the DVD from CHUD!)

This is probably the point where I lose some of you, but seriously, this gigantor set is yet another reason to slather your undying love onto DVD. Packed with enough early avant-garde films to destroy Tokyo several times over, Unseen Cinema stomps its way through the streets with its eclectic brand of rarities and oddities – films that should cause some of you to scratch your heads and roll around in confusion. That’s precisely why it’s worthy! Experimenting with new techniques, these curiously adroit filmmakers (such as Edwin S. Porter, Douglas Fairbanks & Victor Fleming, Ernst Lubitsch and others you young cretins have never head of) stayed ahead of the curve in cinema’s creation (hence the subtitle above) by using their fledgling artistry. The shorts range from some wondrous skits to the supremely strange imagery that you’re bound to uncover. It’s still the films, those amazing pieces of history, that save the day and manage to keep you guessing or test your patience. This is not a set for those breastfed on Bruckheimer excess and multiple zeros on your post budget; no, these are almost the types of films Mr. George Lucas keeps threatening to harken back to. It’s worth it for the challenge alone.

Spectacular Extra(s): The sheer amount of spectacle presented within this set amounts to hours upon hours of crafted brilliance. That, and there’s a disc devoted to surrealism and fantasy!

Look Out!: For some adult themes on display! Handle them with caution, and make sure your copies of Gundam are facing the wall.

notsoyoungboy12. Double Feature: Oldboy / Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
(Purchase the insanity from CHUD!) | (Purchase Sympathy from CHUD!) | (Devin’s Oldboy Review) | (Charlie’s Oldboy Soundtrack Review) | (Micah’s Oldboy UMD Review) | (Devin’s Sympathy Review)

Oldboy quickly fell out of the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean it should. Park-Chanwook’s supreme head-wallop packs a gigantic punch, even if you’ve seen it thirty billion times prior. That’s where the details come fully to the front. Little things: like glances, camera movements, or even that color of the deplorable wallpaper. The way that live Octopus goes down with a gulp and a necessity, the Vengeance for Mr. emblem of freedom after 15 years imprisonment at the hands of a madman with not only time, but revenge on his mind. Oldboy is still as good as you’ve remembered it, and it’s even better when you couple it double-feature style with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. The latter has Chanwook starting up the vengeance cycle (Oldboy is numero dos in it), with a modern day comment on violence, suffering, and the enjoyment factor in all of it. Chanwook’s skills as a master craftsman are in full display. Anyone doubting his abilities will find themselves being caught up in the entertaining aspects of horrific violence. In other words, perfect for family hour viewing! If you haven’t seen these back-to-back, you should. It’ll open your eyes to vast cinematic possibilities.

Spectacular Extra(s): The fascinating audio commentary with Chanwook and cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon, steeped in the how’s and whys. On Sympathy, it’s the film. That’s what I call cheating, so shut up or I’ll sell your Kidney!

Look Out!: Stomach-churning sequences abound, but if you can get past them, you’ll be rewarded – with more!

controversy!11. Controversial Classics Collection
(I Steal! – but please don’t when purchasing the DVDs from CHUD!) | (My DVD Review of Bad Day At Black Rock) | (Russ’ DVD Review of Blackboard Jungle) | (Jason’s DVD Review of Fury) | (Russ’ DVD Review of A Face In The Crowd) | (My DVD Review of I Am A Fugitive Of A Chain Gang)

Even more than Warner’s amazing Noir Classic Collection Volume Two Boxed Set (buy that from CHUD here), their exemplary Gangsters Set (buy that from CHUD here) or even their mandatory Classic Comedies Collection (buy that from CHUD here) there is one set I think trumps ‘em all – the Controversial Classics Collection. Not to say that the others aren’t worthy (because they are). I only wanted to choose one. These Classics seem downright tame nowadays in comparison to the social taboos they were going up against in their day (which was a Grendel fortnight ago), but the films themselves still remarkably hold up. Tense, gripping, and thoroughly engrossing, the films, from being a Fugitive From A Chain Gang to going up against a rebellious group of teens in Blackboard Jungle, are all necessities. Years later they haven’t lost any of their muster to shock, to enthrall, and to bore the hell out of those with a penchant to fall asleep at even the slightest hint of no CGI’ed puppetry. Sure, the acting might be a little hokey (in the case of Fury), but ability to prod is still there (especially in the rather prophesizing A Face In The Crowd). Finally there’s something you and Grandpa can both agree on before he beats you (again): these older films will get your pants rising to wondrous new heights.

Spectacular Extra(s): Nothing notable (other than a commentary track on Face (not Templeton), Black Rock and Emily), but the films themselves are what’s the big hubbub. I’m just happy to have them available to the general disrespectful public.

