Monday, October 03, 2005

"This is not 'Nam, this is bowling; there are rules... You mark that frame an eight, you're entering a world of pain..." THE BIG LEBOWSKI DVD


Universal Home Entertainment will finally be drawing back the curtain on its DVD “Collector’s Edition” of The Big Lebowski on October 18. The good folks at the DVD preview site Upcoming Discs have revealed that the new edition will feature a much spiffier presentation (remastered anamorphic widescreen) than was seen on the previous edition, which has been available in most Best Buy bargain bins for a couple of years now. Extra features will include the very same relatively delightful “making of” documentary that was featured on the Polygram disc, as well as a gallery of production photographs shot on the set by Jeff Bridges, and an introduction by one Mortimer Young. Well, in the words of one disgruntled potential buyer on Amazon.com who sees the new edition as a cynical fleecing of the Lebowski faithful, “Oooh, whoopee (sic), that sure is worth my money! Who the hell is (Mortimer Young) anyway?” Coen fans who either bought or rented the recent director’s cut DVD of their first film, Blood Simple, may remember Mortimer Young as the excessively dry, entirely faux film professor who introduced the new cut with such laser-precise comments as, “The Coens have removed some of the boring bits and added other parts.” Another appearance by Young on the new edition of The Big Lebowski bodes well for at least four of five minutes of hilarious skewering of critical academia, if nothing else.

(Lebowski, being the beautiful scruffy specimen that it is, probably wouldn’t lend itself as well to the kind of delirious satire that was provided by equally faux film expert Kenneth Loring on the Coen-scripted commentary track of the noir-drenched Blood Simple, but his presence on the disc will be missed nonetheless.)

Apparently there will also be a limited “Achiever’s Edition” available featuring the Collector's Edition DVD, a bowling shammy towel, quotable lines picture coasters and photo cards from Jeff Bridges' personal collection. The only thing missing that would make such a splashy package complete is a ticket to the next Lebowski Fest.

There is one more good reason to pick up either the Collector’s Edition or the Achiever’s Edition, and that would be the closed-captioning and English subtitles created fresh for this new release by yours truly and my wife. We spent a very happy couple of days at work earlier this year poring over what, for both of us, I think, is our favorite Coen Brothers film in minute detail in order to bring to it the best subtitling possible. When you rent it or watch the copy you buy, you can click the “subtitle” feature on your DVD player, check out our contribution to the enjoyment of the film, and perhaps even find them to your liking. Hopefully, in the same way that the Cowboy observes of the Dude that every age gets the man it deserves, The Big Lebowski will finally get the DVD, and the subtitles, it deserves.

UPDATE 10/11/05: Courtesy of DVD Beaver, here's a screen grab from The Big Lebowski Collector's Edition, complete with one of approximately 1,500 brand-spanking-new DVD subtitles.

16 comments:

blaaagh said...

Ha, ha, very funny, Dennis; as if I could be taken in by another hoax special-edition DVD article, after that "Shining" debacle. Nice try.

Just kidding, of course. Looks like loads of fun!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah, I guess this post should have sported a disclaimer: "No, really! It's true!"

Murray said...

Dennis, do you have a list of films that you and yours have captioned over the years that you can email me? I have not seen "Big Lebowski", and I have read your raves about it. Is this a movie that I would enjoy? Seriously now, and not another one of those S T movies.

The Mysterious )Ad)ria;n B'(eta'ma(X) said...

That's right. Just bask in the materialism of it all. Why even watch the movie. Just collect the DVD and call it good. Well, I suppose if the original DVD release was problematic it's okay.

It's funny, but it's not my favorite Coen brothers film (Miller's Crossing or the Hudsucker Proxy-- oh, no, wait, Raising Arizona... Uh, I'll get back to you.) Although somehow I can't deny that I drank one hell of a lot more White Russians after this film than before it!

P.S. - I love to see blog entries about closed-captioning and subtitles! More entries on the daily drudgery of our work! Go into detail! Okay, maybe not.

- The Mysterious )Ad)ria;n B'(eta'ma(X)

Loxjet said...

You guys captioned that? Man, I am GREEN with envy. The CC on the disc I have is pretty bad... and now it's perfect, I'll wager. I'm betting you were able to input whole sentences by just hearing the first word or two.

I'll admit, however, that I had to turn on the captions to learn the word "satyriasis," which was a new one on me. Yet without batting an eye, a man can refer to his dick or his rod or his johnson. (Is "johnson" capitalized?)vi

Benaiah said...

Man I could nearly caption that movie from memory (I wouldn't do nearly as good a job as you did no doubt). I think that I have seen that movie more than any other, I don't think there is even a close second. In Ireland we had no TV, no internet and no cable, so my roommate and I would come home and watch one of the 8 movies in his dvd collection. You can only see the Matrix so often, but the hijinks of the Dude and Walter...

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Murray:
I don't have a list at hand, but I could probably come up with something for you. Why? Compiling a list of my typographical errors to somehow use against me? As for the travails of the Dude, Walter, Donnie et al., I would say, wait until October 18 and rent the new edition. It's an excellent comedy-- I don't know if it'd entirely be your cup of tea, but I think you'd find plenty to tickle you, especially if you like any of the other Coen Brothers films and are familiar with their sensibility. And I'd wager that if you like it at all, your first time around won't be your last-- this movie really has a tendency to grow on you. By the way, "S.T. movie"? Sexually transmitted? I'm sure I don't know to what wildly funny faux rock documentary you are referring...

