Bowling for Columbine

MGM Home Entertainment, $26.98

THERE’S SOLD OUT and there’s sold out. Despite repeated requests to the studio, I couldn’t get an advance disc of this special-edition DVD (released Aug. 19) because its entire stock of review copies was depleted. So I go to Blockbuster, expecting some puny documentary section, where I’m confronted by an entire wall-size display of Michael Moore’s Oscar-winning docand almost every copy is rented! That says something about the American appetite for his lumpy contrarian polemics about our gun culture; Columbine is the top-grossing doc of all time, with a message that Americans want to hear (and the Democrats are afraid to say).

Surprisingly, Moore doesn’t provide a commentary (he impishly leaves that to his office interns). On his audio introduction to the film and sundry other extras, he explains that he’s all talked out on the subject of gunsand that’s saying something coming from our nation’s leading liberal loudmouth. There’s a disconnect between what he optimistically terms America’s innate goodness and its appalling propensity for violence. More than guns, he says, “This is a film about the American psyche.”

As is evident in interviews included here with Charlie Rose and various film-festival media, Moore is still very mad about Bush and Florida three years ago (which is supposed to be half the subject of his next doc, Fahrenheit 9/11, timed to the ’04 elections). Yet he also seems mellow, tired, not a ranterjust an ordinary schlub trudging up the red-carpeted steps at Cannes. (Intriguing snippets here demand the fest be shown on American TV; I had no idea it was so gloriously tackylike the Golden Globes with more money and pretension to boot!) You almost feel sorry for the guy, knowing he’ll have so much more work to do during the next Bush administration.

MORE WORK WILL also be required for Vin Diesel to resuscitate his career and justify his paycheck after A Man Apart, which arrives on disc Sept. 2. On the same date, John Cusack and others go bonkers in the schizo motel slashfest Identity; there’s a second disc of extras on Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life; and don’t be confused by Titanicit’s the 1953 version with Barbara Stanwyck (which did earn an Oscar for its script). Most hilarious compilation of the week? Something called “The Ben Affleck Gift Set.” (Danger! Contains Bounce.) Best compilation? Seven titles including Where Eagles Dare in a Clint Eastwood package (alas, no extras).