Archive - Nov 24, 2008

Please, Not Blu-Ray

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Memo to the inventors of the Digital Versatile Disc: YOU ARE DUMB.

For all the good the DVD has brought us over the years - from backing up important data, to holding all the data necessary for Rock Band 2, to providing us with every episode of The A-Team - the DVD can also be used for evil. Just because we have the ability to store up to a few hours of digital video on a five-inch disc of aluminum and plastic, and play it back whenever we want to, doesn't mean we SHOULD.

The ease and ubiquity of the DVD makes strange things possible - like the group that got a right-wing, anti-Muslim DVD put into newspapers like an ad in the weeks before the election. But as awful as that was, there are even more hideous than lengthy propagandist screeds about how we're all going to die at the hands of radical Islamic hordes.

For example, if it weren't for the DVD format, the nine different production companies who sunk money into the Jessica Simpson vehicle "Major Movie Star" would have no way of recouping even a tiny fraction of an investment that makes mortgage-backed securities seem like a safe, sane choice. In this movie, Jessica Simpson plays against type as a mentally-deficient blonde starlet who joins the Army. It's like Private Benjamin, only, you know. Starring Jessica Simpson.

Somehow, the end result proved disappointing to everyone involved, and so the movie received its long-awaited theatrical release in... Russia and Bulgaria. I can only assume they needed to find that global sweet spot. A location so bleak that watching Jessica Simpson bungle her way through boot camp seemed like a pleasant alternative to an evening at home, yet not so awful that there's no theatrical infrastructure to allow the movie to be shown. Someplace worse than Arkansas, but better than Darfur.

Apparently, the people behind "Major Movie Star" also feel that your living room occupies that sweet spot on the Arkansas-Darfur axis, because this February, Jessica Simpson's wacky military misadventures will, you guessed it, be released on DVD. Literally hundreds of unwitting Americans will purchase it from Wal-Mart clearance endcaps, bring it home from Blockbuster due to either horrible family compromise or clerk error, or attempt to Netflix it ironically only to die from cerebral hemorrhaging at the 20-minute mark.

And to help all these things happen, the fine people involved in this fine piece of entertainment destined to haunt Comedy Central's weekend afternoon schedules in 2010 and beyond decided to give their movie a name change: to "Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous". No, really.

You may be tempted, as you read this, to search online for a trailer to "Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous". DO NOT DO THIS. If you happen to be an Internet comedy-polemic writer who needs information on the movie in order to hate on it properly, then I've covered it for you. And if you're not, you have no reason at all to subject yourself to this trailer.

And since nobody ever fucking believes me when I write paragraphs like that, and you are, even as we speak, typing "private valentine trailer" into Google, let me make sure you know in advance that this trailer features Jessica Simpson saying "Kick some..." followed by the sound of a needle being forcibly yanked off of a record, followed by a small dog looking up quizzically where the word "ass" is supposed to be. That is what we are dealing with here, people. If you continue on your misguided quest for useless information, you WILL be subjected to a scene where she learns a little something about herself.

In the analog era, making hundreds of thousands of copies of Major Private Valentine Movie: Blonde and Dangerous Star would have required effort. It would have required processing of film and chemicals and skilled labor and magnetic tape. It would have been difficult enough, perhaps, even to have dissuaded fourteen of the movie's producers from listening to the fifteenth, Jessica Simpson's father Joe, when he said this movie would be a good idea. Sure, all that didn't stop "Megaforce" from being made, but it DID stop "Megaforce 2" from being made, and our civilization survived as a result.

We may not be so lucky when the sequel comes out, and Jessica Simpson appears in a cameo as the head of the Army training facility that's just brought in Ashlee Simpson for her first day at boot camp. And maybe appearing briefly at the end to congratulate her younger sister on singlehandedly defeating a group of rogue Georgian separatists. You know, to boost the box office numbers in Russia.