DID YOU READ

Vanishing DVD Extras on Netflix

Vanishing DVD Extras on Netflix (photo)

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Hacking Netflix posted a mildly disturbing post earlier today. Entitled “Studios Crippling Netflix Rental Discs to Encourage DVD Sales” it cites two recent examples where distributors stripped out bonus features out of the rental discs they give to Netflix in order to encourage people to buy the films (and, I suppose, to discourage them from using Netflix). For example, if you get “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” from Netflix, and go to the Special Features page, you don’t get special features. You get a disclaimer:

“This disc is intended for rental purposes and only includes the feature film.

Own it on Blu-ray or DVD to view these bonus features and complete your movie watching experience.”

They also cite the Netflix copy of “Up,” which doesn’t include the closed captions included on the retail copy of the film. Hacking Netflix “was able to confirm that captions have been removed from the Netflix rental DVD,” which, if institutionalized, sounds an awful lot like a discriminatory practice to me. How can you force people who can’t hear to spend more for something than people who can?

Putting that aside, the big question is whether removing DVD extras from rental copies encourages people to purchase or just discourages consumers. Speaking personally and anecdotally, extras do factor into my purchasing decisions. I love commentaries and making-of documentaries. But I have never, and will never, rush out to buy a Blu-ray just because the copy I’ve gotten from Netflix doesn’t have an extra I’m curious about seeing. I love Edgar Wright, so I’d be interested in listening to his commentary for “Scott Pilgrim.” But I didn’t love the movie the first time I saw it, and can’t imagine myself watching it enough to justify a purchase.

This is a case where Netflix is really hurt by its own biggest selling point, its lack of late fees. If you rent a DVD from your local store, you’ve got to return it in a day or two and you’d be hard-pressed to watch all of the extras on a well-stocked DVD in that time even if you wanted to. But with Netflix, where you can hold onto a film forever if you keep paying your membership dues, if you want to watch every single extra twice, you can.

Despite that fact, if I were in charge of the home entertainment division at a studio, I’d put every single extra on the Netflix discs. Because while I’ve never bought a film to get extras I couldn’t just rent, I have bought discs whose extras were so impressive when I rented them, that I felt compelled to own them. For example, I was so blown away by a friend’s copy of the Best Buy exclusive edition of “Anchorman” that I hunted down a copy of my own (and I mean hunted, it took three tries to find a store that wasn’t sold out). If I was on the fence about “Scott Pilgrim” and loved, that could be enough to convince me to buy it after all.

Don’t look at extras on a Netflix DVD as giving away product for free. Think of them as free samples encouraging you to buy.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.