guys. Thanks for all the well wishes over this past week. You know
I'm thankful for you, and now I know you're thankful for me as well.
I also now know most of you guys have viruses. Geez, I'm getting hit
every time I open my mail. Ugh. Anyway, this column is going to be
shorter than normal this week and probably next as well. My wife is
in a new play, and I'm helping out with the sets. If you're planning
on being in Atlanta during the week of 12/6 to 12/16 (Thursday
through Sunday), check it out. Visit
First Stage for information on how to see out the show. Bill
mentioned the title in his column today, and it's way too long to
repeat here. But the show is very funny, and worth the time. If
you're there opening night, look for me (laughing the loudest) and
the funny lady dressed as a snowman.
Anyway, this week we're looking at an independent film released
recently on DVD...
2000 (2001) - TLA Releasing (First Run Features)
Film Rating: C+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/A
Specs and Features:
79 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.78:1), 16x9 enhanced, Amaray
keep case packaging, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch
at 17:39, in chapter 5), audio commentary with writer/director
Patrick Hasson and associate producer/star Will Keenan, Bug
Hunt Easter egg feature, behind-the-scenes featurette,
DVD Contest menu, 3 deleted scenes, 2 hidden deleted scenes, 9
outtakes, 5 hidden outtakes, 15 songs from the film, theatrical
trailers (for Waiting,
Forgive and Forget and
Spin The Bottle), cast and
crew biographies, animated film-themed menu screens with sound,
scene access (20 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles:
of all the processed Hollywood "cheesefood"? Looking for a
meaty meal of independent cinema? Well, you can't go farther away
from the glossy films of Hollywood than Waiting
- a shot-on-digital feature that's all the rage from film festival
to film festival. And guess what? It's finally on DVD.
Waiting follows the
misadventures of a struggling college grad named Sean (Will Keenan),
who can't seem to find himself and currently wastes away his time
getting drunk and working in the food service industry (not
necessarily, but sometimes, in that order). Sean is also dealing
with an ex-girlfriend he truly loves, who dumped him because of his
drinking problem and his inability to socialize with her parents
(playing her father is none other than Bits
favorite: Uncle Lloyd Kaufman). So in this slice of life comedy, we
go through Sean's trials and tribulations as he literally "screws"
a pretty hot thing from work, gets drunk and falls down a lot, has a
little meeting with a former flame turned dominatrix and has his
revenge against the new guy in his girlfriend's life.
If taken in small sketch-like bits, Waiting
is quite funny. But stretched out over a full story, it makes little
to no sense at all. For example, who is Sean? I mean, he's our "hero,"
but he's a loser and a drunk. And that's fine, I can deal with that.
But the way he's presented, we just don't care about him in the
least. Comedies only work if we can identify with the characters...
and if you identify with Sean, you shouldn't be laughing. Point two:
Sean is working to get his girl back, but (not to give anything
away) in the end, after seemingly getting her back, we learn that
Sean kicked her to the curb. Huh? Point three: the dominatrix - when
we first meet her she seems to actually want to see Sean, but when
she finally does, she is very mean to him (and not in a dominatrix
kind of way). The way it's done doesn't make much sense, and there
would have been a lot more in the way of comedy built into a scene
where she might actually want to be with him, but he doesn't
understand the "lifestyle" she's hooked into.
Waiting is full of potential,
but falls down along the way. It really could have been a winner
through and through, but instead only works in pieces. And that
doesn't make a great film at all.
Still, fans of independent cinema might get a kick out of some of
the stuff in here. There are a few funny bits, and if you've ever
worked in the food service industry, a lot will ring true for you.
Luckily, this DVD comes pretty jam packed with extras that should
entertain the fan in all of us.
First, let's talk about the sound and image quality.
Waiting is presented in both
anamorphic widescreen and non-anamorphic widescreen. You select from
the start. It looks fine either way. The image was shot-on-digital
(looks like maybe a Canon XL1) and it does the job. Some of the
movie looks soft and blurry, but that's no fault of the disc. There
are, however, a few glitches. I counted three. The first is an audio
drop out that happens twice at about 11:30 minutes in. I talked to
the DVD company, and it looks like this will be fixed in the second
pressing of the disc (so if you have the disc and hear the drop out,
take it back and exchange it). The second glitch is in a
conversation about separate checks about 45 minutes in. What you'll
see is a digital jump. Don't worry about this one, it's inherent in
the film and acknowledged by the filmmaker in the commentary track.