Dennis Cozzalio said...

M.A.B.: You are seriously flirting with becoming our very own Armond White! I know several people who like The Hudsucker Proxy-- I'm one of 'em-- but you're the only one I know who would ever claim it as their favorite Coen Brothers movie. I'm with ya on Miller's Crossing, though.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Loxjet: Yeah, when this movie showed up on my desk (unsolicited, on top of that!), I knew there must be a heavenly force watching over me (perhaps the spirit of our rock-throwing friend Donnie?)

And you're right-- there were a whole bunch of times I was able to just throw the line in ahead of schedule, without hearing the dialogue first. This one comes to mind: "Have you ever heard of a little show called Branded, Dude? 'All but one man died there at Bitter Creek...' Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes, Dude. The bulk of the series. Not exactly a lightweight... and yet his son is a fucking dunce." Oh, it was a giddy couple of days around room 8 when this movie came through!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Benaiah! How's studies? Great to hear from you!

Yeah, I know the siren call of The Big Lebowski well. When my wife and I saw it in the theater, we were both amazed that the Coens would follw up their Oscar-winning Fargo with such a scruffy no-account of a movie, and just chalked it up to their peculiar perversity and indifference at the sudden mainstream acclaim being visited upon them. But with each subsequent viewing it became clearer just how brilliant a movie Lebowski really is, and despite its seeming inconsequentiality, it turns out to be a much more substantial, and substantially funny, movie than Fargo, or just about anything else in their filmography. I know that on one level the M.A.B. is right-- this "Collector's Edition" teeters right on the brink of being a crass comercial exercise. But I'm really glad to have been able to work on bringing this movie more accurately to a deaf audience, and to be associated with it in even the most tangential of ways.

Hope school is going well and that you'll have a chance to check in more often. I know I've promising for a couple weeks now, but the answers to that long-ago Prof. Wagstaff quiz are ready to go-- all I need is the time to type 'em! Lots of other stuff too. Keep in touch!

P.S. What do you think about the Jim Tracy affair? Boy, Plaschke and the talk radio parrots are all aflutter over it today...

Brian said...

I always wondered what sort of people did those closed captions; I don't suppose you write second audio programs for the blind, too? A couple months ago I wrote a little about how the Docurama disc of Sound and Fury failed to include closed captioning (though the DVD packaging claimed it had it!) It's a fascinating subject for me for some reason. Just starting to dip my toe into your site and liking what I'm finding so far!

Murray said...

Actually I do want to see how you stack up to the rest of the caption world. I may be prejudiced, but I would venture to guess that you and yours are among the top in your craft. Plus, I would like to be able to brag on you and say hey, I know who captioned that movie. No hurry! No worry! I won't beat you up with it. I since I have no idea who the Coen Bros are, I will give the Big L a shot when it comes out on the 18th. It would be very hard for any movie to out do your "S.T. movie.

Anonymous said...

Murray, as a (former) colleague of Dennis and his excellent spouse, I can assure you that not only are the captioneers at that particular company the best in the biz, but Dennis and the Missus are the cream of THAT crop!

xo
Jen

benaiah said...

I love Fargo, The Man Who Wasn't There and even the Hudsucker Proxy, I think that BL is simply transendant. The layers to the movie are such that even on the tenth viewing there are still little things to notice and appreciate.
School is amazing. I should have believed the hype about Senior year. I am writing a ton, partying a ton and even sleeping on occasion. As such I don't get to check SLIFR as much as I would like. But I still come by when I get a chance.

I am among those who think that Tracy was awful, and so I am happy to see him go. However, I must admit that I wonder if Depo hasn't bitten off more of a PR nightmare than he can handle. The jackels at the LA Times act as though Tracy (.528 winning percentage and one playoff win) is Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Tommy Lasorda rolled up in one. I think half of the anti-firing articles were written 2 or 3 months ago and they were just waiting to fill in the details.

stooge1970 said...

I like to caption porn.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

And porn likes to caption you! As Walter Sobchak might have said (perhaps on very strong meds), "Won't you please consider being quiet, Donny?"

Brian: I haven't gotten into descriptive audio programming-- it's an entirely different beast. But it's really interesting to listen to. I stumbled upon it years ago while watching a showing of His Girl Friday on American Movie Classics (back when it really was American Movie Classics instead of its current Abhorrent Monkey Crap incarnation)-- [ Hushed Voice ]: "Hildy kicks Walter under the table. Walter reacts with mild surprise and annoyance. Bruce continues eating, oblivious to what's going on..." I haven't heard much of it, but it's a fascinating variation on what I do. I'm really enjoying Hell On Frisco Bay, by the way!

Benaiah: I remember showing The Big Lebowski to some friends who had never seen it-- they were annoyed with me at first for giggling at things that seemed, absent context, only mildly amusing. But it only took about 10 minutes, as I recall, for that context to establish itself, and they were laughing like baboons right alongside me. It's a great movie.

And it is this day that Jim Tracy was announced as the new manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fans of McClendon's volcanic bursts out of the dugout are bound to be disappointed, as are fans of aggressive managerial moves and a certain degree of wisdom as to when to take a pitcher out of a game. But Tracy is inheriting a young team that could, like the Rockies, look much better in 2006 than they did this year. Then watch all the hosannahs from ESPN come falling from the skies, if Tracy manages a winning record his first (or even second) season, about how the Dodgers let another gem fall by the wayside. It figures that Tracy would have to move to the East Coast for Ravetch and company to even get a clue as to who he is...