Look Out!: For the peachier aspects of the films, surely to cast wicked doubts on your immoral sinning, you heathen.

incroyable10. The Incredibles
(Even though we’ve frozen all of Syndrome’s assets, you can still purchase the DVD from CHUD!) | (Devin’s Review) | (Russ’ DVD Review)

How predictable of me, right? Well, it may be, but The Incredibles is still a damn fine movie, arguably Pixar’s best film, and still a rollicking good time in any situation (even if Mom keeps screaming to take out the trash). I’m still smiling these many months later thinking of the exclusive-to-DVD short of Jack-Jack Attack, with its zany situational comedy and pitch-perfect faces of the characters involved. It’s inspired, much like the movie was a welcome knock to your nether regions. It’s easy to say that Pixar takes good care of their films on DVD, and their Ultimate Toy Box (sadly, out of print) proved that years ago. The Incredibles continues that commitment to enthralling you thousands of hours after you’ve left the theatre, as Director Brad Bird and the boys (and girls) behind the scenes bring you hilarious bloopers and outtakes, an in-depth making of the film (which progresses Pixar’s great insistence on story first, stupid), and the smile-inducing Mr. Incredible and Pals, which riffs tremendously on those cheaply made 12 fps cartoons and features a rabbit named Mr. Skipperdoo fer christssakes! Enough out of me, if you haven’t bought this yet, it must be really cold being in that dark room all by yourself.

Spectacular Extra(s): See everything above – and like it!

Look Out!: For Stan Lee when you watch it. I hear he’s not a fan.

Batman9. Batman: Motion Picture Anthology / Batman Begins: Deluxe Edition
(Purchase the Anthology from CHUD!) | (Purchase Begins from CHUD!) | (CHUD’s Tag Team Review) | (Nick’s DVD Review of the whole shebang!)

Normally, I’d stray from recommending a Boxed Set with Batman & Robin in it, but as a whole, the whole Batman Motion Picture Anthology and Batman Begins is a wild ride through the streets of Gotham. Even if it does go up and down faster than your dog licking the peanut butter off of your – ok, I’ll stop. Batman, to me, was always more noticeable for the Prince score, razor bladesBeginz and cups of coke aside, considering Party Man is the unofficial theme of my household. Batman Returns always scared me silly with Walken’s demise, and the Schumacher films, the less said the better. Chicks may dig his car, but the car’s busted, dude. Nolan finally nailed it, somewhat, even if the inept baddies (who happen to be fucking NINJAs!) suddenly succumb to the evils of fire and ‘splosions. Still, Warner Brothers has pulled out no stops (almost to the top – like Nicholson’s acting) in each and everyone of these films – commentary tracks (ones where people apologize are what you should listen to), features about The Batman, and so on and so forth. That’s where the bulk of this set rests, and why it’s rather high up in the list of death here. The extras are cohesive, but not as cohesive as the chilling sound of ya doom.

Spectacular Extra(s): Schumacher apologizing for ruining the Batman franchise. There’s no crying though. On Begins – it’s the compelling production features. The former wins in this battle.

Look Out!: For the obvious: nipples and chiseled butt shots. And Ken Watanabe’s wispy moustache. Also, the hilariously unintentional scene where Schwarzenegger falls into a vat of ice cold Halloween: H2O and screams high-pitched. You’ll wish your DVD player could eat you.

8. A Criterion Trinity (Le Samouraï / PickPocket / F For Fake)
(Purchase Le Samouraï from CHUD!) | (Purchase PickPocket from CHUD!) | (Purchase F For Fake from CHUD!)

Le Samoura-eyiiieieieieieieRemember when I said I was going to cheat a little bit? Well, this trio of films from Criterion is so important, I felt the need (for speed) to clump them all together in order for you to seek them out. In Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï, Alain Delon plays the titular hero to a T. The film is a masterstroke of framing and development. Le Samouraï takes a little bit of 40’s noir, some 60’s mod, and a dash of pseudo-Japanese Bushido code and mixes them all up for a cocktail of cool, ice cold froid. The Criterion treatment was lavished on Melville’s masterpiece, and interviews make up the bulk of extras. But don’t be fooled, not only are they interesting and informative, you’ll get the rounded treatment and the satisfactory feeling of finally having a great digital copy of Delon being the epitome of sexy lounging around your abode.

