Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 10/10/00
Six Days in
Edition - 1998 (2000) - Benevolent Authority (Synapse)
review by Bill Hunt,
editor of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
81 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered (one
layer for film, one for extras), Amaray keep case packaging, audio
commentary with director Timothy B. Johnson, producer/editor Roger
Nygard and star Rich Kronfeld, "behind the scenes"
featurette An Experiment in the Desert:
The Making of Six Days in Roswell, 35 minutes of deleted
scenes (broken into 8 segments), 3 trailers (Six
Days in Roswell long and short versions and Trekkies),
early works from Johnson, Nygard and Kronfeld, photo gallery,
reviewer quotes, production notes, credits, filmmaker bios, UFO
facts & trivia, film festivals listing, website info, 3 Easter
eggs (see text for details), film-themed menu screens, scene access
(19 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none
UFO Enthusiast (about
the Roswell crash): "What may have happened... may have
Oh my God is Six Days in Roswell
funny! I'm talking wet your pants funny. I first saw this film at
the Newport Beach Film Festival a few months ago with a group of
friends, and I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. It's one of
those films that just sets off an audience - the whole crowd was in
stitches. I liked the film so much, in fact, that afterwards I spoke
with the film's producer, Roger Nygard, and told him that I wanted
to help him get the film released on DVD so everyone could enjoy it
our recent interview with Nygard here). Roger's earlier film,
Trekkies, was released by
Paramount on DVD, but as a bare-bones, movie-only edition. I wanted
to make sure that this film got better treatment. So Todd and I
talked about it and put Roger in touch with Don May, Jr. of Synapse
Films. I'm really happy to say that the result is this terrific
little DVD special edition, which streets on November 14th.
Six Days in Roswell follows
the adventures of one of Minnesota's most unusual native sons - the
intrepid Rich Kronfeld. You may remember Rich from Trekkies
- he was the guy with the motorized Captain Pike wheelchair (Rich
really does own that chair, and Nygard assures me that Trekkies
and Roswell are only the first
two films in what will probably become a White
Trash Trilogy). Rich, it seems, has a dream. He wants to
be abducted by aliens. But there's a problem, as he says in the
film: "Nobody from Minnesota ever gets abducted." So Rich
sets out on a spiritual journey of sorts, to the virtual Mecca of
UFOlogy - Roswell, New Mexico.
Roswell, as some of you may know, is the sight of an alleged 1947
crash of a UFO - a crash which yielded alien bodies that the
government supposedly covered up. Now, it's become ground zero to a
strange world of believers and abductees, UFOlogists and skeptics.
Rich arrives in Roswell to take part in the 50th Anniversary
celebration of the Crash, and what he finds a massive carnival
atmosphere, rampant "cashing in" by local merchants and
enough bizarre theories about UFOs to fill... well, a UFO. In the
end, Rich may not have uncovered the truth about alien abduction,
but he's certainly learned a thing or two about human nature. And
he's given us 81 minutes of great laughs along the way.
Rich Kronfeld is just a true gem - he's one of the funniest guys
I've ever seen on film. His deadpan reactions to the rogue's gallery
of bizarre individuals he meets on his trip are perfect. They
provide the jokes and Rich's dry, aloof commentary is the punchline.
In this film, Rich enters a "flying saucer" pancake eating
contest, rides his Captain Pike's chair in a small town parade,
chats with self-proclaimed UFO "experts" like Stanton
Friedman and Whitley Strieber, visits the "crash site" and
the Roswell UFO Museum and even attends Roswell
the Musical (a community theater retelling of the events
of 1947). He must convince his Mother that getting abducted is an
okay thing to do, and he even gets alien self defence lessons from a
pair of shotgun-toting rednecks (which will come in handy if aliens
ever attack Rich with knives and shotguns). And along the way, he
interviews everyone he meets, hoping for tips that will lead to his
own "close encounter". This is very funny stuff.
And this special edition DVD is a great way to experience the film
for the first time. The film was shot on Super 16 and was blown up
to 33mm for theatrical release, so what you get here is the original
full frame. You're going to see some film grain, but I was really
impressed at the quality of the video transfer. There's very little
dust and dirt visible on the print and only minor artifacting. Edge
enhancement isn't really a problem and the contrast is excellent.
Granted, I previewed this disc on professional-grade studio monitors
at the disc's authoring facility, Still in Motion, but the color was
also very good. Roger and company spent a great deal of effort on
color timing, so the hues here are bright and accurate. The audio on
the disc is a standard Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix - no surround
here. But the track is of perfectly good quality and it's more than
adequate for the film. Dialogue is clear and natural sounding and
the film's musical track is light and well represented in the mix.
But what Roger and I were really hoping for, when we first talked
about this DVD, was to have lots of extras included. And thankfully,
the folks at Synapse let Roger, Tim and Rich go nuts. First of all,
you get a funny commentary track with the three of them together.
Roger sort of sits back and talks about the stories behind each
scene and steers the ship, while Tim talks in a straightlaced style
about the process of filmmaking and Rich interjects amusing comments
here and there. It's very engaging and delivers a few big laughs.
There's also a 20-minute documentary on the making of the film,
which is a really great piece on the process of low budget
filmmaking. I got my start in the same world as these guys did - the
Minnesota video production scene - and if you're an aspiring
filmmaker yourself, I think you'll be encouraged to see what these
guys have accomplished and how they did it. Then there's some 35
minutes of deleted scenes, and this stuff is every bit as good as
what was in the final film - there are lots more good laughs here.
You also get probably 30 minutes worth of earlier works from Roger,
Tim and Rich. Again, if you want to become a filmmaker, you'll get
to see exactly how these guys progressed, from their very first
Super 8 films as kids to more professional quality works. And let me
just say that Rich's reel is a frickin' riot. Rich is something of a
cable-access comedy star back in the Twin Cities, and for good
reason. Rich - if you're reading this, I've absolutely gotta see the
rest of your Let's Bowl stuff.
Damn, you're a funny man!
But there's lots more. You get a gallery of about a dozen
production photos, production notes, UFO trivia, quotes from other
folks who have reviewed the film and on and on. There's also three
Easter eggs hidden in this disc, which include a trailer for one of
Nygard's other films, a video clip on "the atomic age and its
influence on household appliances" and an extended version of a
piece seen in the film.
Todd and I had a hand in making this DVD happen, so we're probably
biased. But this is a great little film, and Rich is gonna make you
laugh. If you liked Trekkies,
or even think you might be interested, then you owe it to yourself
to pick up this disc. It's a fun little spin, packed full of extras
that are going to entertain you as much as the film itself. This is
one of those flicks that we think is gonna pick up a big cult
audience on DVD. So get your friends together, order a pizza and
give Six Days in Roswell a
try. We're pretty crazy about it and we think you will be too.