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How to Lose Directors & Alienate Actors
January 8, 2009 5:08 AM   Subscribe

Fan of Simon Pegg? Robert Weide? Then DON'T buy the DVD of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (at least if you are American)

See also 23 great movies not available on region-1 DVD
posted by fearfulsymmetry (39 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is also an example of why region-specific encoding on media blows.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:18 AM on January 8, 2009


Some would argue that the proper approach is not to buy the film in any form. It averages 35 on Metacritic, and is about Toby Young, a columnist with only one interest - how famous Toby Young should be.

Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair editor: "Those who can't teach, write. Those who can't write, write about themselves — in Toby's case, endlessly".
posted by Cantdosleepy at 5:39 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think "lack of DVD extras" is even in the top ten reasons not to buy this turd.
posted by Optamystic at 5:43 AM on January 8, 2009


Ah yes Toby Young... a man who's ego is so boundless he puts a Private Eye cartoon on the front (scroll down, on the right) of his website pointing out what an egomaniac he is.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:53 AM on January 8, 2009


I wish they had said something about Hot Fuzz's American DVD release. I really like that movie and bought it on DVD the moment it came out in the States. Watching the movie with commentary on, I was saddened to learn that there were a whole lot of other commentary tracks that were not on the disc. Even worse, Pegg and Wright would reference them, skipping over stories about production because 'so-and-so tells it better on their commentary track'.

So I had to* shell out for the Special Edition DVD that came out some time later, with most (not all) tracks included. Boo.

* Yes. HAD TO. I had already made a point of stopping in Wells while on vacation in England. There are no half measures when it comes to crippling obsession. We made a point of buying Cornettos in the damn newsagent's shop from the movie.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:57 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, that guy's the new permanent judge on Top Chef. He looks to be pretty douchey. Whether or not he's douchily entertaining is yet to be determined.
posted by sugarfish at 5:57 AM on January 8, 2009


Eh, it's not that hard to buy region-breakable DVD players. Unlocking a DVD drive's a bit more tricky, unfortunately.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:03 AM on January 8, 2009


Doesn't VLC have a way of getting around that?
posted by dunkadunc at 6:12 AM on January 8, 2009


Some would argue that the proper approach is not to buy the film in any form. It averages 35 on Metacritic, and is about Toby Young, a columnist with only one interest - how famous Toby Young should be.

I would disagree. I enjoyed the movie, and am actually surprised it ranked so low.

And Simon Pegg is great.
posted by inigo2 at 6:21 AM on January 8, 2009


Doesn't VLC have a way of getting around that?

I believe it does, yeah, but it (at least the version I run) has trouble with region 2 discs. Unfortunately, all of my foreign DVDs are region 2.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:25 AM on January 8, 2009


Region encoding sucks, but there are many, many dvd players out there that can easily be unlocked. Heck, I have a $40 one by Philips that was unlockable just by entering a code on the remote.
posted by xthlc at 6:32 AM on January 8, 2009


Region Free DVD Viewing on Macs and Windows PCs (from 2007) is light on details for Windows, as the site is called Low End Mac, but does discuss a number of options which are cross-platform solutions. This is another article with VLC as the region-free solution, from the point of view of a MacBook Pro user. As of 2006, Ubuntu doesn't care about region coding. And a 2003 thread on region coding in Linux, which may or may not be applicable today.

As for DVD players, you can buy some region-code fixes, or some players have remote "codes", which are a series of steps that simply utilize the DVD remote control to change the region code, or possibly allows you to turn off region code checks. But you could still face problems with PAL to NTSC conversion (DVD ripping solution).
posted by filthy light thief at 6:40 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Google the model name/number of your DVD player and there's probably a result which will tell you how to unlock your player.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:45 AM on January 8, 2009


It did not even occur to me that I could unlock my player! Thanks, Internet!
posted by DU at 6:48 AM on January 8, 2009


That second link actually discusses Windows XP media streaming as the solution for MacBook Pro owners.

Pope Guilty: that, too =) They're often called "remote hacks," even though it's a pre-programmed backdoor. Some cases call for fancy remotes that can send signals the standard remote doesn't send, so it's best to check around before you buy (assuming you're looking while shopping, not looking after you own the DVD player).

If you're wondering which version of a particular DVD to get based on features and content, check Rewind @ DVDCompare.net - they're fairly detailed in comparing all known releases of movies, with a nice summary of winners at the end. They don't have a comparison for How to Lose Friends & Alienate People yet, probably because no one has submitted details of the releases (which aren't all available yet).
posted by filthy light thief at 6:49 AM on January 8, 2009


I would disagree. I enjoyed the movie, and am actually surprised it ranked so low.

