Drillbit Taylor Extended Survival Edition (DVD & Blu-Ray)

Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
The cover is a cheeky showcase of the movie’s big name, Owen Wilson. He’s giving the camera a bit if a kick box move. It’s ok for what it is, but it doesn’t fit the movie at all. The menu is crap. The people who decide to put clips of movies in the menus need to be demoted. I don’t know how much lower you can go beneath menu designer in a DVD authoring department, but whatever it is, they  need to go there.

Features: 6/10

  • Commentary By Director & Cast – A clamering of the funny folks, cracking jokes and talking about how scenes were made. There’s not much to it unless you enjoy listening to several people chatting about a movie.
  • The Writers Get A Chance To Talk – This is an audio interview with Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen with a slide show of stills from the movie running in a slide show as you listen. They chat about the origins of the movie, how it made it through the studio only partially scathed, and their own little Hollywood stories thrown in with lots of Rogen giggles.
  • 13 Deleted & Extended Scenes – There aren’t any deleted scenes that would have made the movie better or more interesting. The extended scenes are just a few seconds left on scenes that were trimmed for the movie. I basically just gave you the definition of these two terms, I’m here to educate.
  • Line-o-rama – A montage of lines from the movie which are not particularly funny or interesting.
  • Gag Reel – Um, if you don’t know what a gag reel is, you need to pump up your movie lovin’ terminology. Gag reel = Cast giggling, screwing up, and basic tomfoolery on the set.
  • Rap Off, Sprinkler Day, Bully, Directing Kids Featurettes – These are all separate “making of” styled extras behind the scenes of making the movie. They are kind of fly on the wall, semi-produced but mostly just rough footage. It would work better to be one big extra with segments, but this way they can put a longer list on the DVD box.
  • The Real Don Danny McBride Featurette – This is just a bit of film focused on Danny McBride who plays a bum in the movie. It’s sarcastic and slightly self indulgent…but if you love the guy, you’ll want to soak it up. I don’t, so I didn’t.

Movie: 5/10
A coming of age movie about kids who need to become more confident to cope with high school. It’s not a shiny new concept, of course. It’s been done many times, and it’s been done better. I admit it, I’m a teen from the 80’s. I remember classics like 16 Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, Weird Science, and others. They defined my youthful confusion in that mad cap kind of way, so as a 40 year old I watching a new generation of this kind of movie it’s hard to recapture that experience.

Drillbit Taylor is a homeless soldier who is AWOL and roaming the streets, highways, and exits looking for money to make a life changing trip to Canada. Hmm, that doesn’t sound very funny. This is a comedy, right? It doesn’t sound like a foundation for comedy, and to be honest, if you were to pluck Drillbit out of the movie and left the other part of it, we would be having a whole different discussion right now. (discussion means me telling you what I think.)

The best part of the movie is the time tested tale of teenage boys who need to battle a bully to gain their self respect and keep their high school years from being complete torture. This is where the fun stuff is. These kids are so funny. They are stereotypical un-cool kids who are clever and funny, but they have a jerk breathing down their necks immediately on the first day of school.

The actors who play the bullied youths are really good. They steal the show completely. I dig Owen Wilson, it’s just that whoever wrote this movie (eh hum, Seth Rogen and Kristofor Brown) might have had an edgier homeless type character in mind but the studio tamed him down to the point of not being a threat, not being that funny, and with that taking most of the life out of what he offers the story.

The boys hire him as a bodyguard, so Drillbit is a hard element to lose, but it would have worked if they had changed that around and just made the story a series of them interviewing whacky dudes to be their bodyguard, and never finding the perfect one. In the meantime they could learn the life lessons they need to conquer their fears and battle the jerk bully in the end.

Whew, there we go. I just rewrote a movie in a review of that same movie. That seems kind of rude, but I have to be honest here and even though I did laugh a lot, did care about the boys, hated the bully, was reminded of the sucky world of high school….and I had a good time, none of it was due to the namesake of the movie.

For who Taylor is, Wilson does a fine job. He’s got his own style and has that charming comedy aura about him. If you are not a fan you might not see the full aura. The problem is that he’s not scary or harsh enough to be the down and out homeless guy. I would guess that’s due to the writing. I think they were trying too hard to please the studio executives and keep up that new-age self indulgent comedy that’s segmented and only funny to a certain group (8-10 year old kids and 18-30 year old boys).

Besides not being fond of the Drillbit character, the high school and the parents of these kids are the two other things about this movie that kind of irritated me. The high school is not realistic or cartoony. You know what I mean? Some schools  in movies are just goofy unreal and that’s fine if that’s what the story calls for. Some movies have a realistic kind of high school where the hi-jinx take place. Some movies have a high school that is so far from reality it’s just plain silly and still works with the overall story. This high school is neither. I want a high school with attitude!

The parents of all the kids are clueless, more clueless than real parents of teens. They are complete caricatures of people who have no real interest in their kids lives but who give lip service to things like “are you doing drugs honey?” kind of stuff. Even when the bully is revealed to them they fall for his sweet as pie act and turn on their own kids, which didn’t work for me.

Other than the leading star, the high school where the movie takes place, and the parents of the other main characters, I liked this movie. The kids were enough to win me over and I did overlook the flaws as much as I could while watching. Most of them came flooding back when I sat down to write this review:)

It’s just a bit of fun, some laughs and definitely worth watching just to see these kids in what will most likely be the first of many more films to be.

Video & Audio Blu-Ray Version: (By Ascully) 8/10
I looked at both versions of Drillbit Taylor this week and as usual the Blu-Ray version wins the Quality Cup hands down. After watching a lot of HD versions of movies recently, when I skip back in time to play that old format named DVD the picture quality is noticeably lacking. Not that this DVD is a poor example of the format, it isn’t. It’s actually one of the best. It’s just that I am getting accustomed to 1080P goodness and this makes the flaws of the old format more evident.

This movie is bright. There are hardly any dark scenes so each scene on both formats always looks top notch. Skin tones are natural and I saw no evidence of macro blocking. Overall you can’t go wrong with either format of the movie but true home theatre aficionados know which format to drop the $30 on. (or $3 for a rental on either format)

Sound is superb on both Formats. Drillbit Taylor isn’t a movie with special effects and explosions but the moments where music starts up, such as the bullying montage in the beginning, bring your surround speakers to life reminding you of all that money you spent in the back of the room.

Value: 2/10
Rent it. Oh sorry, that was hasty. What I mean to say is that  in MY opinion this is a rental, not a purchase. In fact, I might even recommend that you wait for cable TV to suck on the extended life of the movie. It’s fun and has some laughs, but it’s not on my radar for spending more than a couple of bucks. The Blu-Ray isn’t worth the extra few bucks, but the extras are pretty good, but they are not enough to bump up the value for me.

Overall Score 5/10