pickpocketryRobert Bresson’s films have always been chock full of spiritual moments, ones interspersed throughout his minimalist plots. But don’t let my words fool you into running far away, as his Pickpocket is a masterpiece, the Dostoevsky-infused story of a young man who sees himself above all and pays the price in every regard. Using non-professional actors, Bresson seems to have found the right balance between reality and the search for meaning in his films; you feel their plight because these characters feel so approachable. Then, for the people turned off by such foreign endeavors, there’s those intricate scenes of pickpocket thievery put to good use. Not only are they amazing to watch, but the excitement level in my remembrance just went up and I’m not even thinking about pornography.

fakeryI love Orson Welles. Love him. I had been consistently on the search for one of his lesser known films F For Fake, but the day arrived when Criterion slathered their love onto it and the rest is what I’d call supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Welles was a famed sleight-of-hand magician and F For Fake takes it all to new levels of wondrous glee. Using the film as sort of a jazz-riff on trickery, fakery, and his own career, Welles infuses everything at such a breakneck pace I was gasping for air even before the film was half over. It’s riveting. F For Fake was one of those films where I was primed to stop-and-start, considering I have ADD like you’ve never seen, but somehow it enraptured me and never let me push pause. I’d call that a winner in my book. I love this film with the most illegal manlove possible.

Spectacular Extra(s): On Le Samouraï – it’s gotta be the mod-cool stylings of the trailer. On Pickpocket – it’s Paul Schader’s love affair with the film and the footage from the sleight-of-hand artist, and finally, on F For Fake – it’s gotta be the shoes, I mean the documentary Orson Welles: One Man Band, which takes you on a hour-long journey through his unfinished projects.

Look Out!: Subtitles abound on 2 of the 3, and Pickpocket is in black and white. If you can manage past those incidentals, then you’re in for a filmic feast.

hitchcockery7. Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection
(Good evening, purchase this monstrosity from CHUD!)

All of the previous Universal/Paramount Hitchcock films have been released, but when you upgrade to Anamorphic and host a cacophony of other extras, it’s high time you made a list or two. The master of suspense not only created some of the most indelible imagery imaginable (Pyscho’s shower scene? Vertigo’s jump in the Bay? Marnie’s slap-around by Monsieur Connery?) but he also managed to mold some of the most entertainingly manipulative films in cinematic history. If you’re unaccustomed to Hitchcock, this is a great place to start. Just paw through the set and see the progression of his career, from the all-in-one-take technological experiment of Rope to the voyeurism on display in Rear Window to the Cuban shenanigans and John Vernon’s mammoth beard in Topaz. In short, each and every film is as essential as breathing or Vivid Video. You’d be hard-pressed for me not to fully throw my massive weight behind this thing. Its Hitchcockian greatness is one for the ages.

Spectacular Extra(s): Each film has been remastered in Anamorphic. And while it contains pretty much the same extras as the previous Boxed Set, the Hitchcock Bonus disc has some extra AFI footage and the like, this regulating this Herculean Box into the stratosphere of greatness.

Look Out!: For Hitchcock’s cameos. Yeah, I know, but there’s nothing even remotely bad about these titles, unless you’re inclined to hate black and white films or ones where our villain dresses up like his mother (just like you!).

rolling stone6. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
(Purchase the DVD from CHUD!) | (Devin’s DVD Review)

I cannot fellate No Direction Home enough. You might take me to task because it was on PBS a week after it debuted, but this is strictly DVD all the way. It appears as if it was a Herculean task, filled with interviews over the course of several hundred decades, a budget rivaling any of several small countries, and enough musical history to send you packing to an Encyclopedia. Director Martin Scorsese culled through all of this footage (and even that is under attack, as people discuss just exactly how much he did – but the film has his stamp all over it) to bring you the portrait of an artist as a young hooligan. The film itself is one of the most authentic documents of what it means to create art – not only reflexively, but instinctively. Creating not for the fans, but for yourself. This film is a tribute to the greatness that is Dylan and his abilities to see beyond the ever-threatening damnation of people boxing an artist in with their sullied expectations. Those were made to be blown into smithereens, and Dylan acts accordingly, pummeling your thoughts into oblivion. Mind blowing, I believe, is the correct word. Simply stunning.

Spectacular Extra(s): Full-length performances from Dylan scattered across the Newport Folk Festival.

Look Out!: For scenes of Dylan in a very unflattering light. Your musical God is tarnished.