The last glitch is a tiling effect that happens when Sean arrives at
the house of the dominatrix. Again, this problem is with the
transfer and should be repaired in the second pressing of the DVD.
The sound, by the way, is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround track and it
works well. Keep in mind that this is a $25,000 film, and you'll
have all you need to know technical quality-wise when watching the
Where Waiting shines is with
the extras. This is a fun disc in terms of extra features. First, we
have animated menus with Will Keenan shot exclusively for this DVD.
From the main menu, or the special features menu, you can access an
Easter egg (just click around, you'll find it). This egg leads you
to a video snippet of Will as Sean, complementing you for finding
the egg. He'll tell you about the eggs and show you an icon called "Show
Me". He'll flap his mouth about the icon being hidden
somewhere. He's just jiving you. When you see it, click that exact
icon and it will send you to a clues area. This will send you to
another menu showing you what to look for as you watch the film. It
then lets you choose to turn on a subtitle feature that will
activate tiny bug shaped icons that lead you to hidden bonus
features. They are:
In the start of the Prologue you'll find a deleted scene:
Thor vs. Locust. Also in the
Prologue is an outtake: My Trainee Trey.
In the scene where Sean is confronted for eating food on the job,
there's another outtake: Kitchen Action.
When Sean's dad tells him to get "Get Motivated" and find
an apartment, you'll find a deleted scene called
Acid Bread. Looking for the
Vegan outtake? Look no further
than the co-op scene during Sean's apartment hunt. As Sean stuffs
shaving cream in his face, there's an outtake of that scene. And
finally, during the Car Hood Stunt
scene, you can find the outtake: Good To
The two "clues" I couldn't find are Trey's
Close Up: A Hint of Lemon and Army
Truck Promo. If you find them, let me know where they
are, 'cause I can't find them and I'm beginning to think they don't
As for the "clues" the clues menu won't give clues for, I
got them for ya... well, all except one - The
DVD Contest. Here's the deal: If you find it and you're
the first to do so, you can win the Bug Suit worn by Will Keenan in
the film. This is a pretty neat idea, and is the first such egg ever
created for DVD. As a benefit for those who come second and third,
TLA will give a free DVD to everyone else who finds it for a limited
period of time. Don't ask me where the clue is, 'cause I'm not
The other "clueless" eggs are: Film
Festival which is hiding over the Cast
and Crew icon on that menu, and Will
Bar Dancing which is hiding within Will's bio picture.
This Bug Hunt was a pretty
interesting way to go, but it can be slightly annoying. I had to
watch the film twice just to make sure I found them all. Why?
Because the bug icon just doesn't pop up on your screen, you have to
actually click your arrow over to it while watching the film. So I
sat there watching the whole film clicking to the right. My finger
hurts now, damnit. Thank God the film's only 80 minutes long.
For those of you not willing to hunt for bugs, there's a bunch of
other unhidden stuff on this disc. First up is a funny commentary
track with writer/director Patrick Hasson and Will Keenan. They
discuss the film, the shoot and all the people they worked with. The
track doesn't give a whole lot of insight into how to shoot a film,
but it does make fun of it. Next up is a short behind-the-scenes
featurette. It's cute, but again, not very insightful. There's more
with Lloyd, so that's a good thing. There's the DVD
Contest menu telling you what you need to know in order
to get the suit. On top of the 2 hidden deleted scenes, you'll find
3 deleted scenes that aren't hidden. There are even more outtakes, 9
in total on top of the 5 hidden ones. If you like the music in the
film, you can listen to 15 complete audio tracks, which are
preserved nice and loud. Rounding it all out are cast and crew
biographies and the theatrical trailer for Waiting
and 4 other TLA films: Surrender Dorothy,
Forgive and Forget and
Spin the Bottle. That's a lot
of stuff, and most of it is funny too.
Waiting is an okay flick. It's
got a lot of potential for a pseudo-Clerks
rip-off. I think it could have been a lot funnier and might have
worked better if it was more organized, but as it stands, it's not a
waste of time. The disc makes it worth a look and shows the
potential the format has if you run amok with the technology. Give
it a spin... it's Waiting.
it for this week. I'm going back to the trenches to get covered by
paint and wood chips all in the name of art and love. Keep spinning