I haven't seen the movie, and prior to reading the book, I'd always thought Toby Young was the most annoying little twunt in a very large field -- ie, British Meejah twunts.

However, I thought the book was genuinely hilarious. It isn't often I read books that embarrass me when I'm travelling by making me literally laugh out loud, but HTLFAAP was full of them.

For those who don't know the book, it's fundamentally one of those 'Americans do things like this, but the British do things like *this*' stories -- which you'd think would be pretty thin when it came to material, and I strongly suspect that it has a large fictional element to it (like his hiring a stripper to come to the office for a friend's birthday on Take Your Daughter To Work Day. But that really doesn't matter. Anyone who posted in the recent Americans vs British Metatalk thread should definitely dig it out in order to see just how widely the two cultures *do* vary.

I couldn't bring myself to watch the movie because I knew it had been sanitized for the benefit of the American cinema-going audience so I couldn't see how the bowdlerization wouldn't make it suck. But I can't recommend the book highly enough. Toby Young might still be a twunt, but at least he's got the good sense not to take himself too seriously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:49 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who wants to hear the director blather on about how wonderful the movie is and how much fun he had making or other such nonsense? Maybe if we are talking about Citizen Kane or something, but for most discs that stuff just seems like filler to me. To not buy the DVD because it lacks filler...?
posted by caddis at 7:03 AM on January 8, 2009


Glenn Kenny is doing a regular foreign region DVD report on The Auteurs.
posted by muckster at 7:17 AM on January 8, 2009


Who wants to hear the director blather on about how wonderful the movie is and how much fun he had making or other such nonsense?

See, your preferences and interests are different from mine, which means that you are a crazy person whose wants are bad and that you should feel bad.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:38 AM on January 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


Toby Young might still be a twunt, but at least he's got the good sense not to take himself too seriously.

Exactly. He was very much last in line when God was handing out appealing personalities, but he still got a healthy dose of self-awareness.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:57 AM on January 8, 2009


Who wants to hear the director blather on about how wonderful the movie is and how much fun he had making or other such nonsense?

Ordinarily I agree with this, but the commentary on Simon Pegg's Hot Fuzz clued me into so many different things I'd missed the first time I watched it, and the extras for his series Spaced were so good, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
posted by gladly at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2009


Wow, Toby Young, there's a name I haven't heard in a while. The only person who ever made me feel greasy and unpleasant just by looking at him. That self-awareness thing is a smoke screen, of course, in person he's even worse. Uck. I need a shower.
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 AM on January 8, 2009


Oh, that guy's the new permanent judge on Top Chef. He looks to be pretty douchey.

Oh, that guy? He's horrible, at least in the context of Top Chef. His idea of a withering put-down includes the phrase "the bland leading the bland." It really felt like he'd scribbled down some real zingers and then really worked to shoehorn them into his comments on the food.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:38 AM on January 8, 2009


I think it's a real shame when the creators of something have to ask their fans to not buy it because it wasn't released to their satisfaction. The love that Pegg and friends put into their extras is commendable, and I would be seriously pissed off if I bought it only to find that all the good stuff was being held for some special release later.

Honestly, it's stuff like this that encourages people to download DVD rips. I know that a better release; a special edition with all the bells and whistles will come out within a year or so, why not just get the movie online and wait for the best DVD version with everything?

I really think that the studios are doing themselves a long term disservice by adopting this strategy of double-dipping. They may make some short term profits, but it's also teaching people that there are alternatives.
posted by quin at 8:48 AM on January 8, 2009


Ah, so the penny has dropped for me. I saw him on Top Chef last night and I thought I knew who he was. So he's the How to Lose Friends guy. I haven't read the book, but it's on my list. He does seem like a smug git.
posted by ob at 8:55 AM on January 8, 2009


Over 5600 DVD player region hacks, by model. Just search for your DVD player.
posted by tzikeh at 9:45 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


*Adding "twunt" to List of Interesting Words Brits Use to Describe Douche Bags*
posted by gc at 10:00 AM on January 8, 2009


That self-awareness thing is a smoke screen, of course, in person he's even worse.

I suspected it might be so. His behaviour re. the Modern Review debacle was hugely obnoxious. His closing down the magazine was obviously done out of jealousy over the fact that Burchill hopped into bed with Charlotte Raven rather than him.

And although I could usually care less about the frolics of a whole pile of nauseating media gits, whenever I saw the Stalinist/Thatcherite Daily Mail columnist scumbag, I couldn't help but remember the 'hip young gunslinger' that Julie Burchill once was.

