HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
New Line Home Video, $24.98
IN HIS COMIC, moving rock musical about the personal journey of a performer transgendered by a botched sex-change procedure, actor/writer/director John Cameron Mitchell mixes The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing to find the bleeding heart beneath the kitschy spoils of American pop culture. Its electric appearance on DVD is a perfect chance to examine what gives this soon-to-be cult fixture its creative energy.
Filmmaker commentary from Mitchell and his cinematographer amusingly reveals what an exhaustingly detailed, collaborative effort the pseudo-cinema verit頦ilm was for the debut director and his ingenious costume, set, and production designers. ("We had a Red Lobster that fell through," Mitchell deadpans over shots of restaurant interiors.) Deleted scenes include a brilliant bit of physical comedy from SCTV alum Andrea Martin (playing Hedwig's agent), who runs with a loony idea that she's had a cell phone surgically implanted in her head.
Also featured is a sharp little 85-minute documentary charting the evolution of the imaginative wonder hatched by Mitchell and composer/lyricist Stephen Trask. We're given a glimpse of the Hedwig character's initial appearance at N.Y.C. drag club Squeezebox, where Mitchell first took the stage to proclaim, "I'm the new Berlin Wall! Try to tear me down!" Hedwig's appeal is best summed up here by a Squeezebox promoter who admits that he thought Mitchell was nuts—until he realized that the show "was about this unique person who had issues just like everybody else about love and who they are and what they want out of life."
POST-HOLIDAY sales may see some steep DVD discounts. What's out there? Series 7 was topical back during the heyday of reality TV, but its satire now seems dated post-Sept. 11. Speaking of dated, Wayne Wang's steamy The Center of the World celebrates the bygone dot-com boom era. Evolution (Dec. 26) boasts an alternate ending and eight deleted scenes, while What's the Worst That Could Happen? (Jan. 1) has commentary tracks, but Martin Lawrence's voice is not among them. Far superior is the excellent Oscar-nominated documentary Sound and Fury (Jan. 2), one of the best films at SIFF 2000.