Judah Ben Rock5. Ben-Hur: 4-Disc Collector’s Edition
(Deal with Messala your own way. Then purchase the DVD from CHUD!) | (Ian’s DVD review)

Some might consider Ben-Hur boring, assuredly it’s anything but. William Wyler’s epic film, again “filmed in a widescreen so grandiose, it almost rivals your former girlfriend’s vagina.” (I love my previous joke, so sue me!). And Warner Brothers has seen fit to make that statement true for the DVD set, which folds out in your living room and overtakes approximately 1 mile of space, end-to-end. The anecdotal commentary track from star Charlton Heston makes a nice counterpoint to the scholarly one from T. Gene Hatcher, which is spread out over the film’s 2 discs (it’s a long film). Then, from there, it gets even bigger, as the original 1925 Ben-Hur silent is included (and looks gorgeous, by the way), a great punch in your nuts if you’ve ever wanted to see what epic looked like in the land of floosies. But we’re not even remotely finished, as documentaries (some included on the previous edition) and featurettes spill out over the fourth disc, thus regulating your time to eating, sleeping, and watching this. The screen tests – one that includes Leslie Neilsen as a Roman – are particularly delightful, and a nice round-out is Ben-Hur told through a series of pictures. There’s more of course, but why should I spoil the fun? Not only will you want to dive right into this honkin’ set, but you’ll get lost in the process. Jesus might even help you find a way home, and clear your leprosy.

Spectacular Extra(s): The all-new 2005 documentary Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema, which has Lucas, Scott, and Michael Douglas all stop by to share their thoughts of what the film means to them. The screen tests are also fun, fun, and more fun.

Look Out!: For Christianity!

Diabolikinicity4. Danger: Diabolik
(Laugh manically, then purchase the DVD from CHUD!)

Deep, deep down, we all want to be like Diabolik, the international superstar who finds time to seduce the ladies on beds made of money and somehow manages to steal rotten from a group of curiously clueless officials. Watching John Phillip Law get away with some seriously zany schemes only reinforces how I feel about the film – I want to be like Diabolik. He’s crazy, sexy, and cool – not just in that TLC way, rather as a man at peace with the world, smacking confessions out of Mafia Bosses while careening downward at 30,000 MPH in the sky. In this cynical world, filled with people who hate us as much as we hate them, it’s nice to know that Danger: Diabolik is a breath of fresh air. Diabolik doesn’t take things quite as seriously as we do (his infectious evil laugh destroys all). And who should with a rocking Ennio Morricone score backing them up? The DVD puts an instant spell on you from the moment the Menus pop up to the other array of extras – including the video for Body Movin’, which is lovingly crafted by those boys who understand a thing or two about refreshing fun.

Spectacular Extra(s): The trailers. The music, good God, the music. So infectious.

Look Out!: Don’t attempt to try and concoct your own Exhilaration Gas, as it’ll only end in pain and suffering. Instead, let Diabolik do it for you!

WOWLE3. Double Feature: War of the Worlds: Limited Edition / War of the Worlds: Special Collector’s Edition (‘53)
(Purchase Cruise-DVD-Mania through CHUD!) | (Purchase the George Pal DVD!) | (Devin’s War of the Worlds ’05 Review)

Steven Spielberg’s jaunt through the relative confines of terror gets my vote as one of the year’s best. Not only did he tell a very small story against the backdrop of a massive Alien invasion, but he did it with a signature style all his own. And those images – clothes rumpling downward, bodies incinerated into dust, crowds clamoring for escape – all calculated for maximum scares and deeply unsettling feelings. A lot of the Special Effects are very organic; they serve the story and don’t call too much attention to themselves – which is spectacular even in the War of the Worlds: Limited Edition, where famed documentary maker Laurent Bouzerau gives us a semi-All Access pass into the land of the bearded one. I garnered a lot of information from this thing (some might call it fluff) – I saw insights into Spielberg’s directorial mind. I saw intricate dealings with SPFX and the creative minds themselves, and I was fascinated with the ways Action Unit legend Vic Armstrong and his crew were able to fashion harnesses and other items to make scenes more (un)believable. In short, these production features on the disc (spread into 4 parts – 2 for the East Coast, 2 for the West Coast) were nothing short of some of the most interesting I watched all year (aside from our #1). The Limited Edition has a mighty high place on my shelf.

WOWSEAs a great double feature, the re-release of George Pal’s original War of the Worlds: Special Collector’s Edition is a must. Not only will you see some of the original ideas garnered for the re-imagining of the above, but you’re also in for a campy fun time as Gene Barry and Anne Robinson battle the ever-present Alien horde from overtaking our country with their white-hot lasers and creepy crawly Simon-eyed probes. Pal’s film has a sense of terrific wonder splashed across every horrible event, and for being as creaky as it is, the special effects still hold up (by a thread, really). Now, besides the film, the DVD got the deluxe treatment with not only a commentary track with the always-excellent Joe Dante, but also the original Orson Welles radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ novel. I’d call that worthwhile.

