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Site created 12/15/97.

Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits!
page added: 11/30/01


Hey 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 Atlanta's 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...


Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

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, Surrender Dorothy, 24 Nights, 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: none

Tired 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 movie.

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 Go.

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 exist.

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 telling.

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. Happy hunting.

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, 24 Nights, 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.

Buy this DVD now at DVD Planet!

That's 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 those discs!

Todd Doogan

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