The Dirties is a movie that, for the lack of a better analogy, punches you in the face and demands your attention. It’s a film that is kind of hard to completely understand and appreciate with just one watch, so that probably explains why I’ve watched it close to a gazillion times. The Dirties is an independent film by Canadian filmmaker Matt Johnson, and it chronicles the life of two best friends who are constantly bullied and then plot revenge against those who have bullied them.
The three-disc special limited edition DVD Blu-Ray combo was recently released. The DVD is so jam packed full of special features and extra content, that I don’t even know where to begin.
I guess I’ll start with the first “special feature” you come across even before it arrives at your home. You get to choose the cover for the movie that you want. There are six different parody covers to choose from, all resembling other famous movie covers. Also, there are only 150 of each cover, and they are individually hand numbered.
Once your DVD finally arrives (and I’m telling you, you will lose sleep waiting for it to show up in your mailbox), you will be treated to a ton of special features and bonus content. The first thing I checked out was the final cut of the short film the two boys in the park at the beginning of the movie were making, The Visitor. I always thought it was pretty awesome that Johnson thought enough of it to put it in his movie. While the acting isn’t Oscar-worthy by any means, you watch it feeling quite proud of the boys. It’s cool to see kids so young having a passion for something as advanced and technical as movie making. The Visitor itself has some bonus features. Paddy, the film’s director and one of the actors, does an intro, and there’s also a commentary, as well as Johnson and Williams, along with the help of Jay McCarrol, acting out the script they were given in a living room.
Another short film that is included is Johnson and Williams’ final version of The Dirties that was shown in Mr. Muldoon’s class. I love how high school quality the final version turned out. The plot line is kind of missing and the ending makes no sense. But those aspects are what gives it a genuine feel.
The DVD also includes the obvious bonus features like deleted scenes, bloopers, and making ofs. What I like about the deleted scenes is the viewers are given an alternate opening sequence, two alternate endings (and in my opinion, I’m so glad they went with the ending they did), and an alternate ending credit sequence. I love seeing in to the minds of production crews, and getting a feel for the directions they had initially found fit for the movie.
The term “bloopers” is used a bit loosely. Rather than it begin a traditional blooper reel where the cast is flubbing their lines and joking around, it shows all the mistakes made by the cast and crew throughout the film. It shows things like visible mic packs, flopped shots, and being able to see the crew in certain shots. The only downside to watching the blooper reel is when you go back and watch the movie, you notice the things that were pointed out.
The making of features are always a cool addition to any DVD. And for this particular film, you get to see how the final scene was constructed and filmed. A lot of planning went in to creating the scene, and once you factor in that this scene almost didn’t happen due to budget, you appreciate the film that much more.
The DVD also includes Q&A’s and other interviews, which I highly suggest you watch. Seeing these interviews shined a new light on the movie. You develop a deeper understanding of the characters once they are explained by those playing them. I remember seeing an interview with Johnson, after watching the movie only once, where he explains that the personality of the character Matt does not change throughout the film, rather the audience perspective of him changes, thus making the viewers see him differently. After watching it a second time, that’s exactly true. He’s still the same goofy kid, making jokes at the end of the movie, but because he is planning something so dark and his best friend no longer finds him funny, we, the viewer, no longer find him funny. It’s the little aspects that the viewer doesn’t pick up until they are made evident that make this movie so brilliant.
You also understand different aspects of the film when you watch it with commentary. There are multiple commentaries to choose from. The ones I found to be the best are the ones that feature Johnson. You get the most insight to the movie in those, plus they are pretty hilarious at times.
One of the coolest parts of the DVD is the menus. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. There’s over an hour of menu screens. The title menus are always changing. Every time you click away to a sub-menu, then go back to the title menu, you’re more than likely going to see something new. That, in itself, was something fun to play around with. You never knew what was going to appear the next time you clicked.
My favorite thing in all of the bonus features, and if you’re a fan of Johnson’s previous works, is the multiple references to the web series. Nirvana The Band The Show. If you aren’t familiar with NTBTS, check out this interview with Johnson and McCarrol here and visit the website here. I died laughing whenever they would reference NTBTS because I felt like it was a little inside joke that a lot of people might not catch on to. Plus, this film was shot in the same fashion NTBTS was filmed, and that is explained in some of the interviews featured.
You can purchase a copy of The Dirties here. If you haven’t seen the film yet, check out the trailer below.
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