I could add up the number of hours I spent this year watching DVD extras instead of, say, working out or spending time with my family. But then I'd realize just how out-of-whack my priorities are. Instead, I offer this list (in no particular order) of seven exceptional DVD moments from 2007, which hopefully will allow you to navigate directly to the good stuff. Hey, at least one of us should make efficient use of our time.
1. Most Entertaining Commentary
This is a three-way tie between a trio of tracks, all involving 2007's Hollywood Golden Boy, Judd Apatow. Before he struck it big by directing The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, the producer-filmmaker showed a real affinity for DVD, playing an instrumental role in the stellar extras on TV's Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. This year, he came through again, delivering laugh-out-loud commentary with Seth Rogen and Bill Hader for the Knocked Up DVD; surprisingly insightful audio alongside director Jake Kasdan for The TV Set; and, my personal favorite, an uproarious track on the year's other massive Apatow hit, Superbad. After a bitter argument with star Jonah Hill - who refuses to stop cursing even though Apatow's 9-year-old daughter is in the room - EW's Smartest Man in Hollywood abruptly exits the recording booth. But the rest of the gang, including Rogen, director Greg Mottola, and actor Michael Cera, soldiers on hilariously without him, proof that Apatow taught his students well.
2. Most Honest Documentary
It was filmed more than two decades ago and can be viewed online. But if you already possess Warner Bros.' totally worth-owning Stanley Kubrick collection, set aside some time to watch daughter Vivian Kubrick's The Making of "The Shining." Unlike today's polished DVD featurettes, which often focus on celebrating the awesomeness of every person involved in making a movie, this doc captures refreshingly real moments, including tense times on-set, Shelley Duvall's confession that she is jealous of co-star Jack Nicholson, and the late Scatman Crothers nearly weeping during an interview.
3. Most Thorough DVD Doc
The Gold Box Edition of Twin Peaks earns major props for finally bringing together every single episode of David Lynch's small-town freakfest, including both versions of the pilot. But the collection rises to stellar status thanks to its extras, including the detailed Secrets From Another Place, a feature-length look at the Peaks phenomenon that explores everything from the spooky atmosphere that pervaded the filming of the pilot to the candid admis-sion that, as cast member Kimmy Robertson put it, "The whole second season pretty much sucked."
4. Most Danceable Bonus Point
Only one DVD forced me to get off the couch, and it was the Shake & Shimmy Edition of Hairspray, which includes a feature that breaks down the choreography in two of the hit musical's key scenes. Trying to master these dance moves came close to making me break out in a sweat, which is more than I can say for some of my cable provider's fitness videos.
5. Geekiest DVD Packaging
The lack of any repackaged releases of The Lord of the Rings or Matrix trilogies blows this category wide open. And this year's winner has to be the Blade Runner Limited Edition Gift Set, which includes four versions of the movie, nine hours of bonus features, and several collectibles (including your own personal miniature unicorn), all artfully packed into a silver briefcase. Putting this baby on your entertainment center shelf earns an automatic lifetime membership in the Sci-Fi Geeks of America Society.
6. Happiest TV DVD Debut
what you're thinking. The obvious answer here is Silver Spoons: The Complete First Season. Sorry, fans of the Ricker, the TV show I was most excited to receive on DVD was the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati. The collection certainly had its flaws: Most of the original music got dumped because of rights issues, and the extras were pretty minimal. But who cares when it's just so nice to see Dr. Johnny Fever, Herb Tarlec, and Mr. Carlson, still convinced after all these years that turkeys can fly?
7. Most Abundant Easter Eggs
Lost fans live to dig for clues about what's really happening on that confounding, compelling island. The season-three DVD - yet another Lost box set brimming over with Easter eggs - gives all of them reason to continue hunting, with lots of gems tucked away in the elaborately conceived menu screens. I found several but, apparently, even more await.
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