Gossip (2000)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Marisa Coughlan, Lena Headey, Kate Hudson, Joshua Jackson, James Marsden
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Music Videos, Alternate Footage, Trailer, Cast & Crew Bios

Someone needs to send a memo to Warner Home Video and let them know that ’budget’ titles aren’t supposed to look like this. The ’Gossip’ DVD can be had for around $15 at most outlets, and it contains more bells and whistles than most big name releases. First off, we have a beautiful anamorphic widescreen transfer, which has been letterboxed at 2.35:1. The picture is extremely sharp and clear, showing no noise or grain. This nearly perfect image offers a wide array of colors, which are all presented very naturally and realistically. The movie features many ’rave-like’ party scenes that are awash in various hues and these come across very well on the DVD image. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is equally impressive during these scenes, as the bass-heavy music sounds very good. The audio mix has a wide dynamic range and soundfield, delivering an impressive surround sound experience. The dialogue is clear and audible and the volume is consistently well-balanced.

The DVD features an audio commentary with director Davis Guggenheim and star James Marsden. This duo speak fairly consistently throughout the film, and as they both profess their love of audio commentaries at the outset, this one promises to be good. Guggenheim and Marsden do a fine job of delivering anecdotes, behind the scenes tidbits, and, of course, gossip about the production of the film. We next have an extended cut of the film’s conclusion, which offers a new comeuppance for the villain. There are also four deleted scenes, as well as an uncut version of one of the key scenes in the film, to demonstrate how the director and editor cut this footage down to the scene which now exists in the film. The theatrical trailer for ’Gossip’ is also included on the DVD. The character of Travis interviews many students in the film to get their opinion, and the DVD contains a feature where these interviews have been edited together. The ’grab bag’ section features two music videos, from Poe and Tonic, and the raw footage that was used to make a montage in the film. And finally, there are cast & crew files.

’Gossip’ opened and closed immediately last spring to scathing reviews. But, the film isn’t all that bad, and is better than some high-profile fare that I’ve watched lately. The film takes place on a college campus where three roommates, Derrick (James Marsden), Jones (Lena Headey), and Travis (Norman Reedus) are taking a communications class together. They decide to do their thesis on gossip, and they start a false rumor about a couple, Naomi and Beau (Kate Hudson and Joshua Jackson) having sex. The rumor then spreads uncontrollably, and soon, Beau is being brought up on rape charges. Seeing the moral dilemma in front of her, Jones tries to stop the rumor, but soon learns that gossip takes on a life of its own. Despite its somewhat hackneyed premise, ’Gossip’ is well-written and only falls apart during its far-fetched finale. Notice that once the rumor starts, no one speaks in factual terms, but only about things that they’ve heard. ’Gossip’ is colorful and well-shot and all of the young performers do well. I enjoy watching films that other critics have savaged, and ’Gossip’ is the perfect case in point. The film is mindless entertainment that is fun, and trust me, you could do much worse.