Me and You and Everyone We Know (Region 1 vs. Region 2)

Alright, after the heart-rending nihilism of Time Of the Wolf, it's time for a complete change of pace. So I'm looking at the feature film debut of Miranda July, 2005's Me and You and Everyone We Know. I suppose, at it's core, it's a rom-com. A man and a woman, both struggling to find their niche in the world, eventually discover each other. But it's also got a sort of Altman-ish structure, where the film follows a diverse collection of characters whose stories wind up interconnecting at unexpected intervals. More importantly, though, it's a much more inventive, sensitive, smart film on top of all that.
I can see this movie striking people as being too precious at a cursory, superficial glance. Like a Northern Exposure-y series of set pieces saying: isn't it cute how eccentric everybody is. But as quirky as it is, it's not oddness for oddness's sake. And this film's may not be totally innocent of that, but most of the absurdities here are built from a relatable truth, like the agent who insists Miranda mail her tape to the the address they're at, rather than just accepting the tape in person. "But I'm so close," she says to crossed arms. So she devises an impromptu moment, where she's riding down in the same elevator as the agent, and compels him to pick it up. But he still insists on handing it back to her, for her to take it home with her and mail it back to them. It's relatable, it's often clever. It's just good writing.
There are also moments of underage characters exploring their sexuality which will have many viewers facing an art film where they wanted breezy entertainment. There are bits that never quite make it off the ground, and undercooked lines of dialogue like "email wouldn't even exist if it weren't for AIDS." But there are pieces, like the goldfish segment, which is so strong, it could be a perfect, wonderful short film all on its own. There's a segment where the leads are forced to share a moment when they're gluing something together that has to be held the pieces together for 1 to 2 minutes. It's just the little kind of thing that, as a writer, makes me think, I wish I came up with that! And it's got a pretty compelling soundtrack to boot.

Well, so, this is another reason I've got the Region 1 and Region 2 versions to compare, and for the same reasons as Time: they've got unique sets of extras. So let's see how our local MGM DVD stacks up against the UK's Optimum disc.
MGM US DVD on top; Optimum UK DVD on bottom
The transfers are both excellent and practically identical. Same framing, same colors, no interlacing or ghosting. The cases say 1.85:1, but it's just a little more open, very slightly letterboxed to 1.82:1 on both discs. There's really nothing to complain about or even distinguish between the two discs. There's no blu-ray available of this title, but this movie looks pretty great top notch for standard definition.

The Optimum disc lets you choose between Stereo 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1, while the MGM disc has just the 5.1 track. But MGM has optional English subtitles. Movie-wise, that's really the only reason to choose one disc over the other, unless PAL speed-up bothers you. The main factor I think most of us will really be considering is extras, because those are quite different.
 
So on the US side, there's six deleted scenes, and they're good. They're a bit long, so I can see how they'd mess up the pacing, and consequently why they'd be cut. But they're worth preserving and seeing as deleted scenes. Well, except one, which is just a shorter edit of another deleted scene that's already on disc. That seems excessive; but the rest are all fun and on par with the material that made it into the film. If you're a fan of the film, you'd want to see these, too.

There's not much else on it, though. There's a bunch (eight!) of bonus trailers, but not even the trailer for the film itself.

Optimum's DVD has a good deal more stuff, but disappointingly, is missing the deleted scenes. It's got a nice, in depth 28 minute interview with July, where she tells the entire story of the film from its inception to changes made in script rewrites and on the set. Then there's 20 minutes of cast and crew interviews, including July again, which are good but a little more promotional and superficial. Finally there's seven minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, again like Time Of the Wolf, But this time they're speaking English and we can hear what they're saying, which makes the footage more engaging. Finally, there's also a couple (four) bonus trailers and, this time, the actual Me and You and Everyone We Know trailer. Overall, this is fuller, richer special edition; but it's puzzling, and a bit frustrating, that they didn't include the deleted scenes.
So, movie-wise, it really doesn't matter which disc you pick. Being a new release at the time, you expect them to look pretty perfect, and they do. But the extras-situation is a different story. The UK disc feels fuller, but really the material on both discs is quite compelling. So rather than picking up just one disc, if you're a fan of this film, I'd recommend getting both. They're very cheap if you don't mind used copies... both are listed at well under a dollar on Amazon US/UK, so go ahead and splurge. Combined, they make a solid special edition of a really underrated, enjoyable film, at well under the cost of most titles.  ))<>((

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