Streaming or downloading movies is a convenient way to rent a flick even though the picture and sound quality are not as good as Blu-ray, but those fun behind-the-scenes extras are not usually available digitally. To keep you spinning physical discs for years to come, studios are including innovative and often immersive bonus features on the DVDs and Blu-rays of your favorite movies and TV shows. Read all about this month's best extras served up on shiny silver platters that take you beyond the feature presentations.
The Big Lebowski: "Mind the beverage, man," and don't set it on our new copy of The Big Lebowski. The Dude (Jeff Bridges) still abides on his Blu-ray debut that includes all of the extras on the 10th anniversary DVD and 2007 HD DVD. Fans know that The Big Lebowski is one of the most endlessly quotable movies of all time, and that's not just, like, our opinion. That is what makes the Blu-ray exclusive "Worthy Adversaries: What's My Line?" so much fun. The one or two-player trivia game tests your knowledge of the movie's dialogue, and users can play as either the Dude or Walter (John Goodman).
Prom: Disney blows an attempt to recapture the charm of Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles in this bland teen comedy that aims too young and comes across as too earnest for anyone actually old enough to go to a prom. Still, the movie's highlight is watching shy nerd Lloyd (Nicholas Braun) continually get shot down for a prom date. The Prom Blu-ray features the exclusive "Last Chance Lloyd," an all new short showing a few more heroic attempts by Lloyd to score a date.
Top Gun: This Blu-ray debut of the high-flying 1986 action picture that made Tom Cruise the superstar we love to watch jump on couches ports over all the extras from the previous DVD edition. The one new extra is "Best of the Best," a 29-minute documentary about the real-life training facility that inspired the movie. Watch interviews with actual pilots and instructors as they give you an overview of the nine-week course that fighter pilots experience.
The Muppets Take Manhattan: The Muppets are enjoying a resurgence in popularity lately with Kermit, Miss Piggy and pals set to return to the big screen in The Muppets this November. Sony just released the 1984 G-rated adventure The Muppets Take Manhattan on Blu-ray for the first time this month, which contains a short but revealing interview with Muppets creator Jim Henson about the art of puppeteering.
Dazed and Confused: The 1993 stoner comedy made its Blu-ray debut this month with a few funny extras worth mentioning, including "The Blunt Truth," a fake PSA warning users about the dangers of marijuana. Also included are two real vintage PSAs: one deals with the danger of spreading VD to the tune of an inappropriately bubbly song, and the other is the ubiquitous one from the 1970s about environmental responsibility that features a crying Native American.
The Ward: Horror maven John Carpenter hasn't directed a full-length theatrical movie since 2001's Ghost of Mars, so any new release from the director of Halloween, The Thing and Escape from New York is going to be met with excitement from fans. The lone extra on the DVD and Blu-ray of Carpenter's latest thriller is a commentary track by him and star Jared Harris of TV's Mad Men in which Carpenter waxes philosophical about creating his latest thriller.
Conan the Barbarian: OK, so the new version released in theaters this month didn't exactly club its way to the top of the box office or critics' lists, but the 1982 original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is still a sword-and-sorcery favorite. This Blu-ray debut assembles some essential extras for fantasy fans, including the retrospective "Conan Unchanined," which is culled mostly from recent interviews, and an assortment of once-believe lost and forgotten interviews with the cast and crew called "Conan: From the Vault."
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: This 1982 movie based on Cameron Crowe's book Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story captured the life of teenagers obsessed with sex and partying in the mall culture of the early '80s in California. The teens talk about Pat Benatar, Van Halen and other '80s popular music that defined the period, and this Blu-ray debut's "The Music of Fast Times at Ridgemont High" helps viewers to identify songs via pop-up notifications while watching the film, arrange custom playlists and even buy the ditties on iTunes.