Bonus Points: DVD Reviews
The Best in 'Bonus Points'
Tuesday, December 20, 2005; 12:00 AM
The end of the year always inspires an avalanche of best-of lists. Instead of providing yet another rundown of the 10 best and worst DVDs of the year -- a nearly impossible task given how many sets hit the market in a 365-day period -- here's a look at some of the outstanding DVD extras and moments from 2005, no audio commentary track included.
Most Surreal 'Bonus Point': The bizarre "informercial" on the special edition of "I Heart Huckabees," which features Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman in character as existential detectives, discussing philosophy with college professors and feasting messily on the innards of watermelons. It's even freakier than the mind-bending movie is.
Best Satirical 'Bonus Point': "Mr. Incredible & Pals," the send-up of past superhero cartoons included on "The Incredibles" DVD, is funny enough on its own. But the wry commentary track by Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) -- neither of whom have kind words for their goofy rabbit sidekick, Mr. Skipperdoo -- makes this extra all the more clever.
Funniest 'Bonus Point': The hour-plus of outtakes from "Chappelle's Show: Season 2" will make you laugh so hard, tears will stream down your face. Then you'll remember there won't be a third season of the Comedy Central sketch series. And the tears will keep on streaming.
Best Featurettes: All of the featurettes on "Lost: Season One" -- particularly "Designing a Disaster" and "Welcome to Oahu: The Making of the Pilot" -- are nearly as gripping as the Emmy Award-winning drama itself.
Best Fan-Related Bonus Point: Asking lovers of "Donnie Darko" to create a bonus feature for the extended-edition DVD was brilliant. Choosing "#1 Fan," a tongue-in-cheek look at a guy whose life revolves around the cult film, as the winner was even more brilliant.
Most Bizarre DVD Release of the Year: The informercial from "I Heart Huckabees" looks like an exercise in normalcy compared to the DVD of "Miss Cast Away and the Island Girls," a straight-to-DVD offering released in July. Really, when a movie's cast includes Eric Roberts, Evan Marriott and Michael Jackson -- yes, that Michael Jackson -- how can you not watch?
TV DVD I Was Most Happy to Get: "Undeclared," Judd Apatow's hilarious look at college life, went on permanent academic probation after its first season. Thanks to this stellar box set, class is forever back in session.
TV DVD I Was Most Happy to Get, Part Two: "Party of Five: The Complete Second Season" includes the finest episodes of the sweet '90s drama that starred Matthew Fox before he got "Lost." And yes, I still cry when I watch the devastating Charlie/Kirsten wedding episode.
Most Apologetic Commentary Track: Director Joel Schumacher almost begs for forgiveness during the audio for the special edition of the abominable "Batman & Robin." You may not forgive the movie's cheesiness but you'll respect Schumacher's candor.
Most Pointless Extra: The featurette "Miami After Vice" -- part of the "Miami Vice: Season One" set -- looks like a promotion for the city. That's because it is; the time-wasting segment was produced by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Best Making-of Documentary: Do you know how painstaking it is to film a tiny gorilla puppet using stop-motion animation? You will after watching the exhaustive, fascinating "RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World," included in the collector's edition of the original "King Kong." At nearly three hours, it's almost as long -- and just as worthwhile -- as Peter Jackson's recent "Kong" remake.
The Year's Lamest DVD Release: They got it in just under the wire. On Dec. 26, the straight-to-DVD release of "American Pie Presents Band Camp," the fourth in the decidedly stale series of teen comedies, arrives. How weak is the plot? Let's just say that the main character is Stifler's younger brother. But the saddest part of all is that Eugene Levy -- who played Jim's bumbling father in the first three theatrical releases -- actually shows up again in this one. Seriously, between this, "The Man" and "Cheaper by the Dozen 2," is there any film this otherwise brilliant comedian won't make?
If you have feedback about "Bonus Points" or want to suggest a DVD for review, e-mail Jen Chaney.