Al Pacino is fun to watch in pretty much everything he does. Sure, you may not be able to think of him as anything other than Al Pacino, but who cares? Sometimes it's more fun to watch a movie about someone trying to kill a famous Hollywood actor than trying to kill an ordinary ol' forensic psychiatrist. 88 Minutes is one of those movies, and now that it's out on DVD, we get even more hot Pacino action. The extras aren't anything to write home about, but they're certainly enjoyable.
The only person on the commentary track is director Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes, Righteous Kill), which is too bad, considering the great cast he was working with, and how many of them are old friends of his. I mean, I kind of understand Al Pacino not wanting to sit through the entire film and talk about it, but Alicia Witt, as Pacino's teaching assistant, is on-screen almost as much as he is. Couldn't they at least get her, or did her Law & OrderBoomtown, plays a serial killer and is a huge presence in the film. Was he not available? The upside is that, with no one else to shoot the breeze with, Avnet gets into crazy detail on the film, revealing which scenes were shot in Seattle, the film's actual setting, and which were shot in Vancouver, or even Los Angeles. He calls out all of the actors, mentioning where he's worked with them before (he's worked with a lot of them), and the rest of the time gushes bout Pacino's acting style and rehearsing style and basically how awesome he is. (He is pretty awesome.)
There are no deleted scenes on the disc, but the alternate ending is basically a huge epilogue that would have come after the film's resolution, which pretty much goes to the credits as soon as the bad guy is defeated. In the following scene, Pacino would have talked to Witt, and Witt would have asked him about the accusations of coaching witnesses. Pacino pretty much admits to it, saying that she would have done the same thing... as would any lawyer, I guess. Don't all lawyers coach their witnesses to some extent, even when they're telling the truth? Weird. Anyway, then we see the killer die by lethal injection, and we see Pacino give a speech to his students, about how this is not a day for celebration, and how he doesn't actually support the death penalty, but he believes in justice for the victims of crimes. It's interesting, especially the death penalty revelation, but there's no commentary track, so we have no idea why it was cut. (Avnet doesn't mention it on the regular commentary, either.)
Director's Point of View
This is just an interview with Avnet, with behind-the-scenes clips, where he talks about his trepidation of working with Pacino, and what sort of feeling they were going for in the movie. He talks about the plot and about themes and about the actors, and there's very little here that isn't on the commentary track, although there is some.
The Character Within
This is the same thing as the "Director's Point of View" feature, but with Pacino himself being interviewed. He talks about the character, and how the movie creates a feeling of paranoia, and how it's the kind of role any actor would like to have. He also talks about how great William Forsyth and everyone were to work with, and how nice it was doing a movie where you go out and have dinner with everybody the night before and do your rehearsing then. ...That actually does sound pretty fun.
I'm usually with my boss Angel on this one, agreeing that previews shouldn't count as special features, but an archive of movie trailers like this one deserves to be recognized. There are over 20 different trailers here, including mainstream ones like Quantum of Solace, Zohan, Pineapple Express and Step Brothers; artsy ones like The Fall, Redbelt and Felon, featuring Val Kilmer as a creepy con; and trashy straight-to-DVD ones like The Art of War 2 and Zombie Strippers. Who could ask for anything more?