I never actually read the London Review. It struck me as an attempt to produce The Face via the London Review of Books -- a ludicrous proposition if ever there was one. But at the time, I still had time for Julie and his behaviour seemed uttery outageous.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:01 AM on January 8, 2009


Does anyone watch extras on a DVD?
posted by xmutex at 10:09 AM on January 8, 2009


Yes. I love hearing about the production details of movies. I enjoy the cast anecdotes, the behind-the-scenes, all of it. It's becoming increasingly clear that I'll probably never get to make my $150 million Hollywood blockbuster special effects masterpiece, so I enjoy living vicariously through others, I guess.
posted by quin at 10:13 AM on January 8, 2009


So, anyone know if we'll ever see a complete version of Twice Upon a Time?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:25 AM on January 8, 2009


["Megan Fox in any region" joke here]
posted by Zambrano at 10:26 AM on January 8, 2009


That self-awareness thing is a smoke screen, of course, in person he's even worse. Uck. I need a shower.


True story about Toby Young (for The Whelk, who wrote that comment & anybody else).

I once wrote an unauthorized biography of Hugh Grant. (Possibly a mistake, however I was younger then. It paid well...). I was well aware who Toby Young was and was 100% willing to play the publicity game.

Young phoned me from Vanity Fair for some background on Hugh for a picture spread - using me - with my merry agreement - as the named source of quotes (as the actor's unofficial biographer).

In the space of five minutes, Young had so royally pissed me off - demanding I write the linking copy for the quotes he required, braying about his own "fame" at Oxford University and telling me to get back to him with certain dates he needed "within the hour - once you've double checked them for accuracy, 'kay?" that I had to tell him I suddenly couldn't oblige, & hung up.

I later read - and thoroughly enjoyed Young's book.

But I realized that when he refers breezily to his own "negative charisma" (he makes quite an issue of it in his memoir)- he is really, absolutely not kidding!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:48 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the only movie I've ever watched all the extras on was that beautiful, fantastic movie Legend. I had always loved the film and when it came out on DVD, I was started to learn that the version I'd grown up with was NOT the version the director liked. So I watched the original version which had about 13 extra minutes in it and a totally different score. I thought the 'American version' was still totally better because it was much, much darker and I liked Tangerine Dream's score better.

Oh wait. Hate to admit it, but I watched all the extras on Joe Dirt. That's a space peanut!
posted by Bageena at 11:18 AM on January 8, 2009


Over 5600 DVD player region hacks, by model. Just search for your DVD player.

Why, oh why is my dvd player never on these lists?
posted by ob at 11:53 AM on January 8, 2009


My name is fearfulsymmetry and I'm a DVD extras addict.

I have to watch 'em all. I think the worse was when I rented the special edition of Blackhawk Down back in the day and I watched all the extras and all the commentaries in one night, finishing with the documentary on the score as the sun was coming up.

Though I have got slightly better in recent years and will, shock, actually bail out of a commentary on occasion (the big breakthrough was Football Factory where I thought I was going to go mad after 10 minutes of cor-blimey cobblers.) Though I've found it's interesting even to stick with the most lame-o 'everyone on set was wonderful' if you can stand it for the odd gem that'll turn up (ie the director of Swordfish sort of apologizing for not making a more intellectual film)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:37 PM on January 8, 2009


Living in DVD Region 4, I used to buy a lot of Region 1 DVDs because we had the same problem - the releases we got of US films often had nothing on them except the film.

I say used to because it's less of a problem now, and also because with kids and stuff I've barely watched a DVD in the last 4 years, let alone bought any :(
posted by sycophant at 12:38 PM on January 8, 2009


Peter - did you ever read Birchill's defense of cocaine? It was basically, "Without cocaine, I wouldn't have had the confidence to be the most popular person in the Groucho Club!"

I was too young to have her as a gunslinger - she's always been a toxic person to me.

And I agree with you, Inigo, about the aceness of Pegg. It makes me sad to see him in things that are manifestly not ace, is all. Which is stupid - he doesn't owe me anything and he's given me lots of joy. But I can't help but feel a pang of "That was the best footballer in school, working in WH Smiths back there. Boy he could play! We thought he was on his way to the top. I don't know what happened."
posted by Cantdosleepy at 1:52 PM on January 8, 2009


A friend and I had just watched the Time Bandits DVD, and thought we should take a peak at the commentary. Half an hour later, we realized we were re-watching the film, and it was 1:30 am. The insight into the film and people involved was fantastic. Sadly, we stopped and never saw the rest of it.

On the other end of things, The Last Starfighter commentary is hilarious because the commentators hadn't seen the movie in years. It was mostly a nostalgic trip for them, recalling bits and pieces, or just reciting the lines as the movie played.

Then there are easter eggs. Finding all 12 in the Incredibles takes patience, but it's worth the time. That, or you can just extract them on your computer.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:35 AM on January 9, 2009


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