Spectacular Extra(s): For Spielberg’s it’s the Production Diaries (which are so en vogue right now, it’s scary) and for Pal’s it’s the original Radio Broadcast, mostly for those noobs unfamiliar with history.

Look Out!: For the relatively fluffy aspects of some of the features on the Limited Edition, but they’re few and far between.

Ozendipity2. Wizard of Oz: 3-Disc Collector’s Edition
(Purchase the awesomeness from CHUD!) | (Ian’s DVD Review)

This year, the road to DVD infamy is partly paved in Yellow Brick and Fur. Warner’s has hit a slam-run over the park and through thirty windows in the form of its Wizard of Oz: Collector’s Edition (which banishes the thought of buying the Special Edition). The film is a cultural institution, and now this DVD might be as well. Not only does it contain the film in one of the most jaw-dropping Ultra Resolution clean-ups I have ever viewed with my repressed virgin eyes, but it contains an extra disc devoted primarily to all things Oz; from the early 1900’s silent shorts, all the way through the 30’s cartoon. The package is sexiness and class all the way. Items such as a reprint of the original Press Kit and ticket (which might be taking things a little too far) adorn its walls. Even the box is shiny in its splendor. Nothing feels wasted. Every little nook and cranny of this set, from the commentaries to the featurettes, to even that moment when you fire one up and bust out Dark Side of the Moon, has its place. The Wizard of Oz: Collector’s Edition is a fine and worthy event. Yes, event. This is like a goddamned week at the movies.

Spectacular Extra(s): Absolutely, positively everything included in the set! 13 hours of it!

Look Out!: For time, which will be whisked away while trucking through this gorgeousness.

1. Quadruple Feature: King Kong Collection (with Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young – a Best Buy Exclusive) / Kong Production Diaries
(Purchase the KONG Tin from CHUD!) | (Purchase the KONG Collection from CHUD!) | (Purchase Peter Jackson’s Production Diaries from CHUD!) | (Jason’s DVD Review of the KONG Tin)

Slap Warner Brothers on the back, they’ve really outdone themselves here on this King Kong set. Pound your chest and do whatever it is you do within moral reason, because
Kong has never looked this great. Arguably one of the finest adventure films ever made, Kong not only built the benchmark for special effects and its ability to encapsulate audiences across the globe, but it also served as a primer to remind us that beauty does indeed kill beasts. Granted, some of the acting is atrocious and the line delivery flatbed, but that shouldn’t stop you from immersing yourself into Kong lore and going along for Denham and Company’s ride of their life. The Dinosaurs, the Winged Creatures of the night, even unbathed Beauties populate the caverns of Skull Island and your mind like so many of those schlocky films you subjected yourself to. Kong is the real deal, and the DVD only further forces that upon you. Peter Jackson’s documentary – RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World – is arguably the most comprehensive making-of ever produced in the history of DVD. Ever. No stone is left unturned. I think even the Janitor and lowly Interns got interviewed with their thoughts. They even rebuild Kong from Mr. Bob Burns’ original surviving armature of the Simian. And what becomes of it is spine-tingling in a truly geeky manner. King Kong’s Collector’s Tin, along with Best Buy’s Exclusive packaging with Mighty Joe Young and Son of Kong, is the best DVD package of the year. Fitting that the King of the Jungle is also privy to my clichéd writing skills.

As a necessity – make sure to check out Peter Jackson’s Production Diaries as a fitting quadruple feature (after Son of Kong and Joe Young, naturally). A little light on the footage of the film itself (but what do you care? – you’ve seen it), these 54 diaries go into some amazing depth. Everything you young impressionable minds want to know about big-budget Hollywood filmmaking (I know some NYU kids are shuttering at the thought of that!) is laid out on the table for you to study, preserve, and observe until you’re blue in the face and then some. And while Jackson’s love letter to all things large is fairly great (read Devin’s review and George’s review), it does manage to be all heart in the confines of a very large beast – film and animal. These Production Diaries should set you right, and hopefully, for all the budding filmmaking crazies out there, towards reinvigorating yourself with hope for the future (before Hollywood and uber-insane Producers shoot you down).

Spectacular Extra(s): The aforementioned documentary RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World.

Look Out!: Don’t forget to go outside and live – in between bouts of watching these massive extravaganzas. Your favorite opposite sex will thank you.

Honorable Mentions (Click ’em to order ’em!)

This is going to be long. Viewers with dial up are unceremoniously screwed.

YesInnocent BloodFrighteningers
Jules et HimHoop DreamsRun run ran away
Fly!Major DundeePrimer
DeerzMock-ing bird-yeahStingy fun
Echoes in eternityBamboo HousePanic in da str
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