I can't imagine a more substantial and praise-worthy jump in technology from one generation to the next as there was in the jump from VHS to DVD. Even going from audio cassette to CD pales in comparison to what you got with VHS and then stepping up to DVD. Obviously, there are many reasons for this - but I am going to concentrate on my favorite aspect of buying/owning DVD movies: The EXTRAS! (and even more specifically: commentary tracks!)
As a bit of a movie geek, I love getting even more out of the movies I love than just the movie itself. Sure, many DVD extras are fairly mediocre bells and whistles - 10 minute featurettes and unsatisfying behind-the-scenes stuff. But with most movies that grow a cult following (I suppose you can call these "Guy" movies), the extras can and usually are nice and juicy.
FX breakdowns, "making-of" mini-docs, cut scenes, interviews, etc - I dig all of it. As a freelance artist looking for something interesting to listen to while I toil at the easel, my favorite are the commentaries. I love all the insights from the directors and writers (and actors sometimes) - explanations why/how they filmed certain scenes, chatter about locations, tidbits about how they cut corners - even the REALLY trivial stuff like (for example) Viggo breaking his toe when he kicked an Uruk-hai helmet in Two Towers. I just eat it all up.
So, today I say thank you for: DVD EXTRAS. Countless hours of late-night working have you kept my ears and brain entertained. This post was inspired by the extras on my "Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut" DVD - which are awesome. I didn't know what to draw to represent DVD extras so I just drew a crusader guy to represent one of Ridley's best flicks (which is saying a lot).
Not all commentaries are great. I have heard commentaries where the director stumbles through the movie just saying what is happening on the screen - useless! Predator, sadly, has a fairly lame commentary like that. But here are some DVD commentaries I dig especially:
Alien (Ridley knows a few things....)
Aliens (Cameron is interesting but the cast members (paxton, Henrickson, etc) are hilarious!)
Alien3 (go watch the re-cut version - it's a lot better and the commentaries are really interesting - as well as the extras)
Gladiator (Ridley again - good stuff. Great extras, too)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (so many commentaries.....all good)
Conan the Barbarian (Milius and Arnold - you get the feeling Arnold had sex with every female on the set)
Seven and FightClub (Fincher, like Ridley, are way smart, very interesting, and enthusiastic - Pitt and Norton are funny)
Big Trouble in Little China and The Thing (Carpenter and Russell are profoundly entertaining to listen to)
Apocalypto (Gibson is an ass in real life - but his movies are awesome and this commentary is great)
Shawshank Redemption (Great stuff from Darabont)
Beastmaster and Equilibrium (both these B-movies have tremendously interesting commentaries about filming on a low budget - Equilibrium especially - check 'em out!)